1724 posts • joined Wednesday 20th June 2007 09:00 GMT
"stuck using the same old magnetic-spinny-disk tech"
Oh noes! We're still using a technology that gets cheaper and faster and more achieves a higher storage density every year! Whatever is the world coming to? In other news, I drive a diesel. Did you know that the first diesel was demonstrated nearly 120 years ago? And yet the same principles are still perfectly sound, and it remains quite economical and efficient.
New tech will roll in when the old is no longer up to the task. No point bringing it in before then, is there?
Nuclear electric? Life's too short
There's plenty of other cool things in the research pipeline. Open cycle gas core NTR springs to mind, or weirder things like fission fragment reactor based things. Both are likely to be better than a couple of thousand seconds. The important thing is that practical work be done on these various designs rather than purely theoretical... like most nuclear technologies we've more or less failed to innovate in the last 30 years (or longer!) because of their bad reputation and image.
That said, I'm terribly keen for mini-magnetosphere plasma propulsion sails to work. That would be all kinds of awesome.
Re: Are you Mental?
I'll assume that you've no idea about the things PA Semi had been working on before Apple ate them and cancelled the projects? They didn't take quite the same approach as IBM, and ended up with remarkably similar looking processors eating about a quarter of the power. I did mention them by name for a reason.
There were some nice PowerPC chips out there that did an excellent job of combining a decent chunk of processing oomf with low power overheads. PA Semi used to make some nice things... too bad they got eaten up, eh? Guess we're going to have to choose between power hungry x86 and compute-poor ARM devices for a little while yet.
Only preplanned cities get grids
Ancient Alexandria got one, but that's an unusual example. Pretty much every other city grew organically, and that doesn't lend itself to a neat grid. Why should any hypothetical Atlantis have looked like some west coast US metropolis?
Not the craziest idea ever...
...it just doesn't seem to be particularly useful. Is the Wince kernel really holding back Windows Phone? There's an awful lot of application-level stuff that is either absent or very poor which I'd hope is a slightly higher priority.
Broader hardware support is definitely 'aspirational' given the dire standard of driver development and the need to port existing drivers to a new architecture (eg. ARM) which will probably almost as much work as writing Wince ARM drivers for most vendors, I'll bet. It isn't like there are any x86 smartphones on the horizon, after all.
"we cannot let our vigilance slip"
So, following a successful operation against some would-be terrorists which was accomplished without heavy-handed censorship laws, we should, er, encourage heavy handed censorship?
I remain surprised that Mr Vaz is still in a position of power, given his rather shady dealings in the past. it is rather depressing that someone who lends his wholehearted support to every government policy intended to curb civil liberties continues to be re-elected.
Business vs Charity
Increasing the bandwidth of the slowest lines in the country will be hellishly expensive with practically no chance of any return on the investment.
Increasing the bandwidth of the fastest lines by another order of magnitude is much cheaper because most of the infrastructure is already in place, and there's the opportunity to sell the product to lots of customers and businesses to offset the cost.
I get moderately good ADSL at the cost of living in a town. You want better internet access? Move out of the sticks. Don't want to move? Then stop complaining. No doubt you'll have lots of excuses, but none of them will serve to justify telecoms companies expending billions with no hope of any return simply to get you faster torrenting.
These things are old
Security by obscurity was still cool back when they were designed. They just haven't kept up to date.
this means that Windows Phone 8 could conceivably be built for x86, too. As much as Intel will be unhappy with MS for shifting their next OS ARM-wards, they might like the fact that there may still be hope for an Atom-powered phone running a mainstream OS.
Not that such a thing would be particularly interesting without some dramatic improvements to power efficiency, of course.
It isn't any different, really.
As for the EULA, they make for pretty treacherous legal footing for all concerned. If nothing else, unless MS provided the trojan in question, they have no right to make changes to its configuration!
Educating users is never going to work
See the example above for a phishing site test that even security experts aren't necessarily going to score full points on. Security education cannot, will not and has never worked for most people. Security needs to be wholly deterministic and transparent to the user; if at any point a consumer must make a judgement call, then there is a potential security loophole that can and will be exploited.
It would be super if consumer software and operating systems were sold with some sort of notion of merchantability or fitness for purpose, but does anyone seriously think this will ever happen?
They should do nothing of the sort
That is a law enforcement job, not that of a commercial software company. Not only would they be exposing themselves to prosecution (it is vigilantism, effectively) but I've no doubt that some entireprising individuals could arrange civil suits too.
What is needed is sensible, coordinated support by national law enforcement agencies. Now all we need are senisble law enforcement agencies who actually understand what a botnet is...
But the material is still *called* wood, and can be used as such. It is even made of cellulose and lignin.
Sure they do
They just can't bring themselves to do something about it.
They've already hurt themselves enough with their disasterous mobile strategy over the past few years. Like so many other things they've been doing of late, it all seems a bit uncoordinated, and there's the underlying sense that they might just bin it in a fit of pique.
Google actually has a point. It helps in this case that 'do no evil' co-incides with 'don't implement idiotic and unworkable system according to the demands of a technologically illiterate politico'.
