* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2646 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Volvo to 'accept full liability' for crashes with its driverless cars

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Not theat simple

My car is old and falling apart. I want a new one. Ram the driverless Volvo!

What if a driverless Volvo and driverless Tesla hit each other?

Ooo, look - I found the factory configuration menu of the neighbour's car. What if I change drive on left to drive on right?

Quantum sells so much product that its earnings might shrink

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Lots of orders in the last three days of a quarter?

"Can you place an order? It's OK to cancel it next week. The end of the quarter is looming, and I have to make my quota."

Are Samsung TVs doing a Volkswagen in energy tests? Koreans hit back

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Unsurprising. This is *monitors* after all

Monitor specs from all manufacturers have been dishonest for decades. CRT monitors were credited with a higher resolution than the number phosphor dots. Repeating the contrast ratio measurements required a lightless cave painted dark black. High scan rates were possible, but the pixels became blurred because of lack of bandwidth. These days its 4K resolution - with a 15Hz frame rate (interleaved).

As soon as a particular specification influences purchasing decisions, every manufacturer hunts for ways to make the number better - whether or not it reduces the quality of the product. The solution was to go to PC World to select a monitor, then buy it somewhere that did not charge £30 for the cable.

Wait a couple of weeks, and you will see what naughty things the other manufactures have done to get their high scores.

Russian antivirus vendor fire bombed for research blogs

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"the attacks seemed unprofessional" ?

There are professional fire bombers?

You want to DISRUPT my TECH? How about I DISRUPT your FACE?

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OK Steve. How about you get nothing up front but you do get 50% of the money saved after the first year?

Au oh, there's gold in them thar server farms, so lead the way

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Pure tin solder?

There are different flavours, but when lead suddenly became poisonous the popular replacement was tin/bismuth. Does bismuth have any value?

(Back when I was a PFY, bismuth was stable. Some very patient boffins discovered it is actually radioactive with a half life of 1.9x10¹⁹ years.)

Microsoft sues InterDigital for 'monopoly power' over mobile patents

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

IIRC, Microsoft tried this with Motorola patents

Microsoft has lots of patents, but their competitors have standards essential patents. Microsoft have been seeking rulings that make standards essential patents valueless. The obvious solution is to give Microsoft all that they want and more: abolish the entire patent system. The research would happen anyway, and people would not have to pay 'protection' money to a bunch or lawyers.

US appeals court: Yes, Samsung ... sigh … you still have to pay Apple

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Back when this started ...

Apple bought their displays from Samsung. There was no-one else capable of making them. I assume there followed a discussion between Apple and Samsung about the price of phone LCDs. Next, Apple started buying some displays elsewhere, then there were news reports about the reduced quality of iPhone displays - the ones that were not made by Samsung.

Apple invested in a glass manufacturer (GT Advanced Technologies) to upgrade their equipment and sell sapphire glass to Apple at a loss. The project was so successful that GT filed for bankruptcy (a popular activity among Apple's suppliers).

For all we know, Samsung have already got their money back by charging Apple extra for components. Despite all this, there are still winners an losers here. Apple's shareholders have paid some hefty legal bills.

Uber holds out hand, hails another $1bn – mostly from Microsoft

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@asdf Sharing?

A customer who pays, a contractor how gets paid and an agency taking a percentage. Sounds like capitalism to me. Sharing would be funding the agency through donations and passengers getting a free ride from volunteer drivers.

If registering with Uber were compulsory, would that be totalitarian or green?

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Going rate for porting an app to Windows Phone?

I thought Microsoft stopped paying for ports when they decided to cancel Windows Phone.

Flash deserves to live, says Cisco security man

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Easy answer

"If anyone thinks something is better than Flash then they need to consider what that alternative is against doubling-down security efforts on what we already have."

Nothing is better than flash. So far nothing has proven more resilient. I have been using nothing for years and I thoroughly recommend removing flash and installing nothing as a replacement.

UK.gov wants to stop teenagers looking at tits online. No, really

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Perhaps Camoron is not completely dumb

Was this all a distrction because he recently did something even more stupid?

