Light does slow down as it passes through matter. This has been known for a long time.
The constant, c, is the speed of light in a vacuum.
1740 posts • joined 22 May 2007
Light does slow down as it passes through matter. This has been known for a long time.
The constant, c, is the speed of light in a vacuum.
I have to LOL at this comment thread.
The extremist AGW positions on both sides of the debate sound like an argument between religious nuts. Both are absolutely certain that their view is correct, but they do not try to debate, they just shout at the other side, as they are clearly wrong and stupid.
I often wish we could just get on with destroying the planet, and our own species. I think the universe would be better off without us...
How do you get 2.4 children? How do you get half a child?
Reminds me of an amusing incident.
An incredibly intelligent friend of mine (who used to be a programmer on mainframes for the banking sector) is currently out of work. The job centre sent him on a basic maths course. Now, I should mention that this friend has a very dry sense of humour, is very quick witted, and gets bored very easily... Not a good combination in this instance.
Not far into this course, they were doing fractions. One sum came out at 13.5. The tutor explained that you needed to use your common sense in applying the results.
"For example, you couldn't have half a child," she said.
My friend's immediate response: "Tell that to Jamie Bulger's parents."
Unsurprisingly, he was asked to leave the training facility and never return.
Now; I know the next argument: of course the Tesla firm uses something a bit better than mere laptop batteries, of course they do.
I think you'd be surprised. IIRC* Tesla makes their battery packs from Panasonic 18650 cells. Open up most laptop batteries and you will find... 18650 cells.
Now maybe they use a different spec, but they will be very similar. What is different is the control electronics, which I suspect will be very complex to take the best possible care of those expensive battery packs.
*I remember reading this somewhere, but cannot vouch for it's accuracy.
"Actually the democracy part means that you can stand as a third option. No doubt your ideas will be perfect and everyone will vote for you. Then you have to implement them, and that's when reality will bite you."
My ideas are far from perfect, and I would be lousy in politics.
"The current system is far from perfect"
The problem is not the system, per se. It is the people who generally rise to power in our political system. Hence my tongue-in-cheek quote from a South Park episode (maybe I should have included the joke icon to make it clear). It is captured in another line from that episode:
"But Stan, don't you know, it's always between a giant douche and a turd sandwich. Nearly every election since the beginning of time has been between some douche and some turd. They're the only people who suck up enough to make it that far in politics."
I do think there is another reason for this: Most people do not understand fully what they are voting for. Sometimes this is down to the voter (e.g. they are just voting for Party X because their parents did or they were too lazy to actually look into the issues), sometimes it is down to the politicians not giving enough information to make an informed decision. The politicians (from all parties) also tend to do as much work trying to discredit their opposition as setting out their policies (I am being generous, here).
And finally, the bottom line is that politicians do not do after the election what they said they would do before it. This is, I believe, most people's biggest gripe. They may say that they couldn't, but they should not be making promises they cannot keep. So how can we, the general public, the voters, make an informed decision when the politicians will not do most of what they say anyway?
I hadn't even heard about it until I read it on here.
Although I haven't had time to watch the news for a good few weeks.
Let's get out the vote! Let's make our voices heard!
We've been given the right to choose between a douche and a turd.
It's democracy in action! Put your freedom to the test.
A big fat turd or a stupid douche. Which do you like best?
This one size fits all is a big mistake. We need to group individuals into their talents and teach them that way.
I agree with this, to a point. However, this cannot be accomplished as fully as you state in a mainstream school environment. This is where parents an out-of-school activities come in. A school classroom will have 20+ students. It is unreasonable to expect a teacher to be teaching many separate curriculums to cater to each individual's needs. The school classroom, at primary school, needs to cater to the majority, with special help given to individuals who need it where possible (whether because they are struggling or need pushing harder).
Outside of school, talents should be encouraged by parents. I was lucky. My parents were both intelligent and able to either teach me or learn things along side me. I still remember my father teaching me pythagoras on a steamed up mirror. Outside their skill sets, they ensured I had all the support I needed. For example I had violin lessons, first at school, then at the local music centre, and finally private lessons.
