* Posts by Irné Barnard

12 posts • joined 30 Jun 2010

Windows malware dwarfs other viral threats

Irné Barnard


Why do you need a survey to check this? If only because of Windows being the OS on 90% of the PC's then you'd expect at least 90% of the malware targeting it? You wouldn't even lift an eyebrow if it's more ... simply because of the "human" nature of these malware writers (not that I like them - I despise them), why would they spend all their time to try and catch a small fraction of a small percentage of the total PC population?

Diesels greener than electric cars, says Swiss gov report

Irné Barnard

Super conduction

Oh yes, and keeping it a 4 to 70K (that's -269C to -203C; or -452 F to -333 F) is not going to cost a lot is it? Have you seen the refrigerator units on trucks? And that's just to keep at or near 0C (32F; 273K).

Sure, this quote sounds nice: "As the stored energy increases by a factor of 100, refrigeration cost only goes up by a factor of 20." But read it again, i.e. you have the capability to STORE five times as much energy as you use to decrease the temperature. E.g. if you can store 500kWh, you will use 100kW (per hour) to *store* it (not create it). So after 5 hours you're using more energy than you're storing.

For space this may be feasible, as long as you keep your storage away from any type of heat causing radiation. In earth's atmosphere it's not even an option.

Irné Barnard

H2O Balance

Yes rain and evaporation changes the ration of H2O in the air. But if everyone starts driving cars using H-fuel cells and the H is extracted from something else than H2O (alcohol, natural gas, etc.) That means there's more H2O in totality. First off the vapor would go into the air, causing higher temperatures, much more rain, floods, etc. Ending with rising sea levels. Uhmmm how's that different from what the hot-house effect is foretelling? Oh wait, the CO2 effect simply states the balance is shifted temerature wise, causing existing water to be changed from ice to liquid. The H from other sources->H20 makes more H2O, not just more ice into liquid/gas.

Small amount? Certainly, but multiply with 6 billion people over a century. Even a minuscule bit starts becoming a problem. There were very clean skies in general at the turn of the last century, not so much now - and that's just because of the fossil fuel burning.

Yet still, this is simply a theory. Not established proof. There may be some other factor which may re-balance the H2O levels of its own accord -> making this concern irrelevant.

The point I was trying to make is to show there's no definitive and comprehensive research made. No point in jumping into a path without checking if there's some stumbling blocks up ahead. There may be no paths without stumbling blocks, but we should at least check to see which path have those which we can surmount.

Irné Barnard

Leccy storage

Apart from the very high efficiency loss of storing electricity in batteries (the Li-Ion being the most efficient yet) , there's another problem. There's very few mines in the world producing Lithium:


Where will we get the Lithium if all goes to full-electric or even hybrid? Out of necessity we'll have to go with even worse batteries like NiCd. And these batteries all have a limited life span, after about 5 years you have to replace them. They can't be recycled, so you need to dig up more of that scare recourse and chuck the toxic waste into ... where exactly?

So obviously another form of storage is needed. Fuel cells have been mentioned. They're not only much more efficient, but have much longer life spans, and can much more easily be recycled. My previous post points out a possible stumbling block though - which has yet to be investigated. Maybe it isn't a stumbling block of great magnitude, but we don't know since no-one's checked.

Theoretically the most efficient storage would be a momentum wheel ... if you can get it friction free (i.e. in a vacuum with magnets instead of axles). Which means input and output is very difficult, and would probably cause their own efficiency loss as well. But you need an extremely big, heavy thing for it to be viable. Something in the order of miles in diameter. Not really feasible to put in the boot of a car is it?

Any future discovery? Maybe, but we haven't even investigated the current methods yet. Our current fossil burning is known to be bad, it can be improved, but we don't know how this stocks up against leccy stuff - since there's not any comprehensive check done. And it's only an opinion bashing for now. But we know we need a change, where to go from here? It's certainly better to do something than nothing, unless we choose a course which is actually worse than we have as is. Thus I'm against jumping into an unproven tech.; we don't know what the cost to the future is,we can only surmise.

