* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2601 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Spammers, Cuil, and the rescue from planet Google

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Cuil worked for me

Most of the time, when I search the web I do not want to buy something. Commercial sites optimising themselves away from the top of cuil are doing doing themselves a favour - their advert does not irritate me and there is less chance of me accidently visiting their site and buying nothing.

If I do want to buy something, I check out manufacturer's web sites and go from there to distributors. Finding a distributor on a sponsored link is not as bad as finding them on a price comparison site - but it is close.

EA preps video game PCs

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

The reason for graphics cards names

Most kit comes in four flavours: excellent and expensive (for people with money to burn), excellent without the over priced badge (for knowledgeable bargain hunters), cheap rubbish (for people who know a car capable of 120mph will really do 12mph in town) and rubbish with an expensive badge for the ignorant masses.

This is an excellent pricing strategy for ATI/nVidia, but it does cause disappointment for games customers when they find their XYZ8Ol is one tenth as good as the XYZ80I that was reviewed.

If the machines were available mail order, and it was clear what the parts were and that the parts were not special cut down versions or deliberately modified to be incompatible with standard ATX parts then I might recommend one to someone without the skill to assemble their own PC.

If the games did not require windows then I would consider buying some of those too.

Microsoft claims heart beats in open source

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Vista to ship with open office and firefox

Just kidding.

Seriously though, the Microsoft Linux distribution is taking shape faster then I expected.

Microsoft Mojave 'outs' secret Vista lovers

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@David Cunningham

I think Steve Ballmer would be more entertaining. Put a high-def video clip of some chair throwing on the laptop, mark it as protected content and tell him it is Apple's next advert. He can have as many other PC's as he likes as long as the DRM works.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge
Linux

A real test ...

Take a granny Linux user with no significant technical skills (there are plenty).

Give her a new motherboard, CPU, Memory, graphics card and generic (properly licensed) Vista installation pack - All the things you would need to get Vista working on a reasonable linux machine (might need an new power supply for that graphics card).

Offer a significant bribe (say 3 months pension) if she can make a dual boot Linux/Vista machine, send and receive email, write a letter and watch a DVD with each OS within a month. Ask her how much time it took to get Vista usable, how much of the bribe went on technical support, the value to her of all that new hardware and which OS she actually prefers. Do not ask over the phone. Ask in person. If she wants to beat over the head with her walking stick because Vista trashed her working Linux installation then stand there and take it like a piñata.

If Vista can pass a test like that, then I will accept that Linux is not yet ready for the masses. If MS users think my test is to harsh, then remember most newbies first try Linux with a free Knoppix or Ubuntu live CD. If there was a Vista live DVD I would let you use that in the test.

Perhaps the reason you cannot buy MacOS DVD's for generic PC's is that it is not practical to make such a DVD easy enough to use by Apple's target market.

McKinnon loses Lords appeal

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97 military computers with blank passwords!

If McKinnon is punished for reading secret document published by soldiers then I would like to see 97 soldiers punished more severely for publishing secrets.

Plods say it's OK for them give out your DNA

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Why is police DNA not up for sale?

I would like to know precisely why policemen chose not to allow their DNA to be sold. If their reason is in any way bogus at all, then their DNA should be up for sale just like everyone else's. If they have some good reasons which could also apply to a significant proportion of non-police DNA, then none of it should be up for sale.

It's official: The Home Office is listening

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Google brother

If there was any money to be had in a surveillance society, why isn't it on youtube? Let an army of curtain twitchers hunt for the interesting clips in thousands of hours of camera footage, and give them a percentage of the ad-revenue for identifying the humorous bits.

Alcoholic Malaysian shrews cast doubt on UK booze panic

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Was the study sponsored by a brewery, vinyard or distillery?

I am not in any way worried by inebriated shrews getting behind the wheel of a car. I have never had to avoid drunken-shrew vomit on the underground. The majority or human drinkers are at least as considerate as shrews. If the scientists had come up with some way to deal with the others then I would be interested.

Neosploit hack-by-numbers kit euthanized

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I bet they are not dead ...

