* Posts by Wilseus

265 posts • joined 8 Sep 2011

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'Second Earth' exoplanet found right under our noses – just four light years away

Wilseus

Re: Green? Blue? Brown?

"Proxima Centauri really only produces red light"

No. I keep hearing this and it is totally incorrect. The light from Proxima has a colour temperature of about 3000K which is rather whiter than a halogen light bulb. The last time I checked, plants in my living room, at night with the light on, still looked green and my white ceiling still looked white. Sure, the light is redder than sunlight, but it's certainly not red light.

On the other hand, a cool brown dwarf with a temperature of a few hundred degrees probably would have these properties, but Proxima is far from being one of those.

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Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died

Wilseus

Re: Stop whining...

"They do it better in Europe, with electronic signage over the seats that the more selfish passengers can't tamper with."

I'm puzzled by this because I'm sure that Virgin Pendolino trains do have such electronic signs instead of the little cards. Are the Voyagers different?

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'Neural network' spotted deep inside Samsung's Galaxy S7 silicon brain

Wilseus

Is it just me...

...or has this whole thing become stupidly over-complicated?

Back in the 1980s, the RISC chips of the time got around the branching problem with features like branch delay slots (MIPS) and predicated instructions (ARM).

I can't help feeling that perhaps there is a much simpler solution to this than dedicating ever more transistors to hugely complicated algorithms that could instead be used for the operations that the programmer actually intended.

Perhaps some radically new, but elegant type of CPU design is needed.

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Tech support scammers mess with hacker's mother, so he retaliated with ransomware

Wilseus

"My response is to put the phone down if I hear background call centre noise or an indian accent."

I can almost hear from here the clicking keyboards of all those outraged Guardian readers typing "RACIST!"

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Google's brand new OS could replace Android

Wilseus

Re: Lost my interest and lunch at C++

There's nothing at all wrong with the idea of OOP of course, but the way it's implemented in C++ is one of the things (but not the only thing) that makes it a fucking horrible language. I hate it.

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'Alien megastructure' Tabby's Star: Light is definitely dimming

Wilseus

It's the Quagaars!

Or a garbage pod. A smegging garbage pod!

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Wilseus

"...we have to somehow keep that centered on the star with propulsion as it's effective average gravity towards teh star inside it would be zero."

I think I read somewhere that a Dyson sphere would be orbitally stable, unlike a "more, but still not very feasible Larry Niven-style Ringworld."

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'Daddy, what's a Blu-ray disc?'

Wilseus

Re: quality..

"The best, easiest and cheapest way I improved a good system was to hang some Moroccan rugs on the walls, they were aesthetically pleasing BTW."

Yes, improving the listening room pays dividends. There are also commercial products sold for these purposes. Most are extremely effective but are, IMO overpriced for what they are, and generally have a poor WAF.

*WAF = Wife Acceptance Factor.

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Wilseus

Re: quality..

"... is almost always bollocks. Most of us cannot hear the difference, not when listing in a front room..."

The difference between what and what, exactly? Are you saying all hifi systems sound the same? Or that most people can't tell the difference between a stereo and a live concert?

I agree with you regarding 4K TVs though.

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Linux security backfires: Flaw lets hackers inject malware into downloads, disrupt Tor users, etc

Wilseus

Re: Patch incoming in... 3,2,1

"about device on my Galaxy S5 gives kernel version 3.10.61"

Some Linux-based systems use kernels with newer features backported to them, so the kernel version being reported won't necessarily tell you much. That's definitely the case with ChromeOS, I don't know if it applies to Android as well though.

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Ex-Citibank IT bloke wiped bank's core routers, will now spend 21 months in the clink

Wilseus

Re: AMERICA....FUCK YEAH....

"He probably got chewed out for refusing to work an extra 2 hours each day"

Sounds just like the video games industry...

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Star Trek Beyond: An unwatchable steaming pile of tribble dung

Wilseus

Re: This unwatchable steaming pile of tribble dung...

There always has to be the one dullard who feels they have to downvote solid facts (although admittedly the average has since dropped to a mere 84%)

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Wilseus

Re: This unwatchable steaming pile of tribble dung...

RT's ratings are aggregated from professional reviews.

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Wilseus

This unwatchable steaming pile of tribble dung...

