Hire the hall for a performance of the Mass
Don't tell them you meant Plague Mass by Diamanda Galás. (She has a stunning voice ;-)
2601 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007
Microsoft broke the law and caused a lot of damage. If they get fined for their activities, either tax payers will not have to contribute so much to the EU, or the EU will have a bigger budget. Either way, most people do not end up ahead because of all the problems caused by Microsoft's defective browser.
If Microsoft wanted to make me happy, they would have to start obeying the laws that apply to near monopolies (Laws intended to prevent businesses from being able to compete with governments). I cannot see it happening. If Microsoft tried to compete on meritt, they would be a very small company within five years.
What you get if you fire Gallium at Lead: not enough neutrons.
Light elements have about the same number of protons as neutrons - adding an extra neutron means populating a higher energy level. A neutron can decay into a proton and an electron, the resulting proton can drop to a lower energy level and this more than compensates for the additional electrostatic repulsion of all those protons. Heavy elements need more neutrons: the protons repel each other with electrostatic forces, but all the protons and neutrons attract each nuclear forces. The extra neutrons hold the nucleus together and make it more stable.
The half life of 112 was so short because there were not enough neutrons to hold the nucleus together. If they had 173 neutrons instead of 165, the half life might have been several minutes (half life is estimated from trends - there is not enough (any?) direct physical data for very heavy elements). Using gallium instead of zinc adds a proton, but does not add any more neutrons, and 113 would be more stable with 174 neutrons.
If you get an annoying call, it is costing them money. Ask them to wait a bit. Get on with what you were doing, then ask them to wait a bit longer. Let them get into their sales pitch, pick of one subject and ignore the rest. When they finally shut up, ask about that subject. Keep asking stupid questions and ignoring everything they say.
I just tried "remove bing default search":
Google had what I was looking for in 5th place (a link to answers.yahoo.com).
ask Jeeves has the same link in 5th place.
Bing has nothing useful in the top ten, but does link to plenty of articles that say Bing is really popular.
Manufacturers love OS changes. One new OS, and all old devices stop working. Manufacturers could spend money writing new drivers for their obsolete hardware, or they can sit back and let you buy replacement hardware to get the driver you need.
I can imaging that Microsoft has as much difficulty getting programming specs out of manufacturers as Linux programmers do. I respect Microsoft for not playing the same game with their own hardware. Their operating system may be an overpriced resource hog fit only for malware, but I have been impressed by the quality of their mice (mine still works after about 12 years).
@Mark Legosz: Cost
The cost of some flash increased by 30% for each layer of the distribution chain is significant on a £5 mouse. Instead, USB devices identify themselves as firmware devices. The operating system gets the device ID, uses that to get the firmware, sends it to the device and resets the device. The device then identifies itself as a webcam or whatever without having to include more than 16 bits of non-volatile storage.
Even if they add a dozen free third party browsers, people are still charged for IE along with the OS the might not want either. The obvious solution is to limit Microsoft to shipping a free demo version of their OS, and letting lock-in victims buy functionality if they want.
The output from lightbulbs could be measured in well defined Lumens, but energy efficient lightbulb manufacturers prefer to say "as bright as a 60W bulb". They look for the dimmest bulb that draws 60W for their comparison, so customers are disappointed.
If a light fitting is rated for a bulb that uses 60W, imagine what the shop assistant will say about an efficient bulb with the same output as an 80W bulb.
The article mentions up to 500,000 downloads, but also mentions 1,000,000 sales. A later article expected 2,000,000 by the end of the year.
Looks like a cross between "Try before you buy" and "Viral marketing" to me.
@raving angry loony
Current "3D" means stereoscopic. There are two ways to get proper 3D. Tell a computer where your head is, and the computer can render the right image on a TV so it looks like there is a 3D scene infront of and behind the TV. This is limited to computer generated material and is not useful for two people watching the same TV, but it is very cheap. I am surprised that you cannot get this as an add-on for games consoles now.
