* Posts by TheOtherHobbes

1049 posts • joined 15 Feb 2012

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Hurrah! Windfarms produce whopping ONE PER CENT of EU energy

TheOtherHobbes
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>The problem is, wind energy is not reliable.

No, that's story-telling and hand waving about a topic you clearly don't understand. It's like complaining that high-level languages can't possibly work because compilers just aren't clever enough to output clean code.

Firstly, offshore really isn't that intermittent. Secondly on-shore isn't built where your semi is in the middle of the city. It's built in - you know - areas where the wind blows. Because building it where your semi is would be really stupid.

Clever people do a lot of modelling and statistical estimation of potential sites, and bankers won't fund projects if the numbers don't work out,

Because the numbers are conservative - those bankers have their uses - wind reliably outperforms the estimates.

Finally, we have this thing called a National Grid, which means - here comes the clever part - that it's possible to move electricity from where it's generated to where it's needed.

Now, as for energy generation - there's been relentless hostility to renewables from the fossil dinosaurs for decades now. They really, really hate the fact that they're not going to able to keep holding everyone to ransom with fossils. (If you think wind is unreliable, why not rely on Russian gas instead? Genius...) So offshore wind build out is some tiny percentage of what it could be.

In spite of this - more than 8% across the EU. That's an incredible achievement, and well above most predictions.

And longer term - do you think we should burn oil to keep warm, or should we keep it for useful things, like plastics?

Elon Musk is betting the farm on electric travel being the future, and if he had to go brain to brain against Lewis Page in an IQ battle, I know who I'd be betting on.

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Today's smart home devices are too dumb to succeed

TheOtherHobbes
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>You'd need a proper, fully functional and self-aware AI integrated with everything happening in the house

Yes indeed - that's when the IOT stuff will finally become useful. Should be around 2035, at a guess.

The current app fad is a passing phase. It's not until you can start talking to the house AI and have it understand what you mean - with optional fine control from a tablet that displays the controls you need automatically - that automation is going to start living up to its potential.

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HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Tidy Desk

>your desk is a 'Horizontal Filing System'

You mean "Horizontal Business Logic Synergy Incubator", surely?

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YOU! DEGRASSE! It's time to make Pluto a proper planet again, says NASA boffin

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Nomen est omen

Perhaps we should reclassify Pluto as a fruit?

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SCORCHIO! This JUNE was the SIXTY-SIXTH HOTTEST on record

TheOtherHobbes
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I think most people here have worked out that if you want an expert opinion on climate science, trying to get it from a bomb disposal expert is like asking a camel for synchronised swimming lessons.

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Microsoft: Hey, you. Done patching Windows this month? WRONG

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Jeez

But when will the NadellaBot be fixed?

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Russian billionaire: GET me the ALIENS ON THE PHONE. Do it NOW

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Intelligent alien life?

I think it's more likely we'll find intelligent phones made of bacteria, laughing at our puny inorganic technology.

Cell phone?

Okay. Fine. Never mind.

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Ant-Man: Big ideas, small payoff

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Personally...

>Angst is always internal, anon!

Haven't you see the DC Angst Man[tm] comics?

Angst Man vs Dr Žižek is really intense.

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Happy NukeDay to you! 70 years in the shadow of the bomb post-Trinity

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Bombing Japan

The Japanese had been hinting about surrender since January and talking seriously about it since May.

The Emperor had already given up by then. Some of the military were still in it, but not all of them

The only sticking points were the exact terms - they didn't want anything that looked unconditional, and they wanted an assurance the Emperor's dignity (such as it was) would be protected.

Discussions were proceeding via the Soviets, who were happy to drag their heels, but the USA had already cracked Japan's diplomatic encryption codes so everyone knew the state of play.

The usual excuse of preventing the high costs of a land invasion is nonsense. Japan's islands would have been blockaded, and it's almost certain the Japanese would have surrendered by the end of the year at the very latest - most probably by October.

It's more likely the two weapons were dropped to discourage Soviet interest in Japan or Western Europe, and to see what the weapons did in action.

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BT circles wagons round Openreach as Ofcom mulls forced split-up

TheOtherHobbes
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>Whatever you might think about connection speeds they are clearly very fit for purpose.

if that purpose is to make profits for BT, then certainly.

If it's to provide world-class broadband to the entire UK - you're havin' a larf, aincha?

