* Posts by bjr

70 posts • joined 16 Sep 2011


Eggheads want YOU to name Jupiter's five newly found moons ‒ and yeah, not so fast with Moony McMoonface


Helene and Leda

Not so hard. Helene of Troy was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, so there you have two, Helene and her mom Leda.

Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers


Re: Tunnels

I can't believe that was 27 years ago, it feels like yesterday. I was in Chicago that weekend and the Loop looked like something from a Twilight Zone episode, it was completely deserted and from the street level there was no sign of what had gone wrong. For those who don't know, here's what happened. Chicago has a vast underground network of coal tunnels that were built in the 19th century. These tunnels connect to almost every major building in the Loop, originally they were built to transport coal but every new utility, from phones to fibre, uses them. Unfortunately the tunnel system runs under the Chicago River and one day in 1992 a contractor was driving a piling into the riverbed punched a hole into the tunnel which promptly caused the river to drain into the basements of every building in the Loop, it was months before the mess was cleaned up. If anyone had a data center in their basement, and I bet there were a lot of them, they would have been completely destroyed.

Apple hardware priced so high that no one wants to buy it? It's 1983 all over again


Lisa was more minicomputer than PC

My ex-boss ran the Lisa team, he went from Data General, where I worked for him, to DEC and then to Apple to run the Lisa program. After Apple he went to Sun where he was VP of engineering and then came out of retirement to run hardware engineering at Google in Google's early days. The Lisa team came from DEC where they had been building minicomputers so Lisa had the capabilities of a minicomputer of the time, it was not a personal computer it was a workstation and it's price was similar to the prices for Sun's and Apollo's workstations, the problem was that Apple was a personal computer company not a workstation company, it's customers were individual's not corporations. The Lisa was a multitasking machine, the IBM PC wasn't, Lisa had a real OS, the PC had DOS which was basically just a program loader. Given the cost of memory and the limitations of microprocessors at the time IBM made the right call, the PC, which cost about $2500, could only do one thing at a time but it worked. The first Mac was designed to be much cheaper than the Lisa but it couldn't even compile a program, for that you needed a Lisa. Memory prices were dropping quickly at the time so that by the end of the 80s you could get a whopping 16M on a Mac which could do a lot on it. Unlike LIsa, the Mac OS wasn't a true multitasking OS, it did what was called cooperative multitasking, but Macs were a lot cheaper than workstations, which ran UNIX a true OS, and they were a lot better than PCs but they were also about twice as expensive as PCs.

make all relocate... Linux kernel dev summit shifts to Scotland – to fit Torvald's holiday plans


I think that when they found out that Torvalds was going to be in Scotland every thought that it would be more fun than Vancouver.


Re: New! It's the elReg trip advisor

Did the Edinburgh festivals about 15 years ago, it's a fantastic experience. Went to a mix of fringe and non-fringe performances (one staged opera and several concert style operas), for those who don't know it's actually five different festivals at the same time, the largest is the fringe which are small shows, some amateur, some professional, I loved all of the ones I attended, plus there are a couple of professional festivals where the performances are on a much larger scale but the number of productions are small. The only downside of Edinburgh was the food which was pretty poor. Has the food been fixed? I remember London in the 70s and 80s and they really did live up to their reputation for terrible food, but that's not true anymore so I believe that Scotland could be fixed also, has it?

Anon man suing Google wants crim conviction to be forgotten


Re: Right to be forgotten

If you've been convicted of a crime it's a matter of public record, why should if ever be forgotten? The nature of your crime matters, a teenage joyride isn't likely to effect your future career prospects but a conviction for fraud should and will. Assuming that ABCs crime is something that will interfere with his ability to setup an investment firm, then don't his future customers have a right to know if he has a history of securities fraud? I'm pretty sure his conviction wasn't for public urination, it was for somethihg serious, if it wasn't why would he be putting up such a fuss? The public has a right to know, the "right to be forgotten" is a piece of EU nonsense.