The other way is to spin a screen very fast and use 3 high speed projectors to put images on the screen that change as the screen rotates. The image is limited to places where the screen can be (nothing can appear to be infront of or behind a sphere), three viewing angles are blocked by the projectors and the image darkens as your point of view becomes vertical. If there was a guaranteed mass market, the kit would cost a few thousand pounds. Content would be hard to produce - multiple cameras shooting from all directions at the same time, then the cameras have to be replaced by background in post production. It could be done if there was an audience ready to spend lots of money on 3D films. Even if the porn industry had not been decimated by free content on the net, this stuff would still be over a decade away from being anything but a curiosity in a science museum. Your best bet for 3D footie is to take 21 friends and a football to the park.
Sounds like you were looking at a hologram. If you shine a laser onto a holographic plate, it looks like there is an image infront of or behind (or both) the plate. If you move around, the image changes as if it was a real 3D object. The holographic plate is a piece of high resolution photographic film. The resolution is several thousand dots per millimetre. LCD's have a resolution of several dots per millimetre. You can get that sort of resolution with LCD on sillicon, but the result is either tiny or expensive. You can also store a 3D animation with current technology. 1,000,000 times the size and bandwidth of a 2D film is expensive, but technically possible. It would be cheaper to hire some actors for a private performance, and walk around the stage.
Anyone seen microdisplays for sale? Several companies claim to have them, but as soon as you look for a price you get customer friendly notices like "You need Microsoft .NET framework to beg for a quote", "If you need to ask for the price, you cannot afford one" or "FOAD because we hate customers/developers/anyone who might generate sales". I have always thought a microdisplay would be far more convenient than a laptop display, but judging by people's opinion of 3D specs, I could be alone there.
Two ways to make memory access faster:
1) Put 4 CPU's in one chip, put the chip in a socket, connect the socket to another socket via a PCB, put another PCB in that socket and solder memory chips to that PCB. Then come up with some patented process to reduce the latency and power requirements of all those gigantic sockets and PCB's.
2) Put 1 CPU in a chip and use the remaining space for embedded DRAM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1T-SRAM, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EDRAM). All the connections are low latency low power on chip busses.
Guess which is the best choice for small cheap computers?
The only reason you can use proprietary or free/open source software is that you have a license. If you do not respect the license, you lack the authority to use the software. That restricts you to software that has passed into the public domain. What OS and applications do you use?
Commercial software exists because the authors are financed by license sales. BSD licensed software exists because the authors use the attributions required by the license to justify educational grants. Free/open source software exists because some programmers like the requirement that if someone else distributes modified versions of their software, the modifications have to be made available for anyone to use.
Almost all software exists because of copyright law and licenses. I have a great deal of respect for the people who created licenses. Because of them, I am able to earn a living, use some excellent software, read interesting books, watch films and listen to music without requiring musicians to be present.
Get a clue you freetard.
Take a look at the back of your computer. Have you noticed that the contacts on almost all the sockets are gold plated. Same with the connectors on the cables. Take a look inside, and you will find gold plated expansion cards, gold plated socket for those cards, and gold plated pins on the CPU and its socket. Next, go to the factory where the computer was built. If any of the chips are Ball Grid Array then the circuit board is probably gold plated. The older style chips with pins around the edges use gold to connect the pins to the chip.
A 500nm layer of gold covering the area of a DVD is US$1.40 at today's (high) prices. I doubt that they would need so much gold, or that the mass market would want 9TB in a 12cm disc when they could have 1TB in a 4cm disc, or whatever flash and hard disks look like 10 years from now.
3050 Wh/kg is almost 11MJ/kg. A Tesla Roadster does 2.53km/MJ or 27.7km/kg of battery. (actually you could go further as you are not lugging around a hefty Li-ion battery). For comparison a Honda Civic VX (51mpg=21.7km/l) goes 29.5km/kg of fuel.
A 1kg battery would handle my most common round trip journeys. Charging time is not that important, as it would be practical to swap a pair of 10kg batteries every four hours on long journeys.
All figures came from: http://www.stanford.edu/group/greendorm/participate/cee124/TeslaReading.pdf and http://www.mgkscotland.co.uk/lift_drive/health&safety/lifting.htm
1) Talk to a machine for 5 minutes, find the machine cannot help you, then wait half an hour for a human. The human is overworked, underpaid and has not been given the resources or authority to do a proper job. There is a risk that whatever you agree over the phone will be forgotten the next day. You will have to make the same phone call again later, and explain it all again to the person in the next cubical.
