* Posts by Ronny Cook

104 posts • joined 13 Jun 2007


Deluded Aussie geeks hail Turnbull's elevation to prime minister

Ronny Cook

Re: Seriously!

Replying 20 days later - it seems at this point that although big M is nailed down to a great extent by existing Liberal policy, he is succeeding in getting some changes done.

The changes to the ministry look somewhat hopeful and there doesn't seem to be nearly as much tilting at windmills; he seems to be setting policy, at least in part, according to actual reality (e.g. the uncooperative Senate) rather than some wholly-concocted internal vision of an ideal world.


Ronny Cook

NSA says hacking other countries' computers is A-OK

So hacking citizens from your own country is not allowed but hacking computers from another country is "collateral"? I'll have to remember that next time I'm hacking the Pentagon (or Sony).

Today's news: NSA says hacking computers from our countries is perfectly OK. North Korea vindicated.

REALLY? Can 10 per cent of Aussie jobs be threatened by pirates?

Ronny Cook

Re: Hang on . . .

I'm sure APRA does somebody good, but if it's anybody other than the original songwriters and their up-to-three-generations-removed descendants I don't know who it is. (75 years after death, remember.)

If you choose to sing a copyrighted song and fail to give APRA their cut, the fees can come to thousands of dollars.

Ronny Cook

Copyright protecting jobs?

If piracy risks/costs 10% of jobs, and piracy is already rife, does that mean that if copyright were strictly enforced then there would be a 10% increase in available jobs?

Actually that's probably accurate. If 30% of Australians pirate, and copyright were strictly enforced, those 30% would probably land in jail - freeing up 3 million jobs for the rest of us and creating law enforcement and prison warden positions to supervise around 6 million prisoners.

We would have an instant jump in available jobs!

Digital Post Australia goes titsup in orderly fashion

Ronny Cook

Re: Why?

I got one of those brochures as well, and was also left wondering what the heck they were thinking.

My best guess is that they want to level in on BPay's territory, taking over the electronic payment market.

But the last thing I need is yet another mailbox that I have to check.

Charity: Ta for the free Win 8.1, Microsoft – we'll use it to install Win 7

Ronny Cook

Re: Why Windows in the first place?

I think non-profit does not mean what you think it means.

Non-profit means that the company does not make a profit. Profit is revenue minus expenses. It's actually possible to have a non-profit company which isn't a charity at all (in fact I do some work for one).

Then there are charities, which are a particular large subset of non-profit organisations. Most charities depend on volunteers, but to depend solely on volunteers is risky, because you're giving your volunteers an incentive to rort the charity. Most charities have an administrative core or permanent payrolled staff, which they supplement with volunteers when they can get them.

Having an ALL-volunteer staff isn't particularly practical for any charity of significant size. You need to be able to rely on somebody to handle the books, to organise donations, to answer the phones. Often the people who do this work will do so at a discount to regular wages, but they too need to keep a roof over their heads.

As for Windows vs. Open Source, the market is flooded with entry-level MCSEs. Finding somebody competent to run a Windows network is much easier than finding somebody to run a Linux network, and your staff are probably more familiar with Windows, and your vendors probably want their files in Office formats. Given the PC probably comes with Windows already, the time saved in training and file conversions will generally cover the licence costs.

It would be *nice* if charities stuck to Open Source, but that's not the world we live in.

Fibre fanaticism overrode proper NBN planning says report

Ronny Cook

Re: How do you predict the benefits?

> What other use case is there for a 100 Mb/s link to the premises?

"I can't think of any way that I could use that much bandwidth, so it must be that nobody can use that much bandwidth." Bah.

To start with, assume it's full duplex. This is something sadly neglected in the "technology review" but is actually pretty important if you're going to get full use out of the network. In that case:

- Backups to "the cloud" / external sites become realistically possible.

- Video chat (and video conferencing) becomes useful rather than an idle curiousity.

- Creative professionals can seriously think about developing content at home then shipping it across the network rather than using Sneakernet v2.

- Remote monitoring of your home becomes a fair bit easier.

- Downloading software becomes much more practical and the need to make a backup of everything over 100MB in size because you don't want o be stuck waiting for a re-download later to be complete is reduced.

