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* Posts by Charles Manning

2849 posts • joined 26 Jun 2007

Pony up: Botnet succesfully targets Bitcoin

Charles Manning
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Ponies, heists,... what next

Maybe stage coaches, sheriffs and lynchings?

This bitcoin stuff is looking more like the wild west and gold mining every day.

As it was with the gold rushes of yesteryear, a few miners made a ton and most lost everything they had. The only people that always did well were the barmen, hookers and shovel salesmen.

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Nokia launches Euro ANDROID invasion, quips: 'Microsoft knew what they were buying'

Charles Manning
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Quite

MS have excellent resources. Instead of reinventing the wheel, and only coming up with something meh, they could add their efforts to Android or whatever... and make something that people would actually queue up to buy.

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Microsoft asks pals to help KILL UK gov's Open Document Format dream

Charles Manning
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Now here's the really sad part...

Microsoft has never tried to compete by producing better product. They have always tried to compete by body-slamming any competition. Rather than put their efforts into brilliant engineering and marketing, they put the effort into lawyers, FUDmeisters and other negative tactics.

MS have amazing resources. If they pointed those resources in a positive direction they could generate some astounding software that would blow away the competition and could compete on a level palying field. Stuff worth buying, at full ticket price. But no, they're so obsessed with trying to screw the competitors that they are no longer being of service to their customers.

As Ballmer has sometimes said: "We're taking the fight to Google." Well Mr Ballmer, why not ignore Google and just focus on brilliant customer service - that would bring customers to you and you would not have to worry about Google. Google only get a foot in the door because you're such a bunch of dicks to the customers. Cusomers now have choices and "assume the position" is not something they want to hear anymore.

It is sad that a company with such resources, that could be a force for good in the software tech world, has chosen to underdelivers and be so destructive.

Microsoft, you could be so much more than this.

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Charles Manning
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Re: There's a serious error in this article everyone has missed

"Nope - only paid shills, many of whom frequent these very forums."

As of this reply there are 8 downvotards who have identified themselves as shills.

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Microsoft may slash price of Windows 8.1 on cheap 'slabs

Charles Manning
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Don't they listen to Darwin?

The theory of the free market is that it gives people the best outcomes. It is just like evolution: the fitness function is whether people are prepared to pay ticket price for the product to make it financially viable.

When you fiddle with the fitness function, you get poor outcomes. Feed the weak sparrows that should be weeded out by a hard winter and you're just breeding weak sparrows instead of strong ones. But no, we feel sorry for the sparrows, feed them and do them a disservice as a species.

Microsoft has such enormous cash reserves it can, and does, give products life support. As a result, crap products that should die, and be replaced by better ones, are instead kept alive for ideological reasons. In the long run this will make their offerings, and ultimately MS as a whole, weaker.

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Harvard student thrown off 14,000-core super ... for mining Dogecoin

Charles Manning
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Re: I'm begining to wonder

You're certainly not the first person to have these doubts.

If you have them, and others have them, then it is virtually guaranteed that there are others who **are** doing this.

Ever wondered wtf those CPU black holes like anti-virus software are eally doing?

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Charles Manning
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Re: Big fat juicy target

"His mistake was to be sneaky about it."

Well, yes, he could commit fraud.

The problem with that approach is that if you construct an elaborate smoke screen and get caught, then you can't pull the "oops, sorry" argument. It is most definitely a well sonstructed frad and opens you up to far more serious charges.

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'Polar vortex' or not, last month among the WARMEST Januaries EVER RECORDED

Charles Manning
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It's not just the money and the funding

Sure there are many scientists with a very vested interets in keeping things alive to secure their funding.

There are also scientists that go into various areas with a preconceived ideology. For example, a few years ago I spoke with a young scientists (geograopgy is a science right?) who was going to work with NIWA (NZ's tiny equivalent of NOOA) because of global warming. People like that are not impartial and data driven. They are idealogically biased and cannot hope to perform as scientists should.

Lastly, there are many scientists who have made a certain field their life's work. They are the most influential. They got their PhD on their findings, they have a whole lot of ego wrapped up in it.

Scientists are supposed to welcome any fresh data when striving for the truth, but how receptive are they when the data might rubbish their research papers and undermine the findings in their PhDs?