2) Type a letter. Print two copies. File one and post the other. Let the letter wait in a queue for you. Both sides get to keep a reminder of what was said, and overworked staff can deal with their in tray at a steady pace rather than with the added pressure of 50 tax payers on hold.
The fine is paid into the same fund that national governments pay into to run the EU - unless Intel appeal, in which case Intel still have to pay within three months, but the money is held in trust. If the appeal fails, decide for yourself if this means lower taxes or a higher EU budget.
Paul Otellini: "There has been absolutely zero harm to consumers."
This message was typed on an Intel laptop. I wanted AMD, but there were no AMD decent laptops for sale in the same price range. Bear in mind that AMD were unable to give CPU's away for free because distributors would have lost their "Intel only" rebates. If I underclock my AMD desktops so they use less power than a laptop, I get a silent computer with better performance than my noisy Intel laptop.
If Mr Otellini cannot spot the harm that his company does to consumers, then by all means use his appeal as an excuse to double the fine.
(I found answers to my biggest questions about these fines: Intel have three months to pay the current fine - even if they appeal. If they appeal, the money is held in trust and earns interest. If Intel lose the appeal, the money goes into the same kitty that national governments pay into for EU membership. Decide for yourself if that means you get lower taxes or a bigger EU budget.)
Konqueror: Settings->Configure Konqueror->AdBlock Filters: Block all ads, or block ads by source.
You can also use a user style sheet to fix the colours and layout of ugly websites, turn all cookies into session cookies, not install the flash plugin, change the browser id, and do all sorts of other fun things without using any plugins.
There were several patents involved in the deal, some of them for hardware. TomTom settled because the cost of fighting was large compared to the cost of settling. Microsoft settled because the terms of the deal included secrecy about how weak the FAT patents are. The idea is to say "TomTom settled" to everyone else who uses free/open source without mentioning that using free/open source software was not the real issue between TomTom and Microsoft.
"OSI approved" license means nothing in the open source world. The OSI approved lots of licenses - some good and some poor - and many incompatible with each other. In short, if it is not GPL or a BSD variant, then checking the license allows what a programmer wants to do and is a real barrier against misuse costs more effort than finding another piece of code with a GPL or BSD license.
Microsoft like to send press releases about making friends with open source but their business model depends on technology lock-in. Many free/open source users and developers place a lot of value on the absence of technology lock-in. Free/open source users are not going to change their minds, and I do not see Microsoft changing while they still have cash to burn.
Here is an elevation of privilege attack for Linux kernels up to and including 2.6.10. It has sufficient privilege to escape from user mode linux and chroot jails.
Advantages of BMI:
* The definition is widely known.
* Several people can calculate it even after a modern education.
* The formula gives poor results for the very tall, very short and for athletes.
* Even less than unuseful for making national plans about health/weight.
Height/(mass^2) is the wrong formula. So is height/(mass^3). If you scale people equally in all dimensions, mass increases with l^3, but ankle strength increases with l^2. Tall people cannot afford to grow thick and wide in proportion to their height or they will damage their ankles. (Excessively tall people end up in wheel chairs for this reason.)
A tolerable formula would be something like height/(mass^2.3), but people argue about 2.2 or 2.4, so there is no consensus on a good definition. Also, after a modern education, the number of people who can punch <x^y>2.3 into a calculator is quite small.
It would be nice if politicians could understand the weaknesses of the BMI formula, but frankly I think they have many more scary mental deficiencies that this.
Protons are not elementary particles. Composite particles that contain an odd number of fermions are fermions. Quarks are fermions and protons are three quarks, so a proton is a composite fermion.
Atoms are made of electrons, protons and neutrons. Electrons and neutrons are also fermions. Atoms have the same number of protons as electrons, so atoms with an odd number of neutrons are fermions (unless there is a force that makes atoms pair up to form bosons).
If you do not have to pay road tax, insurance and vehicle maintenance, and you travel alone, you can afford to catch a bus. Once you have a car, taking the bus is out of the question. If we loose road tax (and increase fuel tax to match), and switch to insurance/mile instead of insurance/day, there is some incentive for people to consider buses. Break the bus route monopolies, and prices will become competitive. With lower prices, you get more people one buses, and a more frequent service, which makes buses a useful choice for more people.
More people on buses means fewer cars, so we do not need to widen all the motorways. Divert road widening funds to overhead (or trenched) power cables, and you can run electric buses (with tiny batteries to take divertions when the normal powered route has roadworks).