There are other possibilities I haven't covered. What about contributing your PC to a cluster of systems that dynamically work to solve "big" problems in biology or climate science? That's much harder right now as all the data goes via these minute straws. What about migrating your work environment between home and your office?

Is the government's NBN policy changing your vote? Greens Senator Scott Ludlam thinks so

Ronny Cook

Re: Is the government's NBN policy changing your vote? Greens Senator Scott Ludlam thinks so

Whereas the Liberal NBN is full of terrible ideas that ignore the actual state of our current infrastructure and represent minimal savings with a substantial decrease in capability... full of unintended consequences and implemented appallingly.

I had hopes when Turnbull promised a technology-neutral review, but as far as I can tell that's not what we actually got.

Ronny Cook

Not the sole issue, but significant

While Turnbull promised a "technology neutral" review of the NBN, that's not what we got. The Coalition policy is still a "cheap as possible, as long as it's faster" policy focused solely on downloads. Labor is doing better, but have been losing out in other respects; their NBN is better conceptually, but they should have been far more open about their screwups.

Reviewing the policies of the three parties in this and other areas:

NBN: Coalition - bad, Labor - Good, Greens - Good

Environment: Coalition - bad, Labor - adequate, Greens - good (although some policies such as their position on nuclear energy I disagree with)

Economic Management: Coalition - poor, Labor - adequate (*), Greens - N/A so far

Equity (giving poorer people a fair go): Coalition - terrible, Labor - OK, Greens - OK. It's broadly true to say that the Coalition favour businesses and supply-side, where Labor favours employees and demand-side.

Human rights: Coalition - terrible, Labor - terrible, Greens - Good. Treatment of refugees has been a national disgrace.

(*) The main reason why the country is having deficit issues is due to structural weaknesses in the tax base introduced under Howard. The country was in a major boom, and any surplus was regarded as a good surplus, so tax cuts (long term revenue reductions) were introduced to trim it down while still retaining some surplus. When the economy went into a downturn, tax receipts dried up leaving us with a deep structural deficit in the federal budget.

The Abbott government is determined to blame all this on Labor (which is why every second sentence from Hockey is about how Labor screwed up).

Global Warming is real, argues sceptic mathematician - it just isn't Thermageddon

Ronny Cook

Orlowski supporting climate change is the REAL news

I think this is the first article I've seen by Orlowski where he doesn't preach the straight Climate Skeptic line.

Admittedly, he's decided that one particular climate scientist (one who has made fairly low predictions) is superior to all the others, most of whom have been studying the climate for much longer. The interesting part will be to watch responses to the paper to see if (and if so, where) others can punch holes in his assumptions as he has so happily done for others.

For myself, the evidence I've seen is heavily on the side of anthropogenic climate change and I would rather not see several million pacific islanders swimming to their new homes if I can avoid it. Given a notable lack of public will to accomplish this, I suspect I'm fresh out of luck.

New Scientist has an interesting overview:


Steve Ballmer: Thanks to me, Microsoft screwed up a decade in phones

Ronny Cook

Two tricks?

Trick one was Windows & Office. Windows... basically a somewhat inferior Macintosh clone, with the "killer app" of being somewhat DOS compatible. Office was far from the first integrated application suite, and was not particularly successful until they leveraged their Windows monopoly.

Trick two was supposedly bringing the microprocessor in to the data centre. Microsoft's first "server" OS was Windows NT, which was beaten to the punch by numerous UNIX-alikes (including Linux).

PSST! New PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled are out there – and will be into 2015, at least

Ronny Cook

3 generations?

Surely if the Enterprises are upgrading to Windows 7 now then when Windows 9 is released they will be two generations behind rather than three. Vista seems to have dropped out of the generational count. I suppose you may be including Windows 8.1, but that would seem odd.

Microsoft seem to alternate decent versions of Windows.

- 3.0 was OK but lacking.

+ 3.1 was much more successful.

- Win95 was quite successful but widely regarded as a resource hog at the time. In particular, it had no Internet email or web client included. This is probably the shakiest negative.

+ Win98 was more successful and for the first time included a web browser.

- Windows ME was widely scorned and generally ignored.

+ Windows XP was generally well regarded and was (and is) widely used.

- Vista was loathed (primarily as a resouce hog, although there were ways to rectify this)

+ Windows 7 was well received and is in wide deployment.