The Climate Community (for want of a better phrase) is under extreme pressure (political, financil/funding and prestige) to present a consensus view to the public. Data, however, is always messy and there are always doubts. Any concensus is contrived, and it means true science - the impartial data driven quest for knowledge - goes out hthe window.

To expect impartiality from such scientists is a fool's errand. You might as well ask a priest to say there is no god and embrace Darwanism.

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Facebook pays $19bn for WhatsApp. Yep. $45 for YOUR phone book

Charles Manning
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This absolutely confirms

that we ARE the product.

This aquistition does not provide the users with any services. All that it does is enhance the data mining potential for FB's true customers, whomever they might be.

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Microsoft slaps fresh paint on code-free Windows Phone dev tool

Charles Manning
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Print As...

Why don't they just make something like that Print As PDF? You, know: Print As W8 App.

We need more programmers. Obama said so. Perhaps we can raise armies of programmers this way.

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Actor who played Rogue Two in Star Wars dies aged 67

Charles Manning
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Shirley..

Orbit, not Obit

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Angela Merkel: Let US spies keep their internet. The EU will build its own

Charles Manning
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It's a global world out there

It is bollocks to think you can build a Made in $COUNTRY_OF_YOUR_CHOICE product any more...

I have some Cisco gear here. Cisco is American right? Well not this stuff.... The main development team is in Norway, the products are made in Poland. Some specialised software for it is developed in Germany and it runs u-boot and Linux (which come from everywhere). The CPUs are designed in USA using IP cores and ASIC development software from USA, UK, Europe and elsewhere. Other chips come from everywhere as does the various development tools used for the software.

We all know that software can be back-doored, but it is becoming increasingly viable to back-door silicon. Intel, Qualcomm or whomever are in less control of their chip-building than they ever were. Gone are the days of the 8080 when the whole device was taped out at the transistor level. Now they are designed by software using bought in IP cores. Nobody really knows what's deep inside that ethernet controller IP, or whether the ASIC design software is "linking in" some naughty stuff - Stuxnet style. These days the cores are getting more and more intellignet. Ethernet controllers can have embedded smarts and have have full access to the system bus. It would be trivial to insert something into an Ethernet controller IP core that allows full r/w access to a computer's RAM, and hence full access to the running OS. Send it a magic packet and you own the computer.

Most of these IP cores and ASIC design software come from places with some bad history for spying: USA, UK, Isreal...

If the Germans (becuase that's what the EU really is) want a fully trusted system, it will have to be designed from the foundations up using trusted German engineering. One mole and it all goes to hell.

The bottom line is that there are so many potential vectors that thinking you can slam down an EU (or USA, UK, or whatever) ring of steel is naive. Makes for good politcs in front of the Great Unwashed though.

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Apple patents touch-sensitive controls for MacBook

Charles Manning
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Cmon Apple

Just patent gravity. Then all the competition will have to ship their products with glue to keep them on the desk.

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Google warns Glass wearers: Quit being 'CREEPY GLASSHOLES'

Charles Manning
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Re: Photographs / Recording Video

Record this $H1+**FG***#R* N #R#$R Q#R.

You want to record me then I'll say what I think right into the mike.

And make sure you zoom in on the people loudly swapping glasshole jokes in the corner.

Sure we might not be able to stop them legally, but we can make it unpleasant for them to infringe.

The rules of good society just need to catch up a bit.

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Reports pump fuel into iCar gossip: Apple in 'talks' with Tesla

Charles Manning
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Re: Secret to success?: Don't do what you don't know

I gave you an upvote for effort. Outstanding vitriol.

Did someone make your cat into biltong or something?

Microcoding is actually making something of a come back. It is essentially what is used to code many DMA engines and communications co-processors and the like. Some ideas are so old they're new again.

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Charles Manning
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Perhaps electronics people should stay away from cars

Just look at Clive Sinclair:

Brilliant bloke. Some great electronics... Lots the plot in the 1980s and started making daft cars.

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Charles Manning
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The details will get you every time

"Using a battery as a buffer". Well that would work if batteries were efficient. Unfortunately they are not.. Using a battery as a buffer means you get whacked by the charging inefficiency and then the discharging inefficiency of the battery + the inefficincies of any control electronics that go around this (considerable when dealing with 10kW in a domestic setting). You're lucky if you see 70%.