They have just reduced distribution to their highest paying customers.

Swedish spy agency sics lawyers on wiretap critic

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What makes spies more effective than other governemnt institutions?

Ending terrorism would reduce spy's budgets, just like preventing wars would reduce spending on weapons manufacturers. If spies are even vaguely competent, they will allow just enough explosions to justify their existence without doing anything to prevent a new supply of bombers. If they are not even vaguely competent, then why do they deserve my taxes?

Microsoft slams 'sensationalist' Vista analysis

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Go

Why are MS highlighting the lack of usage of Vista?

"How is this useful guidance to customers?"

Enterprise customers are not a bunch of sheep looking to see which way they other sheep jump. They have the resources to test Vista and decide for themselves if it suites them. The report would be useful guidance to Microsoft: Many enterprise customers are not making an effort to switch to Vista. As Windows 7 is planned to be more of the same, it seems reasonable that enterprise customers will put just as little effort into that.

Redmond claimed to have sold 180 million Vista licenses to PC vendors and individuals so far.

About 6 billion people are licensed to use GPL software.

Both statements are equally useless. How many machines actually run Vista? Even if all those Vista licenses were actually used, Vista would still account for less than 13% of internet usage.

http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

Aussie school goes high-tech

Flocke Kroes Silver badge
Go

Silence! Exam in progress

Voice recognition: who is speaking

Speech recognition: what are they saying

One day fingerprint scanners might be good enough to require a severed finger to work, so I have far more confidence in voice recognition.

Who is going to record the teacher's pet's homework and play it back to their own computer?

Who will be the first to shout "format C colon" or "arr em space minus arr eff space tilde"?

What is 248 + 418?

"I was doing my homework, not chatting to the girl in the other class with VoIP"

Imagine a room full of children doing their homework.

Despite that, I still like the idea. I hope they make it work.

Microsoft pledges love and money to open source

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The MS-Linux distribution has not been release yet...

MS using the LGPL is not newsworthy - LGPL is compatible with binary distribution, lock-in, embrace-extend-extinguish and all the other tactics MS depends on. You find that license on parts of the tool chain (compiler+assembler+C-library) that get linked to all compiled programs. Without it, it would be very difficult to distribute any closed source software for GNU/Linux.

MS contributing to Apache while IIS still exists is a suprise. At a wild guess, they are only contributing software that adds value only to MS software users.

Understandable really: They screwed up badly with Vista. They announced that all the interesting features of Windows7 have been cancelled to get a Vista <strike>rename</strike>replacement out the door as soon as hardware can cope with it. Adding some value to their products sound like an excellent use of their resources considering the current value of Vista is negative. (Why else would machines with Vista pre-installed cost less than the same machine with linux?)

I do not see this as a sign that MS is moving to open source. I am sure that day will come, but MS have plenty of kicking and screaming to do before their customers drag them into the 21st century.

Intel knits SoCs roadmap for x86

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If they are comparing their SoC to a Pentium M ...

... it means it is pathetic compared to existing SoC's.

Cops slap ticket on Street View spycar

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Proof: Life on Mars!

Well somebeing must have put up a couple of mirrors so the Phoenix land could photograph itself.

Greenpeace: UK gov trying to strangle wind power

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The government says education standards are not falling...

... so why do we have an abundance of innumerate Greenies and politicians?

Pumped water energy storage is currently sufficient for a 24-hour cycle of power usage. Wind can die down for 5 days at a time - all over Europe at the same time. That would require an impressive amount of flooding that gets used about once per year, but is idle the rest of the time. Better to look elsewhere to justify building huge amounts of off-shore wind.

Like wind, hydro-electric is best built in Scotland or Wales. If the Scots and Welsh want to build some, go for it! I live in England, and unlike the Government here, I do not want to tell you what to do because it would be nice to stay friends with the nearest practical sources of renewable energy if we are not sure we will stay friends with Russian gas.

Hydrogen is an expensive way to store power. One day the price of aviation fuel might make it cost effective (Ships also find it difficult to connect to the grid). Until then, there is no need to rush to build a huge number of windmills.