Amazon comes up with delivery-drone zones after watching Fifth Element all night

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

I missed a bit

Where did it say the air space would be exclusive to Amazon? DHL, Yodel, or Credas could develope or buy software that meets the proposed standards and fly their own delivery drones.

Oh, Obama's responded to the petition to pardon Snowden. What'll it be?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: elDog: And we want the rest of the world to follow our path to glory and heaven?

Freedom is the most precious thing in the world. So precious it must be rationed. There is only enough freedom for a few Americans. Everyone else must go without.

Intel tests definition of insanity with (leaked) typoslab Skylake CPUs

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Intel likes to sell in the overpriced segment. All well and good for a monopoly, but these days there is quality competition at lower prices. Factor in Apple and Samsung making their own CPUs, and Intel can only sell to third place OEMs. Those OEMs have to aim for the biggest segment for economies of scale rather than Intel's prefered customers.

Debian Project holds Sparc port's hand, switches off life support

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Lies, damned lies

Statistics. (Popcon only counts Debian users with an internet connection who explicitly opt in. Numbers in the easily accessible website may be larger than they appear.)

AMD64 (any 64 bit x86) is way in the lead. I am suprised to see i386 (32-bit x86 with x>=3) in second place. armel (arms slightly simpler than Pi v1) is third with powerpc right behind. Armhf (Pi V2, lots of cell phones and tiny 'desktops') is further down than I expected (I think Rasbian doesn't get counted). Next comes 'unknown', but I have no idea where to buy one. Plenty more choices available including 68k and Itanic. (Popcon has not been ported to Lunix (yet) so 6502 doesn't show up :-)

Scorchio! This June was the sixty-sixth hottest on record

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Re: raw data....

AFAIK, the manipulation is on the cooked data. I have no idea if the new recipe is better or worse than the old recipe, but a considerable amount of cooking is required to convert historical and prehistoric data sets into something that can be compared with modern data sets.

In my ignorant opinion, the whole issue is so political that separating fact from fiction in climate change is too much like hard work. A slightly easier place to look is at what oil and gas sellers do with the money we pay them. It would also be nice to see costs and all subsidies for various renewable sources of power. Again, separating facts from politics takes time, and people taking different amounts will argue about the conclusions.

Universal Pictures finds pirated Jurassic World on own localhost, fires off a DMCA takedown

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Presumably ...

A test to see if the scanner works.

Security tool bod's hell: People think I wrote code for Hacking Team!

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Re: if they used GPL code in their products...

The magic word is 'linked' not 'used'. This is clearest for compiled languages. Compile various C source files to object files and link them. If any of the source files is GPL, then all of them must be GPL (or multiple licenses including GPL) in order for the reseult to be distributable. The same goes for linking (dynamic or static) to a GPL library.

There are ways to use GPL and closed source software together. Ubuntu is an aggregation of GPL and code with other licenses. Simply distributing two programs on the same DVD does not prevent GPL and closed source from being sold at the same time. Communication via file descriptors is not linking. Although kernel modules and dynamic linking have much in common, closed source kernel modules are explicitly permitted (but sufficient reason for many penguins to buy something else rather than hardware that requires a closed source kernel module for its driver).

NASA boffins peer at Pluto: Could it be ... is that ... OATMEAL?

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Re: " complex hydrocarbons that had fallen from the sky "

The solar system has plenty of fuel, but oxidiser is far more restricted (AFAIK, only available on Earth). There is lots of water which can be broken up into fuel an oxidiser - if you bring a nuclear reactor. The only big advantage of resources in space is when you want them in space and can avoid the cost of rocketing them off Earth.

Plenty of space missions make a profit. Almost all of them only went as far as Earth orbit. There were claims that tourist revenue paid for the moon landings (I have not seen real accounts, and even if true, I am sure Mickey Mouse gave a bigger financial return on investment.)

GOOGLE GMAIL ATE MY LINUX: Gobbled email enrages Torvalds

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Perhaps Ballmer had calm rational moments

For some reason, those never made the news. Much more of Linus' work is available for all to peruse via the LKML. Judge by those emails, not the unusual ones picked out by journalists. (Imagine how dull the Register would be if Journalists did not filter LKML)

Flocke Kroes Silver badge


The kernel mailing lists are not in any way secret. For all we know, Linus has some other address for person email. I can understand Linus picking something where someone else has to defend against a DDOS so he can concentrate on other things.

