* Posts by frank ly

6112 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Windows 7 free upgrade generosity hits limits

frank ly Silver badge

@AC 14:40 re. @ frank ly

Thank you. As I suspected, but I will listen to any other advice of course.

BTW, my laptop is on it's third hard drive, swapping a 2.5" IDE drive is easy. I just load up a regularly updated system partition image (using my desktop and a 3.5" to 2.5" IDE adapter cable) onto the new hard drive and I'm good to go.

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I'll ask again....

Serious answers only please............

Given that I'm quite content to be running XP-Pro on my 6 year old laptop and 3 year old desktop, with some PSP manipulation of my holiday pictures and occasional iPlayer watching as the most demanding use of them; why would I want to upgrade to Windows 7? Can anyone explain the benefits to me (if any)?

Also, is there any 'cool new thing' I would then be able to do that I might want to get into?

Bloke uses nail clippers to go roundhead

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Subtle jokes and more..

So, he went roundhead in a cavalier fashion..... Sex related jokes mixed up with historical references, breaking tech news....El Reg has it all :)

China bans virtual cash for real-world trade

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@AC AC re. virtual currencies

Paypal is a payment management system that does not issue 'currency' and e-gold is an investment system that allows you to buy/sell gold investments but does not issue a currency. They are supposed to operate under various government guidelines for customer background checking to avoid being used as a money laundering channel.

Games like Second Life operate an in-game token system where tokens can be bought and sold by the game operator for real world currency. Tokens are exchanged between players as part of game activity and also between players and the game operator for game services. I know that SL players will say that it's not a game but as far as the money flow is concerned, it operates as a game of skill where you can win money from other players where the money is in the form of tokens issued by the game operator.

These tokens can be freely transferred between players but can never be taken outside the game and so do not count as currency. It is possible to use SL for money laundering but SL places limits on transaction levels and operates a distinction between 'ordinary' accounts and 'merchant' accounts, with transaction limits to detect and prevent this.

A debit card is a tool, under the control of the banks, that enables money in your bank account to be transferred to someone else's bank account under your instructions, so it's nowhere near being a currency. A gift certificate or shop voucher, which is issued by a retailer organisation, is in fact a form of currency (technically) but it is time limited for redemption and there are not many people who would be happy to accept a shop voucher as payment for goods/services; so as such it is useless as a currency.

The problem with 'alternative currencies' as far as governments are concerned, is the possibility of money laundering and forgery. The 'official' banking system has many procedures and checks in place to detect and prevent this but any alternative currency or virtual currency would probably not have this high level of oversight due to the cost of setting up and maintaining it.

Judge says IBM dude gets the Dell (job)

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Amazing Technique

"...agreement he was being forced to sign, he signed the form in the wrong place and reasonably believed (and still believes) that it has not been in effect all these years..."

What !? Can you do this and it stands up in court?

(When I signed the bank loan agreement, I signed it in the wrong place so I don't need to repay it, etc, etc)

Titsup airport express lane biz may pawn flyer data

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@Martin6 re.Titsup

"Everybody understands what 'titsup' means."

Does it mean "tits up" - flat on its back; or does it mean "tit sup" taking (or being in need of) external nourishment? It apparently means both in this case but does it always mean both?

More explanation is needed along with cross references to other usage in mainstream literature.

Ecopocalypse causes giant fish ears

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@Balefire re. Isn't this how eveolution works?

Yes, but only if you're a woman. If you're a man then it's called adamolution.

If you're a nutter it's called Intelligent design (had to slip that one in).

Rogue knob could ground space shuttle Atlantis

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@Robert Forsyth re. Use acid or something to dissolve the stem of the knob

"..dissolve the stem/screw part, perhaps use an electric current to encourage a kind of reverse electroplating effect."

Do you work for DARPA?

ISPs vs BBC iPlayer: Missing the point?

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@Paul Hates Handles re. It's all balls

"....don't most decent ISPs have local caches of Youtube + iPlayer .....?"

I hope that a BT-Retail or Virgin Media person (Anonymous I'd expect) will reply to you on that one.

