* Posts by bart

48 posts • joined 19 Feb 2008

Antarctic ice at all time high: We have more to learn, says boffin


Re: Antactica is melting too

Precession? Ok, sure; lets go there . . .

Over a period of ~71.6 years, the earth's axis rotates or “precedes” approximately 1 degree with respect to the plane of the elliptic. The largest effect this has on our climate is to shift the relationship of seasons to our calendar by ~24.3 hours, or a bit more than one day. So, spring (or any other season) arrives a bit sooner every year. In ~6400 years, the seasons will have shifted with respect to today by 90 degrees, in ~12.9k yrs they will have shifted 180 degrees, so that what is now winter will be summer, and continue on to a full cycle in ~25.8k yrs.

To put this in perspective, in ~1650, the beginning of the last “mini ice age,” the seasons were shifted by a whopping ~5 days from where they are today.

Is the Earth’s axial precession a factor with respect to climate? Undoubtably, just not in a way that has any bearing on the types of change that we are already experiencing from pumping somewhere north of 10 gigatonnes (yes, that’s billions of tons) of CO2 every year into the atmosphere.

Is CO2 production the only problem producing an abnormal and accelerating warming effect? No, but it dwarfs all other sources by orders of magnitude, including (and especially) precession.

Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s


Is it just me, or does it at all seem plausible that Mr. Ive may have "borrowed" some design cues from a Sinclair Executive that his daddy may have owned in the 70's? Apple has sued others over form factor - particularly for slightly rounded corners on a slim flat body . . .

Maybe Sinclair should lawyer up and collect some Apple goodness . . .

Drone quadracopters throw and catch inverted pendulum



Can't wait for autonomous flying omelet/crepe pan.

Apple confirms 128GB iPad. A hundred bucks for an extra 64GB


Shiny, shiny, want, want

I guess non-cheapskates need that extra space so they can fire up what they use the most, a retina-enabled mirror app to gaze at themselves lovingly for hours on end . . .

Apple CEO: Frothing fanboi iPhone 5 hype screwed our sales


Future Poof

I'm waiting for iphone 12. I'm sure it's just around the corner, under $1000. I hear it will include telephonic voice communication . . .

10m years ago there was less CO2 - but the Earth was warmer


What, me worry?

The important thing to take away here is not that the role of CO2 is being questioned with respect to global warming, but rather that it is not alone in this effect and can act in addition to other factors. Just imagine what the Miocene might have been like if it had the additional condition of double the CO2, as we have today.

Temperature and CO2 create a feedback loop called the greenhouse effect. We're just really lucky that our temperatures are not as high as in the Miocene before we (industrial man) acted to double (and soon beyond) global CO2. The effects would not be linear, and not in a good way.

Not exactly a good argument for relaxing the need for CO2 restriction.

170m people 'upgrade' to Google+, but how many stick around?



Publicly splashing your real name across the internet as Google+ wants people to do in order to have an account doesn't bode well for any hope that Google actually has much concern for my privacy. I've used gmail from the beginning, along with other products. However, I've always been careful to manage what information goes where. G+, Fbook, or most other "social media" don't really interest me on so many levels, but public broadcast of my existence in general is definitely the deal breaker.

Yes, I could use a fake name, like Santorum or Foamhead, but its just too confusing . . .

Apple plugs Java hole after Flashback Trojan intrusion


Other Foam (no, not fanbois, or even Santorum - too messy)

Too bad the fix is only for 10.6.8 & up. Can’t be applied to my incredibly old 10.6.5 (released 1 yr., 4 mos. ago . . .)

I’m sure the reason for this is that it’s far to expensive for Apple to extend the fix to cover at least 2 years of OS, not that Apple is trying to corral users into their walled garden (10.6.6 & up infects Macs with the “app store.”)

Apple only has the best in mind for their customers. Don’t they?

All your phone/pad/app/os/book/music/movie are belong to us.

Apple relents, doubles EU warranty (sort of)


The warranty shell game - is it under 1, 2, or 3?