I agree that most teachers are not equipped to teach "mainstream" IT, let alone programming, but then I don't think that they necessarily should be at primary school. What they should be teaching is logic, reasoning, problem solving and other fundamentals which need to be in place before "programming". It doesn't have to be on a computer: Preparing a procedure for how to perform a simple task in natural language is a first step. Work through that to defining algorithms, branching, loops, error handling etc. but not necessarily programming.
Programming is not the most important skill at primary level. Thinking in a way which will support programming is. Those who show flair can be encouraged, but the fundamentals would be an asset to all children. In high school, the students can go on to study such matters in more depth.
"it probably wont be good enough speed wise to play games on, the main reason being lag"
There was an interesting piece I read about that (it may even have been on el Reg). IIRC it claimed that the lag would be at least as good as modern consoles (at the time). It would not be good enough for a hard core PC gamer, but good enough for a casual gamer.
Looking at that, if you are a casual gamer it would be seriously worth considering using a G2 for your gaming needs. 50p/hour on a machine with that spec... Plus you should be able to use it anywhere you have a decent internet connection, even from a cheapo tablet.
"So next time you see a dialogue box saying 'Are you sure you want me to go insane and try to enslave humanity?', CLICK NO!"
Every device locked down so hard that the users can barely do their proper job let alone anything else.
There are good reasons for this.
1) IT need to stop users from breaking things. It happens all too often: A user downloads some badly written software that they think they need, or changes some settings, and BLAM! The PC is dead. It then takes IT hours to fix. Hours which stop them from doing their job. (Incidentally, these problems happen more often when the user is someone who "knows about computers", you know, the type of user who complains that they should be allowed more freedom because they know what they are doing...)
2) IT need to stop users from doing things they shouldn't be doing. I know we should be able to trust each other, but some people will do naughty things when noone is watching. If kiddie porn or pirated material is found on a system, the company could be in for a world of pain. Even things like watching a football match on your PC in your lunch break could have an effect. IT must ensure business rules are followed with their equipment.
Now obviously, sometimes an over-zealous admin will apply too strict a policy, or will make a mistake. But the entire point is to make computers business tools.
I believe that if we are to form a new country, we cannot be a country that appears war-hungry and violent to the rest of the world. However, we also cannot be a country that appears weak and unwilling to fight to the rest of the world. So, what if we form a country that appears to want both?
Yes. Yes of course. We go to war, and protest going to war at the same time.
Right. If the people of our new country are allowed to do whatever they wish, then some will support the war and some will protest it.
And that means that as a nation, we could go to war with whomever we wished, but at the same time, act like we didn't want to. If we allow the people to protest what the government does, then the country will be forever blameless.
It's like having your cake, and eating it, too.
Think of it: an entire nation founded on saying one thing and doing another.
And we will call that country the United States of America.
OK, personally, I'm all for the cops being hard on people who drive while distracted in any major way.
However, Glass could be a way to reduce distractions. Let's take sat nav as an example. Currently, people have a small screen device mounted at dashboard level. Mostly, you can get by without looking at it, just using audio directions (something I do regularly on my bike, as my phone is tucked away in my pocket). But, being realistic, most people can't help looking at it every few seconds. This involves not only looking at it, but also refocussing on it, then looking back to the road and refocussing again, as does looking at your speedo etc.
Instead, if all this info is placed on a Glass display, it is already both nearer to your line of vision and (AFIAK) at the right focal distance. This is much safer to look at. I can also (AFAIK) be used as a hands free kit for your phone.
Now obviously, it could (and probably will, by some at least) be used to watch cat videos, read text messages, etc. which would be a major distraction. What we could do with is a "car mode" along with a log of what is being used, so cops could see whether the driver was using it for something they shouldn't.
In all, it is not as clear as Glass (ba da boom, ching). But banning their use outright will discourage it's use in ways which could improve safety.
So imagine this: Google does a lucrative deal with Fox News so that every time you search for a news story, Fox's version of events and their opinions are prioritised above all others. Would you still be happy then?
The point, for me, is that they don't. They act as a search engine.
The only part I regularly use through the search engine which is not just a search engine is Maps. I use this not just because it is convenient, but because it is a damn good product. I do not just go to Google and type in a postcode because it is convenient. If there was a significantly better free online map, I would use that.
Other than that, I use Google as a search engine. Whether this is for a general web page, a product, a news story or even a forum post, it provides me with links to relevant information. If it didn't, I wouldn't use it.