Research into wave power has been pitiful. I would like to see more research so there are some quality numbers to compare.

Combined heat and power microgeneration does not currently work well for individual households. Equipment available today produces too much heat and not enough power. Even if this does get fixed, I would prefer to go for an air sourced heat pump an my current home (ground sourced on a newly built home). Heat pumps are currently a similar price to gas, and I do not see the price of gas falling. If the UK lacks the infrastructure to handle power from homes, then I would like this fixed for a different reason.

At present, electric cars effectively run on gas. If we do get a pile of nuclear or wind generators, electric cars become wind or nuclear powered. An electric car per household would store lots of power - if the grid can account for it. (BTW - I cycle or catch the train).

Greenpeace: If you want windmills, include the cost of storing energy in electric cars spread out over the entire country. Even covering the country in windmills will not power transport - and if you ban that, you loose your energy store.

While we are at it, we still need to power agriculture or let the vast majority of people starve. I vote for the anti-nuclear crowd starving first.

A good place to start learning how to evaluate an energy policy is at: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sustainable/book/tex/cft.pdf

MS products just too cool to comprehend, say MS geeks

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Perception problem: I do not see Vista fitting on my hardware

"Microsoft has a perception problem not a problem as an innovator."

MS has never been an innovator but that has never been a problem. They see Vista in a different way to everyone else. Who has the perception problem?

"... they [open source community] will be a bit perplexed when they see the best way to run what they do is on our infrastructure"

I would be outright astonished. I do not have any Vista capable machines. My last upgrade cycle reduced power consumption and noise because the hardware was already fast enough. A bunch of cunning adverts is not going to slim Vista down to the point where it leaves sufficient resource available for my software. MS are promising Windows 7 will Vista with a new name (delayed until there are a significant number of existing machines that are really Vista Capable). MS could be waiting a while as people are looking harder and power consumption. Do I see Vista for Atoms?

There are a couple of easy ways MS can get my software to run well on Window 8. They can choose between MS-BSD, or the Colour-Rectangles-Waving-Flag-Linux distribution. MS can support their users' legacy apps with XP-for-virtual-machines (unless they go for Samba+Wine ;-).

HMV lines up a few VAT-free CDs and DVDs

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@Richard Porter

What is the point of letting customers choose ten tracks they want on a CD when you can charge them ten times as much by making them buy ten different CD's to get the same tracks?

Lesbos climax as lesbians lick Lesbians

Flocke Kroes Silver badge
IT Angle

The IT angle

If Lesbians can get people to call lesbians sapphists the perhaps hackers can get clueless journalists stop writing 'hackers' when they mean 'crackers'. I thought the hacker/cracker argument was well and truly lost, but I distinctly remember Wallace did not say "We have forgotten the hackers Grommit!"

BTW: I thought the island was called something like Λεσβοσ anyway.

If your SSD sucks, blame Vista, says SSD vendor

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In real life...

Flash is supposed to have zero seek time. In reality the transfer rate is so slow that there is an effective seek time while you wait for the data for the last read/write to trickle through the interface. Old flash devices are slow. Plenty of modern flash interfaces are slow too. Then there is the misinformation about USB2: modern machines have one USB2 interface, about three USB1 interfaces and about six ports. When you plug a USB1 device into a port, the USB port multiplexer assigns it a USB1 interface (if one if free). Otherwise the device shares the USB2 interface. The USB2 interface is fast enough for one storage device, but not for accessing two at high speed. Your only real hope for getting speed out of flash is with PATA(one device per interface), SATA, memory mapped or fast compact flash in a fast controller in a cardbus slot under ideal conditions.

Linux has a choice of flash optimised file systems that can only be used on a tiny minority of flash devices because USB/CF/PATA/SATA flash pretends to be a hard disk (because windows does not understand anything else). Next we will have to pay for a Vista work-around controller on every flash device. Please can we have a SCSI command for telling a flash device that a sector no longer contains valid data. While we are at it, linux can handle sector sizes over 512 bytes. The SCSI command set already supports large sector sizes (SCSI commands are used for SATA and USB). The wear levelling algorithms built into flash would be simpler and more effective if they told the operating system the real sector size of the device. At the moment the have to lie for compatibility with XP/Vista.