The EU stipulates that, as Apple’s warranty states, the two year guarantee is for defects which existed at the time of sale, and that burden of proof shifts to the buyer after 6 mos. However, especially since Apple locks up their boxes so tightly, it becomes easy to argue that most defects that reveal themselves after 6 mos. existed previous to the sale if there is no obvious physical breach or damage. And the fact that existing defects do not always appear immediately, and may present themselves at any time during the two year period and still be covered, is altogether lost in translation.

For example, if the drive in an Imac fails after 18 mos., and the user has not physically accessed the drive, Apple (or the seller) is liable. The wording in Apple’s warranty may lead one to believe otherwise, but because the Imac ceases to work because of the drive failure, the guarantee takes effect: regardless of the fact that the Mac showed no apparent signs of defect up to that 18th month.

Some devices, such as iphones and Ipods, bristle with tamper proofing, making extremely unlikely any defect arising during the two year period could be anything but an existing defect (again, provided there is no apparent breach or damage.)

Apple really can’t escape their ultimate liability for the EU “2 year guarantee” law. It’s more than a bit more complicated than Apple lets on. In fact, I believe the language used in Apple’s “new” warranty is worded in such a way as to obfuscate EU buyers rights, with the goal of potentially picking up a few more Applecare contracts through fear.

And don’t even get me started on the UK’s “Sale of Goods Act” In many instances it could be argued that Apple products could be expected to last well more than two years. Why else would they push their own 3 year extended warranty for such relatively low cost?

Ahh, Apple - bite me!

Playboy model's complaints against HP chief Hurd laid bare by court


New guy(ette)

I wonder if Meg Whitman knows any playboy models? She wanted to follow in Schwarzenegger's shoes, didn't she? What was that comment during her campaign about how she would wear the pants or some such thing?

I wonder . . .

New 'plasma lamps' to replace fluorescent bulbs, LEDs


How soon they forget

Oled, Oled . . .

iPhone users richer, brainier, more tasteful than Android-ers



Apple is missing the killer design feature that would attract even more discerning consumers. I'm amazed they haven't added a mirror finish to it! Users could look like they're using some intensely important app, but instead gaze intently into the eyes of the one they love . . .

Get on it Steve. Give your customers what you really want.

Sony calls time on 8mm video format


Tape care

It's unlikely you heads are dirty from dust, unless you left the door open all this time, or were in the habit of leaving tapes out of their cases to accumulate dust, which then went into the camera . . .

In terms of longevity, one of the worst things that you can do to tape is rewind it after its been played. Best practice for archiving is to leave tape “tails out,” and rewind only before playback, so that once playback (or recording) is finished, you are once again in a “tails out” condition, at least for the portion being run. If your tapes were left for years (or sometimes as little as weeks) in this condition, they may be stretched in nasty, irretrievable ways.

The camera’s tape path is carefully engineered to be perfectly tensioned when running at normal speed, and forms a very clean pancake of tape on the take-up reel of the cassette as it goes. That is the optimum state to leave the tape, because the edges are supported evenly and there is the least amount of deformity from variations in alignment and tension that occur during fast wind.

Fast wind is not so carefully tensioned or aligned. If you look at a tape that has been spooled at fast wind, you will see a rough surface, which are the misaligned edges of tape overlapping one another. The tension on the supported portion of the tape is different than that of the misaligned, non-aligned edges. Over time, when left in this condition, the edges will change shape, imperceptibly curling, and will cause alignment problems on playback, which may be perceived as being caused by dirty heads, but is not. Deformed tape is much more prone to further damage when run again by the tape path and the heads themselves, and such a tape can quickly and exponentially deteriorate on subsequent use.

Another problem for tape is that, over time, the binder (that holds iron particles) decays, and sloughs off the recording medium as crud that can clog the heads. But modern HI/D8 formulations are/were pretty good, and should not be in that bad a shape even after say, 15 years, if kept under reasonable temperature conditions. I have tapes that old that are in perfect condition. Eventually though, they will die.

Or will they?

600 tonne asteroid in low pass above Falkland Islands - TONIGHT


lath(s) and rice paper - nice . . .

@Aaron Em - Care to make any crazy-as-bung statements about the holocaust next?

I'll look past your insensitively careless remark about Hiroshima and offer some comparison of scale.

