* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2646 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

It's curtains for you, copper: IBM boffins push the LIGHT FANTASTIC

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Depends on the packaging

For at least a decade, the smallest chip packages have become so thin that they let light in. Somehow, this still surprises people. If the packing is not the smallest possible (or completely absent), then it can block all light except from the largest sharks.

OPEN WIDE: Microsoft Live Writer authoring tool going open source

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I went straight to asking 'What licence?'. It is possible you might have gently ambled to a conclusion about what I was expecting without a shred of evidence.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

What licence?

Microsoft have made source code available before, with a license that said something like: "If you could have seen this source code, and you ever make money out of software in future, Microsoft can sue you for copyright infringement. Something in that source code will bear some remote resemblance to something you are selling, so you must have stolen they idea from Microsoft."

'Open source' is about as definitive as 'real soon now'. It could be anything from GPL to blatant trap.

Intel inside: Six of the best affordable PC laptops

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Bundled spinning disk

Pull the old disk out of your USB enclosure, and slot in the bundled one ready for your next backup. Move the SSD from you dead laptop to your new one. CPU's have been fast enough for a decade.

Linus Torvalds asks kernel devs to take a break so he can too

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If it bothers you ...

... release Linux-4.1-David_Austin.

There is absolutely nothing stopping you. Other people already maintain their own Linux based kernels. This is usually to support rare hardware or some exotic and intrusive kernel extensions. One day, someone will do a better job of maintaining a main stream kernel than Linus. When that happens, people will switch to submitting patches and syncing to that tree. In the mean time, Linus is doing a sufficiently good job that most penguins are not looking for or working hard to be a replacement.

Belgium trolls France with bonkers new commemorative coin

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Euro in the UK

A few UK department stores accept euro notes. Expect delay while the shop assistant learns how the shop handles euros - or US$ or ¥. The exchange rate will not be that good either.

Au-mazing! Cornwall sold GOLD to Ireland back in the Bronze Age

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Before gold plating

There were tin plated cables. They worked OK, but oxidation caused them to get jammed so you could not unplug your expensive kit without breaking it.

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It's obvious

The thing Ireland had (no use for) that Cornwall wanted was metal detectors.

Remake, remodel: Toshiba Chromebook 2

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Why I picked Linux on Chromebook instead of Linux on windows

It was really cheap. I haven't had such good value for money since Microsoft said Intel's latest chipset was too wimpy for Vista. Defeating Android lock-in hardware is a pain, but so is UEFI. If a cheap laptop gets broken or nicked, I haven't lost much, but I will not take an expensive laptop out of the house.

Given a choice, I buy would buy a Linux machine. If a Pi does the job then fine, and there are faster micro-desktop alternatives at good prices. Linux laptop prices are silly. Now if Microsoft would only come out with Vista2, I would happily buy a marked down too-small-for-Vista2 laptop with extra crapware.

DARPA unTerminators gather for Robotics Challenge finals in Hell*

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Re: Observations

What restrictions to you see in FOSS all the time?

Passions run high in EU parliament debate over air passengers' privacy

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Cool ...

If I live 100 years, I can commit crimes every day, and the police will not be able to keep records of it. I can just imagine turning up in court and no-one else knowing why I am there - probably because I did not turn up last week.

In the mean time, what happens if I lie about my age?

Virgin Galactic will get into space 'within 18 months to two years'

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Final frontier altitude

A reasonably accepted 'official' minimum altitude for space is 100km. SpaceShipTwo is intended to reach 110km, so there is enough of an excuse to call it a space ship. It is carried into the air mostly horizontally, and after launch goes up, falls down and when it gets deep enough into the atmosphere, it levels out and glides home.

When going to orbit, a rocket goes up to get out of the worst of the atmosphere, then leans over to almost horizontal. If it did not go up first, air resistance would melt it long before it went fast enough for orbit. When in orbit, a space ship has a little energy because of its altitude (>150km) and lots of energy because the velocity required to stay in orbit. SpaceShipTwo has almost no velocity at 110km, so it has no chance whatsoever of reaching orbit. Even if it did go fast enough, there is enough atmosphere at 110km to bring it down before it goes around once.

It really is the absolute minimum required for the widest definition of a space ship. The maiden voyage will be in late 2009... well, RSN anyway.