...currently has a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Linux letting go: 32-bit builds on the way out

Wilseus

Re: think about tablets

"32bits can not ever use all of 4gigs of memory"

Of course it can; native data word size does not limit maximum memory size. Even a 32-bit address bus can support more than a 32-bit address space with latching.

A data word size able to hold the maximum address is advantageous but not essential.

Of course, that's why we had processors like the 6502 which had an 8-bit word size and a 16-bit address space.

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This local council paid HOW MUCH for an SD card?!

Wilseus

Re: @ Timbo

"Friend of mine has a nearly 10yr old Panasonic surround system that uses a Wireless system to connect the rear speakers. No cabling between the unit and the speakers at all."

I've seen systems like that. I guess a system could also use a digital toslink cable in a similar way. That wouldn't really make it a speaker cable though, in both cases the speaker cable would be the wires connecting the wireless receiver/amplifier electronics to the actual drive units.

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Wilseus

Re: @ Timbo

"Optical fibre "sound cables" are quite common. Not sure about 'speaker cables', though."

It's a physical impossibility. The job of speaker cable is to carry electrical current, quite a lot of it in some cases, in order to energise the speaker's drive unit(s).

It's hard to see how you could achieve that by shining a red LED down a fibre optic cable!

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Winston Churchill glowers from Blighty's plastic fiver

Wilseus
Headmaster

Legal tender?

"Paper fivers will continue to be legal tender until May 2017, after which they'll no longer be accepted in shops and banks."

This makes no sense, the term legal tender has nothing to do with whether it is accepted in shops or banks. Shops in the UK are free to accept or not accept whatever payment they like, whether it's in gold bars, postage stamps or Euros.

Legal tender simply defines what a creditor must accept as payment for an outstanding debt.

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Blighty's Virgin Queen threatened with foreign abduction

Wilseus

Re: Time

The fox has moved on and is now working for the U.N. at the High Commission of International Cunning Planning.

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Chaps make working 6502 CPU by hand. Because why not?

Wilseus

Re: I'll really be impressed when..

"The 6800, 68000, and 6502 were logical orthogonal instruction sets like the IBM 360. The Intel instruction sets always seemed far more arbitrary - so I never learned to program the 8080 etc at assembler level."

The 6502 wasn't that orthogonal, certainly not when compared to the 68000 or the ARM for example (IIRC you had to use different registers, either X or Y, for different addressing modes etc)

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Wilseus
Headmaster

Re: Stupid masochists.

Triple pedant alert: It was his foot that fell off, not just his toes :)

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Apple mulled gobbling its Brit GPU designers – but didn't like the taste

Wilseus

Re: Shame

Whether DAB is dwindling or not is a moot point: many, if not most, of PURE's radios can also play back Internet radio as well as FM. PURE also makes a range of really quite decent wireless speakers, in fact many of their radios have this capability too.

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Bill Gates denies iPhone crack demand would set precedent

Wilseus

This would never work

He said it would be "worth having a debate" as to the extent to which people are comfortable about how information the government has."

This would never work because most members of the public don't really understand the issues. In this particular case they want the government to protect them from the baddies but at the same time they aren't comfortable about the government knowing too much information about people (i.e them.)

People want to have their cake and eat it: they want more money pumped into the NHS but don't want to pay more tax. They want free services from the likes of Google but they don't want their details used for the targeted advertising that pays for it. I'm not sure there's a common ground in any of these areas that most people would be happy with.

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When asked 'What's a .CNT file?' there's a polite way to answer

Wilseus

Re: Stupid customers

I may have got the wrong end of the stick there then. I will only add that the technical support of the company in question is *extremely* well regarded in the industry!

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Wilseus

Stupid customers

A relative of mine who works in tech support for a fairly well-known ISP told me a couple of classics:

I can't get my machine to send emails. Are you blocking port 25?

Yes Sir. Blocking the SMTP port is a service we offer as standard to all our customers.

and my favourite:

My (ADSL) broadband has stopped working?

OK, is your modem plugged in? Is it switched on? (etc)

Yes

Are you sure you haven't changed anything?

Well, I did change my landline provider to Virgin Media

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Ready for a nostalgia kick? Usborne has put its old computer books on the web for free

Wilseus

I remember these books well

I had one of these books which appears to be a compendium of three of these others: http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/9742/The-Beginners-Computer-Handbook/

and it probably has heavily influenced the career I am in today.

