* Posts by M Gale

3552 posts • joined 22 Apr 2007

Intel lets outside chip maker into its fabs

M Gale

FPGAs are lovely.

And to be honest, a future PC with some kind of FPGA board on could be excellent for the gamers (and serious propellorheads) out there.

The game needs some physics coprocessing? No problem. One data transfer later, and the FPGA is a physics coprocessor.

Music program? Well, how about a quick switcheroo and that little chip starts doing DSP work.

Buy a FPGA that's big enough, and you could tell it "be a GPU". Lo and behold, you have a GPU.

Or if you really want something awesome, a 555 timer!

So it's not like GPUs are ever really going to wipe FPGAs out. Different beast, different application. Plus you can't tell a GPU to be an MP3 player with integrated storage and signal processing, like you can with a (large enough) FPGA.

Should really name them ACME chips...

PARIS in 89,000 ft climax

M Gale

Silly idea.

Helium balloon, small (relative to a SpaceX design) signal rocket, and an insulated toyphone doubling as a guidance system and main processing core for a micro satellite. Main engine ignites at 90,000 feet and takes it the rest of the way.

Let's show NASA how to reach orbital velocity on a shoestring, eh?

M Gale


...some. That final pic makes it all worth it. Space, man!

If you ever do a Mk II, get some insulation and put a cheapo cam in the cockpit. That's about the only way this could be made even more ...what's that word?

Oh yeah, awesome.

Fate of porn domain left in government hands

M Gale

I can't wait.

"nah. not gonna let you have the bbc's iPlayer. not going to let you near hulu. sure as hell not going to let you send UDP/IP and torrent traffic."

I could see encrypted VPNs becoming suddenly a lot more popular and a lot easier to set up, in this eventuality.

Doubt it'll happen though, as besides the number of PHBs around, most people know this and wouldn't be silly enough to encourage people further into obscure unmonitorable channels.

Most people.

Google Nexus Two 'lands November 8'

M Gale

Because that won't happen with WinMo7..

..oh no, of course not!

Microsoft, allow people to bundle a ton of crap with its OS? Get an upgrade treadmill going that needs you to buy a new phone every couple of years to play catch-up? It'll never happen!

I mean, they have such a proud history...

M Gale

Samsung? Update?

Hah. The Galaxy S is Samsung's answer to "can you put 2.x on my Galaxy i7500?"

In other words, Samsung would rather you just buy a new phone, despite the OS costing them next to nothing. Make sure, if you want updates, that the manufacturer has said they will update the device. Either that or go down the jailbreak route.

Highest point on the Moon found: Higher than Mount Everest

M Gale

Yeah but...

...they'd spend all that time climbing up, just to find out the soup dragon had cheated and flown up there.

Mind you, at least she'd have some soup for them.

M Gale

Oh by the way...

...the moon doesn't have a sea level.

I'd just like to be the 9001st person to point that out.

Boffins mount campaign against France's official kilogramme

M Gale

33.33% recurring.

Now, define Pi in fractions, please. 3 and how many whats?


M Gale

One terabit? 128 gigabytes?

I'd call that a fuckload, myself.

Question is, how much of that data is information.

Microsoft sings Happy Birthday to Windows 7

M Gale

"After all, why pay for all that RAM, if it's empty 90% of the time?"

Dunno about other distributions, but my copy of UmBongo* Toy Unix* seems to chomp about every ounce of the 1GB (woohoo) RAM I have in the desktop machine. Most of it is classified as "cache" though, so I assume a similar thing is going on with regards keeping hold of commonly used stuff. Needless to say, as soon as I start something reasonably heavy (like, oh, a game**) the amount of memory used by "cache" and the amount of memory used by "programs" tends to change drastically.

Doesn't tend to page much to the swap partition at all though. Windows really doesn't have any excuses there.


**Yes, they do exist for Linux

M Gale


Like the "free" software I can theoretically use by now being (apparently) an MSDNAA member? The stuff that will cease to be legal the moment I cease to be a student?