I am not sure where I stand on all of this yet, but I do know that Google makes information easily accessible.
When I use a search engine, I am looking for information. I don't really care where that information comes from, as long as it is the information I need.
If I search for a postcode, I expect a map. If I search for a product, it is likely that I will want price comparisons. And, to be frank, I don't want to wait for another site to load up to give me that information: I want it there, now, at my "fingertips".
Google do this well. If I search for a postcode, it returns a map showing me where it is. If I search for a product, I will have a list of sellers right there on the page. This makes it more convenient for me.
If they didn't do that, instead showing links to other price comparison or mapping sites, it would not be as convenient a service for me. Yet another click to get to my information is not what I (or the majority of users) want.
I do think it depends both on the particular meeting involved and the types of communication.
If you are in a business meeting, but get a call/alert saying your (business critical) server has died, you need to receive and immediately deal with that. If you are in an interview, you should not be checking your phone full stop.
The problem is that phones are innately rude devices. They ring and ring until you deal with them. They also encourage rude behaviour. If you consider a situation where you are speaking to someone at their desk and the phone rings, 9 times out of 10 the person will take the call. The better-mannered will say "excuse me" first. Either way, it is quite rude, but it is considered acceptable because it is a phone call.
This whole debate goes into personal lives, too. My fiancée often asks me why I leave the room to take a call. She views it with suspicion. The truth of the matter is that I consider it rude to interupt whatever she's doing (even if it is just watching the TV) by taking a call, and would rather leave the room so she can continue uninterrupted.
Exactly what I thought. This is like someone wishing the Mona Lisa was 3D so modifying the original to jump out at you with 3D glasses on.
As you say, it takes a long time for each release to become something that's approaching reliable - even the LTS ones.
That's why I tend to stick with Debian (stable) for servers. Although it tends to be quite a way behind the curve, at least it's stable (and incredibly so, IMHO).
I couldn't tollerate the missing features for a desktop, but on a server give me stability and reliability any time.
@AC 09:26 - Although I like the story, please learn the difference between there/their/they're and when to use apostrophes. Instead of "there idea's", you should be using "their ideas".
"it's just pretend, made-up, la-la land currency"
Nope. If you have a good idea, you have to very careful about who you tell and under what circumstances until you have applied for a patent. Any publication of what you wish to patent, by you or anyone else, before you start the application process can be cited as prior art.
IIRC, this includes patent applications. A patent application is publishing the idea. If you have made an error in your application and you try to re-apply, technically it would be invalid due to the prior art of your initial application.
This sounds like it would be a great asset, especially for femto-cells and the like. It would free such tiny cells from the control of the big networks. It would be a huge win for consumers.
But there is no one standard for ARM based machines, it's fragmented as there are different configurations of the ARM cores with added hardware, i.e. System-on-a-chip, SOC. Moreover, some of these SOCs have proprietary technologies. So it would be naive to expect that software that runs on one ARM-based platform will run on all the others. Most phones contain ARMs but is it straight forward to run the same software on all of them, e.g. run apps for the iPhone on Androids and vice versa? Answer: no (except for the hobbyist who wants to hack, but most of us dont have time for that). There is hardware lock-down and appstore eco systems and different software stacks to contend with too.
With a x86 PC at least you could say that a program can run on many other various variations of this platform.
This is an OS issue, not a CPU/SOC issue.
The whole idea of an OS is that it abstracts the hardware. All the different variations of hardware components become, largely, irrelevant.
An x86 desktop is a collection of different pieces of hardware. There are different motherboards, graphics cards, network cards etc. For the vast majority of applications, it doesn't matter. They just work, because all this complexity is handled by the OS (and drivers).
"BT has become almost a swear word in our office."
I must agree.
As a "consumer" I have had so many problems with them that I won't have anything to do with them as far as possible.
However I have recently started working for a company who uses them for a backup DSL line at head office and their main connectivity for a warehouse. The head bean counter will not speak to BT any more, pushing it down to her assistant. The same goes for anyone with underlings: They will not speak to BT themselves.