I've just had a quick skim through the Machine Code one and it's very good, but it does make me realise how lucky us BBC/Electron owners were with their built-in assemblers, it's a bit of a shame that the book doesn't appear to even mention this though.

If I have one criticism, in one of the books here (which I don't own) it states the oft-repeated myth that a BASIC interpreter converts each line into machine code, which it then executes before moving onto the next one. I do wonder whether this book was responsible for people believing this, I certainly remember having a heated argument with my Computer Science lecturer at college about it!

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Imagination Tech's chief Hossein Yassaie quits, shares slide

Wilseus

Re: Dead As Betamax

The majority of Pure radios have Internet and/or Bluetooth capability now.

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Winning Underhand C Contest code silently tricks nuke inspectors

Wilseus

Re: The power of backspace

Agreed, tricks like that would work on a BBC Micro or Electron, except that I think it would have actually printed:

10 PRINT "NO!!"": REM ĥĥĥĥĥĥĥĥĥĥĥĥĥ

You could also insert a control code that disabled text output, then another that re-enabled it further on, completely hiding sections of your program.

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The planets really will be in alignment for the next month

Wilseus

Re: Red thing?

"That's the Milky Way. It really does look like that, but you need good eyes and a very dark sky. A camera which can handle long exposures helps too."

You actually don't need good eyes at all, but you do need a very dark sky, so you won't see it from any town or city. I'm a keen astronomer and I've never seen it :(

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Server retired after 18 years and ten months – beat that, readers!

Wilseus

Re: The drive's a Seagate...

"This translates to 25.6 million miles at the rim or 6.6 million miles at the spindle."

When you consider that that's barely more than a quarter of the way to the Sun, that's actually a bit disappointing :)

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Fans demand 'Lemmium' periodic table tribute

Wilseus

Re: And what about

[Amy Winehouse's] singing was as musical as my son's pet frog

I guess that's a matter of opinion, my dad and I both liked her but my mum, who is a music teacher, didn't find her to be to her taste.

The production of her albums though, was absolutely appalling, they even manage to sound harsh and compressed on my crappy car system, with the engine running. Back to Black is genuinely the worst sounding CD I've ever come across.

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Bigger than Higgs? Boffins see hints of bulbous new Boson

Wilseus
Flame

Re: Something new in physics. Finally!

'it must be quite nerve-wracking knowing that your entire life's work might be about to be consigned to the bin marked "interesting, but wrong".'

Like Newton's laws of motion, you mean?

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Sysadmin's £100,000 revenge after sudden sacking

Wilseus

Re: Been there, done that ...

Forgive me if I'm being thick, but why would the Finance Department have denied all knowledge?

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Wilseus
Headmaster

Re: a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

"near the sewerage works"

Ah so NOT a UK company then? ;)

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Revenge porn 'king' Hunter Moore sent down for 2.5 years, fined $2k

Wilseus

TeeCee said:

"Nice to see El Reg following a well-trodden journalistic path here and including the pointless and utterly predictable quote from the mother of the scumbag."

But that's not the full paragraph from the article, is it?

Fortunately, someone does still love Moore. His mother spoke in court, saying that her son was "a good person who made a huge mistake." That sardonic first sentence clearly conveys the quote in a different light!

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From Zero to hero: Why mini 'puter Oberon should grab Pi's crown

Wilseus
Headmaster

While [RISC OS] was radical in 1987, it's very retro now.

1989 actually :)

I should add that Arthur (essentially RISC OS 1, although it was never called that) came out in '87 but it didn't have the radical WIMP desktop and was essentially an ARM port of the BBC's MOS.

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Music publisher BMG vs US cable giant Cox: Here's why it matters

Wilseus
Headmaster

Also it's "break down," not "breakdown." (Break down is what your car does, a breakdown is the thing that's happened.) This drives me absolutely nuts (login/log in is another) but at least it's not as bad as people using "nevermind" instead of "never mind" since there's no such word as the former. There's no such word as anytime or thankyou either!