Yeah. I gave the crack up years ago. "First hit for free" is quite common in some business models, so I hear.

M Gale

Privileges there for a reason

"Enable the administrator account and logon as adminstrator.."

Oh god, please no. The one singular thing that Microsoft did right in Vista/7 (by, err, ripping unixland off blatantly) was limiting the amount of time that users are logged in as root, and making their own version of sudo.

And you're suggesting a measure that would turn 7 into a pretty version of XP, with all programs given permission to write to any file anywhere?

M Gale

Windows: It's alright.

It's just not ready for prime time.

Microsoft holds Androids hostage in open source wars

M Gale

Small difference..

..between an 8 bit home microcomputer that you plug into the telly and enjoy blur-o-vision games with, and a honking great PC with its own high-resolution monitor, even in them days.

People bought c64s and speccies for the home, and PCs for work. Of course, these days it's PCs all over.. and people now seem to think that "PC" == "Microcomputer".

M Gale


...I think the only time Microsoft will learn, is when the bankruptcy lawyers come knocking.

Not going to happen for a while though, and that happy eventuality is even further away if people keep bending over and grabbing their ankles every time Microsoft tells them to.

First tube station to get Wi-Fi next week

M Gale

Falling onto the tracks in the London Underground...

...little Tarquin would have a 33.33% (recurring) chance that the train is the least of his worries.

Warning sign because a few kilovolts can really ruin your day.

Microsoft's IE9 'nearly finished'

M Gale


You mean it'll run on Linux and OS X?

Oh, okay then. Never mind.

Microsoft vision chief sees world without Microsoft PCs

M Gale

For all the good?

"For all the good they have done with making computers cheap for the common man.."

That wasn't Microsoft. They were quite happy to charge you more than half the price of the machine for an operating system and office suite back in the day, and it's only comparatively recently that "student and teacher" versions of Office have become available, priced at the sort of level that the non-restricted version should be. Except these days you don't even get Access with it unless you pay silly money.

Making computers cheap for the "common man"? Amstrad probably did far more work there than Microsoft ever did. Netted Alan Sugar a pretty penny, too.

Three is voted the best UK network

M Gale

I finally broke down a couple of weeks ago...

...and got myself a cheap toyphone. ZTE Racer. £100 on a PAYG plan, which suited me because I just stuck my old 3 SIM into the new toy (I still don't like calling them 'phones'). I'd rather have my Nokia 6288 dumbphone for making calls with, but this thing has Android 2.1 and I'm on a computer games technology degree so... 50p Android apps sounds like a plan.

I put £10 in, and amongst the 3-to-3 minutes and free texts, I get 150MB of data that lasts for 90 days. If I use 50MB of that, and put another tenner on in a month's time, I get... another 150MB of data, giving me 200MB of data that... seems to last 90 days. Cumulative top-up bonuses I like, and the performance is not shabby compared with other networks.

So here's to 3, the much-maligned network that's better than a lot of people think it is.

Android Market shows hand at 100k Apps

M Gale

"..but without a standard platform for development.."

What do you mean by this?

As in, the usual IDE is eclipse, but you can use anything?

As in, the usual language is Java, but you can Appcelerate about any language you like?

As in, multiple different types and capabilities of phones? (In which case, is the PC not a standard platform?)

Or as in Android itself, which.. err.. either passes Google's compatibility testing or doesn't carry the Market app and can't be called Android?

Google Android chief smacks Steve Jobs with Linux speak

M Gale

Dom Joly

Comedian. Made a lot of money sticking oversized Nokias to his head and shouting.

Oh, and the occasional Apple device:


M Gale

Same difference

"Yeah, one of them's successful on the desktop."

The best part is you're saying that entirely without irony.

Most people I know who run Macs are either:

Arty pretentious types, for whom even an Ubuntu laptop with an AMD64 is a "crappy wintel box".

