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* Posts by Coldwind104

18 posts • joined 1 Jan 2013

Tesla vs Media AGAIN as Model S craps out on journo - on the highway

Coldwind104
WTF?

"It's got 4 doors and stuff."

So it has. Oh, cool. I'll buy one, then, since it's got enough doors to be cheap.

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Coldwind104
Unhappy

Why does the choice of electric cars seem to be between 'city' cars that look like they were designed for Noddy and friends (that is, cars basically designed only for how well they work in London), and high-spec 'sports' cars like Tesla seems to be concentrating on? I'm sure I can't be the only prospective electric car driver who doesn't give two battery-powered hoots about whether the car can do 0-60 in three nanoseconds, or reach a top speed of 378mph into a headwind?

What I'd like to see from an electric car is one that will allow me to commute to work (thirty miles for the round trip - yes, I know your commute's far further than that) plus allow for social use outside of work; reach and maintain a comfortable 70 mph on the motorway; carry up to three passengers; and ideally let me listen to my crappy music all the while. And I'd like to be able to do all this in the reasonable expectation that my car will keep going at least for the day, or - in the event of a protracted journey - that I won't be significantly disadvantaged by the need to stop regularly and recharge over a long period of time. An hour for a fuel stop is not practical, however you slice it.

Didn't I hear something about fuel stations proposing to simply swap out the battery, or something? I was always a bit sceptical, mind: how many cars stop into the average petrol station every day? Not to mention HGVs? Where are all those batteries going to be stored?

Believe me, if I thought for a moment electric cars were more than just an expensive gimmick I'd be all over the idea. But no-one seems to be taking it very seriously: it's all flash and shine, and no sense of practicality. And yes, before anyone says it, I know that a few high-performance cars can generate technologies that can then trickle down into cheaper designs at my plebbish level - but even allowing for that, I think the whole thing's scuppered by the vicious circle of "infrastructure needed before cars are developed but cars need to exist before infrastructure can be justified".

Seriously - I'd be delighted to find I'm wrong.

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Coldwind104
Alert

Re: in much of the world, electric cars would be powered by fossil fuels

"Really it is just a matter of determining what the best wasteful method is. And perhaps that is fossil fuels, perhaps it is electric, perhaps it is merely settling for not transporting stuffs halfway around the world without good reason and not travelling hundreds of kilometres a day just to get to work."

There's working out what's least wasteful - that's always good - but there's also security to be considered. By which I mean the future security of that fuel source. In terms of fossil fuels, they're certainly amongst the most efficient energy sources we have - which is unfortunate, because they're also collectively the dirtiest and the most limited. Estimates of how much oil, coal and gas is left vary wildly - usually depending on the financial or political interests of the body assessing them - but the point is that there is a fixed amount of these substances under the ground, and once they're pulled up and burned, they're gone.

But they do store and release energy most efficiently. Considering that alone, we'd logically go for fossil fuels every time, with the atmosphere being considered a small price to pay. The only viable alternative at the moment in efficiency terms is nuclear fission, and thanks to the media's success in convincing the public that fission power stations are prone to up and explode radiation all over everyone at the first sign of a Tuesday, no politician now is ever seriously going to stake votes on pushing for nuclear.

Fission has had its day, so until fusion comes along (and I'd be surprised if my hypothetical grandchildren lived to see *that* happen), we're stuck with a choice between the efficient-but-limited-and-filthy-and-dangerous fossils, or the clean-and-abundant-but-not-much-actual-use 'renewables', which aren't efficient enough: I'm sure the Reg has already mentioned just how much of the UK would have to be dedicated to turbine farms to make wind power a serious contender.

I think this is one of those moments in human history - or maybe the only one, if I think about it - where we have the opportunity to do what science fiction has been telling us for decades that humans will always be exceptionally good at: use our intelligence to save ourselves from extinction. Personally, I think sci-fi's always been far too optimistic. My hopes on that score are not high at all.

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Coldwind104

"Somehow I knew..."

He's a popular guy, it seems. He does seem to have garnered a pretty faithful following of (to use the trendy term) 'haters'. I take it he said something you disagreed with? Would you like to offer more accurate information?

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Public told to go to hell, name Pluto's two new moons

Coldwind104

Re: Wasn't Pluto named by Tonbough's daughter for the Disney character?

No. It was named by Venetia Burney from Oxford. And she named it for the god. At 11 years old, she was interested in the mythology of the classical cultures. Kids, huh? Tsk. Of course, then Facebook came along and made childhood so much more... something.

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Coldwind104

Re: Related to the underworld and Roman or Greek?

"term for Pluto, also Satan"

I suppose it's not worth pointing out that Abrahamic cultural appropriation notwithstanding, the underworld of the classical religious traditions was not, in fact, the Judeo-Christian Hell, and its ruler was really not the Christian Devil?