Yes, there is spare capacity at night, but from some back of the envelope calculations I doubt it would be enough.None of it is going to be renewable either. As we get more green pressure on generation, the shift is towards more PV which does not generate at night. Hydro depletes lakes, therefore the slack would have to be taken up by coal, nukes, etc.

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Charles Manning
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Grid charging sucks

Grid charging is fine while electric cars are just used by a few. However massive problems emerge when you try scale up the usage.

The generation and distribution could not cope with the added load of having, say, 20% of cars being electric.

It does not mater how smart the Tesla charger is, or how cool it looks, the leccy has to come from a generator some where and through some wires to get there.

Pretty much all generation is maxed out world wide. There is no surplus generation. Thus, the only way to get extra capacity is to build more generation.

Oh, btw, a couple of solar panels on the roof won't do it either. First off, you'll want to charge at night and the moon is not very useful. Secondly, to provie the juice for a 10kW "slow charger" needs about 150 m^2 of solar panels.

So basically we're talking about yuppie toys, not practical transport solutions.

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Charles Manning
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Re: The loss of efficiency for hydrogen is huge

" That and you need a hugely expensive fuel cell to convert it back to electricity."

Hugely inefficient too. Only 40% or so will turn into leccy,

Of that only 90% will make it through the power control electronics.

Of that only 80% or so turns into mechanically useful power in the electric motor.

That's only 28% efficinet.

Going back and multiplying by the leccy->hydrogen efficency (40%), we're down to about 11% effiiency for leccy->hydrogen->fuelcells->motor->

Of course real numbers would be lower since hydrogen is a bastard to handle and store (~90% efficient) and cars are not the best environment for fuel cells. So if you get 10% efficincy you're probably doing pretty well...

And we have not yet even taken into consideration the inefficiencies in generation and distribution.

Makes that 25% efficiency of an ICEbased system look pretty good.

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Robots demanding equal API rights? It's just a matter of time

Charles Manning
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Re: When was a toaster not

It depends what you mean by "mechanical". Do you mean something closer to the original "machine" roots of the word, or a broader definition closer to that of mechanical engineering which involves heat transfer etc.

If you mean the former, then the original (pre-pop-up) toasters were just forks that you used to hold the bread over the fire, or later those diffusion toasters that live on as camping toasters these days. They were not machines and thus were not mechanical by the first definition.

A modern pop-up toaster is obviously a machine and mechanical by any definition of the word.

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Ericsson and Kodiak in Europe WALKIE-TALKIE-style push-to-talk push

Charles Manning
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Who cares what the kids want?

It is not about fashion or what looks cool or hip (or whatever the cool/hip words are for cool/hip today).

Surely this is all about a functional comms system. So why even care what people outside the market think.

What next? Perhaps Zimmer frames are going to replace their frames with a skateboard version because kids think it doesn't look cool to walk with a frame.

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Charles Manning
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Not just servers...

Anything with servers in it is definitely a poor idea for any safety critical comms function. What an oil rig, hospital, etc certainly does not need is one bang knocking out all local comms.

But so is any comms medium that requires Wifi or such.

First prize is to replace current walkie-talkie architecture and augment that.

At short range (say 1-2km) , devices should be able to talk peer-to-peer without any extra kit. No Wifi AP, cell tower, whatever.

Longer ranges can be covered by repeaters (eg. Wifi AP/routers) and even longer ranges by VOIP backbone.

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Russian cybercrooks shun real currencies, develop private altcoins

Charles Manning
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Honour amongst thieves

No wonder there is huge trust, the enforcement and the Terms And Conditions are very different.

If you lose your shirt in bitcoinland and try to get your money back in court, some bloke with a wig will point you to the T&C and tell you that you were a muppet.

The Russian mob-coins are administered by blokes called Yuri carrying baseball bats and cleavers. It these blokes want it to work and be trustworthy, then they can, and will, make it so.

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From 0 to ERUPTION in 60 days: You thought that volcano was COLD?

Charles Manning
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Correlation != causation

It is not the temperature that causes it to blow. Rather the temperature is a symptom of the local activity.

Even just the friction caused by magma movement under such huge pressures is going to lead to the magma heating up.

Drilling into the magma is unlikely to help. As soon as the stuff flows enough to relieve pressure, the "peanut butter" is under ligh pressure and any holes you drill will be bunged up pretty smartly.