The age of hard drives is over as Samsung cranks out consumer QLC SSDs


Hard drives have had a good run, 62 years so far

The IBM RAMAC was introduced in 1956, 5MCharacters on forty 24" platters. It's really amazing that a mechanical technology from the 1950s has managed to hang on this long. Vacuum tubes were gone within a couple of years of the introduction of the RAMAC, core memory was replaced by DRAMs 40 years ago, tape is long gone. My guess is that SSDs will still be more expensive than hard drives for the next few years so the hard drive may be able to hold on until it's eligible for full social security.

♫ The Core i9 clock cycles go up. Who cares where they come down?


Re: The song the headline refers to...

The Mort Saul version was "He aimed for the stars but he hit London"

Micro Focus offloads Linux-wrangler SUSE for a cool $2.5bn


Makes no sense

Is there a mistake in the reported price? It makes no sense to pay $2.3B for a 25 year old company with revenues of $164M, it makes even less sense for an also ran like SUSE. Redhat is trading at 8.25X revenues, at that multiple SUSE would be worth $1.3B. But SUSE isn't Redhat, it's 1/18th the size of Redhat, it's essentially irrelevant and has zero potential to disrupt anything so you would expect a much lower multiple, frankly I think the price is too high by 10X.

Google gives its $1m Turing prize to, er, top Google bods: RISC men Hennessy, Patterson


Silicon valley view of the world

Hennessy and Patterson got all of the credit for RISC but there were others who preceded them. The IBM 801 project, which lead to PowerPC, was built before either the MIPS or SPARC chips, I remember reading the 801 papers in late 1982 and thinking that they were doing the correct thing. However before any of them there was Seymour Cray who was the original proponent of simple architectures. Cray machines weren't Reduced Instruction Set Computers because he had never complicated them in the first place. The CDC 6600 and the Cray 1 were examples of minimal instruction set machines, the CDC 6600 was contemporaneous with the IBM 360, the machine that could be considered the first CISC machine. There were other simple instruction set machines in the 60s and early 70s, the DEC PDP8 and the Data General Nova, both design by Ed DeCastro, however those machines were simple by necessity, cost was the driving factor which at the time meant simple. Cray's machines were simple as a matter of philosophy, they were designed to be the fastest computers in the world and the way Cray achieved that was by using very simple instruction sets and running them at very high clock rates (for the time).

Google's answer to the Pixel 2 XL CRT-style screen burn in: Lower the brightness


It's a great phone

I have a Pixel 2XL and all this whining about the display is nonsense. The blue shift is a complete non-issue, it only occurs when you look at the phone at an extreme tilt, it doesn't exist when you look at the phone at a normal angle. This time of year we don't have much sun where I live but people on the forums who live in sunnier climes report that they can read the display in bright sunlight, a little blue shift because of a polarizer is a great tradeoff for the ability to see the display in the sun.

As for the colors, they are great. When I first got it they looked washed out but I've since install the 8.1 beta and now the display looks fine. Comparing my Pixel2XL to my Nexus 6P side by side, I don't see any significant difference, if anything I like the 2XL a little better. All other aspects of the 2XL are as good as everyone says. The photos and videos are fantastic. Android Auto is much more reliable than it was on my Nexus 6P. Another really important feature is that it works great as a phone. Nobody every mentions phone calls in the reviews which is strange because these things are called phones, but the voice quality and the ability to hold a call is vastly better then it was on my Nexus 6P, that maybe due to Verizon having treated the 6P as a step child because they didn't sell it, or it might be that the Pixel 2XL really is that much better, but it's night and day better.

One more thing, why would anyone want to have physical nav buttons? they are a complete waste of space. My 2 year old Nexus 6P didn't have nav buttons and it doesn't show any burn in, neither did my 4 year old Nexus 5.