The approx. 14.5 kiloton (sorry, still not metric here but at least I don't weigh myself in stones . . .) bomb dropped at Hiroshima would have wrought incredible devastation in any populated area. Even a 10 kT bomb is equivalent to the energy of about 910 MOABs, currently the largest conventional bomb (11 ton) in production today (US.)

Let’s not forget that large explosions inflict massive damage by their aftermath, fire, as well. 10 kT is 2 1/2 times the tonnage thrown at Dresden during WW2, in which an ensuing firestorm raged on, ultimately destroying (destruction, not damage) 15 sq. miles.

Let’s hope politicians with their fingers on the triggers of “tactical” nukes have a bit better grasp of how much destructive force they have - they still are very much WMD’s.

DRM-free music dream haunts Apple's app-store lock-in


Wha WHa WHA?

I'm sorry, am I missing something? Are there tons of applications for any platform that allow you to install them on as many devices as you'd like? Read your license agreements a bit more carefully . . .

In the world of more expensive desk/laptop software, it is nice to have developers grant you the ability to put it on "your family's" devices, but to expect that right with the phone/pad world of >$10 apps? Really?

Maybe we should start asking developers to pay consumers for the privilege of distributing their software? Apple gets away with it, why not the end user?

Of course you could let your son play games on your phone and save the $10 in an account towards his education rather than expecting society to subsidize it, let alone blot the tot's future with lots of fun student debt. Oh my, did I type that out loud? Just a thought . . .

Sony releases Android music streamer


re: Monster

@ Bassey -

No, the app is actually only 1.4 MB. The other 32 MB is the rootkit to bong your phone and mine passwords . . .

Apple plays cloud catch-up


No pretense of privacy here

Check this gem from "Amazon Cloud Drive: Terms of Use:"

" . . . 5. Storing Your Files on the Service

5.2.Our Right to Access Your Files. You give us the right to access, retain, use and disclose your account information and Your Files: to provide you with technical support and address technical issues; to investigate compliance with the terms of this Agreement, enforce the terms of this Agreement and protect the Service and its users from fraud or security threats; or as we determine is necessary to provide the Service or comply with applicable law."

Good luck putting ANYTHING up to their cloud that you "own" and being safe from assault by the RIAA or MPAA. I know why Amazon included this; they really are given little choice but to protect themselves from these two deeply pocketed and heavily lobbied interests.

My question is whether Amazon's desktop or mobile "player" reports on your local files as well . . .

New York Times tucks skirt behind stilted paywall


NYT cares . . .

Sweet. Customers are so important that they quietly extiguished the 2500 comments they received on their pay-up-you-slackers announcement article. Aside from removing all comments, as well as the ability to add new ones, NYT has made a "correction" which states that the bottom tier price ($15) includes 4 weeks web access AND a web app.

Now that's a much, much (enclose with italics for sarcasm here) better deal, eh?


NYTster, anyone?

This is an unfortunate act of corporate desperation for which NYT shows a considerable lack of conscience toward its hard won but honorary role as a major force in US public opinion. And it shows that, as with many (if not all) corporations, continued quarterly growth of the company (rather than a level of sustainability or shrinkage that reflects the real economic environment) is far more important than the people that it serves, in that service continually shrinks to feed the company’s artificially increasing bottom line. And what incredibly good timing; in the depths of a worldwide recession NYT decides to essentially drop lower income readers in favor of a monied minority that will pay such an exorbitant price.

So, in 15 years NYT marketing team has not come up with a viable internet distribution/advertising model? That is truly unbelievable. How many different advertising schemes has NYT tried since going online? How many unique or pioneering ideas have they had to change the game? If there is blame to be attributed for the insolvency of NYT’s online model, it rests not with the public, but squarely on the shoulders of NYT. It is unfortunate that in the rarified strata of boardrooms filled with disconnected executives and reams of financial “projections,” the concept of “the customer is always right” appears to have been abandoned.

It reminds me of a time when music industry “suddenly” woke up to the fact that the world had changed around them, but had up to that point virtually sat on their hands. Customers (and potential customers) wanted lower prices and more granular online distribution. Imagine if, in response, the industry had turned to a model that made content completely unaffordable for many in the hopes that a high price/low distribution model would save the day. How would that have worked out?