Virgin Galactic are working on a cargo launcher called LauncherOne. It is intended to take 230kg (≈two humans, one space suit and no ride home) to low Earth orbit. LauncherOne gets carried by White Knight Two, just like SpaceShipTwo. The first test flights will be in late 2016. If it is not very late, it will meet a much stronger definition of a (cargo) space ship.

Your servers are underwater? Chill OUT, baby – liquid's cool

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Have you tested this theory?


The capacitance is εA/d where ε depends on the material, A is the area and d is the distance between electrodes. Increasing the pressure will decrease d, decrease A twice and might do something to ε. Unless you have proper figures from the manufacturer, a small decrease in capacitance with pressure is a sensible guess.

The maximum voltage depends on d and the material. Increasing the pressure reduces d, but also (often) increases the breakdown voltage. Unless you have proper figures from the manufacturer, expecting the maximum voltage to remain constant is a sensible guess.

The other figures of merit are impedance at working frequency, maximum current, and temperature for 1000 hours of life. (1000 hours is far too short, so over specify the voltage by a factor of two to double the life, and over specify the temperature by 10C to double the life. Repeat until life time = mandatory guaranty.) It is really hard to guess what some extra pressure would do to these values, but you can be confident that the voltage and temperature markings on the capacitor wildly exceed those it will actually experience, and the whole idea of liquid cooling is to be more effective than air cooling.

How much pressure: every 10m of water get you an extra atmosphere of pressure. I doubt that the tanks are a whole 2m deep, and oil floats on water, so a sensible guess is less than a 20% increase in pressure.

In digital circuits, the capacitors are there to stop ground bounce. The capacitors were not selected for capacitance, and ±20% is often chosen because they are cheap. The figure that matters is impedance at some frequency. Often two sizes are fitted to cover a wide range of frequencies. The actual impedance has to be 'low enough', and as the components are cheap, adding plenty is often cheaper than experimenting to find out how few you can get away with.

In power circuits, the important number is maximum current. Selecting for this normally limits you to capacitors that have more capacitance than your circuit requires. The result is usually harmless, especially as modern (or ten year old) switch mode controllers have soft start built in to deal with large capacitive loads.

The only thing where pressure will make a clear difference is _after_ the circuit has failed. Abusing electrolytic capacitors causes them to create gasses inside the can until the can ruptures. The cans have been scored so they burst before the internal pressure becomes excessive. Increasing the external pressure will delay the rupture, and a liquid environment will do a better job of transmitting a shock wave to the rest of the power supply. This is entirely academic because the capacitor only ruptured because the power supply was already badly broken.

I can understand manufacturers voiding warranties as a precaution because they have not tested there components at 1.2 atmospheres. When I have looked for data, manufacturers did not know and did not care. The theory does not point to a clear and obvious problem, so the only way anyone is going to know for sure is to dunk a hundred power supplies, run them for two years and count the survivors.

Elon Musk's $4.9bn taxpayer windfall revealed

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They can tell us what they did

They made enemies.

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Comparing with a 'competitive' project

From wakipedia's entry for Space Launch System:

During the joint Senate-NASA presentation in September 2011, it was stated that the SLS program has a projected development cost of $18 billion through 2017, with $10 billion for the SLS rocket, $6 billion for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and $2 billion for upgrades to the launch pad and other facilities at Kennedy Space Center.

If everything related to Elon Musk is under 5G$, then SpaceX is a bargain.

Swordfish fatally stabs man after man stabs, fatally, swordfish

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Isn't it every American's right to arm bears?

Bank: Without software mojo, Android OEMs are doomed to 'implode'

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Android implosion: 2014Q1=69%, 2015Q4=77% install base

S6 vs S5: Not waterproof, no MicroSD slot, USB 2.0 instead of 3, and has a non-removable battery.

Perhaps there are reasons why people did not rush to re-grade to S6, and the S5 continued to sell well. Samsung still have the largest market share in Q1 2015: 24.3%. Samsung have lost some market share - to other Android manufacturers.

As this is an Orlowski article, the obvious take home is that Samsung and doing well because of Android. Microsoft appear to have caught on, as they released Office for Android last year.

The only thing I find surprising about the article is that is does not mention that Windows Phone actually is in third place. This has been a goal and a false claim from Microsoft for years, but they are now up to 3% market share, 2% installed base and the other also-rans are finally lower. 'Also ran' is a bit generous. Crawled away to die might be more accurate.