- Windows 8 was hated. For once this was not due to efficiency issues, but due to the radical changes to interface design.

Tell us we're all doomed, MPs beg climate scientists

Ronny Cook

Re: A rule of thumb

As far as I can tell there's a hell of a lot more money in anthropogenic climate change denial than there is in supporting the consensus. All those oil, coal and gas companies willing to support their positions, for a start.

Over the last few years I've heard several times about touring lecturers speaking against ACG. The people speaking against them are all local.

New Scientist had a decent overview on where we're at with regard to climate change late last year.

To summarise the key points:

- The world temperature is still rising, but it's mostly (96%!) going into the oceans.

- The "pause" is largely illusory, due to a chain of el nina events dumping heat from the atmosphere into the oceans. Even in the "pause" temperatures have been increasing (by about 0.09C in the 2000s) despite the above.

- Sulfur aerosols, mainly from China and India, have had some blocking effect

Orlowski talks about climate scientists not being willing to make recommendations. That's because the science is telling them what's happening, it's not suggesting policy response.

There are several policy responses known, and the science can tell us which is more likely to be effective, but it's not the scientists with their fingers on the purse strings here.

Microsoft's licence riddles give Linux and pals a free ride to virtual domination

Ronny Cook

Re: Monkey trap maybe . . .

(A) Is of course true and explains a hell of a lot of the broken software in current deployment.

Re: (B): True, but with Linux you at least have the option of checking the source code, and there are a lot of eyes looking at new code committed to the kernel.

With Windows and other binary-only systems the only way to do such checking is to decompile (which is usually not allowed by the licence anyway).

Ronny Cook

True story

A few years ago the company I was working for at the time was looking to rejig its work setup. One option we looked at was thin clients using Office on virtual office desktops (possibly as virtual client systems).

After a week or so we threw up our arms and just bought regular desktops. Figuring out the exact costs we would have to pay for VDI licensing, Office licences, Terminal Services and so on was something that even our licensing partner couldn't figure out (or at least was unwilling to tell us).

Later on we virtualised our desktops. Initially we used KVM (later moving to VMware). Hyper-V we largely avoided, partly because of the licensing cost and capabilities of the Hyper-V platform, but also because from what we could tell every virtual system we licensed we would have to licence with an additional CAL on the Hyper-V box.

MS licensing is a mess. In their attempts to monetise every incremental improvement in capability, they're driving people away from their platforms.

Sensation: Chinese Jade Rabbit FOUND ON MOON

Ronny Cook

Final Frontier

The next lander will incorporate a DVD duper. The moon being extraterritorial, I suspect Earthly copyright laws don't necessarily apply.

China: To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly copy where no man has copied before!

Gadget world's metals irreplaceable, say boffins

Ronny Cook

Re: Shortage scaremongering

Not sure where you got these numbers from; from what I can see it's 7th most common in the Earth's crust and 3rd most common in seawater (excluding hydrogen and oxygen). It seems to be 0.129% of seawater, by weight. So it' definitely not rare.

However, the chart doesn't depict rarity of elements, but the difficulty of substituting with a different element.

Sydney Opera House to devs: build our app for peanuts, wear patent pain

Ronny Cook

The escape clause here is it obliges you to sign any documents NECESSARY to make use of rights granted, but you are not obliged to sign documents in excess of that. If they stick extra clauses in the contract, cross out any bits that assign additional rights, or write your own version.

Or just turn up, stuff yourself, and submit a one-liner which pops up a window saying "Thanks for the free food."

Ronny Cook

Re: skint muso

Now compare the amount of genuinely royalty-free code out there with the amount of genuinely royalty-free music.

I have an iPod stuffed full of music that I've paid for (thousands of songs, all of them paid for, and as I recall none of them free.) It also has a fair few apps (most of them paid for, some of them free).

The music industry has been devastated by tech, yes, but the coders I know are far more aware and respectful of IP and the rights of creators than the general population. (That's not to say that none of them ever pirate, but the non-techies I know don't seem to care at all.)

I'm not denying that life is tough for musicians, and musicians have to put up with issues that coders don't (such as performance royalties). On the other hand musicians don't need to worry that some patent troll will sue you for every cent you have because you independently came up with an idea that is vaguely paralleled by an obscurely worded patent filed a decade ago.