In the case of the music industry, companies that created new ways of doing business, with an eye toward customer satisfaction as an important component to their business model, survived and indeed flourished. The opportunity for NYT may involve some nominal online subscription fees, but more likely exists in the development of a new paradigm for reaching the vast and as yet untapped online advertising potential. That online advertising hasn’t worked for NYT to this point just means just that - not that it won’t or can’t.

It’s not time (not that it ever will be) to drop the for fee online subscription bomb.

Wacom Cintiq 21UX interactive pen display


Why not glass?

I hope that Wacom has a good reason for not using glass on the surface, but I don't see it.

Wacom uses a variable coil in the pen to supply pressure information, which does not rely at all on surface movement. Their tablets have tremendous range (distance to pen tip) before the signal becomes unusable (easily 1/2.") I don't think the thickness of a protective glass pane would be an issue . . .

Facebook tops half-billion users, wants your innermost thoughts


Superpoke me, baby

Just look me up on facebook. Oh, wait, I don't (and never will) have an account. I guess I must be some new kind of sociopathic outcast. Woe is me . . .

Apple iPhone forums gripped by deleted thread paranoia


Funny thing

Funny thing is, I went to an Apple store the other day, because I had to replace the dead graphics card in my "obsolete" ("early 2008") Mac Pro. A story in itself, suffice it to say I dodged their blather about needing a “powerful card,” and how the cheapest card ($150 for what would sell for $30 in the PC world) would only work in the “newest” (2009) Mac, so I would need at least their next card, a nearly 2 year old technology POS they sell for $350, or one of their last two offerings, one at $450, or an $1800 Quadro. The “cheap” one works just fine, thank you.

From perusing Apple’s “discussions” it seems that they are particularly good at hoodwinking flush fanbois into forking over big cash for extra cards to drive their extra displays, when even the most anemic card they offer can drive two monitors perfectly well. Many ‘bois seem to be under the notion that having extra cards actually accelerates their overall computing experience, as if any mainstream developers had already rolled out OpenCL apps (good luck on that happening anytime soon . . .)

Anyway, while I was there I couldn’t help but play with shiny objects & checked out some phones. All of the ones I picked up had all 5 bars of signal strength, regardless of how it was held. Isn't it interesting that the well documented antenna strips-conductance problem seems to not exist at all on their demo phones.

Apple wouldn't load their "store" phones with "special" software that gives false high-signal readings, would they? Maybe it’s a question that their “geniuses” can answer.

Maybe not . . .

Fanbois end Judas Phone 'Death Grip' with, um, SIM tape


Where does your middle finger rest?

Just thinking about Mr. Jobs' treatment of consumers should instruct many on where to put their middle finger . . .

F*ck you, thunders disgruntled fanboi Apple user


. . . because of the wonder-ful things he does . . . (something about a wizard)

Because . . .

His mom wants him back before dinner.

Hulu to charge $10 for past-its-prime time TV


The future is now . . .

There’s nowhere to go but up in our “free” market economy. When every business expects no less than double digit growth every single year (to “survive,”) no matter what the economy, consumers ultimately suffer. To be merely sustainable is somehow equated with being a failure these days.

But hey, why wring double digit profits out of a product when you can get away with triple digit profit, albeit completely at the expense of the consumers your business “serves.”

I guess we’ll all look back on this as quaint from the year 2025, when the average monthly bill for “media services” will hover around three to five hundred dollars a month . . .

Apple rumored to put beefy iPad on diet


Isn't it obvious?

They're (Apple) moving toward a single name for all their products, and they'll pelt you with "iAds" every 20 seconds until you buckle and conform to their demands.

The iPay.

iPad pitch to the Wall Street Journal laid bare


bye bye, firewire

Apple's trying real hard to drop firewire. Good thing its most loyal customer base has so many of those darned overpriced peripherals that use it.

I'd fax this to The Reg., but my mac doesn't have a modem built in . . .

Researchers rip iPad apart to reveal Apple's profits


tax not included

Quick note about tax. Several comments have been made that tax is to be subtracted from the alleged profit on the Ipad . . . Here in the US, there is no such thing as a federal sales tax; states decide individually as to whether or not they add this - some do not. Any state that collects sales tax exempts goods that are purchased for resale. Because of this, Apple does not pay tax on materials purchased to produce their products, because they resell either directly or to vendors. The final sale to the consumer is what triggers the payment of tax, which is then to be remitted to the appropriate state agency.