Paris nightclub red-faced after booze-for-boobs offer exposed


Phony story

Everything about this story sounds phony. Polaroids in 2017, where would you buy the film? A Paris bar, maybe Salt Lake City but not Paris. The beaches in France have been nude since the 1950s, it's doubtful that the bartenders would bother offer anything for a simple tit flash in Paris and even if they did why would the management feel a need to apologize?

Concorde without the cacophony: NASA thinks it's cracked quiet supersonic flight



The Boeing SST was canceled because of environmental reasons, specifically SSTs damage the ozone layer. It was also clear that they were going to be white elephants. The airlines didn't want them, they wanted the 747. France and Britain had to hold a gun to the heads of their flag carriers to get them to take the Concorde, eventually they just gave them the aircraft.

Ex-Waymo engineer pleads the 5th in ongoing Uber law fight


His stock will all go back to Uber

IP indemnification is standard in any contract there are surely clauses in the purchase contract for his company that not only stated that his company had full rights to everything that they sold to Uber but also requires the officers of the company to support Uber in any litigation that might arise. Even if he's innocent of stealing Waymo's code there is no dispute that he refused an order from a judge in the Waymo-Uber lawsuit. Uber will demand all of the stock and other payments that he received from the purchase of his company, he'll undoubtedly fight that but he'll lose because his violation of the contract is absolutely clear.

El Reg straps on the Huawei Watch 2


I thought this category was dead

I bought a Pebble when they came out and hated it so much that i switched to mechanical watches, I don't even want a quartz watch on my wrist, it's wind up watches for me until there is a real breakthrough in smart watches.

Until a watch can completely replace a pocket phone there is no point to them. To do that voice recognition has to get nearly perfect, Google Assistant has made great strides but it's still no where near reliable enough to be your only interface. You also need much better batteries, if and when Lithium Air batteries become viable you will be able to stuff a large enough battery into a phone that you will be able to run LTE and GPS for a few days which is the minimum requirement, it will be a few years before we have good enough batteries, maybe longer. Finally they need to stop looking like crap, a tiny Samsung S8 (i.e. piece of curved glass where the entire surface is a screen) would be appealing but something that looks like a Casio from the 1980s is utterly unacceptable.

Why Uber threw top engineer Levandowski under self-driving bus


Hes truely and rightly screwed

Staying out of Folsom should be his only objective right now. His lawyers should make a deal with Waymo for a license to the IP in return for his Uber shares (assuming he really has $250M worth of shares). Alternatively if Uber really was complicit in his theft of IP then he should be making a deal with the California state's attorney office to throw Uber under the self driving bus in return for a reduced sentence.

Do we need Windows patch legislation?


Somebody should be fired at your NHS

MS supported XP way longer than they should have and when they did stop support that gave years worth of notice. Anyone who is running 70,000 copies of XP in 2017 should be taken out and shot. If they have some software that is XP dependent that they can't replace then they should be running it on XP VMs, if a VM is compromised you can switch to a backup copy in under a minute. In addition to being resilient to attack a VM can run on modern hardware, it's not limited to antique machine like native XP.

Uber engineer's widow: Stress and racism killed my husband ... Uber: Let's make flying cars!


Re: "Just 8.8% African Americans"?

It's a good number for tech. If you look at the population of engineering schools, especially elite engineering schools, second and later generation Americans as a whole are under represented. Immigrant and first generation Indians and Asians are there in huge numbers and even among so called "White Men" you will find a disproportionate number are either immigrants from or first generation former Soviet Union. I've been in tech for 40 years, my generation, Boomers in general parlance, are better described as the Sputnik babies in tech, was the only group of engineers who were mostly native born. The US has never been good about producing it's own engineers, it's always imported them whether it was Bell or Tesla in the 19th century, or the Indians and Asians today. For a single short period between the launch of Sputnik and the moon landing the US put aside it's natural fear of math and produced a single generation of native born engineers, after that the trend has been to return to it's natural state where about a 1/3rd of the engineers are immigrants or first generation. If you apply a .66 multiplier, to represent the percentage of multi generation Americans, to the percentage of Blacks in the US population you get .66 * 13.2 = 8.7, so the Uber number is right on the money.