One day hardware manufacturers are going to catch on to the fact that they can demonstrate all the advantages of their kit far more quickly on Linux than by waiting years for people to buy a new version of windows to get support for new tech.

NASA: The Moon is not enough

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I vote for cheaper transport into space

Noddy's guide to rockets: Burn 1% of your fuel so you can shove it out the back very fast. A tenth of it was used to accelerate your fuel tank. Far less was used to accelerate you payload. Nearly nine tenths was used to accelerate the rest of your fuel in the wrong direction (the proportion gets lower as you run out of fuel).

Air would make a good propellant for the first stage to orbit. It has the great advantage that it is not moving very fast in the wrong direction. Bad new is it needs a power source to do anything useful. A nuclear powered air breathing engine would not need the enormous fuel tanks that you see on current rockets. If you are not brave enough to put a nuclear power plant on a rocket, cook it with microwaves from space.

An orbital micro-wave powered air breathing engine would drop the costs of getting to low earth orbit considerably. Bad news is the kit required is hefty, and requires assembly in orbit. Thanks to the space station, people now have some experience of construction in space. Building out of moon rocks and dropping it down might be cheaper than lifting the kit from Earth.

I am sure some Americans can think of other uses for kit that can send megwatts of microwaves at a fast moving (or stationary) target, and the ones I am thinking about have money to burn.

The information on the moon is all very interesting (to me anyway), but the moon also has the raw materials to get people to the asteroids and Mars cheaper than sending everything direct from Earth. That might sell the idea better than information about the past - at least to people who do not understand how much investment would be required.

Linux on mobiles will put the squeeze on MS, says Zemlin

Flocke Kroes Silver badge
Linux

Why would customers want providers to differentiate?

Challenge: The first is the ability to build and sustain an ecosystem of applications that - on mobile phones, at least - will let handset and service providers differentiate and attract customers.

The differentiation drives away customers. Providers have made their phones so hard to use that some users struggle to learn the basic feature of a modern phone. If they stopped farting around with differentiation, users could sensibly expect to use the same interface on their new phone as on their old phone. Users would have some incentive to take the time to learn how to use all the revenue generating features of a new phone.

Who is challenged? Linux or some marketing drones trying to justify their existence?

Dell's Ubuntu love-in expands to new laptops

Flocke Kroes Silver badge
Linux

Yet another Linux non-event from Dell

Dell have yet again released Linux machines that are only slightly cheaper than Vista machines with lots of extra hardware. I know this represents the negative value of Vista. Why can't Dell ask for linux versions of crapware and adware to reduce the price of their linux systems? They would actually sell some kit if people could by Linux on good hardware without having to pay for an unused Vista licence.

Torvalds brands Digg users 'W*nking Walruses'

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Chairs chucking chimpanzee?

Walruses are tame compared to BillG and other microsoft employee emails. MS is now careful to destroy internal email promptly to avoid embarrassment.

http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/archives/141821.asp

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/business/09digi.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

AFAIK, Linus and Theo have never thrown furniture at people. With that in mind, which operating system has the most professional looking leader?

EU thumps Intel with more anti-AMD charges

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

@golverd

Little endian is harmless. Imagine you have to add two very large numbers on a bigendian CPU. You start by adding the least significant words together, and adding the carry bit into the addition of the next most significant words. You can have your pointers point passed the end of bigendian numbers (error prone). You can add the size of the numbers to the pointers (waste of time). You can use mixed endian (bigendian bits, little endian words) (Extra hassle to find the Nth bit). Little endian is marginally simpler for arithmetic.

The as for Intel and windows, the damage was already done by the time IBM chose DOS.