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Korean boffins launch K-Glass for hands-free Google Glass-ery

Charles Manning
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Re: Because I'm a liberal...

Liberals are all about rights, but not the responsibilities that should come with those rights. Instead the responsibilities are imposed on someone else. You know what I mean... " I want babies, but is the taxpayer's job to pay for them."

That is very different to libertarianism which puts both the rights and responsibilities on the same person.

Will you protect the rights of people to wear twatty eyewear when they do irresponsible things with them?

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Charles Manning
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Augmented != virtual

Augmented reality and virtual reality do not mean the same thing. One is a special case of the other.

Augmented reality means adding an overlay of information over a real backdrop. You can still see the real world.

Immersive virtual reality replaces the real world entirely.

Both are flavours of virtual reality.

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Charles Manning
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Isn't normal reality good enough?

The real in augmented reality is about the same as the real in reality TV.

It has alreadty been demonstrated that taking pictures of everything interferes with your ability to actually take part in your surroundings and hence detracts from your quality of life (unless you live in some shit hole where a pixelated life is far better than the real one).

People have worse memories of their holidays if they spend their time taking photos of everything.

The latest craze of taking photos of food you're about to eat detracts from your actual enjoyment and experience of the food (apart from disrupting other diners).

As for playing with the kids... they prefer it, and will remember it more fondly, if they actually get to play with you rather than having to interact with the camera instead.

In the past our technology was limited and we could all cope well with its invasion into our lives. Now the technology has got to the stage where we are limited and are struggling to cope.

Shutting down now... Going for a walk on a real beach with the family... No cell phones, no Facebook... We mighe even see - with our real eyes - a real penguin.

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Google promises 10Gps fiber network to blast 4K into living rooms

Charles Manning
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Re: Carp

"If you're a business with perhaps 10 - 100 machines connected to your cloud facilities via 10Gb/s with VOIP, teleconferencing, online training, storage, backups all going via your Google Fibre connection"

Then you're screwed... If everyone is VOIPing, teleconferencing, doing online training, ... who's left to actually do any work and pay the bills?

There are very few companies out there that can use 10Gbps. They'd almost all be on the server side of the cloud rather than the client side.

ie, the people sroring data onto the cloud only need 100Mbps or so, those serving the remote drives to thousands of customers will need 10Gbps... but those can be located in serverville, no need to have 10Gbps into every house.

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Charles Manning
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Re: What's the point?

Quite

56k -> 2Mbps is a worthwhile step, so is 1->10Mbps. But 10Gbps??? WTF for?

As a kernel developer form way back (2001 or so), I started out with 56k dial up (all that was available). Start a download, go mow the lawn (half an acre with a push mover) and when that was finished the download was close. So when I got the option of 2Mbps I jumped at it.

But once you can download a movie faster than it takes to make the popcorn (100Mbps or so), there's very little advantage in a x10, x100 or x1000 speed up.

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Without a smartphone your reptile brain gets a workout

Charles Manning
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Why did you pick such a crap luddite-phone?

I recently went luddite too, but I got some Huawei phone (NZ$24 including 16 bucks of airtime and SIM). Selection criteria: cheap and big enough to actually hold and read.

Battery life is well over a week, then I got bored and charged it any way. What's this 3-day bullshit?

How the hell are you supposed to have good arguments and pub fights if all the movie stats are online and arguments can be settled in a few swipes?

If you don't know something then use the same cop-out we used 30 years ago: look the bloke up and down and say samething like: "only a complete poofter would know something like that".

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Spam, a lot of it: Bubble tea is the Seoul of wit

Charles Manning
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Lecturers and students... of what?

It's hardly setting the bar very high.

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Microsoft may pick iPad for first release of Fondleslab Office™

Charles Manning
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Well Duh

We know MS drinks its own KoolAid, but at some level a bit of financial sense must kick in.

iOS is surely easier to develop for, having been around longer and bing more stable. They probably had something ready to ship a year ago or more.

It makes sense to release the product and make some money from it (*)

With the old PC-vs-Mac releases, it could always be argued that the PC market share was bigger and therefore a PC-first release strategy was applied. Now iOS has the market share, so the iOS-first release makes more sense.