Microsoft raises pistol, pulls the trigger on Windows 7, 8 updates for new Intel, AMD chips


This policy allows Intel to clean up the x86 architecture

Intel's and Microsoft's dependence on each other has had a significant negative effect on the performance of their respective products. In Microsoft's case they introduced a lot of x86 specific dependencies into Windows which made sense at the time they did them but in the long run made it very difficult to port Windows to other architectures. When they did the ARM port they cleaned up that mess so WIn10 is now much cleaner than older versions of Windows. On Intel's side they've had to maintain backward's compatibility to every generation of MS OSes. As a result modern Intel processors carry around a lot of obsolete instructions and memory management modes that should have been removed years ago. With Microsoft enforcing a policy that only Win10 is supported on Kaby Lakes and beyond Intel is now free to do a much needed spring cleaning on their architecture.

Half-baked security: Hackers can hijack your smart Aga oven 'with a text message'


Re: Incredibly inefficient - not

I'm confused. Are you saying that in Britain it's common to heat a house with a kitchen stove? In the US we haven't done that since the 19th century, we have proper furnaces that heat the house and kitchen stoves or ovens that are designed to cook dinner, they don't heat the kitchen let alone the house.

Microsoft's in-store Android looks desperate but can Google stop it?


Google has too little control not too much

The problem with Google is that they exercise too little control not too much. If you want timely OS updates you are restricted to Googles own offerings, Nexus and now Pixel, if you want better or cheaper hardware then you are stuck with last year's Android OS and a layer of unwanted OEM customization's and duplicate services. It's not in Google's interest to challenge Microsoft's approach to providing and alternative ROM because all that will do is peak the interest of anti-trust authorities. This effort will fail because there is no compelling reason for a consumer to choose MS over Google's native services. If Google were doing a crappy job then there would be an opening, but they aren't. Google Maps are the gold standard in navigation and Google Assistant is as good or better than any alternative. It's great that MS is trying to compete because it keeps Google on their toes, but it's hard to see how they could possibly provide a full blown alternative.

Stop lights, sunsets, junctions are tough work for Google's robo-cars


Re: Roundabouts...

We have rotaries (the American name for roundabouts) in Massachusetts. A machine would have one advantage over a human, it would know who has right of way. All we poor humans know is that the law changed a few decades ago but we don't know how. Either cars entering the rotary had right of way before and now cars in the rotary have right of way, or maybe cars in the rotary had right of way and now cars entering the rotary have it.

Microsoft promises free terrible coffee every month you use Edge


You dont' know what bad coffee is

You are obviously to young to know what bad coffee is if you think Starbucks is terrible. Before Starbucks American coffee was swill. I'm old enough, 62, to remember what coffee was like before Starbucks. We didn't know how bad it was and my parents generation, who had been through the Great Depression and WWII, didn't care. They only cared that it was cheap and plentiful and that's what was sold in the US. I found out what real coffee tasted like on a trip through Italy in 1980. I was young and staying in cheap pensiones. In the morning they gave you a cup of coffee and it was nothing like the mud that was served in the US. Even the most expensive restaurants in the US served awful coffee. The only place that I knew of that served a decent cup of coffee was a mafia hangout in the North End of Boston. Starbucks changed all that. Starbucks changed the culture so now there are craft roasters everywhere and anyone can make an excellent cup of coffee,

As for Microsoft, it's truely sad that they have to pay people to use their browser, and it's a sign of real desperation that they have to give away $5 cups of coffee, that's real money, as opposed to giving away cloud storage space which is virtual money.

IoT puts assembly language back on the charts


Are there chips with no development support?