Intel lost my vote with the 487 (A complete 486 which only works when connected to a 486 that has had its internal math coprocessor disabled, and requires a motherboard with a coprocessor socket when half the advantage of the 486 was that it did not need an external coprocessor). All because people would not pay £50 for a CPU. Now we have twits willing to pay £500 for a CPU, and Intel laughing all the way to the bank.

SCO ordered to pay Novell $2.5m Unix royalties

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Vague

Only SCO considered it vague. If they were told: "Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass 'GO'. Do not collect £200." they would have gone to GO, collected £200, spent it, and complained the court order was not clear.

US sees first airliner flight with laser defences

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

What is a sensible response

"though there was a MANPADS intelligence scare in London during 2003, resulting in troops deploying at Heathrow."

I thought that was just Tony Blair trying to scare up some support for bombing Iraq.

The news showed a tank and a few soldiers. Would that have been any use? What would have been an effective response? If there really was a plot, why couldn't the plotters have waited a week for the soldiers to go home?

UK gov announces Road Pricing 2.0 - Managed Motorway

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

What is the problem that needs fixing?

Speed limits during busy periods and using the hard shoulder increase throughput until demand exceeds the capacity of such strategies. It does not reduce the amount that people need to travel, or increase distance a person can travel per litre of fuel.

Pricing people off the roads does encourage car sharing, which would increase km/person/litre. Legalising running buses on popular routes would have the same effect and would cause less backlash from voters. Some jobs can be done just as well from home - with a good internet connection - reducing the need to travel.

"Devices using the Global Positioning System could be used in the future ..."

With selective availability turned off, GPS is accurate to 30m 95% of the time (100m with selective availability on). Differential GPS gets you accurate to 10m, but requires receiving a radio signal that continuously reports the current errors in the GPS signal. The only reason your satnav shows you are on a road is because it assumes you are on a road. If you walk through a park, a satnav will say you are on the nearest road until you are about 100m from any road. There is no way that GPS will be able to tell you which lane you are in, and you would need to add a radio transmitter to tell a road pricing system where you are. That radio transmitter alone can tell a road pricing system if you are in the wrong lane without a GPS.

Detecting if a car in a specific lane has a paid up tag does not require sending ID numbers back to a control centre. On the other hand a system capable of sending a photograph of a car without a valid tag to a control centre is also capable of sending the ID's of all valid tags back to a control centre. Given politician's outstanding reputation for honesty and competance, dozens of people will be convinced that data from a road pricing system will not be left on a flash drive in a train every month.

El Reg nails Street View spycars to Google Maps

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

They are black because ...

... no-one has yet paid the advertising costs.

Promise to pay them a dollar each time Google says someone saw the camcar, and they will paint a vulture on the side. Google will track the number of people who saw the advert with subliminal images that hypnotise pedestrians into texting 'I saw the vulture car' to Google.

British drivers face jail for causing death by dangerous driving

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

In the word of Sargent Angel

'Road traffic collision' because 'accident' implies that no-one is at fault.

Street-savvy Microsoft tries to pop the pimply face of piracy

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Fasten the jib to the boom you slothernly tars

I have checked to news, and I still cannot find any reports of Vista downgrade disks being stolen off ships. Clearly MS are massively exaggerating theft of their software taking place at sea.

By the way, I whole heartedly support Bill's right to rent out third rate software at exorbitant prices. I just do not want to be required to pay for software I will not use.

Intel bets millions on speedy DNA sequencing chips

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

DNA on a flash key

A human genome fits into 1.5GB (uncompressed). If they succeed in sequencing a human in 15 minutes with mass producable kit, you could reasonably go to a pharmacy and walk out with your sequence on a flash key.

At the moment, if you get diagnosed with something expensive, pretending the diagnosis came later so you can get cheap insurance is naughty. For illnesses with a strong genetic link, it wil be harder to lie convincingly.

DNA testing will be profitable for embryos. Decide for yourself if you like to idea.

Asus blames lack of Linux Eee PCs on Atom hold-ups

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If intel are a problem ...

... why not use a via CPU?

Via kit is fast enough - I have yet to see any benchmarks comparing eden and atom, but the rumour is that the atom is no faster than a good eden. Plus with Via you do not need to add an Intel 945GM battery drainer.