So, any tax collected is after production, and Apple does not pay it, the consumer does. The prices quoted for the Ipad by Apple do not include tax, as do any prices listed for products in the US, because a company would need different lists for different states, which would be daunting.

That said, I too believe that Apple's margin is crushingly high. Let's say for instance that, over the next 2 years, they are able to sell one million "pads." Remember that, in the last quarter alone, they sold 5.2 million Iphones, 2.1 portable macs, and 1.2 desktops, so I'm being fairly conservative here. Now lets say that $100 dollars from each pad goes toward "other costs" not mentioned in the breakdown of pad "profit" in the iSuppli article.

That would be $100 million toward marketing, assembly, production, advertising, and whatever else for a product that would continue to offset "cost" as volume sales continue. A product which will be linked to further profit gateways such as app and media percentages. Don't forget that much of Apple's smile about Iphone profits comes from software, not hardware sales . . . Even if Apple "had to" use $100 for every unit for "other costs," they would still come out far ahead.

Realistic, competitive, and fair pricing would see the Ipad prices significantly lower; I would think that an average of up to 30% would not be unreasonable, with less of a ding for the "high end" model (not the 58% quoted in the iSuppli article.) But "whatever the market will bear" is hardly a reasonable beast. If the "bois" want 'em, we all pay more . . .

AT&T to choke your iPhone


Unlimited means what now?

It is unbelievable to me that we are debating the fact that ATT is rescinding a key feature of their service, unlimited data, as many land based carriers have done over the years. The point is that, when they designed packages that included unlimited data, ATT apparently did one of two things: either they made incredibly lowball assumptions about the amount of data that would ultimately be served to those customers and built out a woefully inadequate infrastructure (and by definition had no real intention of delivering the promise of unlimited data,) or they simply committed blatant fraud, intending from the beginning to eventually use the unethical tool du jour of most corporations these days, a terms of service contract in which the corporation has sole discretion to make changes at any time, for any reason.

ATT doesn't have a leg to stand on in their defense. They can't claim that they underestimated or otherwise misjudged potential usage, because they offered unlimited data. If delivering unlimited data as promised threatens to put them out of business because they cannot support it, then so be it. That's how a free market economy works. They blew it, and they should burn.

But I seriously doubt that honoring their current terms would break the bank; rather ATT is merely raiding the customer piggy bank by chipping away at services wherever and whenever it wants in order to prop up double digit year over year growth that it and so many other corporations have come to expect, no matter what the economic environment.

To further shoot any remaining appendages out from under ATT, the relationship between it and Apple essentially constitutes a monopoly in the US, so changing terms in this manner to boost profits is questionable at best. ATT was ordered by the government to split up some 25 years ago into many smaller "Bell" companies due to anti-competitive practices, but somehow it has been allowed to reassemble itself into a far larger conglomerate than when it was originally perceived to be a threat to commerce. They even had the audacity to change the name back from what had congealed into, mostly Southern Bell, to its original monopoly tag - ATT.

'Doctor Dark Energy': The Ultimate LHC eccentric?


lexiconical portal

I also did not let that sexy new tech term "collaptical" escape my highly polarized vocabularic field. New dimensions are already invading our space. This gives more creedence than ever to the notion that Sarah Palin has been sent back in time to oversee the end of days, as she herself, of course also, has the gift of tongue.

You betcha.

Universal to bond Blu-ray Discs to DVDs


More stakes in BD's heart

The issue with B-ray is that in order for it to be taken seriously, prices for media have to tumble in order to compete or augment DVD. But no significant progress has been made here, either because distributors don't want to spend money on this, or don't think they have to, that consumers will simply pony up for HD. And consumers may - they already have opened their wallets without hesitation for other incredibly overpriced toys, such as internet service for their phones . . .

But if consumers do their part in the "market economy" and resist the obscene money grab that BD represents, the "industry" will adjust (to consumer favor,) or lose business. Make them take the risks; don't end up with expensive coasters just because you had to be an early adopter, even though BD has been out for some years now . . .