It would seem to be the most sensible thing to do; store the latest. most popular BBC iPlayer stream (or whatever) in a local cache and deliver it from there to the customers watching at home, instead of pulling all those copies over the national backbone.

There may be all kinds of copyright issues with this though, who knows (comments please).

Whatever the issues and the 'rights and wrongs' are, you can be sure they wont be resolved by sensible technical considerations with a view to providing a service. They'll be 'hammered out' by suits looking to preserve their own position and industry reputation for being a tough negotiator.

US calls for China to revoke censorware plan

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@Ken Hagan re. What's the WTO got to do with it?

"...some kind of Pentagon-backed human rights organisation,..."

That is an astounding concept. It needs a DARPA research contract to study its viability and devise optimal implementation strategies.

Brit firm stops anti-tank warheads with cloth

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@Martin 6 re. Carry on .....

"So we are basically fitting tanks with Kilts!"

No, it's TARIAN, not TARTAN.

Microsoft strikes back at Outlook 2010 rendering grumbles

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HTM smell

A long time ago, I came to the conclusion that HTML in e-mails was only of use to spies, thieves, spammers and tossers. (Ok, I can understand non-PC-literate grandparents wanting to see pics of the family).

Has anything happened since then that might make me change my mind?

Microsoft cuts off Security Essentials downloads

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You gotta have faith

"...while omitting OneCore's backup and firewall tools." (disregarding the spelling mistake)

Would you trust a Microsoft firewall to block what you wanted it to block?

Beijing snuffs Google.com

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What's the Problem?

"...Google set up a Chinese subsidiary in 2005 - and agreed to submit to government censorship rules, which include the suppression of government criticism..."

So, Google entered into agreements as part of the conditions for being allowed to operate in China. Then they repeatedly broke parts of the agreement and as a result are being punished for it. This sounds quite reasonable. If you get into bed with the devil you have to expect (...insert suitable pornographic description to complete this sentence).

NASA takes stick over feet and inches

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@Rex Alfie re. The Biggest Issue....

"..Imperial measures need to be dumped. They also don't convert perfectly to decimal values."

Since the computers use binary arithmetic for calculations, then a system based on powers of two would be more suitable (based on your argument).

i.e. ...8,4,2,1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8.... This may be a bit fiddly so we can use base-8 as a compromise. Since we have eight fingers, this seems natural, makes a lot of sense and will be easy to adapt to.

Note that an ounce expressed as a fraction on a pound is 0.0001 in binary and 0.04 in octal. See, much easier to work with for computers.

frank ly Silver badge

@Steve 120 re. Decimal Schmecimal

"No-one listens...."

That's because you're not only talking nonsense, you're getting confused.

This is a discussion about human-decided systems of measurement (pounds-kilos, feet-metres), not a discussion about numerical representation (1/2 - 0.5, 3/4 - 0.75). The two have nothing to do with each other.

Before the first cave-dwellers tried to share a rabbit between 3 people, the number 1/3 and the number 0.33 recurring had this characteristic. I'll try again - this article is not about numerical representation.

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@Wade Burchette re. Bah!

Reading your comments was like watching an intellectual and logical train-wreck, in slow motion. It was both fascinating and depressing but I kept on reading it. Amazing!

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@ted frater re. US Aircraft...

"..I dont want half a kilo of spuds i want 1lb of them.."

Actually, no. You want a number of potatoes, within a certain size range, that you think is convenient and reasonable, at the time. I bet you never, ever, actually get a pound of potatoes; you'll get 1.13 or 0.92 or even 1.21 pounds and you'll be quite happy to have them.

Transformers helmsman demolishes English language

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@Richard Russell re. Only one grammar error here

"..In normal speech, "could have" sounds exactly the same as "could of", you see. "

Actually, it's "could've" that sounds the same as "could of"

Also, it's not a 'grammar error', it's a 'grammatical error'.

(Do I get the 'pedantic twat of the day' prize now?)

Beer...because you all need one and so do I after that lot.

