129 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007
Re: Stupidest bug ever
Using environment variables to export functions is not a stupid idea. Doing it in such a way that every variable gets interpreted as a function if it looks like one *is* stupid. A program's environment variables can contain any text; it's none of the shell's business if that text happens to start with certain characters. They could perfectly well have used a single variable with a defined name that contained all the functions, or they could have used, say, BASH_VARIABLE_foo for the function foo.
Stupidest bug ever
How can anyone have thought it was a good idea to parse arbitrary environment variables to see whether they contain something that looks like a function definition?
Re: A small clarification, please
It's not that narrow. The earth moves about a degree per day (obviously), and the CME is much bigger than that.
"The helium-filled He6 disk drive tops out at 6TB". Helium-6 has a half-life of 807 milliseconds. Helium-8's is 119 milliseconds. I guess that's why the warranties are so short.
Nowhere near satnav
GPS satellites are not in geostationary orbit. They're at about 13,000 miles, so nowhere near this asteroid.
"Despite studies showing computer use makes no difference to educational outcomes, the top-down coding gravy train rolls on". What? These are completely separate things. Whether using computers is useful for learning in general has nothing to do with whether learning to code is a good thing. You might as well say that despite refrigerator use having no effect on educational outcomes, we still teach thermodynamics.
I've never had an account with Linkedin, but I still receive endless requests (all from people I have never heard of). I configured procmail to bounce all mail from linkedin.com with "unknown user", but it hasn't helped.
I think people can ask Google to remove search links from its index regardless of whether the information is "old, irrelevant and not in the public interest". You don't need a law to be able to ask for something. So what exactly does this "existing data protection law" do?
Not its real name
What the OED actually says is "In technical contexts also called octothorp". That doesn't make it its real name.
Its real name, as all Intercal programmers know, is "mesh".
As for its being the same as the musical sharp sign, the OED calls this "erroneous".
Re: "Sun on Trial" by Dr Pierre-Marie Robitaille
... a complete crank, as googling for his name will show.
Re: A wimp?
"So that's almost 1.5^20 times this one."
Er no. X22 is ten times bigger than X2.2. An Xn flare has intensity n*10^-4 W/m^2.
X3 is not twice as intense as X2. It is, as you would expect, one-and-a-half times as intense.
If my Dyson vacuum cleaner had lasted as long as my Huawei VDSL modem, I might take that seriously.
I've never heard of a Z class flare before, and I can't find any mention of such a thing on the NASA web site. Beyond X9 they just go to X10, instead of (say) Y1.
Someone recently added "Z class" to the table on the Wikipedia Solar Flare page without any explanation. If, as that table says, it means > 10^-3 W/m^2, then we've already had several: the X17 flare on Sep 7 2005 would be Z1.7, for example.
Where does the figure of "a least 40 times as large as March's display" in the article come from? The March 29 flare was X1, so 40 times that is not a particularly interesting number. Or did you just misunderstand this statement on the Wikipedia page: "the extreme event in 1859 is theorised to have been well over X40 so a Z class designation is possible"?
Re: What does X mean?
The scale measures power per unit area of solar X-rays, measured by earth satellites. It starts at A1, which is 10^-8 W/m^2, and increases linearly up to A9 (9x10^-8). Then instead of A10 for we have B1 (10^-7), and similarly up to B9, then C1 (10^-6) up to C9, then M1 (10^-5) up to M9, and then X1 (10^-4). There's no scale beyond X, so after X9 we just continue with X10.
An X4.9 flare is large but not exceptional. The largest recorded was at least X28 (during the previous solar maximum, in 2003), but it went off the scale of the recording instruments. The Carrington event of 1859 may have been even bigger. The current solar maximum is a weak one and we haven't had anything bigger than X7.
Look at http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/xray_1m.html for a graph labelled in both A/B/C/M/X scales and plain W/m^2.
"The patent system offers us some protection but not enough: with an army of lawyers, hidden prior art is occasionally found and ways to design around existing patents identified."
In other words, he wants a monopoly on things that he wasn't the first to invent, and on ways of doing things that he didn't think of.
(I have a Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner. It broke just after the warranty expired, and was pretty useless anyway. Why anyone would want to copy them is a mystery.)
If Watergate happened now...
... they'd have to call it Watergategate.
The keypad might have lasted longer if the software had been better - when typing in code you had to press MEM-TERM-MEM between every byte, so guess which key was likely to fail (quite apart from it being unnecessarily tedious and error-prone).
All in all it was a typical Sinclair product: unavailable, unreliable, unpleasant to use. They always aimed to build the cheapest possible usable product, but somewhere along the line the "usable" part of the specification was lost.
Re: Linux wasn't using RDRAND directly
"if EITHER the Linux algorithm output is good, OR the RDRAND output is good, THEN the final output is good"
... provided that the two are uncorrelated, and that the XOR instruction hasn't been modified to recognise when it is working with RDRAND output.
Re: As any fule kno
You can't determine pronunciation from etymology.
Every time Lewis Page writes an article about how safe Fukushima is, a few days later Tepco admit they've lied again and the figures they gave before were completely wrong. So watch the news over the next few days.
Re: Chessington Marketing Dept. Plays a Blinder
Yes, it's just another example of advertising by press release. They've taken lessons from Ryanair.