Lawyer brands client 'small penis asshole' before challenging him to a DUEL

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The Irish Code of Honour

It would appear that in the heat of the moment Mr Franz did not take time to review the terms of the Irish Code of Honour, or whatever variation of it was appropriate in the state of Illinois. To facilitate the opportunity to settle this dispute without recourse to further language unbefitting gentlemen of quality, I proffer a link (PDF) to an example of such rules, regrettably applying to South Carolina. I have not found rules for Illinois, but the rules proscribed for general adoption throughout Ireland are available for your perusal at the conclusion of the missive.

Duelling has been made illegal many countries to reduce the number of officers trained at tax-payers expense killed or maimed as a result of the rivalries among them. Although not trained in the law of Illinois, I beleive it may be possible to settle the dispute legally, within those parts of the code that do not reference firing pistols.

Spectators should note that throwing a glove to the floor is more than sufficient to enact a challenge to a duel. The challengee could pick up the glove and use it to slap the face of the challenger. In my humble opinion, such uncouth behaviour is beneath the dignity of a gentleman, and the code of honour inappropriate when one of the participants demonstrates the habbits and conduct of low born riffraff. The only honourable way to commence a duel is through failure of negotiations between seconds.

The code is intended as recourse for harsh words, or if a gentlemen were somehow taunted beyond all reason, exchange of blows. There is no direct reference to a dispute concerning settlement of a bill, but - at a stretch - such an eventuality might be considered equivalent to cheating at cards if agreed upon by seconds.

If Mr Franz has not already retired in shame at the depths to which he has sunk, and wishes to attempt to proceed as a gentleman of honour, he should request a friend (not blood relative) to act as his second. Such a friend would not be able to proceed in good faith without a written or public apology from Mr Franz including a statement that Mr Rutzokwski is a gentleman and the size of is penis is either unknown to Mr Franz or is of sufficient to escape the faintest hint of ridicule.

If seconds are not able to convince their primaries to settle their trivial pecuniary differences, the American variations of the code inevitably lead all concerned to criminal activity. The correct time to settle a matter of honour is at the first opportunity. The place is the traditional place nearest the primaries as agreed by the seconds. The weapons are smooth-bore flint-lock pistols. More modern pistols me be used if acceptable to both primaries. The seconds should also be armed as it is the duty of a second to shoot the opposing primary should he fire before the agreed signal.

Irish rules include a possibility for unconventional weapons. If the challengee proposes a sword and the challenger admits to being unproficient, the challengee can name any other weapon and the challenger must accept the choice.

Microsoft to offer (very) limited support for Linux on Azure

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Hell just froze over

The temperature has been dropping for years. Nadella clearly knows where his business is going (Office for Android, patent trolling Linux and hefty price hikes for legacy Windows updates). Learning to do Linux support is a clear step in the direction of getting revenue from that activity.

The funny part is watching Nadella not say that is the plan. He gets smacked hard for not saying enough about Windows Phone in every press release. He would get crucified for honesty, so we see press releases packed full of waffle.

The next big step will be to unblur the accounts to make it clear which departments are profit centres.

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

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I thought that was Nadella's plan

We already have office for Android and Linux on Azure. In a few years, he will anounce the next release of Windows will use a Linux kernel.

Run Windows 10 on your existing PC you say, Microsoft? Hmmm.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge


While I was reading the article, and it mentioned potential problems finding Windows drivers for old hardware. I was just thinking - its a pity Windows users do not have all the source code for the drivers, with a license that allows anyone to maintain and distribute.

For new hardware, it is really worth checking driver availability before purchasing _new_ and _unusual_ devices for a Linux box. Old or common place devices simply work - with existing drivers that come with the distribution. I recently went through the list of USB device drivers that come with the Linux kernel. In the enormous list were sack full of DVB decoders that I did not buy a few years ago because I did not see support in the kernel. I also saw the familiar top quality but ancient input devices still supported even though they have not been on sale for well over a decade.