I suspect Asus are stuck with a batch of laptops each with an expensive MS sticky label, and no-one wants to admit those non-transferable labels were a complete waste of money.

With a tiny bit of thought, they could have seen this coming. MS have been loudly advertising XP as end of life, so anyone who wanted a copy must have got one by now. Laptops with linux pre-installed have been demanded for years. Now at long last manufacturers are prepared to stand up and pretend to sell them. It is hardly suprising that they have sold out. The second batch of Openmoko phones also sold out - before I even realised there was a second batch.

MS takes Windows 3.11 out of embed to put to bed

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Some of us are still alive

3.11 ran my DOS programs properly. I tried 95 for a bit, and went back to 3.11 because I did not have time for my machine to reboot four times a day. When NT got foisted on me, some of my DOS programs became a bit wobbly. A friend had some expensive MS technical support to spare, and here is they advice the had him pass on to me: "God hates you."

I should thank MS for that, and for some similar advice I received when I tried to install a new MS compiler (the disk thrashed for two days before I let the machine give up). MS's helpful advice convinced by to try a Linux CD from the cover of a magazine.

Suddenly all the software I was familiar with from university became available. No more swearing at word because I could not get it to do the things I had done with Tex. It came with free compiler that worked better than anything I had used before. The same compiler worked as a cross compiler. There was a choice of software for schematic capture, PCB layout, and circuit simulation.

Better versions of all the stuff I could no longer use because MS kept "upgrading" their operating system.

I never had to deal with anything that explicitly required windows 3.11. Dosemu under linux and freedos have been sufficient so far, and it has been a long time since I had to resort to either.

XP has past me by, and I made no effort to investigate it. Now that it too is on the way out, I have no legacy XP programs to deal with. It is unlikely that I will buy a Vista capable machine - my newest kit is fanless and I expect it to last beyond Windows 7 service pack 2 (assuming Windows 7 is only two years late).

Have we reached the point yet when people get fired for choosing to be locked into expensive software with a short life span?

Microsoft urges resellers to play it straight, beef up revs

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MS directly control copyright infringement figures...

If they want higher numbers, just get WGA to report more false positives. If WGA gives a false positive three times on the same machine, that must mean three lost sales!

I am not convinced that MS or their friends loose a significant amount to piracy. How often to pirates capture a ship loaded with software licenses?

EMC CEO's ego has cost investors billions

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

If you employ an ex-MS manager...

Is it in his best interests to improve the value of your company, or is old share options?

Can T-Mobile get an Android onto US market in '08?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

If you want an open phone...

openmoko freerunner neo.

Bad news is they sold out, so I have no evidence that they actually exist. The specs are open. Google could ask a contract manufacturer to build some. They would be ready in at about 12 weeks (component lead time).

Research: Wind power pricier, emits more CO2 than thought

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

http://withouthotair.com/

About a week ago, the register linked to a free book by a physicist from the university of Cambridge. It does not advocate a specific reduced carbon or reduced oil dependency plan. Instead it allows you to estimate the consequences of your own plan. All the figures you need for rough estimates including CO2 costs of building windfarms are there.

Birds: An impractically large number of wind farms would kill a few birds. Banning cars and replacing them with bicycles would massively over compensate in favour of birds. Even the large avian death toll inflicted by motorists is dwarfed by the UK's bloodthirsty population of cats. Decide for yourself whether you would prefer to ban motorists, exterminate cats or carefully try to measure a miniscule decline in the bird population. (See page 64 of without hot air).

Hydrogen for energy storage: You only get back 25% of what you put in. Pumped water and lithum polymer batteries are much more effective. Ask again in a few years to see if hydrogen technology has improved.

Scraping CO2 from the air to store energy: even worse than hydrogen. There might possibly be a future in using captured CO2 from gas turbine emissions, but the research is not going to happen without a credible threat of massive huge carbon taxes.

How to beat AVG's fake traffic spew

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Roger Thompson waffles

Can someone ask Roger Thompson how scanning before and after a click can catch a zero day exploit when scanning after a click cannot?