We also recently moved our warehouse. An order was placed for the same business infinity line as was in the old premises to be set up at our new place. After several (progressively more worried and irate) phone calls trying to get hold of the router, 3 days before we were moving, we were told that our order had been cancelled because we could not get infinity there! No phone call, no email, no contact whatsoever. To allow the move to go ahead we had to purchase 3G dongles to see us through till we arranged alternative connectivity.
We will not use BT again. That was the final straw. I had always assumed that their terrible customer service was reserved for consumers, but to treat a business customer in this manner... It was absolutely unbelievable!
It has uses, but ultimately it isn't a mass market device. It will appeal to Youtubers who want to make videos showing themselves fixing something or performing.
But wearing something on your head is not comfortable and it's not like you can leave it there all the time. Battery life isn't going to be good.
Let's just roll back the clock:
It has uses, but ultimately it isn't a mass market device. It will appeal to Yuppies who want the office to be able to call them at any time of the day or night.
But carrying something that big and bulky around is not comfortable and it's not like you can keep it with you all the time. Battery life isn't going to be good.
By the way, I'm not a huge fan of Google or it's Glass. I'm just pointing out that certain nay-sayers are missing some pretty big parallels with other technology.
I disagree, the mobile phone and car both offered more convenient (and better?) ways of doing things they were already doing.
Glass offers something that people aren't doing and it's by no means clear that people want to do it.
When the car was first produced, it certainly wasn't more convenient. It was loud, clunky and slow.
When the mobile phone was first invented, I partially agree that it presented a more convenient way of working for a select few. These were business people, the types who needed to be contactable and to be able to contact others at all times. Before mobiles, it was pagers, and the person would have to find a nearby phone (e.g. payphone) to contact the other person. But you certainly would not have had mass adoption, and many would have called it "nearly useless" even if they were given one for free.
As for Glass, I agree that the forward-looking camera is not a feature I would find useful. However, the concept of having a voice-controlled unit able to feed back info to me both visually and audibly, hands-free, and always available without having to dig it out of your pocket sounds useful. It could offer a more convenient way to do many things people already do, like receive emails/texts, look up information, navigate from A to B...
So, in summary I would suggest that Glass is at the same point as the earliest cars or mobiles, and it is far too early to call them a success or failure. In a few years or a few decades we could all be using the descendants of this infant technology every day.
So far, I'd rate it "almost but not quite entirely useless" (don't ask why I have one).
I have to say that many would have said the same about the first mobile phones: They were big, clunky, only worked in certain areas etc. Same with cars: They didn't go very fast, were very limited, heck a horse or horse-and-cart/carriage (or even walking) was a much more convenient way to travel.
I'm not saying that Glass will become as big as the mobile phone, but remember it is a very early example of technology. I don't doubt it is pretty crap as things stand, and most people shouldn't be interested in owning/using it, but that doesn't mean it will never succeed.
I would say that your bosses advice was perfectly sound, and not something which should have been reported to HR. I do not believe it was sexist (although the wording may have been construed as such), he was just advising you to fit in.
It is no different, in my view, to advice given about how to dress for an interview. You dress smart, and in a way which will not cause anyone to see you in a negative light. This is easy for blokes: You go in a suit and tie, whether you are applying for a management post or a warehouse job. For women, there are more choices, but you go in work-smart clothing, not exposing yourself, not tarted up to the nines...
When it comes to work, as others have said, try to fit in. If everyone else is wearing suits, you wear suits. If everyone else is wearing shabby jeans, ditto. You don't want to stand out until you have established yourself, at which point you need to be sure you stand out in a positive way.
So, although I will not deny that things are more difficult for women in a technical profession, the advice about dress is something everyone needs to take on board.
As for the "acting like a bloke" bit, well, that'll cause me some issues at some point. I'm a quiet bloke, and I hate to sing my own praises or push my way forward. Luckily I have never had to, and my bosses have always been able to see my good work without me shouting it.
In case you haven't noticed, women are not a minority group.
They are in IT.
Apple aren't particularly innovative and usually aren't first to market.
However what they did do that turned the entire phone industry on its head was to produced a polished product that brought together various innovations from elsewhere all in one package and create a well supported ecosystem for it all to work in.
Apple do not "innovate" in terms of producing something entirely new. What they do is take something which already exists and make it "nicer".
MP3 players existed before the iPod, but the iPod was more consumer-friendly, easier to use, nicer looking...