Irné Barnard


Yes, this feature does seem as if objectivity has become a bad word for the journalist(s). But is that any surprise? A journalist is after sensationalism, he want's to sell the story. And a lame story of there's no real knowledge of what is better is not going to cut it. So you need to take every thing which spews from any journalist's keyboard with a liberal dose of salt ... unless of course that's not "green" :) ...

Irné Barnard

Moving the pollution

Oh yes, out of sight out of mind! It might work for the time being, since you're not seeing the pollution (unless you want to go to the country side where your exhaust pipe has been moved). But what happens when that causes climate change? Or a change in wind direction blows that over a populated area?

This is just a form of sweeping the SHT under the carpet. Somewhere along the line it's going to squish when someone steps on it. And then the fan blades are going to throw it right back at you.

Sorry for mixing metaphors, but what the hell? I like mixing it up ... causes a stir!!!

Irné Barnard

Other forms of energy creation?

Yes please! If we can get something which doesn't pollute (as much) or cause as much ecological damage, then I'm all for it! Can it produce enough for what's needed though?

More efficient burning & filtering in power stations? Maybe, if at all possible.

Fission? It's not as clean as you're told. The mining & enrichment is extremely dirty. And then there's the waste. And to a lesser extent the accidents. We're all humans, we all make mistakes, so don't tell me accidents are avoidable - they're inevitable! Who knows, the control PC might just run Microsoft products - now that's a recipe for disaster if ever I've seen one!

Hydro? Maybe? What about the huge tracts of land which has to be flooded? And it's not really an option for a dry climate is it? Maintenance? How many damns will be needed, do we need to swap our cars for boats?

Wind? Again, maybe? How many "wind-mills" would be enough? Can they all fit onto the earth? Would we be able to move around between them? What's the maintenance cost?

Wave / tidal? Isn't this much the same as hydro? Maybe not, more like wind I presume. I can just see how the greenies would hate to see a dolphin ground up in the gears!

Photo voltaic? Certainly! If they're not producing pollution at or before manufacture. How long is their life span. And again, would we be able to see the blue sky from below this canopy of glass and metal sheeting?

Fusion? Uhh ... maybe some aliens might say: "Here you go, that's how to do it!" Until then we've only been able to produce the H-Bomb ... not very clean IMO, and I wouldn't think you could "move" the power plant far enough! I'd also assume the worker turnover at the plant would be a bit high ;). That is until Scotty from Star Trek can finally say for real: "I'm giving her all she's got, Captain! "

Irné Barnard

There's no free lunch!

Plainly put, anything you do is going to cost some environmental impact. Even if you're just going to walk (because making a bicycle also consumes resources and causes pollution) you're using up food (which cause quite huge amounts of pollution per Jule compared to other forms of transportation) and your exhalations are also adding CO2.

The point is to find the types of transport which allow for the least pollution and most effective use of resources. In such case the most promising seems to be hydrogen fuel-cells: Hydrogen being the most common substance in the universe, and fuel cells using a lot less resources to manufacture than a Li-Ion battery, lifespan on fuel cells are also a lot longer than the standard 5 year battery life, and only H2O is produced as by product (i.e. WATER).

But then nothing is said about the fact that nearly nowhere is hydrogen found in it's pure form. It's always combined with some other element (e.g. H2O). Thus to provide the H to add to your fuel-cell's tank it first has to be broken off the O by extremely high voltages ... again, we're back to using power plants. So even here we still have the fuss of coal, oil, nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, etc. And BTW, if you look worldwide (i.e. not just 1st world), coal is the overall most used power plant in existence - i.e. the most inefficient, most pollutant fuel possible would be the one used to "fill-up" your H on average.

And then there's other sources of H, e.g. through catalytic extraction from alcohol. But then where do you get the alcohol? Sugar-cane & fermentation? As if that doesn't have any impact on the environment! And what happens with the carbon residue after the H has been extracted? Landfill? Or are you going to use it in coal power stations?

And if you find an abundant easy to extract source of H. You're in effect adding more and more H2O - water vapor to the atmosphere. Uhmm ... anyone ever seen how quickly a man-made hot-house heats up when adding more water-vapor? Forget CO2! If you extract it from existing water, at least you're keeping a balance.