Swings and roundabouts, really.

Ronny Cook

Turning this around...

OK, upside: a place to sleep and free food and drink for a night. Downside: Anything you write, and associated IP, becomes property of the Opera House.

Solution: Turn up.Stuff your face. Get some sleep. Turn in a hackathon solution consisting of one line of code stating "The conditions for this competition are insane."

Tell your homeless friends!

MEGA ASTEROID could 'BLOW UP EARTH' - Russian space boss

Ronny Cook

Chances of winning the lottery...

> Meanwhile, your chance of winning the UK lottery is 1 in 13,983,816

And I didn't even enter the lottery. Those UK lottery folk are might generous.

Telstra, Moto in lead for $AU450m-plus wireless contract

Ronny Cook

Saving millions

Surely the title should read "$AU450M-plus"? I have a contract worth over $450 with my own ISP, it's not remarkable enough to make the news...

Engineer's $30m windfall from Nintendo 3DS patent spat SLASHED by beak

Ronny Cook

Re: Wait, what?

> But more imprortantly, the second assertion, that 3DS was a successful product,

> is not true - it's a loss-making system.

Nintendo are in the black this year partly due to 3DS sales. They don't make their money on selling the console, but on a licence fee for each game sold. It's the same basic model as is used for inkjet cartridges.

3DS sales were much lower than anticipated shortly after launch but picked up enormously when the price of the console was dropped.

When the 3DS was first introduced, the 3D feature was publicised VERY heavily, as a core selling point of the system. It's not pushed anywhere nearly as much now due to the downsides (some people get a headache from the effect, and young children can't handle it very well.)

I'm not sure if it's reasonable to say "we ripped off your patent, and sold it as a major feature, but we shouldn't have to pay you as much because it turned out it wasn't as big a selling point as we had hoped."

Australia to world: Ploughman, dig our rare earths

Ronny Cook
Big Brother

Re: Political stability?

True, but the Australian government has less control over the operation of the economy and so is less able to, for example, block or reduce sales of rare earths by fiat. As the introduction of the mining tax amply demonstrated, in these shores what the mining industry wants the mining industry pretty much gets.

There's political stability, and there's stability of operating environment, and one does not necessarily guarantee the other.

Fever pitch as Dublin tar drop fall captured by webcam

Ronny Cook

Re: You're on a sticky wicket there ...

Of course the real reason why so many multinationals base their financials out of Ireland...

... is because the capital is Dublin'.

(Some jokes are so old they deserve to be scraped up from time to time.)

Radiohead's Thom Yorke pulls his own music off Spotify

Ronny Cook

Re: "Meanwhile, millions of streams gets them a few thousand dollars. Not like radio at all."

Probably, yes, each play, but each stream is also one play.

He's comparing a broadcast with unicast. The broadcast might reach ten thousand people and so is equivalent to ten thousand streams (depending on the radio audience). 38 radio plays by would be equivalent to 3.8 million streams.

The difference in revenue is likely that there are a lot more people who listen to radio than listen to Spotify. Spotify might have ten million people, but radio has over two hundred million in the US alone.

He's probably getting paid a heck of a lot more per listener than for his radio audience.

COLD FUSION is BACK with 'anomalous heat' claim

Ronny Cook

Re: No Brainer

> To prove it's fusion you need to see what is in the box.

(1) Start with black box of mass M, and a lump of nickel+hydrogen of mass 2M. Put it all in a sealed box.

(2) Run the machine until all nickel and hydrogen is consumed.

(3) Analyse the output to confirm that you have a mass of 2M-E/c^2 worth of copper (where E is the net energy output of your device).


(1) Start with the machine of mass M and fuel of mass m.

(2) Calculate the maximum energy that can be generated via the most efficient chemical means known from mass M+m

(3) Run the machine until net energy output exceeds this quantity.

This would probably be faster, although admittedly it could disguise a fission or quantum process.

'No discernible increase in piracy' from DRM-free e-books

Ronny Cook

Re: No surprise here - It is DRM that increases piracy

Whether this is effective or ineffective depends every much on the price elasticity of demand for books. That is, if you halve the price, will you actually double demand, or more than that, or less than that?