You mentioned 'screen driver'. In Linux terms, I think you mean 'frame buffer driver'. In its simplest terms, a frame buffer is some memory, and if you change a byte, the corresponding pixel on the display changes colour. I have never had any problems with the simplest frame buffers. I have had to wait for mode (resolution) changes to be available via the standard kernel interfaces, but text and X11 are almost always available early on. 2D, 3D and video decode accelerators support can be anywhere from excellent to binary blob (eg as bad as Windows). 3D vendors have been getting the message about proper open source drivers, and most have taken action (anything from doing the job properly to lip-service). Fortunately Linus swears at them until they do something useful.

One of the reasons I fled from Windows 95 (IAVO) is I got bored with install a driver, reboot, install a driver, reboot, install a driver, fail to install a driver, wipe and start again because a five minute reboot was required immediately after installing any driver. Another reason was a game telling me I needed the latest version of a driver, getting that version from the manufacturer's web site, and the install software telling me I needed the distributor specific version, and the distributor's web site showing only the original driver.

Now that Microsoft have got their act 'together', and they are releasing a new version every few years, I can see pre-XP driver hell returning. I intend to sit back and roar with laughter (and buy some cheap second hand components).

Adobe: We REALLY are taking Flash security seriously – honest

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Re: Searching for dog eggs ...

Some companies must have bought high page ranking for whatever you type into your search engine. As a result, I know where I can buy dog eggs, and where to find out how to cook them.

It is hard to decide which made me laugh louder, that or: "Adobe insists it is taking the security of its Flash Player seriously."

As for flash, I have never used it. If a site requires flash, my search engine can find me a different site.

How many top-level domains are there now? 300? 500? No, it's 1,000

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Re: Found out about one today

If the price was high, why not buy direct from Columbia?

Plenty of ccTLDs allow anyone to register, such as cr.yp.to (Tonga). Italy (it) is popular and Tuvalu (tv) has been cashing in for ages.

Linux on the desktop is so hot there's now a fight over it

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Disclaimer: abandoned Windows between 98 and ME

Linux graphics is almost always X, which is over the network by design. There is a choice of log in managers, and most provide fields for user name, password, initial desktop software and what machine you want to log into. After that, the only difference between a remote and a local session is which resources require network access. It is simple to start multiple log in managers and switch between them with <CTRL><ALT><Function key>, then log into several machines simultaneously. The problem with doing it that way is you cannot cut and paste between different logins. It is also possible to have a virtual X servers display in different windows of an X server, using something like xephyr.

My usual operating mode is to log in, and start terminal sessions on the machines I am using. That way I can run programs on the machine where the majority of data is stored, but all the windows are managed by the same desktop environment and I can cut and paste between them.

The thing is, all of this has been around for well over a decade for penguins. I have been told for years that 'Linux is not ready for the desktop', but I gather Windows only recently provided multiple virtual desktops (a twentieth century feature), and does not yet provide a varied selection of user interfaces.

The obvious difference between now and a decade ago is that there are more journalists about who have done more than scratch the surface of what Linux can do.

ONE MILLION new lines of code hit Linux Kernel

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Re: Yes but

It is amazing what a dev with more time than sanity can achieve with 64kB: Lunix.

What's black, sticky, and has just 8GB of storage?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

ARM code on x86

Don't laugh too hard. One way to flesh out a Debian root file system for your first ARM CPU is to copy the x86 build of qemu-arm-static to the ARM root fs, and chroot in from an x86. The first time I did this, I could not believe how well it worked.

Setting up all the libraries and header files on x86 for cross compiling to ARM is a pain. The simplest solution can be to use qemu to run an ARM native build of gcc in an ARM root file system. (These days, I only cross compile for MIPS because the ARMs can take care of themselves.)

Emulation is quick these days, and processor speeds are insane. Brute force and laziness is often sufficient to get the job done.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Plenty of things I can do with 1G ram + 8G flash

4GB SODIMM with 4 chips: £22 so £5.50 per 1GB chip.

8GB SODIMM with 4 chips: £44 so £11 per 2GB chip.

8GB microSD: £6. 32GB microSD: £16.