So if even petrol engines can be made to take in totality less energy and creating less pollution (used during extraction, manufacture, supply & use) than another form of energy - then that should be the preferred method between the 2. Please someone, could you find a few empirical studies to show the FULL IMPACT of comparable energy sources? This "testing with blinkers on" is causing more problems than it's solving. I can't seem to find any which even takes account of one source's total life-cycle (i.e. prospecting -> construction -> mining -> transportation -> conversion -> distribution -> usage -> by products), never mind comparing even 2 using these full-costs.

Apple swaps good iPhones for bad, say fanbois

Irné Barnard
Black Helicopters

Now say with me:

Cover UP!

Linux game-time refined with latest Wine

Irné Barnard

Wine not good enough

Actually, it's not even close to getting there. My major program (at the moment)? AutoCAD ... apparently version 2005 "can be installed" in Wine, but doesn't work fully. And now someone's got 2008 "slightly working". WTF?

FreeCAD? That's BS! Even BricsCAD is better ... and that's 5 years + behind ACad (still no dynamic blocks, tables, annotative scales, etc.) - even though you have to pay for it!

And even IF Wine finally gets ACad 2011 (64bit - no i DON'T WANT the 32bit) working ... it's too late. ACad isn't where most in my industry are going anymore. I'd rather see something like Revit working there.

Alternatives? You mean Blender? No ... I didn't say 3dStudio, I said Revit! Damit! There's a HUGE difference. The one's a 3d Rendering package (ONLY!), the other's a fully integrated Building Information Management / Parametric Control Modeling System. If I want a decent rendering package I'd go with Maya ... which is available on Linux!

As for Gimp/PS ... I'm happy with both, and have used both. Actually I like using GimpShop over PS any day of the week and twice on Sunday! But then, it doesn't have all the newest frills of PS does it? So if PS has something new which is actually useful, then -1 Gimp. And then I actually don't like either for my line of "image editing" ... I prefer AutoDesk Alias as it's simply so much better for 2d Vector based "rendering".

As for OOo going Ribbon ... that's simply not true ... there's a lot more to it than simply trying to copy MSO. Go look at the explanations about Project Renaissance again! It's all about making the UI better than anything else in current existence. If you think it's not going in the correct path, join the discussion and lift your opinions there. At least you "can" say what you want to OOo ... you simply have to take what M$ / Mac dishes out!

And for those Purists ... no Wine ... no VM ... no Dual Boot? Fine give me something I can actually use. I don't ONLY type emails you know! I need something which is EASY to use when creating 3dModels & 2d Technical construction documents. Not something like Blender! Not even AutoCAD cuts that requirement ... so if you're trying to "copy" a near 30year old program (yes AutoCad v1.0 was released in 1982) you're missing the point aren't you?

Irné Barnard

Not totally true!

Not exactly ... in my experience (being an Architect) we there's a trend in architecture to use BIM (Revit) and all the construction engineering firms (structural, civil, HVAC, plumbing, etc.) still live in the CAD world.

Well, I say "all" ... all those I came into contact with did. Except some structurals which used MicroStation instead. But isn't that also a CAD?

The Reg guide to Linux, part 3

Irné Barnard
Thumb Down


This install how-to is actually going to stop most (if not all) non-techy's from even trying Ubuntu. Why in all that's holy do you think a revert back to the 70's command line user interface is an "EASY" way of installing additional programs?

Ubuntu (even the older versions - I've still got 8 on my laptop) has an extremely decent graphical interface for searching, updating & installing all those packages available through that sudo, apt-get, wget, etc. etc. etc.

You open it, tell it to update its list (or not), you're asked for the admin password if your settings state such. Uhm, that's Open the console and type:

sudo apt-get update

Use the search field to type something about what you're looking for. It shows a list of the matching applications. If you click on one it shows a description about what it actually does. If you can't find it add the restricted groups to the search, I've found very few (if any) searches finding nothing whatsoever. Now how exactly do you do this through the console? Or do you need to do some googling instead? Or go to the forums? WTF?

After you've found an acceptable package. Tick it & click the install button. How is that more difficult than typing: sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras icedtea6-plugin

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