* Posts by Mage

7566 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

Mystery Google barges TORPEDOED by US govt: Showrooms declared death traps

Mage Silver badge

Re: Shouldn't they have seen this coming?

No, because it's typical Google Arrogance,

HOT YOUNG STAR about to GIVE BIRTH, long range images show

Mage Silver badge

Intelligent Life

There is very little inside. Bound to be more outside.

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Re: Huh!

I think it's not optical but very high resolution radio imaging from an array of radio telescopes. Dust cloud.




The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an astronomical interferometer of radio telescopes in the Atacama desert of northern Chile. Since a high and dry site is crucial to millimeter wavelength operations, the array has been constructed on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 meters altitude, near Llano de Chajnantor Observatory and Atacama Pathfinder Experiment. Consisting of 66 12-meter (39 ft), and 7-meter (23 ft) diameter radio telescopes observing at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths, ALMA is expected to provide insight on star birth during the early universe and detailed imaging of local star and planet formation.

ALMA is an international partnership between Europe, the United States, Canada, East Asia and the Republic of Chile. Costing about US$ 1.4 billion, it is the most expensive ground-based telescope in operation.[1][2] ALMA began scientific observations in the second half of 2011 and the first images were released to the press on 3 October 2011. The array has been fully operational since March 2013

Languages don't breed bugs, PEOPLE breed bugs, say boffins

Mage Silver badge

Re: Modula-2

Been doing C++ since 1988. Last did any Modula-2 about 1997. I've forgotten most of it. What is really horrendous is maintaining or extending a Web Server application. I think I counted something like 9 languages on one project I worked at last year (if you count SQL, Oracle SQL stuff telling the engine what to do, HTML and CSS as "languages"). You are reduced to using a text editor, running on a test server with debug options on and it's like 1979, except you have multiple windows, 8G RAM, 2Tbyte storage and quad core 64bits instead of 6502 or Z80, one screen and 1M byte 8" floppies.

People writing gadget or desktop GUI applications in one language with a visual GUI editing forms/Windows etc don't know how cushy they have it. Even embedded JAL, C or Assembler for a PIC micro-controller has a better Compile Time environment and less error prone that Web Server development. It explains why Microwave ovens and Washing machines mostly work and the Internet is full of semi-broken poor usability websites full of eye candy and security flaws. Why on mailing lists are we STILL seeing almost every week SQL injection, PHP errors, cross site scripting, escalation of privilege etc?

Mage Silver badge

Re: Wasn't Erlang the language

Erlang can be used for Mobile.

It's not actually the maximum number of calls on an exchange (though related), but it is the unit of "traffic"

"When used to represent carried traffic, a value (which can be a non-integer such as 43.5) followed by “erlangs” represents the average number of concurrent calls carried by the circuits (or other service-providing elements), where that average is calculated over some reasonable period of time. "



You need Stochastic analysis to predict what traffic as system can carry. You can use these methods to predict actual speed for a contended backhaul of a known contention ratio (total subscribers x speed sold even if not connecting vs actual backhaul speed)

See also


Mage Silver badge


Most people used it as a sort of Pascal failing to understand the advantages of

1) Opaque Modules

2) Procedure Variables

3) Anonymous arrays etc of same size not compatible / Stronger typing

4) dynamic sized variables

5) Co-routines and Stack frames etc as part of language to create multi-CPU, Multi-threaded, Mutexes etc

6) default on Compiler features such as array bound checking

7) Zero need for ANY global variables (i.e. Local Persistent variables for repeated calls of function/procedure in a Module) or "global" only to nested modules

8)Separate compilation of modules without DLLs.

and many other features alien to Pascal. The only aspect of C++ better is syntax for objects (as M2 can do them sensibly). The failure of C++ is C compatibility. Too many C++ compiled programs are traditional C style. Doesn't anyone read what Bjarne Stroustrup (father of C++) said about C?


C# is of course really MS version of Java, and a creditable effort. No point in VB.net if you bother to learn C#

(The VB6 is another story, if you pretend you are writing C++ or Modula-2 in it and never did BASIC or Fortran).

Mage Silver badge

Re: Erlang and more: C Libs??

Learning C (or any language for real projects) is mostly learning the Libraries. Especially which ones NOT to use. There are loads of traditional C lib functions you'd be mad to use.

Mage Silver badge

Real Programmers

can write ForTran programs in any language.

Yes, programmers may prefer certain languages, in certain domains the choice may be important. It may affect maintainability, but the real problem is you can teach a programming language easily, teaching programming much harder and a minority are good at it.

Ericsson boss sticks a pin in Google’s loony Loon bubble

Mage Silver badge

He's right.

But even if Google DID have the spectrum it's a loony idea. Their arrogance seems to know no bounds, they should hire an RF engineer AND listen to him/her.

