* Posts by Herby

2950 posts • joined 14 Dec 2007

Apple's top bean counter: New spaceship HQ won't emit 'one atom of carbon'

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People forget...

That passing gas emits Methane, which is a more powerful "greenhouse gas", and includes Carbon as well. Combined with the emissions (noted above) of alive breathing humans, there is going to be a bunch of "hot air" emitted.

One can presume that this is "balanced" by some greenery that will be planted around "Spaceship Steve".

So much "flustering". Must be Al Gore on the board of directors (in his do as I say, not as I do mode).

Mac fans: You don't need Windows to get ripped off in tech support scams

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One way to cure this

Just add a line in your hosts file to make protection.com point to Then call them and see what they do.

Even better would be to have a computer sitting next to this one that is in the hosts file as protection.com which you can turn on/off ping responses. Then when he tries, it fails, and when you try it, it succeeds. That would really fluster the guy!

Fun with scammers. In some places it could be considered a "sport". Simon, are you listening?

Leaping SpaceX GRASSHOPPER ROCKET jumps 2,500ft, lands safely

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It could be (but probably isn't)...

A shot of the rocket going up for a while, then a nice reverse of the movie. You can be sure it goes back to the correct place when you go forward for a while (until it disappears) then run the movie in reverse.

No, it doesn't look like that, as the up shot is quite different from the down shot, but you never know.

D-Link: Oops! We'll slam shut that router backdoor by end of month

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Now if D-Link would...

...Give out the code for those routers that they consider "obsolete", we would all have a win. There are several router/firewalls that are perfectly serviceable and do their job quite well.

Alas, I am dreaming.

MS Word deserves DEATH says Brit SciFi author Charles Stross

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Then there is EMACS

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned it. I believe that it includes a kitchen sink somewhere, so it must be capable of doing some nice "word processing" somewhere!

Then again, I think about it a little bit more, and wonder how I ever passed 8th (2nd form) grade typing class (I had a nasty cut in a finger which got me a 'B'). We used these nice manual typewriters. They included a nice new '1/!' key which some older typewriters didn't.

I suppose we really never learn.

Who here needs to explain things to ELEPHANTS?

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The nose knows!!

What everybody should know!!

Do-it-yourself Dropbox: Western Digital's My Cloud 2TB NAS box

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Does it do Linux??

From what I read on the WD site, the data is stored on the drive formatted as NTFS. All fine and good, but it might be nice to have it formatted as EXT4 (probably better, please argue elsewhere). I'm sure that is OK, but if you have FTP access (among other things) and the processor is a nice ARM chip, maybe it is easier to get a Raspberry Pi and use one of its USB ports to attach a drive, and be done with it.

Of course, if they DO run Linux, one could always fiddle with the source and get it fixed properly! (now where is the serial port?? Probably on 3 pins inside the box.).

Video thrilled the radio star: Tracking the history of magnetic tape

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VHS vs. Beta....

One of the reasons that VHS won out over beta was that its recording time in normal (1x) mode was two hours. Given that number, you could put a nice movie on a SINGLE tape.

By the time Beta increased its playing time, VHS had movies lined up and working.

The marvel of the helical scan boxes (U-Matic, Beta, VHS) was the mechanics involved in "threading" the tape. You open up a U-Matic machine and watch it go through its threading and it is a wonder to behold.

The nice 3/4 inch U-Matic machine I've got is somewhere in the garage. I believe it still is operational for NTSC signals. I'll need to plug it in to make sure. Such fun! The nice thing about that machine (it is a JVC one as I recall) was that it could video process sync signals very nicely and re-record those pesky "copy protected" tapes I got from the video store.

But life goes on, and now the TiVo box does most of the recording now.

White House promises glitch fix for Obamacare website

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Wait, wait, wait.

Welcome to government run (anything).

RIP charging bricks: $279 HP Chromebook 11 charges via USB

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Re: Mmmm.... ChromeBooks!

Yes, after a quick install of a FULL operating system they ought to work quite nicely. Just al long as they don't have the UEFI garbage.

Oh, does Microsoft get paid for computers that don't get windows installed on them??

Wheels literally FALL OFF solar race contender

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Loose Wheel?

Haven't they heard of LUG NUTS?

Cue the Kenny Rogers song:

You took a long to to leave me Loose Wheel (Lucille).

DEATH WATCH counts down seconds to wearer's demise

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Borrowed time?

So, if you have an accident and succumb, will you ever know that "your time is up"?

Of course, if I give one to my mom (who turned 95 last month) will it be accurate?

It seems to me that all one needs to do is have it count down form age of 100 years, and hope for the best. It would give me another ~40 years to go

Universal's High Fidelity Pure Audio trickles onto Blighty’s Blu-Ray hi-fis

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Has anyone characterized the human ear?