(*) Assuming people actually want to buy and run Office apps on their tablet.

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Imprisoned Norwegian mass murderer says PlayStation 2 is 'KILLING HIM'

Charles Manning
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"You put me in hell"

Naah mate, *you* put *yourself* there. Unless you man up and take responsibility for your own life, you're not going anywhere in life.

Entitlement anongst the citizenry is bad enough, but prisoners... bah!

Here in NZ our Green Party said prisoners should be fed organic vegetables. I don't see why not, the prisoners have lots of time on their hands and can grow their own.

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DON'T PANIC! No credit card details lost after hackers crack world's largest casino group

Charles Manning
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My head hurts

Who's the worse scum:

* Online gambling operations that prey on the addicted.

* The hackers.

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Cops cuff 5 suspects after Silk Road copycat secret drug souk bust

Charles Manning
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Good grief, look at that picture!

I've got a ruler just like the one that the cops seized. I better dump it.

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IT'S ALIVE! China's Jade Rabbit rover RETURNS from the DEAD

Charles Manning
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Rabbits' feet

A rabbit's foot is supposed to bring good luck.

The rabbit it came from had four and that didn't do it any good.

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10,000 km road trip proves Galileo satnav works, says ESA

Charles Manning
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It does not provide a valid service yet

You need a minimum of 4 SVs in sight to get a fix, and you'll get a pretty crappy one - as the numbers show. Since the SVs are orbiting, there will only very seldom be 4 in sight, so actual positions will be very sporadic.

At this stage they are not going to be expecting either good positions or a 24/7 service. What they are looking for are performance measures that allow them to calculate how the system should perform with a full constellation (or at least a few more).

What the numbers do back up, is that the system should perform well once the full constellation, or a healthy % thereof, are up there.

Of course one cool thing with more satellites up there is that, with the correct receiver technology, you can compile both Galileo and GPS sources in the same fix.

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OK, Mr. President, those cybersecurity guidelines you ordered are HERE

Charles Manning
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Being seen to be doing something... anything

These working groups etc are mainly just PR stunts so that they can say they're doing something. The actual effort will now just moulder under a pile of dust and hopefully get kicked far enough down the road that the next time it raises its head it's the next president's problem.

Same deal with all that Sandy Hook gun control lark. Nothing changed. The only result was causing fearful gun nuts to max out their credit cards and basement storage buying all the AR15s and ammo they could. 2013 was a boom year for the gun industry. A year later, the media have got tired of the issue, the ammo supply and prices are almost back to normal, and the VP is back to seeing if he can beat his own record of sharpening 200 pencils before lunch.

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Someone's snatched my yummy Brit COTTAGE PIE – Viv Reding

Charles Manning
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Good thing she didn't get it back to Brussels

They'd have analysed it, made some EU regs for a standardised EU cottage pie, and banned the British one like they tried to do with bangers.

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Charles Manning
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Re: inquiring former colonials want to know...

Mutton, not lamb.

The idea behind pie making etc with ground up meat is that it lets you use less favourable cuts and types of meat. Hence older mutton gets ground up and made into pies. Lamb is too good to use this way and should be eaten as recognisable body parts.

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Charles Manning
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Re: Cheese? In a cottage pie?

Prefer a teaspoon or two of curry powder myself...

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Elitist approach still paying off for Apple in mobile market

Charles Manning
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Apple have always gone for the premium market, be that in PCs, phones or MP3 players. The volumes might not be there, but the profits sure are.

At the end of the day the way the shareholders look at things is if you are nice and profitable, then everything else is just boring details.

Market share by handsets is a useless measure. What matters is profit. The shareholders don't care if you were profitable with 10% of the market share of 90%.

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Random car shutdowns force Toyota to recall Prius hybrids - AGAIN

Charles Manning
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Re: To use or not to use computers, that is the question

"Fewer parts, fewer fails."

Yes, software and electronics in cars does, in general, lead to fewer parts and few fails.

The difference though is that software/electronic failures are generally unfixable and impenetrable.

Much of the electronics in modern cars is just replacing a control that was previously mechanical. For example, look at the ignition circuit in an old car. That had a vacuum advance/retard and points for the timing. These would go out of whack badly due to mechanical damage over time and spark erosion. Hence cars used to have relatively short service intervals. They were relatively easy for a competent DIY person to fix and replace. Now the electronic equivalent don't wear out. They last forever.... or until they suddenly break. They don't need any tweaking, hence longer service intervals.