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Meet ARM1, grandfather of today's mobe, tablet CPUs – watch it crunch code live in a browser

Wilseus

Re: MLA

Oops, that IS wrong, the shifts are incorrect. It should be:

MOV R1,R0,ASL#8 ;multiply R0 by 256 and store in R1

ADD R1,R1,R0,ASL#6 ;multiply R0 by 64 and add to R1

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Wilseus

Re: MLA

IIRC the MUL and MLA instructions didn't exist on the ARM1 but were added to the ARM2 (which I think was otherwise pretty much identical) because Acorn's engineers came to realise that the chip would be embarassingly slow for certain operations without a hardware multiply.

Neither instruction was particularly fast though, they were several times slower than the other, simpler ALU operations. You could multiply a register with a constant *much* faster by using the MOV, ADD or SUB instruction in combination with the "free" barrel shifter, something like this example which multiples R0 by 320 (a common operation in games on the Arc where you'd need to calculate the start address of a line on a MODE 13 screen)

MOV R1,R0,ASR#8 ;multiply R0 by 256 and store in R1

ADD R1,R1,R0,ASR#6 ;multiply R0 by 64 and add to R1

I think that's right, my ARM code is pretty rusty these days.

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One-armed bandit steals four hours of engineer's busy day

Wilseus

I used to work as a programmer for a slot machine company...

...possibly the same one as SH. I never got a satisfactory answer from my boss as to why they didn't use 30p LEDs instead of bulbs, and would consequently almost never need changing.

The reduced current consumption of LEDs would probably have stopped the lamp boards catching fire (yes, really) when too many bulbs were switched on, as well. When my colleague asked "how many bulbs is it safe to have on at once?" all he got was the answer, "we don't know, just don't turn too many on at once."

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Astronomers catch first sighting of a planet's birth pangs

Wilseus

Re: out by quite a lot

Ah, the distance figure originally being vastly out, explains why I was confused by this statement, "The protoplanet has been called "LkCa 15 b" and is located 450 light years away from Earth, meaning that by now it will probably be well formed" given that 450 years is absolutely nothing in the time scale of planet formation. I guess the part after the comma needs to be removed as well!

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Red dwarf superflares batter formerly 'habitable' exoplanet

Wilseus
Headmaster

Re: Extreme age?

No one actually knows what happens to red dwarfs in their old age because the universe isn't nearly old enough yet for any to have aged sufficiently. The last time I read about this it was hypothesised that due to their complete internal convection, unlike our own Sun, as they run out of hydrogen to fuse they will shrink and become hotter and bluer in order to maintain equilibrium. Whether they would then enter in some sort of mini-red giant stage before turning into a mini-white dwarf, I don't know.

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Team MIPS tries to spoil ARM's party with new 64-bit Warrior, 32-bit microcontroller brains

Wilseus

Re: @Wilseus Optimistic?

Thanks, yes I know all about O-O-O then, I just didn't recognise the acronym!

From what I can gather that's one of the things that ARM's big.LITTLE can differentiates between: a device ticks over using a low power consumption non-O-O-O core, but switches to a high-performance core when needed.

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Wilseus

Re: Optimistic?

Please forgive my ignorance, but can anyone explain to me what O-O-O means in this context? Google wasn't much help in this instance.

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Linus looses Linux 4.3 on a waiting world

Wilseus
Mushroom

"Easily done when everybody seems to think that lose is spelled loose these days."

Not everybody. Only illiterate morons.

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Get 'em out for the... readers: The Sun scraps its online paywall

Wilseus

Re: I've never understood why Murdoch is so hated

"For starters because he is a tax-dodgeing opportunist. Just my 2 cents."

Just like the owners of the Guardian then.

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Bosch, you suck! Dyson says VW pal cheated in vacuum cleaner tests

Wilseus

Re: Bad tests and worse marketing

Thinking about the kettle thing some more, it does make a certain amount of sense: a lower powered kettle that takes ages to boil might encourage people to not overfill the thing. That's the only logic I can see in it anyway.

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Wilseus

Re: Bad tests and worse marketing

"They use too much power, same as kettles, they are having their power usage cut as well."

PLEASE tell me that's a joke.

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Ireland moves to scrap 1 and 2 cent coins

Wilseus

Re: Makes sense

"5 Euro coins exist, but are rarely seen."

The same is true for £5 coins.

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How long does it take an NHS doctor to turn on a computer?

Wilseus

Re: I still can't get my head round this one

"Ignore me if you're the only educational institution I've ever heard of that doesn't run on Windows."

Back when I was at school, that was about half of them!

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