Spanish court in favour of topless celebs

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@ Sarah Bee re. Re:WTF

I'd like a biscuit please. How do I go about getting one? (Do they have the El Reg vulture stamped on them? Those would sell, go for it, I wont even charge you for that brilliant idea, just send me a complimentary packet).

Designer pitches flat-pack power plug

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@ Trygve Henriksen re. Why the H! do they .....

"It's AC, and there's NO NEUTRAL plane on AC."

Try to slowly read and understand this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_and_neutral

LSI hauled to court for trade libel

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@AC 11:47 re. @frank ly (binarisation)

"..the process of converting the audio data into its binary representation which is then read by the computer hardware."

That is what is usually known as binary conversion/encoding. It's not patentable in itself, I was doing that back in the mid '70's. The words used all describe operations on existing digital (i.e binary encoded) data.

I suspect they have done some 'definition creep' to the word 'binarisation' to mean......whatever they want it to mean.

frank ly Silver badge

Binarisation of Audio?

"..the decoding, synchronising and binarisation of MPEG audio data,.."

I thought 'binarisation' (binarization) was a technique applied to images to give you a black and white (0 or 1) image. Very useful when applied to scanned text documents or for use in automated vehicle number plate readers, etc.

How would they use binarisation on audio data?

Top 500 supers - world yawns at petaflops

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@northern monkey and Boris

"Increased computational capacity obviously increases the range and accuracy of what we can do.."

"...model the atmosphere in greater and greater detail in order to produce a more accurate... "

Strictly speaking, you could do all this on my laptop, but it would need more memory and it would take thousands of years to do it. It would also be ridiculously expensive to support such an effort.

The point about supercomputers is that they give you these high resolution and large dataset results in a usefully short time. Because of this, many computing activities that have obvious 'use and value' can now be performed.

DARPA seeking Genesis-style godware capability

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Over here!

I've got a big wobbly pinkish bag of chemicals that can self-organise. I'm not sure they can do the router and fuel cell stuff, but the production of biofuel (methane) is way advanced and small quantities of medical drugs (rare proteins, hormones, etc) must be being produced in there.

Where do I send the samples and how much are they offering for it?

Manchester council caned over school data breach

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Promises, promises...

"Sir Howard Bernstein, chief exec of Manchester City Council, signed a promise to .."

Am I the only one who thinks this is pathetic? What about a performance order issued by a court? What about a deadline followed by an audit performed on them by an external agency?

If you want people to take you seriously you have to react seriously.

Microsoft goes green to win IE 8 and Bing users

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@Jasmine Strong re.Misappropriation of terms

"In the SF Bay area, "will code for green" means something quite different."

Does it mean "I'll develop software for cash."? I enjoy puzzles :)

Please don't eat your horse, EU asks owners

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@Paul Donnelly re. heheheh

"..on friends who have crossed that line and hit me with fish/rubbed steak wrapped in clingfilm on my face."

You actually know and are friends with people who behave like that?? (My mind is boggling as I type).

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re. Moderatrix Post-It

I'll have a Number 2. and a Number 5. please

Blade Runner house yours for $15m

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@JonB re. Genius....

"Falling Water had structural issues as well didn't it?"

Yes, but that is not the architect's fault. It is never the architect's fault. It is the fault of philistine builders, who use imperfect material and techniques; and ignorant occupiers who fail to understand the special maintenance requirements of such wonderful designs.

Don't call me Ishmael

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@A J Stiles re. My LAN

"..And when I run out of drugs, I'm going to start using explosives."

Whatever you do, don't get confused and start smoking them; just chew them slowly.

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What's in a name?

I remember that quite a few years ago, I noticed a 'fashion' for calling servers by names of 'related things'. So you'd have groups such as iron, copper, steel..... or diamond, sapphire, emerald...

This has the advantage that the people who look after them are less likely to get attached to them (as techies do) and so will make level headed decisions about scrapping them when the time comes; instead of lovingly tending and nursing them against all common sense.

MPs turn to Black Blob to preserve their dignity

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Burnham's Beds

"What is so special about Andy Burnham’s bed that work in his flat could only be described as "re-building {blob} beds" and "building {long blob} bed"...."