It probably isn't. After all, the lamentable 'Clash of the Titans' remake, and 'Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief' pretty much ruled that they're the same thing.

On the other hand, I suppose from a Christian point of view, 'Dis' being a 'false god', His name is as much a name for Satan as that of Mars, or Neptune, or Venus...

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Google Play privacy SNAFU sends app buyers' details to devs

Coldwind104
Big Brother

I accept that generally I'm not sharp enough to notice every possible place I could put or use data that could result in someone else getting hold of it. Since most of modern life revolves around electronic things happening that I really don't understand, I wouldn't have the first clue how to go about fully protecting my information.

I can and do take reasonable steps, such as making sure I don't keep my PIN next to my debit card. I shred (cross-cut, of course) confidential papers before throwing them out. I use different passwords for every site I visit. I enter my real details on websites only when I'm absolutely sure the firm needs them, when it's a company I trust (for a given, corporate value of 'trust'), and when my browser tells me it's an encrypted connection. I have no idea whether it *is*, in fact, an encrypted connection, and I'll bet the vast majority of people don't either.

As far as I can tell, there are two absolute approaches to this problem. You either accept what the first commenter said: privacy is dead. That means that you accept that your entire life is now public property, and conduct yourself accordingly. Or, you reject that, and you give up technology. Good luck doing that in this society.

Those are the absolutes. Most people, I honestly believe, will go down the middle. They'll be vaguely aware of the need for privacy - though they may well misjudge what's 'sensitive' and fight tooth and nail to try to prevent anyone finding out that, say, there's a house at their address. They'll likely take those basic precautions, like I do, but ultimately have no idea whether they're really protecting themselves or not.

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Coldwind104

Re: Not exactly impartial

"...given his previously expressed views."

Your link went to a tweet about Android 4.2 not including December in its calendar. What's the 'view' you're referring to?

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Twitter translated to LOLCATZ: Strangely this had not been done

Coldwind104

Re: Internet memes !!!!!

"Always good to have a section of society to feel superior t , isn't it."

Sorry, but I'm afraid even cutting sarcasm isn't going to eliminate that particular human tendency.

Besides, I tend to be more concerned by the people - like your good self - who object to the use of the word 'chav' on the basis that we shouldn't be looking down on "a section of society".

If we were talking about ethnicity, or age, or disability, or sex, or sexual orientation, or gender identity, or any of those other characteristics over which people have no personal control, then I'd be right there with you on the moral high ground.

But we're not talking about those things. Being a 'chav' is about behaviour and attitude. I know people make a big thing about 'chavs' wearing hoodies or big hoop earrings, or whatever - defining them by appearance, albeit a chosen appearance - but what it's really about is behaviours and attitudes. 'Chav' generally indicates someone who - in whatever way - rejects the standards of the society they live in but still expects to be supported by it. Someone who demands respect but is generally unwilling to extend it to anyone else.

So when someone comes along and suggests that we should refrain from being judgemental about 'chavs' because we're victimising "a section of society", what they're implying is that a) these people should not be *expected* to behave in a socially responsible way; because b) these people couldn't behave in a socially responsible way even if they wanted to.

There's a parallel assertion that people who criticise 'chavs' are criticising 'the poor' or 'the disadvantaged'. This similarly implies that poorer people can't be socially responsible in their behaviours, and therefore shouldn't be expected to be.

All in all, I think those implications are pretty worrying in themselves. For myself, I believe that almost everyone is capable of conducting themselves in a socially responsible way, so I expect them to do just that - even if it only goes as far as basic politeness, the rejection of violence, and not trying to nick other people's stuff. If people refuse to adhere to those standards, if they reject the need to respect other people, their property and the society they're a part of, then I have no qualms about calling them out on it. (I might not call them 'chav', myself, because it's a tired-out word, but the principle holds.)

By gods. Can we have an icon for "I'm going to talk like a complete pompous arse for far too long", please?

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Coldwind104
Headmaster

Re: Internet memes !!!!!

"Are their not already enough illiterate people without adding crap like this."

Yes, 'their' are.

Also, that looked like a question to me. Isn't it missing something at the end there?

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Curiosity photographs mysterious metal object on Martian rock

Coldwind104
FAIL

Re: Wonderful

"I'll keep going."

I've absolutely no doubt you will. Richard Hoagland does. He continues to push his own Mars-related conspiracy theories despite the disproof of his central piece of 'evidence' - the so-called 'Face on Mars'. He's managed in the meantime to muddy so much water, and throw out so many claims in so many different directions, that he now has plenty of fodder to go at for the foreseeable future even without the 'Face'.