With all this wonderful "high definition" stuff, one needs to find out EXACTLY what the ear can hear. I strongly doubt that an ear can go beyond 20kHz and 96dB SNR. A normal CD has a nyquist limit of 22.05 kHz upper limit and 16 bits (96+ dB), and that ought to be enough.

Of course simple tests would be out of the question for true Audiophiles, as they always know better.

p.s. Constant exposure to loud music and time have a detrimental effect on hearing ability, so keep the volume down, and stay young!

Poor miserable Ballmer's pay SLASHED to a measly $1.26m

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Musical Chairs.

Enough said.

Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII

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Could be worse?

We could all be using a Baudot coding scheme. They use 5 bits per character and include LTRS and FIGS shifts. Only the alphabet was encoded in the LTRS shift, and "special" characters were encoded in the FIGS shift.

A total of 26 LTRS, 26 FIGS, and CR, LF, FIGS, LTRS, SPACE, NULL.

A nice total of 55 actual code points, as you couldn't count FIGS, LTRS, or NULL.

Of course if you go back further, you were limited to a 48 character set for such mundane things as coding in FORTRAN. The character set had 26 letters, 10 digits, space, and '@', '=', '(', ')', '*', '$', ',', '.', '/', '+', '-'. Sometimes you replaced '@' with a single quote (').

If it was good enough for FORTRAN, it was good enough for me.

You put up with CRAPPY iOS 7. You can put up with Obamacare too, says prez

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Wait for it!!

All this health "service", we will have a lack of MDs (my wife is one!). Then they will institute wait times for "services".

I suspect that there will be waits of about 9 months for pre-natal care coming soon.

Something to remember: "Life is a terminal disease!".

Icahn to Cook: 'Buy back $150bn of Apple's stock, or tell me why you won't'

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That is the proper answer for Mr. Icahn. No more, no less.

Me? I'd love to have the value of my stock increase.

Curiosity keeps on trucking despite government shutdown

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All theatre!

All the workers will get back pay, and life will go on.

I note that it takes the same effort to make a website say "closed" as "open". No money saved here.

Microsoft Surface 2 fondleslabs finally get off ground with airline order

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It will be an interesting comparison!

So, Delta uses Surface tablets for its EFB stuff, and other airlines (American for instance) use iPads. Let the war for mindshare begin.

Pilots (even from different airlines) socialize together. They are a tight group. If there are features lacking in one platform, or bad things like crashes of software, EVERYONE will know about it.

The original "EFB" software is/was developed by Boeing (a subsidiary Jeppesen) where I did some contracting work a bunch of years ago. It was THE hot thing for reducing paperwork and all that stuff. The pilots seem to think it is OK, and since there are two editions in the cockpit (captain, and first officer) it should be OK as well for redundancy.

Time will tell if this really works. My friends make note that it was the touch interface that made it all work (replacing a laptop). The keyboard just gets in the way.

Scientists to IPCC: Yes, solar quiet spells like the one now looming can mean Ice Ages

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On Mars.


The more things change, the more they stay the same. YMMV.

US.gov - including NASA et al - quits internet. Is the UN running it now?

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Who knows...

Maybe it WILL save money after all. Kinda like the ticket takers that salaries are more than the tickets sold (French Metro??). In that case, letting everyone go for free saved money by not having ticket takers (it could be a silly rumor).

In some regards, be careful for what you ask for, you may get it.

Observation: It costs just as much to have a web site displaying "Closed" as it does to have one open for business. All politics.

Windows Phone market share hits double digits in UK and France

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Even better sales numbers if...

Someone hacks the Nokia phone to run Android.

Could happen, you never know!

Now where was that $200 rebate?

SpaceX Falcon boosts to glory from Vandenberg space force base

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Will LOHAN dock?

Obviously this is the next thing to do!

At the moment, not a bunch of cargo but that is only a matter of scale :-)

BlackBerry Messenger to launch on Android, iOS this weekend

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Observable omission

Windows Phone 7/8

Maybe this tells us something!

Microsoft's swipe'n'swirl pic passwords LESS secure than PINs, warn researchers

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Re: Choose a picture Dozens of POIs

Yes, a picture with LOTS of points of interest doesn't exist. The WHOLE POINT of a picture is to have a small number of points of interest. Why else would you take the picture in the first place?

As for the obvious attack, my nice tablet has LOTS of finger prints where I play solitaire. They have become pretty obvious when the screen is dark and light reflects off of it. It doesn't take long after a cleaning before it becomes greasy again.

Yes, potato chips (crisps) speed up this "marking" of the glass face.

p.s. If you have a 4 digit pin, the best one is chosen by someone else. That way it isn't easily guessed. I suspect that '8520' is a pretty common self generated one.