Million Mask March: Anonymous' London Guy Fawkes protest a damp squib

Mage Silver badge

Re: Hackery

Palestinians & Arabs ...

These would be the people that rejected every freedom deal since 1948 and call a guy that drove a car into 9 innocent people, killing one, a hero?

If the Palestinians were serious about freedom rather than killing anyone they don't like and especially Jews, then it would be serious cause. Europeans have supported the Palestinians financially far more than the rich Arab states and what to they get out of it?

Hide your Macs, iPhones and iPads: WireLurker nasty 'heralds new era'

Mage Silver badge

Re: OK so let me get this straight..

The point is that Apple users are complacent. Apple OSX or iOS isn't magically more secure. It's just been a smaller target.

iOS will be targeted more, it depends on OSX share as to if it has much attention.

Most malware gets installed by user interaction, lack of user care on Windows. Hence AV isn't really the solution.

Fatty Brit 4G networks slow down. Too much Bacon, perhaps?

Mage Silver badge

Re: Thats an overcrowded backbone.

No, more likely contention ON AIR on the RF channel!

click > for next slide

Mage Silver badge

Now the other pesky 3G users

If people all got 4G only phones and no-one else was on my mast I could get 21Mbps. Or 42Mbps by 'bonding' two channels. On 3G

The 4G hype is hype. With an economical number of customers it will vary from rubbish to OK.

An important issue is if 5MHz or 20MHz channels. The 5MHz is 0.5Mbps to 21Mbps approx and and the 20MHz channels are about 2.5Mbps to 100Mbps approx.

Depending on number of users and signal quality!

Can you really run your business on a smartphone?

Mage Silver badge

Re: Everyone apart from me, obviously...

You have your eMail server forward a copy to a separate mailbox for the phone, if you have two things that do POP3.

Also most POP3 clients have a "Leave messages on server" option.

Many solutions.

Mage Silver badge

I stopped reading when he said "Windows"

Too niche a Smartphone platform.

Like testing the possibility of running business on an OS/2 Laptop rather than NT4.0 or Win95 instead of the VAX (or AS/400 or Netware Server), back in 1996.

The only valid test is to use the most popular platform, Android. With about a 4" screen.

Using WinPhone smacks of MS Marketing even if it's the best Solution. An iPhone smacks of cosying up to a one trick pony. How many companies make iPhones? A least a few different people make Winphones, still.

Eye laser surgery campaigner burned by Facebook takedown

Mage Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Another solution

Boycott Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin etc.

These corps are nothing more than privacy slurping, web parasites, arrogant and prepared to ignore morality and law in pursuit of profit.

Met Office: 2014 was fifteenth warmest on record

Mage Silver badge

Opening windows when hot?


If it's really hot you open windows and blinds at night.

During the day it's cooler to keep the windows closed and blinds closed to reflect the sun. Even better are exterior shutters during the day.

Ask anyone that lives in Middle East, deserts, hot bits of Europe etc.

Indeed that kind of Cherry picking is daft.

The late 2014 Apple Mac Mini: The best (and worst) of both worlds

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It's a laptop without the keyboard and screen built into the case.

Trickle-down economics works: SpaceShipTwo is a prime example

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sat on to increase ROI on existing product

That would be when the innovative, entrepreneurial founder is gone / lost control and the company is run by an Accountant or other desk jockey.

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Thumb Up

Great article

Yes I too 100% support the money spent on Spaceship2, even though it's a rich toy, no use for putting stuff in Orbit or into deep space. It's an excellent use of Branson's money. We all will be 'richer' by what is learned. I don't resent the Rich having joyrides on it.

No doubt many aspects will benefit other Terrestrial and Space projects. Only rich people with a whim can benefit us like this. Governmental sponsored research is too bureaucratic. Most big company research is too safe or never sees the light of day when the innovative founders are gone and "beancounters" and "IP Lawyers" are in control.

Now if Google, Microsoft, Apple etc would "waste" some large percentage of their dragon hordes in a similar fashion it would be wonderful. Branston's "waste" of money is much more sensible than most of what is printed in the Guardian. But I suppose it's a nice wrapper for the fish n chips?

HP's pet lizard is feral peril says wildlife group

Mage Silver badge

Re: Forget the perils of iguanas...

Very good point.

Also who is paying for Tommy's ink? TV adverts might be cheaper.

Got a spare $600k? Then an ancient Apple-1 could be yours

Mage Silver badge

Re: The machine that started the digital revolution?

No, some schools bought it instead of RM or Acorn (later BBC).

Most of Apple II success was with Visicalc. It certainly didn't start the Home Computer revolution. Far too expensive for too little compared to competition. I think though it had the first Kings Quest game.

The IBM PC was nothing to do with home market. It was an answer to success of CP/M based business machines. It was squarely aimed at Business.

Mage Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: The machine that started the digital revolution?