Just in case you think you're in a different category, the countless others still pushing their Mars conspiracies do precisely what you're doing here: they take an image or set of images, and they scour them for anything resembling some sort of familiar pattern. When they find it, they present it in breathless terms as 'evidence' of whatever it is they're trying to prove, just as you are here. And here, you rely on speculation, interpretation and question-begging: "Where did the chisel marks come from?", you ask - as though it's a given that what you claim to have seen are, in fact, chisel marks.

Like many of those other conspiracy theorists, you'd probably have a good shot at writing some interesting sci-fi scenarios, if you put your mind to it. You clearly have the imagination. It's just a shame that you choose to waste that creativity like this.

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Coldwind104

Re: Wonderful

The problem here is that you create, and then fall into, the same trap that catches all the 'disclosure' campaigners who want Obama to admit that the US knows about aliens.

They're not asking for the truth: they're asking for what they want to hear. And they've set up their position so that they won't ever have to accept that they're wrong: if Obama admits alien contact, they win (though even then I think it's be more accident than design). But if Obama doesn't 'fess up, they win anyway, because a refusal to admit it is obviously evidence of a cover-up.

You're doing the very same thing here. Speculation's one thing, and I'm happy to entertain ideas about Martian life - but the people you're challenging are scientists. They have to go by evidence. You're talking about what you can 'see', but you're presenting what's in the photo along with a hefty dose of interpretation based - from what I can see - on what you *want* the truth to be.

And then you imply conspiracy at NASA, saying they're "brushing it off". You're creating the same situation as the disclosure types: you've decided what you want, and if they fail to produce it, that's evidence of it. It's not rational because you've designed the argument so that you can't be shown to be wrong.

For what it's worth, I agree with those saying it needs people out there looking at these things, not probes and rovers, as cool as they are. But unlike some others, I don't think for one minute that'll ever happen - at least until someone finds a clear way to monetise Mars. Until then, we're just going to have to learn to live with mystery.

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Superbowl blackout was a stuff-up, not Anonymous

Coldwind104

Collective?

Given that Anonymous appears to be nothing more than a name adopted by every teen hacker who thinks (or would like us to think) they're doing something politically subversive, is it accurate to refer to them as a 'collective'?

I'm not convinced there's any formal organisation, or even unity of purpose, there at all - at least beyond their determination not to actually find out anything about Guy Fawkes.

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BANG and the server's gone: Man gets 8 months for destroying work computers

Coldwind104

Agree with the Anon.

People who insist that the word 'data' be treated as a plural are confusing the English word 'data' with the Latin word it descended from.

The English word 'data' is, as the AC said, indeterminate in number, so either "the data is" or "the data are" would be correct.

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Netbooks were a GOOD thing and we threw them under a bus

Coldwind104

"Is there a manufacturer brave enough? Is there a hardware maker brave enough?"

It's not a matter of bravery. It's a matter of profit. These are businesses.

The problem is that we're now locked in a circle: the companies provide sub-optimal devices designed fully for their own, and not the user's, advantage. And since they're all there is, and they're usually nice and shiny, we lap them up as they are.

And while I'm sure most people reading El Reg could quite easily manufacture their own ideal device using a two matchboxes and a spring, and then create the ideal efficient, compact, capable and secure OS, the vast majority of users wouldn't know where to start. So they'll keep buying the overpriced, under-functional, privacy-threatening, just-about-passable tat; which means the companies have no motivation to venture into the expensive and risky territories you're talking about. After all, what if another company has a better idea than yours? You might lose customers. Far better to lock the buggers in and keep them distracted with pretty.

(Written awkwardly and very slowly with lots of deleting on my overpriced, locked-in piece of shiny tat.)

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Don't like your cell network? Legal unlocking ends TONIGHT in US

Coldwind104
WTF?

Re: Wrong Place For a Standoff

" I really would murder the first person to challenge my right to ownership to goods I have already paid for, taken home, and thoroughly used"

Then you're a pretty worrying person, and I think you should probably work on your sense of proportion before going out in public again.

Yeah, I know, you're probably just being macho for effect, but if you tell me you "really would", then I have to assume you like to imagine you really would.

Aside from this, I actually agree with your sentiment - but if people are going to take our point of view seriously, it's probably not a great plan to make earnest-sounding comments about murdering people over a legal challenge.

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Brits' privates furtled in TWO-THIRDS of UK fraud cases

Coldwind104

This is presumably a different set of kids than the ones who are spending every waking moment broadcasting every available piece of information about their lives on Facebook, Twitter and the like?

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It's JUST possible, but Apple MIGHT not make an iWatch in 2013

Coldwind104

Consistent

But (at the risk of being accused of being anti/pro-Apple), wouldn't this be fairly consistent with Apple's usual approach? They have built a pretty successful enterprise on the idea of making slow, careful, incremental developments to their existing technology. I know nothing of these rumours except what the article says, but producing an iWatch (or whatever) by just "adding a SIM card" wouldn't seem too out of kilter with that.

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