I have to admit I did not expect Microsoft to get third place by default. I thought one of the newbies (Sailfish, Tizen, Firefox) would sneak in. (WP installed base is 47 million. CyanogenMod might be over 50 million but it gets lumped in with Android sufficiently often that the figure I have may suffer from different errors than the ones for Android, iOS and WP.)

Hardcore creationist finds 60-million-year-old fossils in backyard ... 'No, it hasn’t changed my mind about the Bible'

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Observable and repeatable

Take slab of limestone, measure the thickness and dump it in a river. Come back a year later, and measure the thickness again. Divide one mile by the amount that the river has worn down your limestone slab. There is a repeatable observation that the grand canyon took longer to form than the creationalists' age of the Earth. There are many, many more.

Now pray to your God and have him create Earth V2 somewhere it can be seen with a small telescope. Give us the co-ordinates before Earth V2 is created and lets see if anything turns up a week later.

While we are at it, why would a loving god create Onchocerca volvulus?

NASA hands Boeing first commercial crew contract for SPAAAACE

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There is a way to meet the deadlines

Stop all development, pocket half the money, wait a bit, then buy some SpaceX Dragons.

Wearable fitness tech: Exercising your self-motivation skills

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@ Defibrillator

I have mixed feelings about this add-on. One of the treadmills at my old gym sometimes showed a believable heart rate. If we ignore that one and average the rest, then my heart rate has been zero for years. As I feel fine, I clearly do not need a defibrillator.

If lots of other people choose to wear an internet connected defibrillator, I foresee endless fun for sadistic crackers.

Creationist: The Flintstones was an accurate portrayal of Dino-human coexistence

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Re: Muppet

Of course not. The ground sloths flew in on the backs of pterodactyls.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Who actually cares?

Creationalist points between two animals and shouts 'MISSING LINK!' Biologist points at the link and creationalist shouts 'TWO MISSING LINKS!!' Biologist points at the two links and creationalist shouts 'FOUR MISSING LINKS!!!!' This goes on until the biologist realises that the creationalist is never going to stop.

Anyone would think that 'gaps in the fossil record' were because fossilisation is rare and there is a limited budget for fossil hunting. There is conclusive evidence that the creationalists are talking bollocks. Ask them what a 'kind' is. Creationalists 'explain' selective breeding by restrictinng evolution into 'kinds'. One 'kind' cannot evolve into another 'kind'. Years ago, a popular form of creationalist baiting was to ask for a list of kinds, then point at a common ancestor of two of the kinds that was not another kind in the list. Creationalists have not been able to produce a complete list of kinds. They have no theory compatible with selective breeding and the fossil record - except something like 'God deliberately created a bunch of fossils to wind us up'.

Columbus: The world was a sphere centuries before Columbus. The ancients could watch a ship sail away and see the hull go over the horizon before the sails (they were scientists and could test truth with an experiment). The problem was that a few people were already trading with North America, and getting good deals because of their monopoly. A state sponsored trip would have made the existence of North America common knowledge. Other people would have started trading and introduced competitive pricing. This had to be prevented, and the time proven way to ignore the results of an experiment was to start a debate.

You are right that a fight between creationalism and evolution does not help anyone. What does help is using experiments to test which theories are wrong. (Experiments do not prove something right, only that a theory makes useful predictions - or not). Experiments cured scurvy (multiple times because it was centuries before the value of the experimental method was understood). The real fight is not between creationalism and evolution. It is between experiment and 'I read it in a book' or 'in my heart I know it is true'.

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Re: Why does everyone assume he (Ham) believes this stuff?

I thought is was a publicity exercise to raise money for his ark.

(While checking the ark project status I found a couple of Hamisms: "You can't stop something God is doing!" and "Please be aware that the associated complications and struggles have been beyond our control")

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: It would actually explain the dragons

Photographic proof for the existence of cyclopes. OK, its a dwarf elephant skull.

Photographic proof for the existence of griffins. OK, it is a Protoceratops.

There have been plenty of opportunities for ancient peoples to see a fossil and invent a near contemporary legend to explain it. Sometime the fossil needs to be corrected a bit first.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge


There is a big secret in science that they do not want you to know: In science the test of truth is an experiment. The intelligent design nutters have tried to keep this fact out of the curriculum.