Try harder. There are some. But the Apple II was never sold as a single Board Computer. It was a system, with limited number of keys built in keyboard, cheap Astec PSU, only 40 columns capitals only text and very slow expensive non-standard 100K single sided floppy drive. Early models only did colour in USA because of how they modified it for European 50Hz. Like the IBM PC one of the keys to success was easy to fit plug-in cards. I had ones for 80 column text with lower case, Z80 with 64K RAM and controller for a 5 Mbyte full height 5.25" Winchester / HDD.

The Apple II OS was nothing great unless you wanted only Visicalc. We used UCSD-p system for development for a while and then when we got CP/M via the Z80 card also added dual 1Mbyte 8" floppies.

But Apple dropped computer from their name and a tiny fraction of profit is from Mac. The iPod, iPad and iPhone used hardware developed by others (mostly not PC makers) and succeeded late to market by combination of marketing, slick UI, and in case of the iPhone magic data plans for consumers in an era when only business folk could afford data on a Smart phone.

Mage Silver badge

Re-writing history

The Apple 1 and Apple II didn't start it.

What about CP/M. 8080 etc?

Wang, HP, DEC ...

The Apple II relied on sales of Visicalc.

Nor did IBM PC. Plenty of non-x86 (actually the IBM PC was the pathetic 8088) and OS before IBM and MS held back computing for nearly 10 years.

Seriously, for real this time, the 12in MaxiPad is totally on the way ...

Mage Silver badge

Re: MacBook

the x86 is a dead end too.

Mage Silver badge


Apple have no loyalty to USERS.

If eventually they can make more money from an iMaxyPad with a keyboard cover, ARM and iOs than MacAir with x86 and OSX, then x86 will die.

They have killed two Mac CPUs before.

Virgin 'spaceship' pilot 'unlocked tailbooms' going through sound barrier

Mage Silver badge

Re: Right Direction?

@ Shrimpling

That then would be a Rocket, not Spaceship2

It may be a plan, but if you do the sums for an actual useful orbit, you'll find the Mother plane isn't much advantage and seriously limits the payload.

If it worked, it would effectively be a completely different orbital launch solution. Spaceship2 is incapable of orbit.

Mage Silver badge
Thumb Down

Right Direction?

It's not real spacecraft like Dragon + Falcon. It's a toy. Such a design can't lift people, parts or satellites to orbit.

UN: Fossil fuels should be terminaated 86 years from now

Mage Silver badge


No, Hydrogen is totally impractical.

Synthetic LPG using waste carbon made using Nuclear, Solar, Tidal or Hydro is more practical.

The Politicians are unlikely to do anything much anyway that's unpopular with results only to be seen in 10 years time never mind 50+ years.

Pollution is a consequence of a Consumer society were things are disposable, rarely make it to the 2 years mandated by SOGA and little re-usability rather than recycling. Almost all the lead in car batteries is recycled as car batteries. What about the casing?

Why are drinks and food containers not reusable rather than total rubbish or recyclable? It seems arbitrary as to which wrappers are recyclable and which are not.

USA leads the world in resource waste and pollution per capita. About 5% of population and using 20% to 70% of each resource.

Cut down on Dairy consumption and massively on Beef. Cattle Methane production is about 23% of emissions. Many societies don't have dairy at all and a small fraction of Population eats that Beef.

Do Westerners eat Meat more than once a day? Do you eat Beef more than once a week?

Snapper's decisions: Whatever happened to real photography?

Mage Silver badge

Re: Digital backs

I'd like one for my OM10 kit. I have a lot of nice lenses.

Mage Silver badge



It's very hard to find any Consumer Still or especially video camera with Manual everything.

There is similar "forbidden zone" with Video. For SD Widescreen my old 8mm Digital Sony is better than most new cameras as you can hold it to your eye and have it more steady. For an HD Video camera with proper viewfinder with enough resolution to focus, instead of a flip out LCD you are into professional priced territory. Again some phones are barely worse than consumer video cameras.

USA NTSC SD video resolution was of course chosen in 1940s to be roughly equivalent to cheap 16mm film production. (Actually by 1970s probably good 16mm Colour film movie photography in decent light was a lot better than NTSC color).

Yes, Samaritans, the law does apply to you. Even if you mean well

Mage Silver badge

Re: stop their Radar app from processing your tweets

Yes I read that. But it's inconsistent with the other comments made.

Which is why I can't see how the DPA applies.

Mage Silver badge
Paris Hilton

stop their Radar app from processing your tweets


It's a stupid parasite on the Internet that is SUPPOSED to make your Tweet absolutely public. If you don't want something public, don't post it to Twitter or Facebook.

I do think the app is a bit misguided, but it is not breaking any privacy. The users gave that up by Tweeting.

Icon because Samaritans, The Twitter users and the author of article are showing as much sense.