The issue was not about wasting cycles - it's about whether it can *reduce* entropy. Linus thought this was absurd because even if the data was not random, it wouldn't reduce entropy. That's true so long as the data is produced without any knowledge of the other random data it will be combined with - but the sufficiently paranoid observe that we can't check that's the case.
"Legally required to do so"
We have had several companies stating, like BT, that they "do not disclose customer data in any jurisdiction unless legally required to do so". This makes it sound as if it's something they only rarely do. But it may well be that they government's interpretation of the law is that they are legally required to disclose *all* customer data to the intelligence services. It would be interesting to hear what BT say if asked whether this is true - my guess is that they would refuse to answer.
You can see right now at http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_mac/family/macbook_air. What Samsung announced is the non-Apple-specific version of what Apple already has.
Style over substance
Apple needs to get over its obsession with thin edges. As you point out, you can't even see them when you're using it. It started with the Macbook Air, which Apple had obviously hoped to sell as the lightest laptop, but when they found that it wasn't they had to settle for "thinnest at the edges". I use a previous generation iMac and giving up the optical drive for something I'd never notice is absurd.
Re: open handset alliance
Is Firefox OS really an Android fork? Isn't it just another Linux-based phone OS that shares some code with Android?
Scientists are easily fooled
Did they put an ammeter on the earthing cable?
Exquisite truffles are not found in jars. They must be eaten fresh.
Fry' comments have a perfectly reasonable interpretation
The term "universal machine" does not only apply to the theoretical tape-based machine described in Turing's 1936 paper. It is quite reasonable to consider the ACE as an attempt to implement a universal machine. I don't see anything in Fry's comments to indicate that he thinks Turing built a physical "Turing machine" in the silly sense you imply. Fry is quite correct that Turing developed the idea of a universal machine and then went on to build - or at least design - a machine that implemented that idea.
Re: even ~600m is ridiculous
They haven't had the appeal yet. This is about how much Apple gets supposing that Samsung don't overturn any of the verdict on appeal, which they most likely will. The final amount will probably be much lower.
You should see how outraged the fan boys are on sites like Apple Insider.
"100 per cent rating at killing rootkits, compared to 83 per cent for Microsoft and 67 per cent for Symantec". Did they by any chance test exactly 6 rootkits?
Date ushed back 5 times
My exchange and cabinet were originally scheduled to be enabled in September 2011. The date has since been pushed back by 3 months 4 times and by 6 months once and is currently listed as March 2013.
The Wii U already has a placeholder Lovefilm application installed when you buy it. But when you try to run it, it says an update is needed, and none materialises. The Netflix application is similar, but something does get downloaded.
At least you didn't fall for this one...
... like Slashdot did: http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/11/29/2331246/nasa-curiosity-has-found-plastic-on-mars
Well that will be the end of Maplin then. They'd be better off remaining what they are.
Maybe more trouble for Apple
The court required Apple to make the announcement (rather than leaving it to Samsung) because it had to come "from the horse's mouth". The newspaper statement does not say that it's Apple who is making it, so they may be in for another hard time from the judge!
What they don't mention...
... is that they have also delayed many already-announced exchanges. My exchange was due to get FTTC in summer of 2011, but every three months, a week before the deadline, they put it back three months (and yes, today it's changed from 30 September to 31 December). So these 2013 announcements should be taken with a pinch of salt.
NFC off by default
You have to enable NFC explicitly, so most users will not be vulnerable.
Entirely Apple's own fault
<Nelson>Ha ha</Nelson>. Apple's uses fanbois' obsession when it suits them, so it's nice to see it hitting their sales. Secrecy is their choice, and those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.
0.2 probably came on EPROMs, which could be re-used.
Has Florian Mueller ever been right about anything?
Re: Absolute nonsense Zurich graph
The coloured dots indicate missing observations - 200 years ago there wasn't always someone counting sunspots. They have nothing to do with the number of sunspots.
We have not had any "decades-long trends of declining sunspot activity" as Battsman claims. On the contrary, we have had 70 years of high solar activity. See for example http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/Zurich_Color_Small.jpg which shows the sunspot number for the last 250 years.
I wouldn't put too much trust in predictions of a forthcoming long minimum either. Only 6 years ago many scientists were predicting that this solar cycle would be another big one, for example http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2006/21dec_cycle24/ which forecast "one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago". On the contrary cycle 24 was delayed and could well be the weakest since the 1920s. The mechanisms of solar activity are becoming better understood, but any long-term prediction should be taken with a large pinch of salt.
"split on party lines"
Tories are denouncing the report as partisan - Labour and Lib Dems support it, the Tories don't. In other words, Murdoch can *still* rely on the Tories to protect him. What has he got on them?
The author seems to think that because the BBC can't make all programs available free, anyone who won't pay to download them is being unrealistic. Why? Maybe, like me, they just don't think it's worth the money. The TV licence is 40p/day, so why would I pay more than a few pence to watch a single program? The suggested £1.89 is absurd.
I don't believe a word of it
It's inconceivable that Apple haven't been building MacOS X on ARM for years, just as they did with x86 while selling PPC Macs. They may well have had a student do a project, but not because they didn't already have a port.
Did they understand the question?
Perhaps they thought they were being asked how much they would want to top up each time.
Unless they report the questions actually asked, the results are worthless.
"Not how PGP files work"
That phrase makes me distrust whoever said it. Of course it isn't how PGP files work, but it's just a smoke screen - the file was only supposed to exist for a few hours, and be on a secure server. That's what makes it temporary.
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