ICANN condemns registry DNS redirection


Charter's been doing it for years.

Not in the same league for squeezing more money out of its essentially captive audience as severely throttling and pruning usenet access, imposing monthly bandwidth caps, or providing a fractional infrastructure to support a user base many times its reasonable capacity, Charter switched to redirects several years ago. It amazes me that, even with the multitude of creative ways (albeit "industry accepted" ways) Charter has come up with to screw its customers, it still managed to find itself in bankruptcy.

I chose OpenDNS as one of the only ways around Charter, and it serves me pretty well, though ultimately I wish that there were no need for it.

Good to see ICANN finally making a statement a scant 6 years after the fact, but I doubt it will deter any providers from continuing and extending the circumvention of standards for their own increased profit.

'Whales can't even hear naval sonar' says Navy boffin


Make it so

What's the best way to make intractable problems go away? Commission a "study" that "proves" that there is no problem. Create tests that consider a small sub fraction of the variables involved with an arbitrarily selected and extremely specific test subject, find minimal evidence for the essentially redefined "problem," and claim victory.

Works all the time.

Here's a few things they might like to consider before deploying these sonars - oh wait, they're already deployed . . .

● What are the effects of repeated high energy shock waves to all marine life, let alone ones that can "hear" the cherry bombs repeatedly going off inches from their heads?

● For those that can "hear," what are the cumulative and long term effects? "Temporary deafness," as has been cited in dolphin studies, is not the end of the story. What effects do these high energy sonars have on long term health?

● What about effects on plankton, or even lower cell count animals, which account for a large majority of the biomass on this planet.

● What are the effects on early stage life, pregnancies, egg development, or even fertilization?

It only stands to reason that, since the pumping of millions of joules of energy over time into the ocean in the form of high energy long range sonars does not naturally occur in the environment, man is creating an impact that is, as are all of man's large scale impacts on the environment, in all likelihood harmful.

But what do we really care about the marine environment? All those fishies just mung up our oil rigs. Let ‘em boil . . .

Apple cult leader emails outside world


Nice one Mr. Jobs

Sheesh, what a f*&kwad. Will he be providing the funds to execute the "little deal" of changing the name?

Let's see him live without third party apps altogether, as his attitude inspires absolutely no one. Does Jobs even realize how much a comment like that pisses in his own drink? I can just imagine starting a software company developing software for Macs, where I would have to explain away comments and attitudes like that presented by Apple(Jobs) to potential investors.

F^#k Apple.

Ads watchdog underclocks reseller's 9.2GHz AMD CPU claim


New job for Palin

So if politics doesn't ultimately pan out for Sarah Palin, maybe she can start reeling in the big bucks by becoming an ad spokesmodel. She could not only deliver nonsensical statistics and figures without blinking to woo consumers, but could easily handle writing copy for them as well.

Palindrone - phrase that makes equal sense read backwards or forwards.

Hackers serve up pre-release malware to Mac fanboys


Fuxit What?

Never mind that any search for PDF software for Mac does not lead to "Foxit." Never mind that Foxit does not (or apparently intend to) make software for Mac. Never mind that most PDF lifting is already done by OSX.

I have little sympathy (ok none) for those caught or planning on getting caught by this hoax/malware/crap. I would hope that even the most narcissistic fanbois has the minimum smarts to dodge this "highly convincing" ruse.

Never mind.

GM hybrid SUV planned for 2011


To grenade boy or coward or whatever

Thanks for the clarification. I forgot that Obama is busy orchestrating a grand conspiracy to plunge the US into a socialist dictatorship akin to that guy with the funny mustache.

I am so naive . . .


Listen up - GM tells us what we want (need) once again

I'm sure the combined mileage will be impressive, at least half that of conventional sedans. Who cares if its electrical requirements dictate double an average yearly household consumption to keep it charged.

I sure hope GM makes this thing weigh in at least 2 1/2 tons or more, I just don't feel safe in anything less . . .

How 'bout a Hummer with a 2 mile range?


Will Google regret the mega data center?


Both ways

Umm . . . Aren't the folks that are responsible for siting these mega centers a bit addled in thinking that their services will not be assessed taxes at some point?