I find it hard to believe that assembly code is ever necessary anymore. I started programming in the 1970s when memory sizes were just a few K (PDP 8s had 4K max, PDP 11s and Novas had between 8K and 32K, a monster PDP 11 system had 256K of mapped memory). When you have only 4K of memory then every bit counts and there is a reason to use assembler. You can do a lot of work in very little memory but at the expense of supportablity, i.e. not only is it hard to read your own code, let alone someone else's, but if you are really aggressive about writing tiny code you would end up with something as fragile as crystal. One common trick was to hold a state bit in the CARRY flag for several instructions. You could write code that would leave the CARRY unchanged so that you could do a branch later. Of course if you were to ever try and modify code like that you would break it.

C took over in the early 80s because it was almost as efficient as assembly code but it was portable and it was far less fragile. The slogan at the time was "C, all the power of assembly languages with the ease of use of assembly language". After 40 years of Moore's law I can't imagine that there is any device out there that has so little memory that you can't do a better job with C than you can with assembly code.

Even in remotest Africa, Windows 10 nagware ruins your day: Update burns satellite link cash


Should be running CentOS or some other LTS Linux

They have no business running WIndows in circumstances like that, they should be running a long term supported Linux like CentOS which will never do things behind their backs like Windows. Updates could be handled entirely with DVDs or USB sticks.

Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.


Went back to a mechanical watch

I bought the Pebble when it came out, it was only $125 so it was worth a flyer. I quickly determined that the smartwatch features were useless and it was also terrible as a watch (display was barely readable), now I'm back to wearing regular watches, in fact I went back to wind up watches because they are the farthest thing from a smartwatch.

When gen 0 or 1 technology is introduced you can usually imagine what it would be like when the technology catches up to the promise. The first PCs were pathetic compared to the mini computers of the day, but it was obvious that in a few years they would be able to as much or more as those refrigerator size minicomputers could do. I thought the same thing when I got a Palm Treo, it included a browser that hinted at what a smartphone would be able to do once the screens got better, the network faster and had a better processor. In both of those cases there were already jobs that they could do well, in the case of the PC they could do word processing and spreadsheets which was enough to justify their purchase, the Treo could do e-mail and phone calls well which was reason enough to buy one. In the case of smartwatches they don't do anything that the phone in your pocket doesn't already do except that they don't do in anywhere near as well. I once thought that a wrist phone that replaced the pocket phone that we carry now might make sense but I've come to the conclusion that a wrist phone can never be more than a niche product (BTW some Android watches are wrist phone capable). The problem is that a 1 inch screen is essentially useless for displaying anything more then the time, it's a limitation of human eyes and it can't be fixed with better 1" screens. The same is true for touch input, human fingers are the limitation, you will never be able to use a 1" surface for any thing more than a swipe. The only user interface that can work well on a watch sized device is speech. The limitation here is that talking isn't private, it's OK to talk to your device at home but it's awkward in public. I do use OK Google in public but only for very limited purposes like making an appointment (in that case the person that you are setting up the appointment with is the only other person there), or maybe looking up a movie time but even that is a little bit awkward. I can't imagine doing much else with speech in public, even if it wasn't embarrassing it would be a mess if lots of people tried to talk to their wrists at the same time. Fitness bands are a different story, they supply an additional set of sensors that can't be put into the smartphone itself because the smartphone isn't in contact with your skin. That's an example of a new technology that provides new capabilities, they aren't competing with an existing device.