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FireEye intern nailed in Darkode downfall was VXer, say the Feds

TheOtherHobbes
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Wouldn't outsource to China? Er...

"...one of the dumbest security moves possible"

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Everything I see is Windows 10, says Microsoft's SatNad

TheOtherHobbes
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Go Nad!

Oh - wait...

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Pluto Pic: Is it a DOG? Is it a HEART? Or is it ... is it ... BIGFOOT?

TheOtherHobbes
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OMG - it's Donald Trump!

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Google makes new hires ONE pay offer. 'Negotiation'? What's that?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Not a very good long term strategy

I don't think they're getting the best people already. There are plenty of famous greybeards there now, which gives them some CS credibility, but it's obvious the software quality of Google products has been dropping steadily and they've had a lot of bad misses in the new product market.

Chrome started out as a sleek, fast browser. Now it's a bloated memory-eating mess with obvious bugs.

Clearly, something has gone badly wrong there.

I expect there's cool stuff happening in R&D, especially in AI. But the basic ad-selling model is only going to be viable for another decade or so. Unless there's some major change of direction, Google is going to die with it.

The best people seem to be less and less whelmed by the Google way, and are doing their own thing elsewhere.

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Mathematician: SUNSPOT DROUGHT will mean mini ICE AGE from 2030

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: This good be good news or bad news.....

> nuclear which is cleaner, has plentiful fuel and doesn't result in us protecting the Saudi royal family from those they oppress.

Nuclear also has the advantage that it reliably makes towns and cities uninhabitable. So there won't be much fossil fuel use happening there.

What's that Sooty? You say "But those were accidents"?

Yes. Yes they were. In an industry well known for having a creative and lateral approach to safety, very nasty accidents do happen - which is a complete surprise to everyone. But there it is.

I guess we still have to work out what to do with all the waste. But if it's cold enough, we can just freeze it at the bottom of a rusty pool for a decade or two and let the next generation deal with it.

A bit like we're doing now, in fact.

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WHAT ARE the 'WEIRD' SPOTS seen on far-flung PLUTO?

TheOtherHobbes
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If you read the dots as binary you get a location close to Alpha Centauri.

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What do you MEAN, 'Click on the thing which looks like a Mondrian?'

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: You Think You've Got It Bad?

All software should have a spin dryer and a Poldark.

It should definitely be a thing.

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Apple's iOS 9 public beta lands: El Reg pops it on a slab, strokes it up

TheOtherHobbes
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Not that closely.

Helvetica is a classic font. San Francisco is an ugly piece of crap, IMO.

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The END of WINDOWS EVERYWHERE! Is that really what Nadella wants?

TheOtherHobbes
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>So everything that MS has done after Windows 7 has been a waste of time.

Win 8 - pointless.

Win 10 - pointless.

Purchase and trashing of Nokia - pointless.

WP - not quite pointless, but a footnote also-ran in the phone market.

Surface - mostly pointless.

Office on iOS - not pointless, but proves MS have lost control of the platform.

It's one hell of a record.

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Microsoft SLASHES 7,800 bods, BURNS $7.6bn off books in Nokia adjustment

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: I'm starting to lose track of this

>I couldn't say, but an announcement like this sounds like the death knell for WIndows Phone.

I predict:

1. MS fires all former Nokia staffers

2. Nokia rehires some of them and starts selling phones again.

3. MS buys Blackberry and tries to put WP10-Enterprise-Plus-Server-Off-Premise-Edition-Pro on Blackberry hardware.

4. Nadella is replaced by Cortana.

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Bloodthirsty Microsoft prepares for imminent 'major' job cuts

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Short Sighted

>If you succeed in conquering another large market and get entrenched, the benefits usually dwarf the costs. And you look mightier than ever.

When was the last time MS did this?

The mobile phone fiasco was the opposite - buy a name, buy the workers, screw around for a bit, fire everyone.

And the original owner of the name will pick it up a year or so from now, and carry on as if nothing happened - having allowed Microsoft to do the nasty work of downsizing all those employees that were being mismanaged into non-productivity.

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Let me PLUG that up there, love. It’s perfectly standaAAARGH!

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Indeed :(

"Then they might have been able to afford to pay their staff more."

But why would anyone want to do that? [confused]

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Another day, ANOTHER Windows 10 build for us Insiders

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Interesting wallpaper

"A new dawn" or "On the rocks"?