Life … moves … in … slow … motion … for … little … critters … like … flies

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Now I know why we have that as a power frequency.

Maybe the French started when they were a little older, thus 50Hz.

Then again, Americans are a little quicker on the draw?

Microsoft no longer a top Linux kernel contributor

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For the same reason

That IP addresses do not have leading zeros. The number(s) separated by periods are distinct, and not decimal fractions.

p.s. Leading zeros in IP address might be considered octal, or hex if prefixed by '0x'.

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Nice, but we will NEVER know...

What the stats are for something like Windows. It would be interesting to see exactly what is going on there. How many lines of code are changed in the product? How many are left over from the MS-DOS days?

I suspect that there are some from both catagories (probably a small number). But we will never know!

London Underground cleaners to refuse fingerprint clock-on

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Sand Pebbles

Just saw this movie on the TV Saturday. I draw some conclusions in regards to "cleaners".


Yes, I don't like unions, outlived their usefulness (especially in the public sector here in the USA).

'British Bill Gates' Lynch laments HP's Autonomy 'botch-up'

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Boy, do I need to study business!!

"In case you're confused, in the novel 'Catch 22', the cook bought eggs at a rather high price, then sold them cheaper. It later was revealed that he was running a con using the camp food budget to buy the eggs... from himself, and then resold the eggs to the camp kitchen for less, again using camp funds."

Yes, I am confused!!

Want to sit in Picard's chair while spying on THE WORLD? We can make it so – ex-NSA man

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Bad choice of commander!

Should have picked Kirk, not Picard.

Kirk had all the right moves ("Poker, not Chess Mr. Spock!").

Yes, I did watch the series when it was "first run" Thursday nights in the 60's.

Microsoft announces iPad amnesty for fanbois

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Re: has anyone actually USED a Surface?

"iPad is for kids, grannies or people with no tech savvy."

It seems that you don't understand marketing. This is the target audience, and it is QUITE LARGE.

Most people don't need people dancing on tables, or magnetic keyboards. They want something that does the simple tasks that an iPad does quite well.

Play solitaire?

Senator halts Google's taxpayer-subsidized executive jet fuel deal

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They could always...

...start an airline. Maybe charters only or some such.

There are fewer direct flights from SJC to Hawaii, and none to nice Caribbean destinations that I know.

I can see it now: Fly Google.

Psst.. Wanna Android all-in-one PC? We have the chip tech, says Intel

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That big of a screen...

...is a bit "unportable". Look, if you ARE going to do it then you should "go big". Make a desk with a nice full screen embedded in it, complete with touch screen. Call it the "executive desk" and let marketing have at it. Sure you might need to enlist some furniture maker for the wood parts, but bigwigs would gravitate to it. You would escape the need of having a screen on the desk as it would BE the desk. No need for a blotter.

To those in product development: feel free, and good luck.

Windows 8.1: Microsoft's reluctant upgrade has a split-screen personality

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Let the Dancing begin...

Now we will have more adverts that show people dancing around and flipping screen icons. Then the attack of magnetically attaching keyboards.

Shades of "West Side Story". Choreography breaking out in a vacant lot. *GROAN*

Steelie Neelie calls for TOTAL BAN on EU mobe roaming charges

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Good thing I live in the USA!

The vast majority of people can wander around without funny "roaming" charges. We have a bunch of major operators (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile), and if you can get the signal, "long distance" is basically "free". Sure you have to pay for the call time (and your mobile's friend pays as well), but most plans have "unlimited" minutes.

Bandwidth? Well, it always bothered me that about 1 second of an audio transmission (phone call) is about as much data as a multi-thousand character message. Unfortunately the message gets charged more. Then there is data (web browsing, etc.) which is limited in the course of a billing period and costs dearly if one goes "over". Simple things like using your phone for a radio can do that for you.

Good thing we don't have 50 different jurisdictions fighting each other.

Me? I use a limited cell-phone and a pager. Allows me to ignore those calls/pages I really don't like. Saves on battery charges as well.

First rigid airship since the Hindenburg cleared for outdoor flight trials

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Simple solution to this Helium problem.

Just get a Helium generator! Get something that emits lots of alpha particles, and wait for them to grab a few electrons. Seems pretty simple to me!

Easy Peasy!

Declassified documents show NSA staff abused tapping, misled courts

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Then there is everyone's take on the subject.

For example, see Dilbert this week.

Backups? We don't need backups, somebody else already does that for us.

ICAHN'T with this guy: Activist investor gives up battle with Big Mike

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Next weeks headline...

Dell is getting out of low margin businesses. The former PC maker said that the business of consumer PCs was not worth doing anything about.