Perfect & infallible, never wrong:

Quantum mechanics and general relativity give excellent predictions at small scales and in strong gravitational fields respectively. The two theories are incompatible. There are several attempts at theories that work at small scales and in strong gravity at the same time. The bad news is that so far no-one has devised an experiment that would test (disprove some of) those theories that we could do with current technology and a practical budget. Scientists have known their theories were not perfect for many decades. Before quantum mechanics, no-one could explain the photo-electric effect or the ultra-violet catastrophe. Before general relativity, the orbit of Mercury was surprising.

Although people have been reading the bible and praying to God for centuries, those methods of finding "truth" have utterly failed to predict the existence and location of Neptune, calculate an accurate orbit for Mercury, select materials for a solar panel, ... Religion has changed over the centuries. It does not matter whether you think the change was good or bad. On at least one side of the change, religion was wrong. Despite this, religion is supposed to be perfect, infallible and never wrong.

Never contradictory:

Journalists and documentary producers often present 'the opposing view'. Sometimes because controversy is dramatic and improves ratings/sales/page impressions and sometimes because they are required to by law. Scientists do an experiment to prove at least one opposing view wrong. Religious people read their holy book or pray to their God and come up with a few more opposing views.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Got any more from this loon?

"Mr Ham has asserted that scientists cannot claim to have proof of their theories if they weren’t there at the time to observe those theories in action."

Let's apply that to Mr Ham. By his own logic, if Mr Ham wants to claim dinosaurs and humans co-existed two thousand years ago, he must have been there at the time. Likewise as he claims God created the universe, clearly Mr Ham was there to see it, before god create Adam.

Microsoft tosses Office, Skype portball to 20 Android makers

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Re: Free Office ???

Or do they mean bundled: buy a device and some of the money goes to Microsoft?

I have no problem with crapware as it reduces the price and it disappears when I wipe the device and install the OS of my choice. Where I draw the line is bundled. I should have a choice about what I pay for.

EU net neutrality could kneecap the Tories' opt-out pr0n filter plans

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I might have a hint of sympathy for the porn blocker if ...

... it replaced naughty pictures with 'Blocked by the IWF'. As it is, we have no idea what it is blocking.

I would prefer a system that does not require people who do not want it to fund it.

Opt in does not seem that hard. ISPs like to send bills by e-mail in thoroughly obfuscated HTML. It would not be hard to add a 'porn filter disabled, click here to change' link.

The threatened penalties for hosting porn make it tempting to hack a politicians web site and upload some naughty pictures.

Finally paying people to search the whole internet for naughty pictures is a waste of money. It would be cheaper to search only domains matching '^([a-z0-9]+[.])*kids([.][a-z0-9]+)*[.]uk$'. It would simplify the filters too.

SanDisk opens for business with point-of-sale terminal SSD

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Depends where you buy

I have found flash bought at a supermarket lasts for minutes, but flash bought from a distributor that specialises in computing kit lasts for years. The difference between the two is that the good stuff is made with the correct new silicon during office hours. The rubbish is made after most of the workers have gone home, out of whatever half sized, second hand silicon they could scrape off the bottom of the bargain basement bin. The firmware is always told to lie about the capacity of the device. Something that works might report up to 75% of the installed capacity. The broken stuff will report at least 200%.

I have confidence that a supermarket buyer can put the right smell by date on a fish, and have evidence that it was correctly refrigerated from death to display. I am less confident that the same person can buy working flash given the abilities of the forgers.

The thing I found surprising is how little write endurance is actually required on an ordinary desktop/laptop. On Linux, you can find the number of sectors written to each disk from power on with:

awk '{print FILENAME,$7}' /sys/class/block/sd?/stat

Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

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Much to my shame, I went to PC world

(There were only two distributors for the first Chromebooks and I wanted a cheap Debian laptop). You should have seen the salesman's face when he found he could not sell me anti-virus, Office and whatever high-commission bloat they cram down the throats of the ignorant. There are other reasons, but that alone accounts for many non-sales of desktop Linux.