People who hate Microsoft, don't know what Linux is, and like to jump from frying pans to fires.

People who spend stupid money on toys, like Bang and Olufsen hifis, because they are "stylish".

And lastly, iToy developers, who have no choice.

Believe me, it's not many people.

Ubuntu demotes Gnome for Unity netbook look

M Gale


How many people have desktop computers with multi-touch capable monitors?

Is it more or less than 0.1% of users?

Apple threatens Java with death on the Mac

M Gale

At least you listed them separately...

...because Mono is anything but .NET.

M Gale

Reminds me of the Computing In Practice tutor.

"Java is dead."

So I stick my hand up.

"Isn't Android outselling the iPhone right now?"

So for my usability analysis assignment, he's given me Google. Lesson learned: Never make a Phd look bad in front of his class.

Cinema iPhone pirate escapes jail in test case appeal

M Gale


..you get a high-definition 720p image of someone's head wandering past the screen, and 48khz professional quality hollering and cheering from the dumb fucks who just have to go to a cinema on the first day of a new release and pretend it's a football match?

UK promises 'transformative' cyber security programme

M Gale

I was going to post something cynical..

..but I've already been well beaten to it. Instead I'll nitpick at Lewis for using the assignation operator rather than the equivalence operator.

Mind you, given outsourcing trends and PFI initiatives maybe he's right.

Branson 'spaceship' successfully falls off mothership

M Gale

I wonder...

...if their release mechanism featured low-temperature lubricants and an old bit of oxygen hose?

Apple tinkering with subs-based iTunes service, says report

M Gale

More renting of your own property to you?

Subs for a radio service? Sure.

But what happens to the collection of tracks on your computer when you stop paying the sub?

Yeah, thanks but I'll stick with going to a shop and buying a CD. Call me old fashioned if you like, my music collection is not dependant on some untrusted 3rd party's servers not going pop or deciding to make my (yes, MY) tracks disappear down the memory hole.

PARIS unveils impressive box

M Gale

Exothermic Gel

Also known as sodium acetate or, to potato snack companies, "salt and vinegar flavour".

Shouldn't be too hard to get hold of, or just buy the hand warmers pre-made. I don't know if they'd last 45 minutes though.

Android rebellion: How to tame your stupid smartphone

M Gale


You do know that you have to pass Google's "Compatibility Police" before they'll license the proprietary Marketplace app to you, right? It's how they stop this mysterious "fragmentation" thing that you speak of, but which Android seems to not suffer from.

Now you can hack your own Linux/Dalvik VM into a phone if you like. It just won't be called Android, nor have the Android Marketplace. At least, not unless you want a few legal love letters from Google's sharks.

Fannie Mae logic-bomb saboteur convicted

M Gale
Black Helicopters

If he was that good a programmer..

..he'd have known that a system like that would have been locked down, backed up, and with audit trails everywhere. How he thought he wouldn't get caught is probably more amazing than what he did.

Of course, he could have been the victim of a keylogger-based framing...

Blogger stokes iPhone 4 shatter fears

M Gale

I want a mil-spec Android phone.

Problem is, it'd probably be twice the price of an iToy. Still, it would be hard as nails.


..though I prefer the awesome chunkiness of this thing, Android or not:


Yeah I know, I'm not normal. I don't need no steenking protective case though.

Android is turning a profit for Google

M Gale

Selective blindness.

"The question is whether people want Windows on their phone, and whether companies really want to give Microsoft any more money than they have to already."

Notice use of the word "companies", and stop jumping to conclusions. It doesn't suit you.

M Gale

Have you downloaded half of the free Apple apps?

Enjoy your iAds, and I can't see Microsoft resisting the lure of an entire ecosystem of users and developers to wring licensing fees out. You think Microsoft haven't seen the money that Apple and Google get from their respective Marketplaces?



As you'll see they're a little more friendly than Apple's stance on advertising, but don't think that Windows Mobile 7 will be anything other than "Me Too" with .NET. In fact, I imagine it'll tie up quite nicely with Bing. The question is whether people want Windows on their phone, and whether companies really want to give Microsoft any more money than they have to already.