What is the point of downloading the link a second time anyway? If you have downloaded the first time, use the results as a cache.

If he expects black-hats to send clean data to his scanner, and malware to the browser, then configure the browser to identify itself as the scanner.

TSA says 'checkpoint friendly' laptop bags on the way

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

People buy these thing?

The last thing I want to carry on a dark London backstreet is a bag which which announces: "I have an expensive laptop, please rob me!"

Xandros buys Linspire, says bruised ex-CEO

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Another one bites the dust

Linspire makes a deal with MS, now they are gone.

Has any software company survived an interoperability agreement with Microsoft?

Warning sounded over black hole in UK physics teaching

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Simple solutions

1) Cancel the passports of all physicists because of their potential as terrorists. Create a physicist tax starting at 95% of net income that does not apply to teachers.

2) Put Intelligent Design and astrology into the curriculum so any half baked crack-pot can teach physics.

I hear that most of the children are not that bad. The real problem is often the parents.

Dell develops ultra-efficient server power supplies

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

How to run a server off DC

Take a look at the combined thickness of the power cables on the low voltage side of the PSU. Copper is expensive, so they did not make them that thick for fun. You could decrease the thickness by increasing the voltage - but that is what is happening already. You could decrease the thickness by making the cable shorter, but it is already barely long enough to get out of the box - let alone all the way to the UPS. You could decrease the thickness by accepting more of the power will be wasted by the increased resistance - but the whole idea is to reduce the power consumption.

You could have a sensible thickness by using liquid nitrogen cooled super-conducting cables. As a by-product this delivers boiling nitrogen to your server, which is handy for keeping it cool but can cause problems with condensation, brittle fracture and frostbitten asphyxiated techies.

A quick web search resulting in 0 suppliers of superconduction cables, but lots of patents. Perhaps there will be something in twenty years when the patents expire.

Microsoft says ‘hasta la vista XP’ - well, kinda

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Patch Teusdays to be followed by XP deadline anouncement Wednesdays

Steve: "you can't buy a PC that won't run Vista"

Yes I can. They are cheap, come with Linux pre-installed, do not need a noisy fan, last for hours on batteries and do all that I require of them. Ever seen Vista on a Laptop? Portable Vista computers are called Notebooks because they can overheat if you restrict the cooling vents by trying use one on your lap.

Khaptain: "How come 1.2 Billion Chinese can't seem to create a new system anyway ????"

For a long time, there was no incentive because XP was effectively free in China. People are now keeping there XP machines because they have no reason to downgrade to a new Vista machine. As a result, manufacturers have to look for new markets. A good XP machine can be cheaper than a Vista barely-capable machine. An excellent Linux machine can be much cheaper than a tolerable XP machine (How many cheap routers run XP?).

A really cheap linux machine can have a bucket of useful software for bundled free that you would have to pay extra for if you installed XP. The new big market is cheap linux laptops that vast numbers of Chinese can afford. Manufacturers are selling them here to recover their NRE costs on short test runs. They are going to ramp up production well before Windows 7 is currently promised.

CERN declares Large Hadron Collider perfectly safe

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

The sky is falling!

If financial experts say "there has never been a significant collapse in the financial sector and we don't expect one now" then it is because the expect to make a profit from saying that.

Nuclear PR flacks might have said "there has never been a significant loss of life nuclear incident worth worrying about", but they if they did, they would clearly have been lying (Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Chernobyl).

Reports of leaks at Windscale used to be a regular event, but after they changed the name to Sellafield, the reports slowed down and stopped. The fire the core of windscale pile number 1 was caused by design flaws. Nuclear engineers will not make those mistakes again.

The three mile island incident released more radiation into the environment, but no deaths were attributed to it. Sickness was attributed to stress caused by reports on the accident (The reports were more frightening than the ones for Windscale.)

Chernobyl caused about 35 times more fallout than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It caused about 50 direct deaths and around 9000 deaths from cancer. These numbers are very political. You could get different numbers from other sources.