Astroboffins perplexed by QUADRUPLE QUASAR CLUSTER find

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If you want to believe things, pick a religion

In science, the test of truth is an experiment. Newton's laws of motion were an excellent theory confirmed by every test up until the orbit of Uranus. The difference between the real orbit of Uranus and the one expected from Newton's laws could be explained by the existence of another planet. This planet - Neptune - was found. When a theory makes predictions that turn out to be true, it is a useful theory. It is tempting to talk of the theory as being true, but that is a lazy simplification so that non-scientists don't stop listening when the sentences become long and complicated.

A few years after the discovery of Neptune, the orbit of Mercury was found not to fit perfectly with the predictions from Newton's Laws. Scientists knew the drill, and started calculating an orbit for Vulcan to explain the differences. Vulcan was never found. At some point, scientists should have accepted the absence of Vulcan proved Newton's laws of motion and his theory of gravity were wrong. Someone with a better knowledge of history and modern hind-sight might be able to put a date on that. In the mean time:

Sound waves are travelling changes in air density/pressure. Ocean waves are travelling changes in water depth/speed. Seismic waves are travelling changes in rock position/velocity. Take away the air/water/rock and the waves cannot travel. Light waves are travelling changes in the electric/magnetic field of erm, err ... luminiferous aether. Take away the aether, and light cannot travel. A vacuum pump cannot suck luminiferous aether out of a bottle. Light waves can travel through the vacuum between galaxies.

Michelson and Morley saw this as an opportunity to discover the grand universal system of co-ordinates. They devised and experiment to measure the velocity of Earth through the aether. They got the answer 0. They waited twelve hours for Earth's spin to get the velocity of their equipment in a different direction, measured again and got 0. Months later, with the Earth's orbit taking the lab in a new direction, the velocity of Earth was zero compared to that of the aether.

At this point scientists could have proudly proclaimed they had _proved_ that the Earth was the centre of the universe, and everything rotated around us. The enormous centrifugal force on distant galaxies was countered by erm, err ... magic. Luckily, hammered in the face by experimental evidence, the theories of luminiferous aether and the grand universal system of co-ordinates were shoved in the dustbin and replaced by special relativity.

Newtons laws of motion are wrong. They make excellent predictions for low velocities, but get worse and worse as velocity increases and are completely useless near the speed of light. Likewise Newton's law of gravity is completely wrong. It gives good results for the gravitational field of a planet that start to go a bit wonky near a star. When you get really strong gravitational fields near a neutron star or black hole, you need general relativity to calculate what happens.

As I am a scientist, I would love to test climatology with an experiment. All I need is a million copies of Earth, and to be dictator of all of them for a few centuries. I would impose different carbon emission limits on each planet and draw some graphs showing how carbon emissions relate to climate. Anyone willing to provide a grant to fund my experiment?

Without such an experiment, I am happy to reduce carbon emissions as a precaution against the possible effects predicted by simulations. Statements about inevitable doom based on climate _simulations_ wind me up. Luckily, certainty is not required as there are excellent reasons not to be completely dependent on fossil fuels that have nothing to do with the climate. Lets build a few windmills where they are cost effective, put in solar panels where the sun shines and build a pile of nuclear power stations so we do not need to burn mountains of coal, oil and gas bought at enormous expense from countries where we are not entirely popular.

It would be nice if people's attention span could last long enough for 'this theory has not yet been proved wrong'. Until then, I am going to have to put up with 'this theory is true'. It would be great if climatology were a science based on experiments instead of simulation. No-one can afford the experiments. It would be astounding if the UK adopted an energy policy that actually added up but if we cannot have that aren't we lucky that anyone mentioning the problem online can be silenced by the state?

BUZZKILL. Honeybees are dying in DROVES - and here's a reason why

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

@T. F. M. Reader

I have heard 'Honey bees are going extinct' stories for decades. For years cell phones were blamed, then pesticides. Very occasionally, an article is actually based on some research. Real data fingered a combination of mites, pesticide and a fungus as a likely culprit. Have fun looking for some real research hidden in the dross.

BONKERS apocalyptic WAR WAGONS circle Vulture South

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A title is not required

Looks like Simon Sharwood left some debris in place from his previous article.

NSA spying is illegal? Then let's make it law, say Republicans

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Institutions seek to preserve the problems they were created to solve

Stopping the next tourist attack is completely against the NSA's interests. A big bomb blast is something they can point at when they demand their next budget increase. Imagine how much dirt you could dig up on politicians with a $50billion budget. If there was any danger of the NSA's senior management being found guilty, politicians all over the country would leap up to change the law for them.