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SEX-starved worm can GIVE HEAD to ITSELF to reproduce

TheOtherHobbes
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Does it work for Microsoft?

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Why OH WHY did Blighty privatise EVERYTHING?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: The Purpose of Government.

>Anyone with memories of the old broken rail will know why there was an attempt to privatise the mess in the hope that it might start to run trains and not just be a job centre annex.

No, that's completely false. BR ran apprenticeships, had some reasonably competent and experienced management - enough to produce a world-class train like the 125 - and also had the engineering and manufacturing skills to keep railway traffic growing and affordable.

What it didn't have was money. Successive - mostly Tory - governments were ideologically opposed to public transport, and so BR was systematically starved of cash from Beeching onwards.

The executive summary is that after privatisation rail has consistently received far more in public subsidy than nationalised rail ever received while also making rail travel more expensive by at least a couple of orders of magnitude and simultaneously failing to make significant long term investment in track quality.

In no rational universe can this be considered a success - except for the shareholders of the various companies and banks associated with private rail, who have mostly done very nicely out of it.

Which is the problem with privatisation: companies don't compete for customers by providing better goods and cheaper services, they compete for shareholder cash and fall over themselves to provide the best returns possible.

Paying customers are at the bottom of this scrum, not at the top of it. Now, if you're going to ask if private companies can consistently provide better service quality than public companies, the evidence is very mixed, and it's near impossible to compare like for like - precisely because government funding itself magically seems to improve as soon as a company is privatised. Suddenly Westminster discovers a peculiar desire to throw cash at private corporations which was oddly absent when the companies were state-owned.

Obviously, this makes a nonsense of any claim that privatisation is "better" in some absolute sense on any metric you care to choose.

And when you're dealing with critical infrastructure and affordability criteria for use of same, it's clear that privatisation in the UK and private quasi-monopolies in the US both are famous for an incredibly poor delivery record.

While some countries have been investing heavily in broadband, the UK is only just getting around to the idea that maybe rural broadband of more than 1MB/s might be a good thing.

What's missing from the privatised view is any concept of nationally critical strategic investment. Private companies simply don't have the brains to think on that scale. The better national governments - which largely excludes the UK - most certainly do.

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Layoff-happy Capita charges staff to use cutlery in canteens

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Hmm, the logical consequence is...

>So essentially what Capita is doing is to start a program to lower the quality of their services.

At what point does the limbo factor become negative?

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Apple's iPhone 7 to come loaded with depth-sensing camera, supply chain spies claim

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Two cams?

>Most of us do okay with two eyes…

But for best results you really need all three.

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Microsoft's magic hurts: Nadella signals 'tough choices' on the way

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: WinPho not doing better than before?

>WinPho is becoming the betamax of smartphones.

The Edsel of smartphones, surely?

So MS crashes out of the phone market, the Nokia brand reverts to Nokia, Nokia rehires some percentage of the devs who were put through the MS meatgrinder, and after all the smoke has cleared MS has wasted $$$$$$ for absolutely nothing.

No wonder Elop is out.

MS should just give up on mobile and turn itself into an enterprise and R&D company.

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Hi-res audio folk to introduce new rules and weed out impure noises

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: "a brave person who said that HRA has no audible benefits"

Just because something says SACD or DVD-A on the label doesn't mean it was mastered as high-res audio.

Back in the early days of vinyl, I know for a fact that some CD masters were recorded from vinyl copies.

Record companies tend to be cheap and nasty, and the likelihood they'd consistently make a special effort to get the very best from high-res media isn't high.

At the very least I'd have wanted to see some word length analysis to check that the supposed high-res content was actually there in the first place.

A more realistic test would be to record high-res audio with a clean signal path to master recorder, and then run that through the A/D/A system.

As someone who has spent a lot of time listening to converters, I find it amazing that it's apparently impossible to hear the effects of a mid-price A/D/A converter at all, never mind the source. Unless you're in the professional bracket (PrismSound, etc) most converters really don't sound that transparent. And I know from experience that the difference between a 24-bit master and a downsampled 16-bit master is absolutely and reliably audible.

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Guy puts 1990s MacOS 7 on an Apple Watch – without jailbreaking it

TheOtherHobbes
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>lucky the aliens' ships were Mac compatible

Of course they were. The clue was the shape.