£21.50 ≈ $33.33

These prices remove economies of scale and add the cost of putting on a PCB, retailer's profit and delivery. On the other hand, Intel's compute stick comes with the chips on a PCB, and I assume this is a recommended retail price for one via mail order so my price comparison is not all that bad.

For all we know, Intel contribute $5 per stick to the free software foundation and have installed -$10 of crapware on the Windows version. I do not see the price difference as unreasonable, although I would have preferred to see the 2GB+32GB version available with Linux as well. (Some crapware for Linux would be nice too, as I always install my own image anyway.)

The big question here is has Intel put in a CPU that can compete with and ARM CPU in a $110/$149 stick. I have a few ARM's in that price range, and the OS+a hefty pile of software is just over 4GB. For that price, I expect Libreoffice to run without visible delays. (Libreoffice on an old pi is usable if you wait a second or two for it to catch up with your typing).

Mastercard facial recog-ware will unlock your money using SELFIES

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Steal a phone, root it, add a fake camera device that loops a short video of someone blinking. Drawing eye-lids on a photo already stored on the phone would probably be sufficient.

For some reason, this plan does not inspire confidence.

Samsung ousts Apple as top US smartmobe biz

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

These are not the numbers you are looking for

Kantar are the first to release numbers, but the least accurate.

Wait a couple of months, and you can have the averages from multiple sources in handy tables comparing the previous quarter like this.

Hide the HUD, say boffins, they're bad for driver safety

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Wrong question

A better question for testing car's HUD is 'How fast are you going?'. If you want the ask 'How many dots on the HUD?', you need to compare reaction times with someone being asked 'How many dots on the instrument panel?'.

Why OH WHY did Blighty privatise EVERYTHING?

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Why did the EU insist on separating track and train operators?

The track was really banged up, and the standard 'fix' was to add a 'temporary' speed limit. Trains are cheap when rolling, but more expensive to speed up and slow down, so when the track maintainers save money with speed limits, the costs shift to the train operators.

The bumpy tracks used to break the new light-weight trains. The obvious fix was to take them out of service and put the old trains back on. The old ones were solid enough to survive the bumps, but were so heavy that they damaged the tracks.

Was the separation a deliberate attempt to sell more cars?

OPM data breach: Looking at you, China! National Intelligence head stares out Beijing

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Why not use the tried and tested solution?

Demand that Mr China is sent to America immediately to face charges of doing millions of dollars of damage to US government computers and threaten him with a thousand years of imprisonment. The threat alone will convince hackers not to try the same thing again, and everyone can set their passwords back to '1234'.

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

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Nokia come back next year

The chunk of Nokia that Microsoft bought included the Nokia brand - until some time next year, and Nokia not manufacturing or distributing smart phones. Nokia are designing Android phones, and are seeking manufacturing and distribution partners ready for next year.

We forget NOTHING, the Beeb thunders at Europe

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The BBC was not asked to remove anything

Google was 'asked' not to put links to certain pages in certain search results. When google complies, that has no direct effect on the embarrassing article, only on how people can find it. If you do not like an article on the BBC website, you are welcome to Streisand it through the courts and hope that you get a judgement requiring the BBC to remove it.

I thought all this 'right to be forgotten' was NSA stuff anyway. Finding the dirt on an individual takes time. Far cheaper to require everyone to send a list of the cupboards with their skeletons to Google, and subpoena the lists of persons of interest along with a gag order.

Britain beats back Argies over Falklands online land grab

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Argies are too late

.mv is Maldives, .ml is Mali and .ms is Montserrat. The only m's left are mb, mf, mi and mj. They could apply for .malvinas. It would cost plenty, and I cannot see them getting their money back from selling sub-domains.

Vegan eats BeEf, gets hooked

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It would be nice if banks were made aware

Is there a banking site that works without javascript?

Pirate MEP pranks Telegraph with holiday snap scaremongering

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Back when I was a boy ...

There were laws for copyright, trade marks and patents. There were also laws concerning concrete objects. If I have an idea, and you take it, we both have an idea. If I have a car and you take it, I do not have a car any more. The law took this into account and had harsher penalties for theft than for copyright or patent infringement.

