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* Posts by Charles Manning

2832 posts • joined 26 Jun 2007

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

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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Yahoo! Mail users see crying baby who says firm is 'over capacity'

Charles Manning
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Fool me once...

"Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, no three, no four times... shame on me!"

When you logged in to reset your password you should have just closed down your account (or at least set up a redirect).

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Intel Labs demos crazy-efficient, crazy-fast 'network on chip'

Charles Manning
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"Tied to x86 no doubt."

Yes, no doubt, unless Intel has a major change in its thinking.

The whole point of these on-chip networks is that they stay... on... chip.

If you want to connect to other chips or modules then you need other buses/protocols.

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Charles Manning
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In the old days we would have called this a bus. In those days the bus was a lot dumber.

These days the busing in FPGAs etc is a lot smarter and instead of just data, address, and select lines. Wide buses were/are used to move data fast. The problem though is that routing fat buses and keeping all the timing in bounds gets harder and harder....

We now see a lot more movement to transaction to skinny, fast buses with more "smarts" on the end to interface between the IP modules, cores etc and the bus. These are much easier to route.

In many ways this mirrors what we've seen in things like cars where the data transfer has moved from lots or heavy, expensive wiring harnesses to cheaper CAN-bus etc.

Same idea... just the scale is different.

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Larry Ellison: Technology has 'negatively impacted' children

Charles Manning
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He's wrong

I don't know enough about him to know is he really is an arse, but he's wrong about technology.

Technology isn't just ipods and video games. Technology is everything that we do to modify our surroundings. It encompasses clothing, tools, medicine, printing, education and agriculture. Mankind has been dabbling with technology since we started playing with rocks and fire.

Without technology we'd be literally living like baboons. The population of humans would be a few million at most.

Frankly, without technology most kids would not even exist.

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Woz he talking about? Apple co-founder wants iPhones to run Android

Charles Manning
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Re: RE:

"Say MS decided to start a GNU/Linux distro"

Now why would they want to do that? Where's the money? Why would they want to be forced to compete when they have a market leading product that has no competition?

I know it is nice to fanticise about what might be in a "suppose we all got paid but didn't have to work" sort of way, but the reality is that currently there is absolutely nothing appealing about this idea from a MS perspective.

In the future things might change. Perhaps it gets to the position where the desktop OS revenue falls away and we get MS Office underr Linux, or as a MS distro. But given MS's current market share that's still a long way off.

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Charles Manning
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" Woz championed putting iTunes on Windows "

Windows Itues was released in 2003. Woz stopped working for Apple in 1987. Woz might have publicly suggested this, but he was no position to champion it per se.

The real reason was more likely that Apple realised that without a Windows Itunes, the ipod and the itunes store would never amount to anything.

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Bitcoin value plunges as Mt.Gox halts withdrawals and Russia says 'nyet'

Charles Manning
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Re: Aren't transactions rather slow?

"I guess if you are running a tab it is not a big deal. Close your tab while finishing your last beer is common. Not all bars allow that though."

But generally, you're already running late, or there's a taxi waiting, or the pub is shutting and the poor sod wants to go home. Now everyone must wait 10 minutes for the transaction to happen? Imagine if 20% of a pub's customers were to want to pay this way - a shambles.

As a currency that's broken. These days everyone wants to be able to pay instantly. Swiping a card even takes too long, hence all these NFC payment methods.

Perhaps bitcoin can work effectively as a "backbone" currency, but there still needs to be some other currency for day to day payments.

Or maybe I don't understand properly...

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Charles Manning
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Legality of trading currency

" The worry would be criminalising trading of a currency at all - has there been any precedent for this?"

Yes. Many places have had, or still have, currency trading restrictions. South Africa had limits in the 1900s (and perhaps still does), UK has had them, Russia was one of those and still might be.

Not so long ago, rubles could only be legally exchanged for other national currencies (USD, GBP) at official banks. Black market traders gave you far better rates because they wanted/needed off-the-books forex. Some of that was for money laundering, some for smuggling, and some was a way to get money out of the country to set up a nest egg for leaving the country.

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Charles Manning
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barter

Barter is surely different in that it is trading things that have intrinsic value.

I give you some eggs and you give me some milk.

A bitcoin has no intrinsic worth. It is just some bits. If those bits encode music or something then it could be argued those bits have some intrinsic value.

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Charles Manning
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Aren't transactions rather slow?

Program trading only works if you can move funds quickly. They need to make hundreds, if not thousands, of transactions per day.

From what I've read (not actually being a player) it seems bitcoin transactions can take many minutes to an hour to confirm.

Relative to that, the stock exchange is fast. You can execute a stock trade in less than 10 seconds. Currency trades too.

How does that pub that sells pints in bitcoin work? Surely he can't be expecting customers to wait 10+ minutes while a payment goes through?

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Charles Manning
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"stable at more than $900 for some time"

What is some time? It has only been stable at $900 for about a month.

Pulling circuit breakers to prevent stock markets free-falling is one thing, but doing that to a "currency" is something completely different.

If we all drink of the bitcoin dream, you should be able to do all your worldy transactions in the stuff including buying your groceries and paying the rent. For that to work, a currency must be operational. If people are going to periodically stop it working then it loses its viability as a currency.

The money laundering concerns are well founded. Bitcoin is a perfect medium for money laundering and cannot be properly vetted.

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California takes a shot at mobile 'killswitch' mandate

Charles Manning
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Get a candybar phone

I recently switched from an Android to a featureless phone that cost me NZ$24, including some airtime and no contracts.

It is light.

Battery life is 1 week and counting.

It won't be stolen.

It does not have a Facebook button.

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Hands up if you have one good reason to port enterprise apps to ARM

Charles Manning
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Is this a shill piece for VMWare and Intel?

Pretty much anything Linux runs fine on ARM. The whole of Ubuntu runs on ARM.

If you need anything else, it is pretty easy to achieve.

I've been writing Linux ARM stuff since about 2000 and being on ARM has never really held anything back. Heck, at one stage I even usesd a complete self-hosted developmnest set up with the compilers, editors etc running on ARM. Normally though cross compiling from a PC is faster and easier.

So tell the boss fine... porting to ARM is not a huge issue in itself.

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UK spooks STILL won't release Bletchley Park secrets 70 years on

Charles Manning
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kV

Were they really kV? I played around with valves a bit as a yoof and they were normally under 100V.

I was under the impression that the valves were run a low voltages to improve life.

Most valves of the era would have been at less than 100V, but neon tubes (often used in logic circuits of the day) fired at 90V so greater than 90V was often useful.

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Mars Orbiter spots FRESH IMPACT CRATER

Charles Manning
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While Mars gets a lot more tiny parking-lot dings due to its thin atmosphere, this one would have easily mde it through Earth's atmosphere.

Mars ejections would be further due to lower gravity there and the thinner atmosphere eating less of the kinetic energy, but this would still surely have been a few km of ejection radius if it had hit here.

Keep your heads down...

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Think British weather is bad? It's nothing to this WOBBLY ALIEN planet

Charles Manning
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At least....

The weather might be crap, but at least there are no TSA goons feeling you up at the border.

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Greenland glacier QUADRUPLES speed, swells seas

Charles Manning
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Swelling the sea

I'm not worried about a few mm being added by the sea swelling.

Every day, the sea swells by a few metres with the tides. Add a good storm and you're adding a few metres to that.

A few mm is not really going to make any difference.

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