'I get it if you don't make money for 2 or 3 years, but Amazon's 21'

Mage Silver badge


Fortunately it looks like there isn't much risk. Researcher keep re-defining what AI is to make it look like there is progress.

Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST

Mage Silver badge

Re: Depressing: "made it to the moon"?

Russia put rovers on moon.

Oh, dear! Scientists uncover Afghan VAMPIRE DEER

Mage Silver badge

Re: Move along nothing to see: Muntjac

"have had Muntjac"

Did we eat them all?

Me give you $14 squillion gadziddly-dillion

Mage Silver badge

Dear Lewis

Please keep Dabbsy.

OFFICIAL: Fondling of Apple's slab declines – iPad sales DOWN in Q3

Mage Silver badge

Re: Zombie Purchasing

You started well. But then lost me. Any sort of web browsing more than a minute or too is painful on a phone screen. Battery life poor doing data tasks on Phone. A tablet isn't an alternative to a phone but an alternative to netbook/notebook. If you don't need specialist x86 apps then for many people a Tablet can replace a laptop, with option of real BT or USB keyboard too. As I don't go anywhere and have a dedicated home office and my Laptop is on 8am to 11pm approx, have large screen Android phone and a Kindle DX, I don't particularly need a Tablet. But for most non-engineering and ordinary consumers a tablet is a far better idea than Laptop/PC. No way does a phone replace a tablet. If I had the money to spare I'd get a Tablet too and likely use it more than my phone.

Mage Silver badge

iPhad and iPhone eventually Niche?

A tablet that costs far more than an x86 laptop and has over 40% margin (less margin on iPhones, Apple average is greedy 38%)?

That's not sustainable as a mass market product.

Samsung says teaming up with mobe-maker Microsoft could violate antitrust law

Mage Silver badge

The MS Patents

Even if they are due royalty for patents, it's likely that if there had been proper due diligence at the start the MS Patents wouldn't exist. The Patent on Long File names on FAT for example is nuts. Only ways of doing it should be copyright. It's not the kind of idea that should ever get patent protection.

It's baffling that everyone didn't get together and oppose MS at the start. After all, a lot of them have real inventions, not just a fairly trivial idea that can be implemented in Software and should only have copyright protection for implementation, which is the case on most MS patents allegedly infringed.

Trolls pop malformed heads above bridge to sling abuse at Tim Cook

Mage Silver badge

It proves something

Best not to use Twitter.

Pixel mania: Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display

Mage Silver badge

Re: Value for money?

Resale price is irrelevant.

I keep tech till it is beyond economic repair. My Jan 2000 laptop is controller now for a piece of test gear.

I'm not sure why there an authentic IBM AT (upgraded to VGA, Network and bigger HDD with 2 x full size AST memory expansion cards) and upgraded Amstrad PCW256 (2nd drive is DS 3.5" and RAM is 512K and has Clock/2xserial/1xParallel adaptor) in my attic. I did dump the 68000 based Mac with single 3.5" floppy drive. No-one wanted it even for free.

Mage Silver badge

The display

Where can I buy the screen (preferably in black), with VGA, DVI and HDMI connections.

Also should cost about 1/3rd of iMac price.

I don't need an iMac. I rarely edit video (Have ancient Adobe Première on Windows as well as various more modern Windows & Linux free tools) and Email + Web is much the same on anything.

Even a broken watch is right twice a day: Not an un-charged Apple Watch

Mage Silver badge

Woman's Hour R4

More Women than men wear watches

Women prefer watches with numbers on them

Many Women prefer chunkier watches, similar to traditionally worn by men.

Perhaps the Apple Watch is for Women?

Hungary PM ditches internet tax plans after mass protests

Mage Silver badge

Or ...

Just raise VAT.

Google’s dot-com forget-me-not bomb: EU court still aiming at giant

Mage Silver badge


Why is it so hard to search by date?

i.e. Content created or changed since 2013 etc

or Before 2001

Mage Silver badge


Lots of people based in Europe only have dot com dot net etc due to over charging by TLD registrars for many European Countries. About x3 in many cases.

Plasma-spaffing boffins plan spaceships driven by FRIKKIN' LASERS

Mage Silver badge

Re: Saw this on Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle's novel, Footfall

?? I don't remember that, but must be 25 years since I read it. I do remember (who could forget!) that Footfall used Project Orion style Nuclear bombs as a propulsion.

"The Mote in God's Eye" (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, 1974) has an awesome ground based laser speed a Light sail propelled craft. The 1990 approx sequel is good too.

FIFTEEN whole dollars on offer for cranky Pentium 4 buyers

Mage Silver badge


I got one in 2002, someone else paid for it and I don't live in America. Foiled again.

At least it still works.

DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned

Mage Silver badge

So ...

Drupal 6.x is OK then?

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