Plod wants your PC? Brick it with a USB stick BEFORE they probe it

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Destroying the contents is no good in the UK

If I send you a file full of random numbers, and the police demand you decrypt it, you are going to prison for up to five years. The fact that you cannot 'decrypt' the random numbers does not matter. If you want to keep a secret, you have to destroy the _device_ before they can copy it.

Ransomware scum find the sweet spot to coin it without copping it

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This one-off payment to decrypt data...

... is it annual or monthly?

US hospitals to treat medical device malware with AC power probes

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What's the problem?

I cheeked those weirds with the Grauniad Smell Chequer, and their awl perfectly cromulent.

Stuff your RFID card, just let me through the damn door!

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Re: Amalgamated Durables

Amalgamated Durables dissolved last year. Inspired by this near miss, I found 3x Omni Consumer Products, 35x Universal Exports and 314 Ubrella's, but no Weyland Yutani. The Tyrell Corporation could be an ISP in Kansas, but I could not find their web site.

Got to run... the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe is getting impatient.

You! GOOGLE! HAND OVER the special SAUCE, says Senate (of France)

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Just tried googling "search engine"

I got links to Wakipedia, DuckDuckGo, Bing, ixquick, ... and freefind.

If we try the same elsewhere:

Wakipedia tells me about search engines and has links to the Wakipedia pages for each of the major ones.

DuckDuckGo links to Wakipedia, Dogpile, Google, DuckDuckGo, Bing, Yahoo, ixquick and webcrawler.

Bing links to ixquick, Dogpile, Wakipedia, freefind, DuckDuckGo, ..., Google.

ixquick shows freefind, ........., Google, ..., ixquick, Wakipedia, ..., and Yahoo.

freefind wanted an e-mail address.

Dogpile won't give results without javascript.

Yahoo links to Wakipedia, Dogpile, Google, ..., Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, ixquick and webcrawler.

webcrawler won't give results without javascript.

So, most search engines do not put themselves first or even on the first page. For three of these nine, I want my money back - but as I paid nothing to any of them, all of them gave me a full refund without any hassle.

Anyone want to try this in French?

Someone PLEASE stop patent trolls' stroking their favorite tool, cries Google and friends

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An expensive purchase gives rights to demand money?

I paid a million for a boat load of dog pooh. Everyone should pay me £100/week for not shoving some through their letter box.

Need speed? Then PCIe it is – server power without the politics

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

USB Ports/Interfaces

Port: something you can pug a cable into

Interface: some silicon the multiplexer connects to one or more ports.

Type lsusb (or whetever the MS equivalent is) and the result starts something like this:

Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

So, this computer has one USB2 interface, and 4 USB1 interfaces. When you connect USB1 devices to ports, each one gets assigned a USB1 interface by the port multiplexer until there are none left, then any further USB1 devices share the USB2 interface, trashing its bandwidth. Likewise, USB2 devices get assigned there own USB2 interface until there are none left, and then they have to share the same interface.

USB3 is a bit more troublesome. Computers come with separate USB2 and USB3 ports. I do not know if the multiplexer can assign a USB2 interface to a USB3 port. USB3 devices understand USB2, and will work slowly on USB2 ports. USB3 ports can speak USB2 or 1 to slow devices. A modern machine may have a few USB2 interfaces, but only one USB3 interface - even if it has two or even three USB3 ports. USB3 eats up to 10Gb/s per interface (5Gb/s x full duplex), regardless of the number of ports. If the south bridge is limited to 20Gb/s, I can see why people are not rushing to release chips with two or more USB3 interfaces.

Marvell: We don't want to pay this $1.5bn patent bill because, cripes, it's way too much

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Re: But did they...

Back then:

Marvell said that they did look at the patents, but that it was impractical to implement the design in silicon, so they did something else instead.

Patent quality is generally so pathetic that this is very believable, but I have no idea what is actually true.

Tape thrives at the margin as shipped capacity breaks record

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"thereby saving 15-20 kilowatts per hour for each PB that’s not on disk."

A 3½" hard disk is about 10 Watts. If we assume modest 2TB disks and mirroring, that is 10 Watts per TB or 10kW per PB. Add in RAID controllers and switches and you could get to 15-20kW/PB - if you spin all the disks all the time.