Most mainstream authors will have a core group of loyal readers who buy their books consistently (and without a lot of regard for price), plus "casual" readers who pick up a book because it looks interesting. Tom Clancy is not going to double his book sales by halving the price of his books, because he has many people who will buy his books without checking the price tag. I'll occasionally blow $50 on a hardcover by a favourite author even though I'll be able to pick up a paperback later at a third of the price.

As such, you need your casual readers to be MUCH more attracted to your book before you can count on a reduced price increasing your gross sales, because they also need to cover the lost income from the "loyal" readers.

In other words, for most mainstream authors, the "halve price to double sales and thus make more money" argument basically doesn't work. Sales will less than double, and the publisher will lose money relative to what they could make by pegging the price at a higher point.

Your "new" customers may well return again for later books, but it doesn't really matter if prices are kept at a low point. In terms of relative income, you still have a larger group of people buying your books, but not enough larger to compensate for the reduced income.

What you might do (and many publishers do sometimes) is release a back-catalogue title with costs already sunk at a reduced price point to attract new readers, and hopefully get them buying later titles by the same author at the normal, higher price point.

Note I would *like* books to be cheaper, but I can see how it might not work out for the publishers.

The UK's copyright landgrab: The FAQ

Ronny Cook

Re: two points i disagree on...

"How do you balance copyright with privacy? As what else protects my own pictures but copyright?"

You can always choose NOT to put them online. Are you complaining that your privacy is not being respected with respect to a picture that you have made available for the world to see?

That said, I agree that copyright is basically a good thing - people should be rewarded for their efforts. The while life + 70 years thing is taking it beyond a joke however - a work created by a person will typically not be out of copyright until their grandchildren are in the grave.

'Australia's so big freight costs are high' claims don't add up

Ronny Cook
Thumb Up

Re: From personal experience...

A few years ago I posted a "care box" of assorted Australianities from Sydney to my sister who was in Japan at the time. This was about the size of one of the boxes you buy reams of paper in. Shipping was $93 as I recall.

Our company has had occasion in the past to ship ~30 PCs from Sydney to Melbourne with monitors.As I recall it was around $200. I think we actually used a moving company rather than a courier as such.

However, the article does fail to mention that Adobe don't use bulk shipping to ship their product. Every copy of CS5 you buy is carried on a velvet cushion by a sternly correct English butler on a first class flight from America.

Have you checked the salary of English butlers lately?

Revealed: Vendors’ worst sales fluff

Ronny Cook
Thumb Up

Re: Analysts Analyzed

I'm sure we, as a trusted partner for our clients, can provide an end-to-end offering to show our focus on business value-add. The global presence of our people means we are the ideal solution provider for your meta-analysis needs.

(Not actually from Gartner, but it's scary that that sounds almost familiar.)

Strategic SIEGE ROBOTS defeated by 'heavily intoxicated' man, 62

Ronny Cook

Dangerous ordinance?

They guy was charged with possession of dangerous ordinance.

How far down the chain do you need to go for ordinance to not be regarded as dangerous?

"Suspect was armed with water pistol filled with orange juice. Suspect fired water pistol, which got into officer's eye and stung quite badly. Suspect arrested for possession of dangerous ordinance."

iPad? Pah. Behold the EYEPAD, patented by Sony for the 'PS4'

Ronny Cook

Re: FFS...

Sure you you mean the iCon.

Bioshock Infinite, Devil May Cry, SimCity

Ronny Cook

Darksiders, Homefront and Saint's Row versus Zelda, Battlefield 3 and Grand Theft Auto

Zelda - been regurgitating the same basic game for 20+ years

Battlefield 3 - A CoD clone (with multiplayer from BF2)

GTA - More of the same

Darksiders - New and interesting setting with game style based loosely on Zelda.

Homefront - Another new setting (although it stretches suspension of disbelief a bit). Pity about the game.

Saint's Row - While at its core it's a GTA clone, it takes "over the top" WAY over the top. GTA4 was a sim, SR3 was a GAME.

My understanding is Darksiders was a moderate success, Homefront bombed because the game itself was bad, and SR was basically successful, if not as wildly successful as GTA.

Quite possibly THQ failed BECAUSE they attempted originality and the public, broadly speaking, didn't want it.