He was probably claiming for a gardener and a landscape artist's efforts to do work on his flower beds. Badly drained rose beds are a cause of much remedial work for gardeners and the creation of a proper alpine flower bed takes a great deal of skill and effort.

China recruits volunteer net porn police

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A spelling non-mistake

"..asked Google China to stop searching foreign *sights* to supplement the porno ban..."

That spelling mistake is so right! Did you do it on purpose? :)

Samsung demos OLED security card

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The Devil is in the detail

(The title is not an 'Exorcist' joke.....well, maybe a little..) Does it use an industry standard RFID reader or have they pumped up the power output for this one? I notice the demo guy has to reach way back to put the card on the display stand. Is this because they need a darkened area to enable viewing; or is it to prevent people's fleshy bits from being harmed by the radiated power density levels at the card surface?

(AFAIK, OLED displays are suitable for viewing in high ambient light conditions, hence my suspicions)

Intel goes to ultraviolet extremes

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Extreme Ultra Violet

Isn't that what they used to call Soft X-Rays? I suppose the word 'extreme' is a marketing thing that appeals to the modern, edgy crowd; whereas soft x-rays would be perceived as producing wussy chips.

Gay animals going at it like rabbits

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@Trix 1 re. @Inachu -ROFLMAO

Hasn't the uncontrolled creation of dykes resulted in disruption to local water table structure with consequences for soil salination, eco-system unbalance and suchlike?

I'm making lots of comments today, am I in the right place?

Spanish bar invites customer abuse

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Cross Cultural Cursing Comparisons

""Oye, cabrón, ponme una puta cerveza o te corto los putos huevos, gilipollas de la puta mierda."

I just had a go at translating that - wow! In English, that's not 'earthy', it's psychedelic neon lit. Can you give us an example of something that might be regarded as very rude?

Church of England schism fear over mobile phone masts

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And the radiation pattern of a crucifix is......?

Couldn't they incorporate them into existing christian symbology (see title).

They may need a phased array of differently sized crucifixes but with some thought the end result could look quite striking. If you run some carefully hidden wires along an angel's wings (statue thereof), you get a discrete semi-folded horizontal dipole. A suitably sized variation of a crown of thorns would make a cool looking omnidirectional aerial.

(Stand up, stand up for Yagi, ye aerials of the cross. Lift high his phased antenna, it must not suffer loss......) I could go on but I'd better not.... :)

Viviane Reding sees talking yoghurt pots

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Near Field Communications

NFC in this case could be being used by them as fancy catch-all that includes Bluetooth and WiFi. All politicians need to be hit over the head with a technical glossary at regular intervals.

Economists say P2P file-sharing fuels art

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"..For example, the United States Constitution states the intention of copyright law is "To promote the progress of science and useful arts,...."

Is this verbatim from the Constitution (and I assume this is an amendment) ?

If this part of the Constitution is used as the basis for any legal action then how do the courts interpret the words 'progress', 'science', 'useful', 'arts' and the expression 'useful arts'. This must have been written by lawyers to give them lots of work in the future.

Google accused of avoiding YouTube revenues

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"...the financial brains at Credit Suisse .."

Aren't they the big bank that had to write down $2.85 billion in 2008 because they deliberately overvalued their own assets? Can these people be trusted to analyse and value anything?

Microsoft bribes Oz to ditch Firefox

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A Possible Reply

I suggest that the Mozilla people run their own advert, where they place one very simple clue that leads to a web page that only IE users can access. This web page will have a download that will wipe IE from your computer and replace it with Firefox.

The selling point can be that with Firefox on their PC instead of IE, the time and aggravation that Australian citizens will save over the next year will be worth over $100,000 as a nationwide total. Go worldwide and make the advertised savings as $millions.

9/11 hero mutt cloned

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@Filippo re.@above

AFAIK, the donor egg cytoplasm (the sac that contained the original discarded nucleus) contains 'mitochondrial DNA' that carries out and regulates the cell's activity, mainly metabolic activity.