Compare with Australia?
Not so many differences, these days. If you've been keeping up with Aussie news on the Reg, you may note that "a group of religious zealots" wields considerable political power. They're dead keen on censorship and have some pretty bizarre views on sex and drugs and alcohol. I'm sure they'd get on just fine with US politicos...
"Companies that outsource... are creating a lot of employment"
Y'know, back in the day the coffee and sugar industries created a lot of work for poor, uneducated African folk. Gave em free travel to the new world, gave em an opportunity to be part of a new nation! The fact that European (and eventually US) merchants made a tidy profit from the arrangement seems only fair, given the investments they had made, and the cost of feeding and housing their workers. Right?
If you think that outsourcing your legal, financial, environmental and ethical responsibilities is fine so long as you chuck a few pennies the same way, then you represent the most unpleasant face of globalisation. You'd best be trolling.
"nobody currently pursuing higher-quality digital audio"
That's not strictly true; you can get some properly daft 'audiophile' grade digital music out there if you hunt.... its just that hardly anyone bothers to make anything other than MP3. At least they tend to be selling higher bitrate MP3 these days. A few places sell a moderately sized FLAC range (bleep.com is my usual destination) but they're strictly in the minority.
I don't bother downloading lossy digital music on general principle. I'm prepared to pay a little bit of a premium for FLAC (or, at a pinch, WAV or ALAC) but in its absense I'm off to Amazon and Ebay and the like, hunting for second hand CDs.
On absortion spectra
X-rays are already pretty vigorously absorbed by air; an xray laser would be crap underwater. Please supply us with a shark capable of operating in a vacuum and we'll sort out the laser then.
Electron-pushing is reasonably well understood these days; this means of generating a coherent xray pulse has been around for quite a few years now. No-one really has any idea how you can induce gamma ray emission... there's some research on nuclear isomers, but it hasn't borne much fruit yet. It isn't like people have exhausted the use of xray lasers yet, either!
Also, these days x-ray and gamma-ray basically refer to the source of the photon (electron and nucleus respectively) rather than their relative power levels, which are a bit fuzzier to separate.
Just use Erlang.
Its what node aspires to be. Best case scenario is that it ends up half as good.
Why is WiFi fine,
but mobile phone service not?
Clearly the 'won't somebody think of the terrorists?' answer won't hold any water anymore.
That's the word I was looking for
Assuming that the tasks the program is capable of are intuitive, searching for a task via a search box is not really much more hassle than using a menu. There's something to be said for a more keyboard-driven interface too, especially when it comes to RSI...
The problem comes when the application is complex and the operations one might be interested in are not intuitive. A nice hierarchial menu is an excellent way to lay these out... all non-menu based GUI systems to date just seem to make this harder. But then, this sort of application (an IDE springs to mind) is not the sort of thing than a clueless newbie is likely to be getting their teeth into.
As for command line discoverability... the 'consoles' that are traditionally found in FPS games certainly used to provide a facility to find out what could and could not be done... just entering a backslash was one way to list available commands. The CLI on my router does the same using the 'help' command. That is arguably more inuitive than a mouse-driven menu system.
"the slightest bearing on whether a Canadian firm..."
On account of the internet being global, chief. The baseline rules were laid down in order to limit the amount of international irritation the stupid new domains would inevitably cause. The line has to be drawn somewhere.
Incidentally, do you think it is really such a bad thing that sovereignty is still considered important, even next to multibillion dollar corporate behemoths?
Dude, nothing is ever new
Apart from the bit where they've managed to make use of a new feedstock, which is a good thing given that cellulose based bioethanol production seems to be a bit of an environmental non-started.
Ethanol isn't the most useful product right now, bioethanol doubly so... but it could easily be so in the future. Y'know, in the event of fossil fuel supplies becoming uneconomic if you can imagine such a thing.
I'm sure under your one-world-order scientific research would be heavily regimented and controlled and any project such as this that didn't forward your civilisation in the way you have planned would be ruthlessly culled. I doubt I'm alone in feeling glad that we don't live in such a world.
"free-floating plankton", etc
That's not an unreasonable point. However, I'd contend that the required surface area (which was quoted at 3% of the world's *coastal* waters) is absolutely miniscule in the context of the total area of deep ocean. Shading enough of the ocean to kill off that much phytoplankton seems like an absolutely epic engineering project; it would be easier to build photovoltaic farms in the sahara and set up HVDC lines to Europe, or build orbital solar power systems with microwave receivers on earth, etc.
"Anyway, it's all Entropy"
Whilst fundamentally true, it is manifestly unhelpful. Things are categorised for good reason, and there are accepted meanings for 'renewable' and 'solar' which we may as well adhere to. It would be super if you didn't muddy the waters further.
Also, I believe heavy elements are apparently formed in supernovae and were not themselves formed in the big bang, which would presumably have only resulted in light elements... maybe even only hydrogen. But I Am Not An Astrophysicist, etc.
Audit trails FTW
Seems like having all powerful user accounts isn't necessarily a good thing. I guess no-one cared enough to allocate finer grained and more appropriate controls.