Site scouting consultant: "Let's site in (Yourtown, Yourcountry) because they don't charge x or y tax, or their rate is low, and we have secured x or y benefit from the community. They don't know what to make of us, so we'll stay under the radar and make money hand over fist. This is a great opportunity."

Smart VP of Cloud Seeding: Thanks for the in depth analysis, Mr. Consultant. The door is in Thisroom, this Thistown.

Apple takes Snow Leopard for walk


Apple, masters of planned (early) obsolescence

Over the years, Apple has show utter disdain for their customers by very often throwing them out in the cold with updates targeted to hardware as little as 1 year old, and sometimes even less. For example, with the advent of Quartz extreme some years ago, Apple shut out users with relatively recent graphics cards, without bothering to at least secure any third party sources for reasonable replacement cards. Back then, the only "sanctioned" option for my G4 was to buy an ATI 9800 for an exorbitant price (I believe it was about $250-300.) I had already replaced the graphics card once, and that card was 8 mo. old.

True, that OS (10.2) worked on my machine, but without hardware acceleration, the new OS used the CPU for drawing the screen, and slowed way down accordingly. So Apple could say that it was compatible, they just never mentioned if it would be practical.

Thanks Apple, once again, for deciding that a 1 year old computer does not deserve to be compatible with new OS requirements. I have an 8 core "early 2008" Mac Pro, with the standard ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card. It seems that this card is not able to take advantage of OpenCL. Not as bad a slap as the example above, but still - it seems that Apple can't be bothered writing a few extra drivers . . .

Oh, I'm sorry, isn't this clear in their press releases?

From Apple's site http://www.apple.com/macosx/specs.html :

>Feature-specific requirements


> * NVIDIA Geforce 8600M GT, GeForce 8800 GT, GeForce 8800 GTS, Geforce 9400M, >GeForce 9600M GT, GeForce GT 120, GeForce GT 130.

> * ATI Radeon 4850, Radeon 4870

Yes, 10.6 will work with this Mac, but it won't be able to use OpenCL unless I "upgrade" to another video card priced anywhere from 2 to 4 times the equivalent price for the exact (except for rom) PC equivalent . . . if you can find one at all.

Want to get a new card from Apple? The only one they offer is the ATI 4870 for - get this - $350! And this "Mac" version only has 1 DVI port, in addition to a totally useless Apple "mini display" port.

Way to go Apple. No, really, Apple, just go . . .

Google finally soups up Gmail search


Give us the real soup - Partial search

Real progress would be partial search. Without this Gmail search is effectively worthless. Google whines that partial search would tax their resources. So how do they justify Google search? Same way that they do Gmail - ads.

Will Gmail ever have partial search? Will it ever come out of "beta?"

Seagate isolates 'potential' Barracuda flaw


Wow - not too little, but way too late

This certainly seems like a good faith gesture on the part of Seagate, but it comes after too much bad faith. The problems with the .11 series has been around for quite some time, and Seagate did nothing till now? And this comes on the tails of their decision to cut their "warranties" back from 5 to 3 years.

Their press release seems to want to spin the claim that there has been "no data loss," despite the fact that the drives become inaccessible to the user. Let's see what happens when customers start taking Seagate up on their offer of recovery. I'm sure they won't cover the folks that may have scrambled their drives with software in last ditch efforts to get data off their dying drives before sending them back. Is Seagate making any effort to make customers aware of this almost certain exclusion? And what of directories trashed by intermittent failure, without any (intentional) user intervention? I would be incredibly shocked if Seagate were offering true data recovery, scavenging file soup off a scrambled drive. No manufacturer could afford that . . .

On the bright side, I wonder how many drive failures are controller related; this might finally set a precedent for manufacturers to actually test and repair otherwise perfectly good drives, returning them with data intact, instead of simple (and cheap) replacement.

With supposed MTBF's from decades to over 100 years, something must be seriously wrong with accepted standards. Maybe it should be something like "MTBF 500,000 hrs (unless controller f*cks up, or plant standards not enforced, in which case you may have as little as a few minutes.)"

Consumers should demand more. Manufactures eventually listen, especially if they face extinction, a position Seagate seems to find itself in.