How to build a BONKERS 7.5TB, 10GbE test lab for under £60,000

Ronny Cook

Re: Register for geeks? Biting the hand of IT or taking it up the ass?

"MS Windows is compatible with nothing. Everything else is compatible with MS Windows"

CIFS was originally designed at IBM before MS hacked it into its current sorry state.

Most Internet standards were developed externally to Microsoft. MP3, JPEG, many other standards originated outside of MS, although they do have a bad habit of adding non-standard extensions.

The fact is, if you're writing an article aimed at an enterprise space, you need to recognise that there are people operating in that space who use Windows, for various reasons. I would love it if all our servers were running Linux, but that's not always an option.

Windows does have some advantages. The file permissions model is vastly superior to the standard Linux 3-level model. Active DIrectory has some large advantages in managing a network. And senior management are so hung up on how easy it is to manage that they never notice that they need twice the people to do the same job. :-)

Linux kernel dumps 386 chip support

Ronny Cook

Re: The joys of open software

So, you're praising MS because they support a ten year old operating system, while criticising Linux for dropping support of a 27 year old CPU. Good luck in getting MS to support MS-DOS 4.0...

For that matter, the embedded systems manufacturers are still free to fork their own copy of the Linux kernel that supports the 80386. They can backport patches from the mail kernel tree. They have full source access. Heck, if there's enough of a demand somebody is free to create a startup which does all these things for the embedded market - not that I can see it happening for a CPU that has not been manufactured for five years.

With a closed source OS, none of these things are options. If your OS vendor drops support for your platform, you either find another OS or keep running the last version that works, tweaking your hardware to keep it functional.

With regard to drivers, I can't speak from personal experience, but your friend did say "major releases" - 2.6 was released in 2003, about the same time as Windows XP, and many XP drivers work poorly if at all on Windows 7 (I hate to think how they are on Windows 8).

Australian gamers can get high and naked

Ronny Cook
Big Brother

Not quite the same...

So: `depictions of actual sexual activity and simulated sexual activity that are “explicit and realistic” outlawed. However the new classifications allow for “depictions of simulated sexual activity.”'

So simulated sexual activity is OK as long as it is either unrealistic or not explicit. Apparently. (And isn't combined with violence, but sex+violence is grounds for Refused Classification for all media categories. under Australian law.)

It's good to know that the guvvermint is OK with us shooting each other but getting hot & heavy is RIGHT out. We wouldn't want to encourage close human contact after all - it might lead to dancing.


Why the Apple-Samsung verdict is good for you, your kids and tech

Ronny Cook

Re: Standards and Prior Art

Furthermore, even if your "clean room" development comes up with the concept of a "for" loop *independently*, the concept is still covered by a patent and you can be sued for damages.

I don't think I have ever *met* a programmer who consults patents for ideas. Since it is the release of ideas that justifies the patent system, the justification for granting that monopoly on an idea is rather thin.

This might be otherwise if the barrier for entry were higher. The core problem with the patent system as it now stands is that it is relatively easy to be granted a patent which is not genuinely innovative.

Office 365: This cloud isn't going to put any admins out of a job

Ronny Cook

Re: Waste of Time

We have our own (standalone) mail server and a rule in the O365 backend that forwards copies of all email to that mailbox. You could just use a gmail mailbox for that purpose however.

You can also do a surprising amount with the domain rules. ("If an email is addressed to person X, Bcc it to persons A, B and C".)

In general it works reasonably well but is let down by a lousy administrative interface..

US space programme in shock metric conversion

Ronny Cook

Re: "even if "six-tenths of a kilometre" still has a ring of old school about it."

The amazing thing is that you can, if needed, still describe a third of a metre as a third of a metre.

Or you can give it as a decimal, then convert to metres / kilometres / centimetres / millimetres / ... by shifting the decimal point around.

By the way, for those in yankeeland fishing for a short way to say "kilometre", everybody I know measures both distance and speed in "kay" (so 60k can be 60km or 60kph, depending on context) and weight in "kilos" or "grams".

Ten... eight-bit classic games

Ronny Cook

8 classics, not the BEST 8 classics

The author makes no claim that these are the 8 best 8 bit games, just that they're all classic 8 bit games - which is true.

Personally I would add:

- Lode Runner

- Sentinel

- Stunt Car Racer

- Project: Space Station

- Impossible Mission

What kind of LOSER sits in front of a PC...