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Tim Worstall dances to victory over resources scaremongerers

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Duplicitous

Only if you pay the market rate,

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DEATH by VEGETABLES: Woman charged with killing boyf using carrots. And peas

TheOtherHobbes
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>tins of Spam tend to be square

IME they tend to have rounded corners.

It's incredible Apple allows them to continue this blatant patent infringement.

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Taylor Swift boycotts Apple Music over no-pay-for-plays shocker

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Lend the participating artists an iPhone for free for 3 months

Something along those lines would have generated incredible positive PR for Apple.

Cook is tone deaf when it comes to PR. He gives everyone a U2 album they don't want, he invents this "Music" service, because, er, reasons, or something. he commits Apple to a watch no one really wants, and he expects creative people to supply content for his free trial without bothering to ask them.

This will not end well. It may take a while to get there, but the future is not looking rosy.

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BOOM! Stephen Elop shuffled out of Microsoft door

TheOtherHobbes
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>Does anyone have any platforms that need burning?

HP could be hiring.

Or Network Rail.

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Microsoft spunks $500m to reinvent the wheel. Why?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: There are no...

I'm sure MS has some talented developers. What it doesn't have is competent management.

I think that's close to the real explanation - the acquisitions were made by clueless people who have no idea what they're doing, or why.

Product X looks sort-of-competitive to something MS already makes, so MS buys it.

Why? Not because it's great. Not because it has a future. Not because it has incredible market presence or the most amazing management team this side of a combined Tesla-Edison-Brunel startup.

But because on Planet MS, it's better than what's happening in-house, and Corp Dev need to justify their existence.

So.

MS has become the IT equivalent of that joke about Stephen Fry - a stupid person's idea of a clever software company.

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Swordfish fatally stabs man after man stabs, fatally, swordfish

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Rational?

"NATURE? I spit in the face of...... Ow! [thud]"

Yeah. That.

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Why are all the visual special effects studios going bust?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Nobody knows anything

Not really a surprise that Worstall gets the author of Lord of the Flies confused with the writer of The Princess Bride.

For a more thoughtful and informative view of why the industry is having problems - written by someone who actually knows something about what's been going on and isn't just pontificating from ignorant distance because they have a column to write - see here:

SIGGRAPH - what's wrong with the VFX industry.

The real reasons are distorting tax breaks, short-term management thinking, a certain amount of art for art's sake, and poor negotiating skills.

Hand-wavey supply and demand innit is neither a sufficient nor a required cause.

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Adult FriendFinder hack EXPOSES MEELLIONS of MEMBERS

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: delightful

>And please don't tell me they have NOT copied that leaked database!

They probably set up AFF in the first place.

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A good effort, if a bit odd: Windows 10 IoT Core on Raspberry Pi 2

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: The Pi needs windows

>Pi was introduced because school CS classes became "a click on icon in Word" exercise

Pi was introduced to sell bucketloads of Broadcom SOCs. End of. It's been very good at that.

But once you peer past the hype, it's a terrible computer for schools. Set-up is a nightmare, the Linux desktop is a joke compared to a real computer (browse the web? I'll come back in an hour after that page has loaded) and the fun stuff - like Scratch - runs better online anyway.

It's true some people think Linux is "real computing", but teaching 8 year olds about file permissions and the difference between /bin and /sbin - which they have to know to do anything non-trivial - isn't any sane person's idea of fun.

The Pi could have been so much more. It could have come with a preinstalled web server and database which just worked, so ten year olds didn't have to dick around with apt-get to install Nginx and PHP and MySQL just to put up a web page.

It could have had some kind of useful IDE and dev environment built in (something better than IDLE - which wouldn't be hard).

It could have had some actual thought put into it.

Instead it was pushed out the door on some kind of weird nostalgia nerdgasm wave (see also, TV adaptor) packed full of exactly the wrong kind of Linux shovelware, capturing none of the ease of use and graded learning that made the original 8-bit micros so brilliant.

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Apple announces 'Home' iOS 9 app to run the Internet of Stuff

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: oh £100 light bulbs with that special glow

>And at 2:14 a.m., EDT, on August 29, it gained self-awareness ...

And lo - there was toast and house music for all.

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Well YES, Silicon Valley VCs do think you're a CRETIN

TheOtherHobbes
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>However, the rest of the pitch is, as I compared it with last time, something out of the South Sea Bubble.

Well, duh.

The point of something like this isn't to make something that works, it's to part Greater Fools of all stripes - including VCs - from their cash.