Some people download to keep. Others use it as a "try before they buy" system to make purchase decisions. I am curious to see whether trashing pirate bay reduces or increases music sales. It will take a long time to tell. The worst music thieves are often children who grow up, get a job then buy legitimate copies when they can afford it. Hearing other people's illegal downloads encourages some people to go shopping. I have no idea where the balance of profit really lies, but I am sure it is nothing like as one sided as the music industry claims.
@Andrew Kelly: You, your wife and both kids drive a G-Wiz each. Four cars will only cost £8K with subsidy, add a couple of portable generators and your are still price competitive with a new car big enough to carry the for of you and your luggage.
@Adam: AFAIK, parking meters in Canada include a standard power socket so your engine does not freeze solid while you are at work. If the Canadian government can come up with one standard socket, I am sure our government can agree on at least two new standards. Twice as good! Decent home charge points have a power switch inside your house. If someone unplugs your car at night, the switch trips, so they cannot steal your power until they break in and flick the switch back. There you go: everyones' problems solved.
Instead of hulking big batteries around, we could use small batteries to get people to and from main roads, and then over head power lines for the bulk of the journey. As we are leaping towards a Stasi state, a quick run through the national database would show who travelled where in what size car, so peoples' electricity bills could be calculated with equipment that is already budgeted and approved. It is a good thing our government have so much experience of massive IT projects! What could be more popular?
A G-Wiz is currently about £7K. I am sure that next year it will be £12K.
I do not see 3500 gigantic windmills under construction, so Gordon ¿must? have come up with some other power source for all these electric vehicles. A sterling engine can convert hot air into electricity, but even Nu-labour will struggle to meet demand.
Both the links for Linux are about installing a rootkit via "/dev/mem". You need to be root to access that device. There is nothing about how to get root access. Even given root access, the rootkits I have tried so far have failed to handle even simple security customisations.
Things would be very different if Linux users were limited to only x86/amd64, one or two secure kernel builds, and just a handful of customisable hoops to make crackers to jump through.
I am afraid it is less sane than that.
There are physical sectors - specific areas of silicon on a chip, and there are logical sectors that the operating system asks to read and overwrite. There is also a map that converts logical sector numbers into physical sector numbers. The map is stored in physical sectors, and maintained by the flash controller chip. The operating system does not have access to the map.
When you ask the operating system to delete a file, the operating system writes a few sectors. One will be the directory containing the file. Another will be the sector containing the file's inode (file size, creation/modification/access dates, where the file is stored on the disk). There may also be some changes to sectors to account for some newly deallocated space.
The flash controller writes the data for each of these logical sector writes to some pre-erased physical sectors, then updates the map so that requests requests to read these logical sectors return data from the newly mapped physical sector. At some point the physical sectors that contain the old contents of the directory, inode, free space list, journal and so on get erased. The flash controller has to keep track of which sectors are erased, how many times they have been erased, and where the map is. Writing a single logical sector to flash can result in several physical sectors being written or erased.
During all of this, you may have noticed that none of the data for the file that was deleted has been modified at all. The flash controller will dutifully preserve the file's contents until the operating system decides to allocate those logical sectors to a new file.
A good way to massively improve the performace of flash disks would be to add a new disk command that allowed the operating system to tell the flash controller which sectors no longer contain useful information. This would give the flash controller advanced warning of which sectors can be erased, so it has a wider choice of erased sectors to choose from for the next write operation.
An even better solution would be to forget about complex flash controllers completely and let the operating system maintain the logical to physical map itself. (Linux already has a choice of controllerless flash specific file systems available, but linux users get to pay for expensive performance hitting hardware that works around lack of development in a certain operating system).
This sounds like an oscillation thruster.
These work by throwing an internal mass back fast enough to overcome friction, and make the vehicle lurch forward. The mass is returned to initial position slowly, so the vehicle does not slip back. Oscillation thrusters work fine on a flat uniform surface. They are poor at going up hills, and dealing with surfaces with different amounts of friction.
Oscillation thrusters depend on static friction being greater than dynamic friction, so they do not work at all in space - although they do make impressive demonstrations for fleecing ignorant investors. What colour is the aura of a rich twit dumb enough to invest in yet another impulse engine?
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