Ronny Cook

iPod/iPhone as eReader

I don't have an iPhone but I have an iPod which has basically the same form factor. It fits around 150 words on a screen of text and is readable indoors or out. Battery life is somewhat lacking but portable chargers are not hard to find. Only real problem is display of pictures, but I mostly read novels anyway.

Key think is that it fits in my breast pocket and is light enough that I really don't notice that it's there. (Also plays games, movies and music if I don't feel like reading.)

Over the years I've worked my way through several Palm PDAs and a couple of generations of iPods reading books. If you find it hard to read text on such devices , the lack is not in the device.

Baen books has a very large collection of DRM-free ebooks purchasable at quite decent prices on their web site.

NetBank unavailable to 'many customers'

Ronny Cook

People still use IE?

I've been using Firefox on Win7x64 without any problems with the CBA.

As excuses go, IE not working with the CBA isn't much of one. This isn't 2000 when the choices were IE or a broken release of Netscape.

BOFH: The Cloud Committee Calamity

Ronny Cook
IT Angle

The corpse count over the last year or so has been getting a bit silly. It is funny in a way, but the IT angle seems to be getting increasingly ignored.

Why is the BOFH busy killing off the committee when he could be looking for a way to eliminate the cloud proposal in a clever, IT related fashion?

Why isn't he installing a hidden agent on all the test group's PCs to slow them down or grab random pieces of child porn? Why isn't he finding a way into the cloud backend to mysteriously modify the files created? Why didn't he hack the company proxy to redirect references to the cloud to a private store somewhere else? Or have the testers' PCs mysteriously leak key files to each other?

Aside from which defenestration seems altogether too unreliable a method of eliminating one person. People DO survive falling out of windows.

PROVEN: Violent video games mess with your head

Ronny Cook


What do Atilla the Hun, Alexander the Great, and Oscar the Ground have in common?


Clearly there is a pattern here. All three are known for acts of senseless violence. Ban the definite article!

If we banned anything that ever made people feel somewhat more violent we'd quickly run out of things to do. For a start, people who run around banning things that make people violent, probably make people feel violent...

Ronny Cook


I generally avoid first person shooters. Killing virtual people with a gory virtual sword or burning them to death with virtually painful magic fire is much more appealing.

Or I suppose I could go out and hurt real people, but that would be silly.

Ronny Cook


> turning people into pillars of salt (which isn't polite).

...Oops. My bad.

Sony: PlayStation Vita will win gamers back from tablets, phones

Ronny Cook
Thumb Up

PSP a failure?

Discounting the PSP Go (about which the less said the better) the PSP was only a failure when compared with the DS, having managed about a third of the sales of the DS, and just slightly less than the XBox 360, which is generally regarded as a successful platform. Over 50 million PSPs were sold (as of mid 2009).

The PSP's main direct competition will be the 3DS, which has had a rocky start due to a few factors: poor battery life, a poor launch lineup, and not being rated for children under seven or so due to the 3D effect.

I've more or less given up on playing games of any depth on the iPod Touch. This is because, firstly, a dollar a game will not fund games of the level we expect in the "home" platforms; and secondly, touch controls lack flexibility and have lousy feedback. I do NOT want to have to repeatedly check the position of my thumbs to figure out which direction I'm going.

Basically I agree that the market for devices such as the PSP Vita and the 3DS is not the same as for smartphone gaming (although there is a large overlap). There are quite a few people around who will buy a dedicated mobile gaming device. The only question at this point is whether there are enough such people to fund the platform, and development of games for the platform, in the long term. That remains to be seen.

George Lucas defeated by Stormtrooper helmet man

Ronny Cook
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Time Travel is nothing special

I'm travelling in time at the moment - forward at roughly one second per second.

Sorry, time travelers, you’re still just fiction

Ronny Cook

Rotating Cylinders and the possibility of Global Causality Violation

There are a number of perfectly serviceable time machine designs that do not involve a photon exceeding a velocity of c. Larry Niven wrote a story based on an actual scientific paper awesomely titled "Rotating cylinders and the possibility of global causality violation" about one such design. The late Robert Forward also wrote about a few designs. However most such require certain types of exotic matter - either negative matter. or large quantities of neutronium or similar.


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