In a related story, some other Silicon Valley companies seem to be doing quite well with "professional grade" PC's

Enterprise storage: A history of paper, rust and flash silicon

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Storage Desnity...

Just remember that today one can easily hold 1Tbyte of a disk drive in the palm of their hand, and it costs less than $100.

Compare that to disk storage of the 70's when 1TByte was a dream everyone had, and it took up a room quite large. The monthly bill for power and air conditioning was more than $100 (in dollars of the day).

Times have changed. Some of us do dream in punch cards and paper tape still, and have capabilities for them as well.

The REAL winner of Microsoft's Nokia buy: GOOGLE

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With Microsoft buying Nokia...

Will ANYONE ELSE make Windows phones? I suspect not since a competitor is making them with lower cost basis (licensing fees being "internal").

Sure lots of people do Android, but the fees are the same no matter what hardware vendor you buy from.

As for Microsoft and its fees, I suspect that the FAT patents will expire soon, and Redmond will be out in the cold.

Yes, watching a collision in the making. Watch right here.

New! Yahoo! logo! shows! Marissa! Meyer's! personal! touch!

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And ...

The old LOGO was bad because?

Seems to me to be an exercise in wasting money.

Look at it this way: Coca-Cola has had its logo for quite some time. The only thing that has changed in IBM's logo is the number of stripes.

Go figure...

Microsoft, Nokia and the sound of colliding garbage trucks

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Transaction simplified...

Microsoft just spent billions of dollars/euros buying a new CEO.

Was it worth it? IMHO probably not, but time will tell if it does work out. In the meantime, Samsung and Apple are selling things like hotcakes.

It IS hard being #3 (with an anchor, not a bullet). And the hits keep on coming.

Australia's anti-smut internet filter blueprint lasts LESS THAN A DAY

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The old adage goes:

The internet sees censorship as lossage, and routes around it.

Good luck!

Forget Mars: Let's get someone on the Moon – NASA veteran

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There is one resource on the moon!

Two words: Helium 3

Yes, it is used to do lots of stuff, and the moon has some in reasonable quantities.

As for light/dark moon. That is caused by its 28+ day orbit around the earth which has only one side pointed to it. The SUN's view is entirely different, and that is what causes the phases. To have constant solar power there, you need the panels on opposite sides of the moon. That will work except when there is a lunar eclipse that will shadow things. Even then the one on the back side of the moon can't be effected as it doesn't see the earth (or its shadow).

Redmond's certification chief explains death of MCM and MCA

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How can you be a "master"?

When the subject you are attempting to be a master of is changing. When Microsoft gets the test out, it is probably out of date as the world (+dog) has passed them by.

Ever wonder why Linux DOESN'T need certifications?

Fandroids blow $200,000 on secret PANIC BUTTON for their smartmobes

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Another application?

Send Morse code text messages? Probably better than the wimpy keyboard, you never know.

Also, the iPhone has a couple of buttons to adjust the "volume". For those of you playing at home, they will also take pictures.

Happy 50th birthday, Compact Cassette: How it struck a chord for millions

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Casettes did much more...

I've been told that this "portable" format of recording was a contributor to the downfall of the Iron Curtain. It allowed for people to have access to uncensored news that could be passed around in a compact format.

Now, I can't personally vouch for this claim, but it sounds pretty good to me.

Behind the candelabra: Power cut sends Britain’s boxes back to the '70s

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Power drop outs and Goofy clocks.

One always gets power cuts, and most of the time they are at the worst time. Once after doing some re-wiring of the main breakers at my house, I had them trip off. I thought it was a general neighborhood dropout, but alas it was due to the fact that the main breakers had overheated up. Why did they overheat? Well, it was because the contact screws weren't torqued down enough, and the aluminum wire got loose. Bad karma solved by obtaining a nice screwdriver and muscling the screw down to more tightness.

As for goofy clocks. Most digital clocks are in the category. They flash and flash sticking at 12:00 because that is what they are told to do. A more intelligent design would be to blank the display and turn on the colon (no flash). Then when someone really decides to set the clock, it would be functional.

Yes, all silly digital clocks should have a battery backup if they don't set themselves, but the cheapness of the suits in charge usually dictate that it be left out. Thankfully most computers have two methods: The internal battery backed up clock which takes 10 years to kill off a battery, and good old NTP. Clocks on the other hand can find solace in the nice radio signal from WWVB that they latch onto here in the USA (there are others in different areas).

Tick-tock tick-tock. Now what is my longitude?

We've cracked riddle of ANTIGRAVITY mountains on Saturn's Titan - boffins

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Re: Obviously

Sorry, they are made of Upsidaisium. Now to get Boris and Natasha from getting it before Rocky and Bullwinkle. Now where is the rocket??

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