The nucleus, from the 'original animal' is what carries the nuclear DNA and this determines things such as number and size of legs, colour of eyes, etc, etc.

The interaction between cellular cytoplasmic activity, mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA, especially as it affects the characteristics of a clone, is not and cannot be fully understood since there has not been a history of studied clones.

Mitochondrial DNA is normally only inherited from the mother so changes very little (and so is useful for various studies of long term genetic drift and inherited defects caused by mitochondrial DNA malfunction, etc) but in the case of a clone, the mitochondrial DNA and the entire cytoplasm structure is inherited from the donor. Hence you cannot say that a clone made in this way will only have the characteristics from the nuclear DNA of the original animal.

Catholic social club ousts coven of witches

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@Richard North re. @Andy G

You can compile old Tux and he he won't give a 'f**,

Since he split up with Torvalds he's down on his luck.

He loves a roll in the snow and he will take it all

but the hedgehog can never be compiled at all.

(I couldn't bring myself to type the 'b-word'. I'm such a wimp)

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Granny Weathewax Would Know What To Do

Do you think that Shrewsbury's Reverend John Joyce will wake up with the same shape he went to bed in?"

Ofcom gets power to punish pirates

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I have an idea, but am not sure if it will work from a practical or legal standpoint - please advise.

Put a few Linux distros on your PC, then put them up for sharing on bit-torrent or wherever. Make sure they are correctly described as Linux distros in the summary/metadata area but give them names like Dark Knight, Slumdog Millionaire, Britney Spears Greatest Hits, etc. Take part in sharing with other people doing the same thing and set your download/upload rate to the minimum (don't want to use up much bandwidth doing this).

When the ISP writes to you, you send a simple and polite reply denying that you are sharing copyright material; keep doing this. When you get disconnected and taken to court, sue the ISP for whatever and sue the rights holders for libel. Could this work?

Opera to take web back to the old days

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Publishers and Consumers

"..Conspiracy fans have long posited that the proliferation of NATs and Firewalls is part of a process to divide the internet into "publishers" and "consumers",...."

If so, they really are paranoid. NATs is about getting around the inherent address space limitations (AFAIK, please correct me if wrong) and a firewall is about system protection from all the well documented 'nasties' out there.

The ISPs are the ones who want us to be 'consumers', with the asymmetrical connections they provide (usually, download is about 10 times faster than upload speed). They hoped that we'd be 'consuming' from them, paying for news and entertainment, but Google/iPlayer/YouTube/bit-torrent etc beat them to it. The ISPs are now data-movers and no different from water and sewerage companies as regards what they do for us.

If we had symmetrical speed connections, then the entire world could be a very distributed and robust cloud with people running a background app that stored and maintained a relatively small amount of data and running a distributed application, on behalf of a 'cloud provider'. (In exchange for which, a user would get a discount on cloud services).

DataSlide reinvents hard drive

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Confidential Stuff

I love that it says 'CONFIDENTIAL' on each slide. Slide 10 mentions 36 Gbytes and Dataslide Capacity. Is this the intended capacity of initial production models? If so and if they can deliver performance, then they would be very good as system disks for both high end desktops and embedded systems. If not, then we wont hear much more about them.

Slide 14 explains that a spinning HDD doesn't use the centre or the corners of the storage surface; could that be because the storage surface has a spindle in the centre and ...er...doesn't have any corners?

Slide 16 claims it has no seek time, but if it 'moves' the surface by oscillating at 800 Hz, that will give an effective seek time of 1.25 ms maximum, less than 1ms average; which is small but not-zero.

The entire presentation has the look of a VC-wank show, created by marketing after they've had the usual very short chat with the engineers (running away as soon as they can before any possible infection takes hold).

Race to pinpoint VoIP callers in emergencies

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@TeeCee re. Location, location, location

You are being cynical and have a lack of faith in government. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. If you have nothing to hide them you have nothing to fear. This information will only be available to emergency services and relevant government and local authority departments. They know what's best for you and they WILL know where you live.

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