That aside; generating a nice audit log which the administrators could not interfere with seems like a reasonable thing to do in this case.
Seaweed is fishfood?
Well, in the same way that, say, wheat is 'animal food'. Leaving aside your slightly shallow understanding of what eats what, and your slightly curious notion that algae are not renewable...
This plan does not involve harvesting existing seaweed beds. I'll be that would be expensive and inconvenient. Instead, new beds will need to be grown, possibly on some sort of artifical substrate for ease of future harvesting. During their growth phase, the seaweed beds will form their own ecosystem. If the harvesting is nondestructive (eg, only some of the fronds are removed, rather than the whole organism being ripped up bodily) then this will form a valuable persistent environment.
More interestingly, you could grow this sort of stuff in deeper water on floating farm beds; you'll get more convenient accessibility, and no issues with tide or waves. It'll be a new environmental niche that won't interfere with coastal seaweed beds.
Realistic concerns would be about chemical treatment of the farms; you didn't raise that at all. Incidentally, where do you think solar panels come from? Dirty, environmentally destructive mining and financial support for ethetically flexible regimes is one side effect. Solar panels don't last forever; you'll have to replace em in due course. You prefer electric cars to ethanol driven cars? Well, same problems again. Do you think the lithium fairies are going to magically fix our battery issues too?
"it has no business in social politics"
If you are a significant shareholder in MSFT, you can make your feelings known.
Oh wait, you're not? Then what makes you think that you have the right to dictate to them what they should and should not do, any more than they have the right to tell you exactly which subsets of politics you should be interested in?
You have no idea what the article was about, do you?
Engineered bacterium can break down the principle sugar of which seaweed is formed. Are you seaweed? Does your digestive tract secrete kelp? Then you may be in luck.
I wonder if this study was as poor as the last one
Which seemed to involve a very small and skewed sample of people. A bit of careful research suggests that it is at least partially a learned reaction, that you won't find it unless you've been actively trying to hunt it down, and that not everyone finds the sensation particularly pleasant anyway.
Honestly, this is almost as daft as the whole debate over female ejaculation (and look at the current attitude of the Aussie censors towards that!)
"Never, ever visit"
I suspect you may miss out.
Iran is on my list of countries to visit when there's a good chance of me coming back again. Syria, too. Its an amazing part of the world, and all we seem to get is a crazily distorted view of the people courtesy of their government.
And lets be honest, is this really more dangerous than Cake?
It is at least partially the fault of the FCC that this whole sorry episode began, given that they gave the initial 'okay' to Lightsquared. I presume that Lightsquared's investors will be warming up their most vicious lawyers as we speak.
If the spectrum is used for its original purpose, eg. receiving satellite transmissions, interference problems should be negligible. Lightsquared didn't want to use it for that purpose, instead they wanted to transmit high powered signals at ground level; a very difference use. This is the heart of the problem.
You're trying to tell us that it is a good thing that the Germans are squandering vast amounts of money on trying to deal with the power storage issue, when they had a perfectly good nuclear power system in place already? Decomissioning those old nuke plants in response to Fukushima hysteria (seriously, how tectonically active is Germany these days?) is a colossal disservice to anyone who has to pay taxes to the German government, or buy power from German power companies.
And using underground tunnels for power storage? Hint: pumped storage systems are built at altitude for a good reason. Also have a think about exactly how polluted all those tunnels are.
If the nuclear industry is lazy and corrupt, then it needs to be fixed. Filling our country with windfarms and pumped storage schemes and vastly increasing electricity bills is not an appropriate or sustainable response.
"Its all to do with votes"
It is to do with striking a balance between the desires of those who bankrolled your political career, and the grumbles of the poor schmucks who actually voted you in to office. This is a very rare instance of the latter outweighing the former.
Barring some technological miracle,
support for nuclear power in the UK will eventually become demand, cos unfortunately we're not all willing to martyr ourselves to the renewables cause. Electricity bills can't keep rising forever without protest.
Maybe we'll get magical cheap, efficient photovoltaic cells next year. I suspect it is rather more likely that the power fairies will come power our heating systems for us.
"You wouldn't download a car"
I rather like the newer DVDs I've seen which have a very brief message saying 'Thankyou for supporting the film and TV industry!' or somesuch. Seems like finally the publishers are catching on to quite how universally they are despised.
Playing the same game in the other room
Like as not.
More 'live by the sword...' than NIH
You can't go around threatening all and sundry with software patent infringement unless you're absolutely certain that your own stuff is unimpeachable. MS have come unstuck here in the past as I'm sure you're aware, but ultimately the safest way to write software in the sort of Mutually Assured Destruction business environment in which MS likes to operate is to write everything yourself from the ground up, using designs you've developed yourself.
They've basically painted themselves into a corner, and that's why they product so much "me, too!" stuff instead of using liberally licensed open source software.
PDF? Wrong Adobe product.
Content creation tool usable by idiots to generate fancy animated interactive content for a basically locked-down proprietary platform?
Hello there, iFlash!
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