Touch screen smart phones existed before the iPhone. Most of them sucked, some were OK, but the iPhone (in general) improved the usability for the general consumer.
Tablets existed before the iPad, but they hadn't been done for quite a while when the iPad came out. It brought up to date technology into the arena, along with what they had learned from the iPhone, and produced, again, and easier to use product.
That is what Apple do well. I hope they continue to do so.
"What about German engineers then?"
They have the best sense of humour of all!
"Was this using the official 3rd party sdk? I thought that hadn't been released yet."
There is an SDK, but it is clearly marked as being in beta:
"Warning: The current Google Cast SDK is a preview SDK intended for development and testing purposes only, not for production apps. Google may change this SDK significantly prior to the official release of the Google Cast SDK. We strongly recommend that you do not publicly distribute any application using this preview SDK, as this preview SDK will no longer be supported after the official SDK is released (which will cause applications based only on the preview SDK to break)."
'“We’re a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line,” a senior NSA official told the Post in an interview.'
I wonder how the courts would view it if a multinational company said, "We are a human-run company operating under several legal systems in different countries, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line".
Or a car driver said "I'm a human driver, driving on a lot of different roads with a lot of different speed limits, so at times I find myself driving too fast".
'Saying Microsoft "did what people wanted" is like saying that a company selling whit shirts to a crowd demanding black is "Meeting demand" by selling blue.'
Actually, in this case I would say it's more like them continuing to make white shirts, but adding a tiny black square to them.
"The country hopes to ship enough panels worldwide to produce 22 to 23GW of solar energy this year"
I can just about accept it from most publications (although it still makes me shudder), but this is a techie site, so please could you stop mixing units!
Watts (and therefore GW etc.) are a unit of power, not energy!
(Yes, I know I've gone a bit Yahoo! there, but it really irks me!!)
Just like the NSA then?
Happy Birthday Debian! Thanks for keeping my servers running rock solid for so many years. You have made me look good!
It's when you start compiling your own kernels because the ones in the distro are too bloated that you know you are hooked, and you will be spending long evenings ignoring your family while you find that perfect combination of options which will give you exactly what you need and no more...
There are a couple of things a fingerprint scanner has over other forms of security.
The first one is that it's much much less likely that someone will remove your finger to get into your phone than look over your shoulder while you type your PIN.
The second one is it's easier.
I had a Motorola Atrix, and I found the fingerprint scanner the best part of it. That one was buile into the power button. Unlocking with a fingerprint was no more difficult than having no lock, once you got the hang of it. PIN or password, or pattern unlock, all take more effort and more time to get into your phone.
I'd love to have that feature again. I wont be buying an iPhone to get it, though.
It is. The new one will be improved perfection, but that won't make previous models any less perfect.
"At the time of writing the first instalment of series 5b has about 30,000 seeders on the Canadian torrent tracker Isohunt."
To the best of my knowledge, Isohunt is not a torrent tracker. It is a search engine. They do not provide trackers of their own, just allow people to search torrents and view aggregated information from all the trackers they are on.
"the top level is blocking innovation by making savings a priority"
Yep, I've seen that so many times. It's why I left my last job. Top brass blocked every proposal we put in front of them. One particular project (virtualising a load of under utilised servers which were costing a fortune in support contracts and were slowly dying) was on it's 5th iteration, each with lower costs, even though the first showed savings within 3 years. Didn't matter to the board.
"Surely it's obvious that IT should be driving the innovation since they are the ones who understand technology."
Yes, but they are also the ones who often know the least about the actual business.
I think we moved in the right direction at my last job. We put together teams involving IT and a particular department. They helped enormously.
The main stumbling block before that was that we, in IT, didn't know what the depts needed, and the depts didn't know what we could do. By bringing us together, we could hear what was making life difficult for them, and suggest ways to improve things.
All too often, IT personnel keep themselves isolated from everyone else. This makes life easier, but unless you talk to those using the tech, you can't improve it for their benefit.
"39 per cent place the responsibility for driving technological innovation with a company's IT team"
In other words "Hey! You! Go and innovate so we make more money!"
"What Obama said is a lot of smoke and mirrors."
Or, in other words, "He's a politician".
Yep. He's going to have to hope there are no BOFHs or PFYs on that list.
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