Considering the number of ASIC vendors who never deliver, and the number of BitCoin exchanges which inexplicably "lose" some of the BitCoins they're supposed to be holding, this is just a variation on the same old scams with some extra lipstick to tempt the Butchers of Sandhill Road.

It might even work. My guess is not because it's on the obvious side, even for a startup.

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Backwaters in rural England getting non-BT gigabit broadband

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Gigabit home internet? Crikey!

It translates to "Internet that just works" - multiple video, music streaming, games, Skype/Facetime/Whatever, small business home hosting if you're that way inclined, all working at the same time without congestion.

And most people won't use anything close to the full speed limit, so it should stay robust for a while.

Where I live BT and the local council are only just getting around to considering the fact they don't want to upgrade the village from the current <1.5MBps "broadband" because greed and stupidity.

So if this telco-in-waiting wants to expand south and west a bit, they'll find a lot of customers.

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You say you want a musical revolution. Actually, have three

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Music, But Not To My Ears.

>For those who want less music in their music.

Try academic electronic music - no harmony, no melody, no rhythm, no audience.

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So what would the economic effect of leaving the EU be?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Human rights aren't EU

>This is sophistry.

Does Timmy ever offer anything else? This is the man who believes economists keep governments honest, because economists never say stupid things.

Anyway - as a digital trader, I'm thrilled by the idea of having to deal with a whole new set of tariffs and exclusions just to be able to sell stuff to a country less than twenty five miles away.

Of course someone like Tim who specialises in buying and selling stuff that has be handled carefully to stop it poisoning people isn't going to be too happy about all those terrible safety requirements.

But what about those of us who already sell to clients in Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, and the rest? Suddenly the shutters come down and we find that - against all reasonable expectation - the UK market on its own is a poor substitute, and the US market has miles of red tape to keep foreign nationals from setting up there. (Delaware LLC? Easy. US bank account? Ha ha ha forget it.)

And then there are the implications for roaming charges. VPNs. The extra paperwork needed to ship physical stuff. Visa problems with travel. And so on.

It's strange that someone like Tim, who's such a fan of markets (he says) would be so hostile to the benefits of a huge market on the doorstep.

Anyway, I doubt it will be happen - not just because it would be incredibly stupid and financially suicidal (never been a problem for Tory economics, that) but because a lot of Tory grandees make a ton of free cash from Common Agricultural Policy handouts, and they're going to be really unhappy about losing those.

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VOTERS! This Election: Vote #Smart, Vote #Digital

TheOtherHobbes
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>what I want are working email addresses for government departments

Er - why do you think they want to get email from you?

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Meet the man who inspired Elon Musk’s fear of the robot uprising

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: "By definition we couldn't"

>I can easily imagine a human with a brain that has been hijacked or damaged to remove certain modes of thinking or block ideas.

You don't need to imagine this - it's quite common.

>The human brain is just a machine,

Not proven. Won't be proven unless we start making machines with similar properties.

But I agree with the criticisms - Bostrom's insights are trite and not very interesting. Real AI is likely to be much more challenging than a giant paperclip bot.

For example - imagine an AI with deep insight into human psychology, and the best social and political skills in history.

There's far more power in persuasion than there is in a giant paperclip factory.

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Apple Watch HATES tattoos: Inky pink sinks rinky-dink sensor

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Won't Work [on] Hipster[s]

Forget the Hipsters - will it work on black or brown people?

Because - you know - it would be just a tiny bit embarrassing if it didn't.

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TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Hardly a bug, is it...

>The issue here is more around if Apple know / knew about this issue before his purchase

Big visible tats aren't likely to be an Apple employee thing, are they? Everyone in the ads is super-clean and oh-so-shiny, so I'll bet no one at Cupertino even considered the ink problem.

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Apple Watch RIPPED APART, its GUTS EXPOSED to hungry Vultures

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: "if you're worried about longevity in overpriced consumer tech, you're in the wrong market."

>I see no reason for smart watches at all.

At half the thickness, ten times the battery life, half the cost and enough processing power for good speech recognition I could see some reasons.

But this is just a dumbed down overweight iPod nano with the music removed.

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Tesco broadband goes TITSUP, world keeps turning on wobbly-wheeled trolley

TheOtherHobbes
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With a £6.4bn loss for the year, they probably can't even afford a BT account.

Or a packet of biscuits.

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