Google has Schmidt, also known as 1 of 7. Apple is a personality cult where it is Our Way Or The Highway, and you can go anywhere you want to with Windows today, as long as you're willing to empty your pockets whenever Microsoft feel like holding their users up by the legs and shaking. All of those companies want your search results, your favourite tracks, your purchase history and any other data they can get their hands on because the profiles of a billion users together are worth quite a really large amount of money.

So who do you choose? Borg Drone, Jesus or Chair-botherer?

Legendary steampunk computer 'should be built' - programmer

M Gale

Little bit of computing history.

The term "Bug" was coined by a Grace Murray Hopper, after locating a problem within one of the large, relay-powered mainframes of the day. A moth had become stuck in the system and was preventing a relay from working correctly. This was recorded in her log book, along with the offending moth, as the first computer bug.

So now you know.


Boffins riot as Hadron Collider upgrade is delayed

M Gale

You get +1

Mostly for describing an earth-shaking kaboom as "like slapping a soggy pudding".

M Gale


The Higgs Boson and all such related particles must be referred to with this moniker from now on.

£180 7in Android tablet launched

M Gale

What this guy said.

Android is pretty pointless without the Marketplace, unless you think people (by this I mean normal people, not computer geeks) are going to do the "adb install some_package_v323.34.456.apk" fandango.

M Gale

If you want a new Droidpad, make sure it's 2.x

You might get most things working in 1.6, but as of right now there are several apps that won't work in 1.5 (like for instance, the Angry Birds beta). Take a quick look at this page:


As you can see, 1.6 is slowly being squeezed out. 2.x has near-as-dammit 75% of the market. It won't be that long before developer look at the figures, and find themselves unable to resist using API toys that are only available from 2.x onward.

Google open sources JPEG assassin

M Gale

I thought once you get to Google's size...

...you don't so much buy bandwidth, as negotiate a peering agreement.

T-Mobile sued for censoring weed service

M Gale

This is the company...

..who by default sets their censorware to "North Korea" until you turn it off. Don't you need to be 18 in order to enter a contract to get a 3G dongle?

I'm on a borrowed dongle right now, and can't even look at the UK National Lottery without getting a "fuck off, we think you're a child." And yet, I can be corrupted by elReg and numerous other less work-friendly sites with ease!

God I'm glad I didn't buy this... and never will.

Steve Jobs chops student hack down to size

M Gale

"No Comment"

Those two words alone can be made to sound like anything you like. Just be creative with what Apple are not commenting on.

Sly, vindictive? Absolutely. Deal with it.

Sent from my HP Pavilion.

Microsoft takes Oracle side in Google Java-phone attack

M Gale

Microsoft throwing FUD.

Who could have guessed?

Microsoft shields Russia's refuseniks from police harassment

M Gale

Cue a million commentards...

...telling us how the Russian protesters would be better off telling Microsoft to get stuffed and go Toy Unix.

Which doesn't make said commentards wrong.

Craigslist to tell Congress why it cut adult ads

M Gale

Damned if you do, damned if you don't?

They could have done nothing and just left the adverts for child prostitutes there.

But then they'd be summoned to a hearing because they hadn't censored them.

Jailbreak hole in iOS 4.1 will be hard to close

M Gale

Walled Garden?

Is that the same app store that allowed a tethering app in disguised as a flashlight app?

Wonder what other Apple-approved apps are hiding stuff?

PARIS threatened by the bends

M Gale

Now that seems like a viable idea..

..don't try to eliminate the bend; use it!

M Gale


Sandwich several layers of paper and glue together in a vice, then chop more traditional rib shapes out of them? That's probably stretching the definition of "paper", but you'd effectively have something with the hardness of wood. It might bend less!

http://p-38.corpcomp.com/Glueing%20wing%20spars.jpg <- bit like that.

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