Where does that "per hour" come from? I could understand 15kWh/hour/PB. If killowatthours per hour sound stupid, there is a reason. Just cancel out the hours. The Register does not have a simple unit of power, but one can be constructed by multiplying force by velocity: Norris ⨉ (Percentage of maximum velocity of sheep in a vacuum). Like many units in physics, two things multiplied together. Units do not have to be something per something else.

GLOWING TAMPONS hold the key to ending pollution

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Re: Why use tampons?

Wild guesses:

Almost everything contains fluorescors. Tampons might be one of the few things that don't.

The concentration in fluorescors in river water could be too low to detect with cheap equipment.

Washing powders include fluorescors to make your shirts look whiter. If the fluorescor simply rinsed out, it would not be of any use. I assume they include one that binds to cotton.

If my three guesses are correct, tampons concentrate fluorescors to the point where they become easily detectable with cheap portable equipment.

Helium-filled drive tech floats to top of HGST heap

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Sure about that?

Helium can be forced to form a few compounds, including He2. In real life, I doubt you would find any in a hard disk.

Blighty's 12-sided quid to feature schoolboy's posterior

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Re: security chip???

It is a secret. The Royal Mint's explanatory web pages and video say it is excellent, but does not give a word of detail. So if you get an ISIS coin, you can tell it is genuine because ... err ... erm ... well you cannot tell it is genuine because all the new security features are secret. I assume the security features are like the emperor's new clothes - if you cannot see them you are not fit for your job.

Ping-pong sueballs: Bankruptcy dogs LightSquared's chances

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According to Lightsquared...

Lightsquared and GPS use different frequencies - but they are close to each other. GPS receivers should filter out frequencies not used for GPS, and be immune to Lightsquared's transmissions. In real life, GPS manufacturers used cheap filters that let enough of Lightsquared's signals through to cause confusion.

Lightsquared think this is not their fault, so GPS manufacturers should use better filters and everyone should buy new receivers. The FCC say that Lightsquared's license is dependent on their signals not effecting GPS - even though GPS receivers should use better filters. Lightsquared became a litigation company specialising in suing the FCC.

The real purpose of chapter 11 is to keep the creditors at bay while lawyers transfer the company's remaining assets to each other. This can go horribly wrong if the largest creditors agree to form a committee to run the company in chapter 11.

A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Use cases

1) Handed some data on a USB flash key. Cheap laptop: plug it in. New Mac: need to carry an adapter.

2) Handed some data on an SDHC card. Cheap laptop: plug it in. New Mac: need to carry an adapter.

3) Need a fast network connection. Cheap laptop: plug it in. New Mac: need to carry an adapter.

4) Device gets broken or nicked. Cheap laptop: can replace screen or whole device for a pittance. New Mac: ouch.

There are some cool things that could be done with USB C. The charger could be a USB hub with an HDMI socket, ethernet port and SDHC slots. Apple have taken care to let their customers pay extra for the benefits of USB C, but that seems to be what their customers want: "Look! My computer is more expensive, shiny and fragile than yours!"

UK.gov in pre-election 'Google tax' blitz against internet firms

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Check it out

Here is the dr̷aft law.

Overview of legislation in draft: 226 pages

Draft clauses and explanatory notes for Finance Bill 2015: 552 pages

Some UK MP's can read a page or two. I am sure nearly two of the 650 can read five pages. If you want to find someone who can read and understand all 552 pages, try asking a Micrappoogle accountant. One of them probably wrote it, and made it that long to hide a dozen loopholes.

The good news is that as the MPs are wasting so much time and effort on something that will achieve nothing, they should be too distracted to do anything more damaging.

OK, they're not ROBOT BUTLERS, but Internet of Home 'Things' are getting smarter

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Cheaper power

Which lies have you heard about your 'free' smart meter?

'It will only cost an extra £20 on your bill.'

'Your bill will only go up by £20 per year.'

'It will only increase you bill by £20 for the fist year, £40 for the second and £60 for the third.'

The staged increases in electricity bills have already been approved to cover the cost and installation of smart meters. There is no requirement that bills should go back down afterwards. I am looking forward to MPs getting an e-mail like this:

I pwn your smart meter. I will let you have power between 12:00 and 13:00. If you want power for a whole month, send me a bitcoin.

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