This was a real problem for copyright and patent lawyers, so they embarked on a decade long campaign to get the words 'intellectual property' taken seriously. 'Unlawful copying' became 'theft' and civil offences became criminal offences. The battle for these words is as hopelessly lost as the difference between 'hacker' and 'cracker'.

Copyright was supposed to be a balance between the desires of creators and consumers. These days, you would think the idea was to pay creators a percentage of the profits, and to increase legal fees to swallow increased fines until creators get less than nothing. (Consumers are given the opportunity to pay a small fine if the cave in without a fight. Payment of the fine is conclusive evidence that they were guilty, so should be threatened again for more money.)

10 things you need to avoid SNAFUs in your data centre

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Re: Arse!

That is because you are doing it all wrong. You are not supposed to insert the plugs there.

Hackers exploit fresh PC hijack bug in Adobe Flash Player, the internet's screen door

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Pirate captain blasts Google for its 'mystery' Chrome blob

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I took a brief look at the licenses. These are open source licenses, not free software licenses. The non-Google authors of the code selected licenses that permit linking with closed source software. Google is not obliged to release any of their source code for Chrome.

If Google had incorporated anything with a proper free software license, then recipients of Chrome would be protected by the four freedoms of free software and would have the right to purchase the source code at approximately the cost of media and shipping.

As always, read and understand the license before installing or contributing to a project.

Sun like it hot: Philae comet probe wakes up, phones home again

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Jumping off 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

If you can jump up 2.5cm on Earth, then you can jump off 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and not come back (you would have to climb to the 'top' and jump in the direction of your spin). If you can jump a whole 10cm on Earth, you can leave 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from any point and in any direction (you would have to bounce a few times if you pick a poor direction).

FBI says in secret that secret spy Cessnas aren't secret

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If you are happy about it ...

... why don't you fund it yourself?

I can understand the FBI refusing to answer questions like 'what do we get for all this tax payers money'. There are good and bad reasons for dodging that one. They also evaded 'how much does it cost', and there are no good reasons for that at all.

Phone scamming up 30 percent last year: Report

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Re: Upvoted for McGyver like innovation...

SheevaPlug was a cheap ARM based server that fitted inside its own wall wart. They were $99 in 2009. These days, a Pi would be cheaper, but not as tidy as it requires an external wall wart. The computing requirements are not that steep, but as this is a 24x7 widget you might want something from this decade to save power.

Asterisk is a free software router. The good news is it does everything. The bad news is you are going to have to read the manual to set it up. I liked the idea too, and my first thought was, why not put asterisk in the router. A quick web search later, and I discovered this was old news in 2010.

BOOM! Stephen Elop shuffled out of Microsoft door

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Microsoft is doing well in the phone business

Plenty of revenue, but not from WP. I think Microsoft has already shown their plans for their future in the mobile phone industry.

Airbus to build 900 mini-satellites for OneWeb's orbital internet system

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SpaceShip2 has nothing to do with launching satellites

Some rich joyriders can care about SpaceShipTwo. For this type of mission, the appropriate Virgin kit is WhiteKnightTwo (Flying since 2008) and LauncherOne (first launch expected in 2016). If things go according to plan and budget, WhiteKnightTwo+LauncherOne will be able to launch these satellites for about $10,000,000 each.

The tech is not that new. Pegasus has been launching since 1990. It has scored 37 out of 42 successful launches (last 28 all successes) and should be able to launch a pair of these satellites for about $11,000,000.

Stratolaunch are working on a similar launch system, and expect their carrier aircraft to fly in 2016, and the first air launch in 2018.

A SpaceX Falcon9 v1.1 would be able to launch about 80 satellites at a time for around $750,000 each. If you could magically space the customers to match the satellite orbits, and the satellites last 5 years, then the launch costs would add about $150/year for a customer with a 100Mb/s connection and a 50:1 contention ratio.

I could understand using a Pegasus to demonstrate the tech and get further investment, but a profitable system would need something priced like a Falcon. The only reason to consider LauncherOne is if you can get a really good deal for a launch on an untested vehicle. SpaceShipTwo is only relevant because it could divert R&D funds away from LauncherOne.

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