Chernobyl and Three Mile Island incidents both involved running reactors that were not ready for operation. Perhaps we should delay building nuclear power plants until electricity is rationed, then build a dozen plants in a rush.

The Earth has not been eaten by vacuum bubbles, black holes or strangelts yet, even though it has been around for a few billion years. The Earth is made out of material ejected form super nova explosions. These explosions are far more powerful than LHC. If you are trying to say LHC is not safe, you first have to explain why LHC could cause a problem that supernovas have not.

If LHC could make vacuum bubbles with different rules of physics that grow without limit, then supernovas would have done this and we would not exist.

If miniature black holes did not evaporate promptly, then the Earth would be a black hole, not a planet.

If stranglets could convert normal matter into strange matter, the Earth would be made of strange matter caused by strangelets from supernovas.

If a theory is not consistent with the results of previous experiments, then the theory is wrong.

If the LHC is spending tax dollars on saying "LHC is safe" it is because they have to counter the silly law suit started by the modern day Chicken Lickens Walter L Wagner and Luis Sancho. I hope these two will meet the modern equivalent of Foxy Loxy and have to pay some extra taxes to make up for the waste they have caused.

Veteran climate scientist says 'lock up the oil men'

Flocke Kroes Silver badge
Linux

Noddy's guide to science

You have the right to believe in Farther Christmas. You could connect an infra-red camera to your VCR on Christmas Eve and find out who is really responsible for presents appearing in your stocking. Once you have done your experiment, faking photographs of Farther Christmas and trying to pass them off as real in childrens' text books is naughty and you really should halt in the name of Plod.

Skepticism alone is not constructive. You could follow it up with an experiment that tests the predictions of the theory you are skeptical about, or you could run around shouting "I'm a skeptic! !'m a skeptic! Aren't I cool? Believe in me because I'm a skeptic!"

Trend Micro's CEO says 'AV industry sucks'

Flocke Kroes Silver badge
Linux

5.5 million new viruses is a sign of success

If there were only 55 new viruses, virus scanners would be simpler to maintain so it would be much harder to justify expensive upgrades.

Fellow from AMD ridicules Cell as accelerator weakling

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Big server chips are a mug's game

You spend millions designing your massively complex chip. You hope it works first time because mistakes take months to fix. You have to get back your investment from a small market, so your prices are high. These big chips sit on big motherboards that are again not the mass market, so the motherboard manufacturer has to get their non-recurring engineering costs from a niche market. Add a non-standard enclosure, and your final price is huge.

If they went for small chips there is less risk of expensive failures, and NRE costs get spread over more sales. The result is that a super-computer built out of a large number of mass produced chips is cost effective compared to one built out of a small number specially designed expensive chips. A cell phone with a server processor is never going to sell.

Via are going in a good direction. The future will be DRAM, CPU and graphics on the same chip. Phones, cameras and PDA's will use one chip each. Laptops will have four or eight of the same chips on a SODI(memory+cpu)module. Desktops and servers will have a row of SODIMCM sockets.

AMD and Intel are oustanding at producing x86 monsters. World+dog can license MIPS and ARM cores and hire a FAB to crank out excellent systems on a chip. AMD and Intel have to play to their strengths, but their strengths are becoming less and less relevant.

Painting by numbers: NASA's peculiar thermometer

Flocke Kroes Silver badge
Boffin

Please write more comments without checking the facts

@JonB

According to http://www.indexmundi.com/world/electricity_production.html, the world total electricity supply is 6.7e+19J/year. Solar energy reaching Earth is 2.0e25J/year. Even if power stations are only 30% efficient, the have only 0.001% of the heating effect of the sun. We are not going to cook the planet with power stations any time soon.

@Joe K

The biggest error in television and radio wether reports is trying to summarise a complete day's weather for the whole country in under a minute. Try getting the report for your home town from http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/

Anyway there is a huge difference between predicting the temperature in your home town at midday tommorrow and predicting the average midday June temperature in your home town over a twenty year period. Just like it is easier to predict the average time of the three fastest horses than to predict which horse will win.

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