2008's top three compact cameras



Thank you for reminding me of how technology is often pushed backwards because of consumer driven marketing, in this case with respect to digital cameras. Marketing so effective that it becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to persuade many people that MP count is but one of many factors, one that takes a distant back seat to sensor size. I'm glad to see how many commenters here get that, but the general public never had a chance.

Raw images off my old 1.2 MP Canon a50 still have superior quality to contemporary cameras with many times the resolution, yielding superb 4x6 prints that are indistinguishable (in terms of resolution - even hard to see with a loop) from my 8 MP a630 or or even my DSLR. Typically, on 4x6, the a50 actually outperforms the a630!

Another misused concept is that of image stabilization. Some cameras with increased image gain amplification to "achieve" higher "ISO" ratings are being touted as having this feature, which is technically incorrect, alongside other cameras that have far more superior optical stabilization. Either way, consumers are led to believe that stabilization will magically eliminate blur from most if not all shots, even from subjects in motion within the frame, when in reality stabilization of any kind can at best only deliver a bit over 2 stops extra latitude before image motion overtakes shutter speed to an objectionable degree.

Decreasing pixel density (say 3-6 MP on a 1/1.8" sensor) would yield several stops better exposure, and when combined with current processing technology would make possible compacts that completely blow today's crap out of the water.

Advertising could just as easily center on quantifiable standards for overall image quality, perhaps something akin to Imatest's, that would still differentiate cameras in order to sell them, but also give the consumer a solid rule of thumb for guiding purchase decisions. But the damage has already been done, and gets worse with time, so that such standards may not ultimately be accepted by the general consumer at all, or at least without considerable effort.

What was that about RMS watts?


Seagate slashes bare drive warranties


Clear as mud

Thanks for clearing that up, Seagate: so its only bare drives that suck. How about another update that explains MTBF ratings that range from 500K up to 1000+K hours (57-114+ years,) and their relationship to warranty? Should we be running the drives only one or two hours per day to acheive these rates?

If such a high percentage of failures occur within the first 3 years, and Seagate has maintained a 5 year policy for some 2 years now, how is it that the five year warranty has become a problem significant enough to warrant such a huge PR gaffe?

Pioneer's 500GB Blu-ray disc


Mine is bigger than, mine?

And the price of the media/expensive coasters in training will be . . . ?

I'm sorry, but how does this technically impressive but inherently unstable layer cake compete against inexpensive, stable, and fast hard drives?

Priced a BD disk recently?

The FDRs of Green explain the gentle art of planet saving



The notion that free market forces inexorably move us forward and that crises such as the current triple threat facing us all will be smoothed over by free market activity relies entirely on the underlying concept of the "growth based economy."

How long do we expect to continue growth on a planet with finite resources? In the last 50 years, world population has more than doubled; it is ~250% of what it was in 1958. This is within my lifetime! With the exponential rise in population, impacts on the environment will also continue to multiply.

Its not just about oil. Its about the fact that the planet is quickly becoming and may already be overpopulated. There is no "new world" to conquer, no new opportunities to exploit, no new get rich quick schemes that can protect us from that fact.

At some point, which we may well have passed years ago, there has to be a major paradigm shift to the idea of a sustainable or maintenance based economy. I don't think this includes the wild west mentality of free market capitalism as it exists today.

The information age has accelerated an increasing sophistication in society, bringing about positive changes that benefit the many, rather than the few. Here in the US right wing conservatives regularly bash the idea of centralized national "universal" health care, and many of them have called the idea a form of socialism, or even more extreme, fascism! But it will come, because people are finally coming around to the realization that helping others is good for themselves also.

I believe that as society continues to mature, we will embrace concepts that are all too quickly branded by ideologues as evil, because they supposedly limit individual freedom. But some of those freedoms allow individuals and corporations to, either intentionally or inadvertently, effectively prey on the weak for gain.

Isn't "survival of the fittest" a bit beneath us?

Third plutoid christened 'Makemake'


Tasty Planet(oid)

It should at least be palatable - how about Mahimahi? Tasty, yet at the same time particularly spacey in appearance . . .

Sony to pump ¥22bn into OLED production



We're talking about products that are in development. One of the big promises of OLED technology is low cost of production; potentially an order of magnitude less than current technologies.

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