The real problem with electronics & software is that it almost always dies suddenly. There is no graceful aging.

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'Wind power causes climate change' shown to be so much hot air

Charles Manning
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Death by a thousand cuts

The findings might be correct, propellers on large ships churning water probably have a greater impact than wind turbines.

But this raises an interesting issue.

There have been so many little localised environmental changes that they probably stack up to something significant.

Here in NZ we've recently had a dairy boom. Shelter belts have been removed, leading to greater wind speeds across plains. Irrigation is growing immensely leading to higher humidity. Grass is grazed harder leading to shorter grass. The use of fertilisers changes ground cover. All those mean the local micro climate (tens of thousands of square km) that has changed substantially over the last decade or two. The same has happened to agricultural land globally over the last few decades.

Cities all over the world have grown (heat + humidity islands), so has the use of airconditioning (which belt out heat) and we now have lots more black and concrete roads and concrete and glass buildings.

Historic measurements are meaningless. Much of the historic data is close to cities, particularly airport data (temperatures have always been needed to determine take-off weight). Take a look at a fairly typical airport like SFO. That was created in the 1920s or 30s from a cow pasture and had a grass runway for ages, then a tarred runway surrounded by grass. Now it is a few square km of concrete, glass and airconditioning. There is no way you can honestly compare historic data with anything measured today.

All these add up so that you really can't make an apples -to- apples comparison any more. Grabbing a trend out of the ether and blaming it on CO2, or whatever your favourite scapegoat is, becomes really hard to back with any substance.

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Microsoft denies reports of scrubbing Chinese-language Bing searches

Charles Manning
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Put away the tinfoil

More likely Hanlon's Razor applies:

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

If you're going to think this is deliberately done for some payment then you'd have to ask yourself what Google/Apple gave them to screw up TIFKAM so badly.

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Server tech is BORING these days. Where's all the shiny new goodies?

Charles Manning
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Servers are supposed to be boring

Adjectives you want for for servers are very much like those you want for accounting:

boring, reliable, conservative...

You don't want all those shiny-pants, bleeding edge features that break all the time etc.

Do your TIFKAM-like experiments on consumer devices, not on servers.

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Break out the scatter cushions: Google rents out NASA blimp hangar

Charles Manning
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Headmaster

Another sad day in Editsville

To rent out means to rent to another party. "Google rents out hanger" means Google currently has the rights to the hangar and are renting it out to someone else. What's wrong with "Google rents hanger", apart from being correct?

It isn't aerodynamically designed, it does not need to fly. You can store blimps in a box it you want to. The shape probably does reduce wind loading but is mainly due to this being a good shape for a wide span structure - hence the Romans et al using the same basic shapes in their bridges and buildings.

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Zuckerberg tops the list of most generous Americans with billion-dollar gift

Charles Manning
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How do you measure generosity?

Perhaps % of disposable income would be a better measure?

It takes a really generous person to give $20 if they're earning $2000 per month and have $100 disposable income after they've paid their bills. You need to choose to give charity or buy a new pair of socks this months.

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MtGox takes heat as reasons for Bitcoin FAIL surface

Charles Manning
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BCs credibility problem

People think they understand "real banks". You take money, put it in the bankl, other people borrow it, pay interest etc etc.

Sure, "real banking" is far more complex than that but at least people THINK they understand it and therefore they trust it to an extent, even if they detest bankers and their bonuses.

BC, however, is a completely different game. Very few people, even those in IT, actually understand how BC works. No wonder they're skittish when anything in bitcoinland goes wrong.

Net result: when "real banking" has huge traumatic issues, the dollar (or whatever) might take a hit - but a relatively small one. Here, one "bank" - for want of a better word - stubs its toe and BC loses 30%.

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Gamers in a flap as Vietnamese dev pulls Flappy Bird

Charles Manning
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Jealousy

Yup, lots of very jealous people out there.

None of them ever just come out and say they are jealous though.

Instead they wrap it in a flag of morality (nobody should ever make $50k a day for 2 days of effort) or by spreading malicious rumours (bot traffic).

Leave the guy alone and rather than generating more vitriol, put your energy into doing something yourself.

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