Official: EU goes after Google, alleges it uses Android to kill competition


The EU ins in Apple's pocket

Apple makes more than 90% of the profits in mobile phones so why is the EU picking on Google which provides an open source platform and has no restrictions on competitive apps in the Google Play store?. Apple is closed source, won't license their OS to any other manufacturer, and severely restricts competition in their app store, but the EU has shown no interest in them. There are hundreds of Android phone manufacturers, they are all free to fork Android if they want or to use CyanogenMod if they want, they do it in China and in the West Amazon has done it, most don't do it because consumers prefer Google's services. But even with Google's own phones, I have the Nexus 6P, you are free to install competitive services. I prefer Google Maps but I also have Sygic on my phone (which I paid for) and I've installed Here Maps for a while which is free. I don't like Chrome so I've installed Firefox, AdFree Browser and Opera. The Google launcher is primitive so I've install NovaLauncher (I have the Pro version which costs practically nothing, there is also a free version). If you want to replace Google Now with Microsoft's Cortana you can, it's in Google Play. If you want to install a competitive app store you can, I also have Amazon's app store on my 6P because I wanted to install Amazon Video which they don't make available through Google Play (that's Amazon's choice, they avoid sharing revenue with Google by doing it that way, on the iPhone they are forced to share revenue with Apple).

There is no excuse for the EUs behavior.

Vinyl LPs to top 3 million sales in Blighty this year


In 1983 I bought an Edison cylinder player and a couple of Victrolas, my father was incredulous, he said "what do you want with those things, I tossed mine out in 1948 when they invented HiFi?. I feel the same way about those kinds buying LPs today, I disconnected my turntable in the 1980s when they invented the CD and then I stopped listening to CDs when streaming was invented.

Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car


Terrifyingly poor performance

It's a go-cart, 0-60 in 10 seconds, top speed 60!!!. I don't see how you could drive this on a highway without getting rear ended. I like the idea of supercaps instead of batteries but I would have coupled them with a small conventional engine and bigger electric motors so that the performance would have been acceptable and the range unlimited. Who is going to buy (or rent) this thing, it's performance is awful and as everyone else has pointed out it's hideous, it looks like a Citreon who's mother had Zika.

Windows XP spotted on Royal Navy's spanking new aircraft carrier


Re: Better The Devil You Know

The Zumwalt, which was launched last week, uses Linux. Why would the Royal Navy choose XP when the US Navy is using Linux?

Carriers are in service for at least 50 years and they go decades between refits. It makes no sense for a new ship to use an OS which EOLed before the hull was laid. You need an OS that can be maintained by a defense contractor who understands the life times of military systems. It's easy for a defense contractor to maintain a Linux variant, not so much a version of WIndows let alone a really terrible version like XP.

Aurous shutters for good, will pay $3m damages


Party like it's 1999

Where si the demand for a piracy service in 2015 when there are so many legal free or cheap ways to get all the music or movies that you want. If you are willing to listen to a few ads Pandora and iHeartradio are free and they have really great apps that are much easier to use then downloading a pirated mp3. If you don't want the ads the monthly fee for Pandora is very reasonable, Spotify only slightly more. The same goes for a Netflix subscription, the month fee for Netflix is which is only $10 a month.

Who owns space? Looking at the US asteroid-mining act


It's science fiction but maybe it will help to get things moving forward again

Nobody is going to be mining anything in space in our life times so the details of this law are irrelevant. However it is a statement that it's time to try a private approach to space exploration because governments have failed utterly. It's been 46 years since the moon landing and 60 years since Sputnik and where are we? America can't even repeat Alan Shepard's sub orbital flight let alone go to the moon again. The Russians can still put men in orbit using their space jalopy's, the 50 year old Soyuz, but they have nothing new. In 2017 if all goes well Space X will return America to 1965 where we can put a capsule in orbit. But Space X and Blue Origin are breaking no new ground, they are just building updated V2s like everyone else. Until something radical happens like space elevators, rail guns launchers, Bussard ram jets or some other sci-fi technology nobody is going to be doing any asteroid mining nothing in the solar system is worth millions of dollars per gram. which is what it would cost you to bring something back from an asteroid.

Apple's Watch charging pad proves Cupertino still screwing buyers


Re: Don't understand the rage

Actually BMW does exactly the same thing. A battery for a BMW is $500 (FIVE HUNDRED FRIGGIN DOLLARS for a battery). You can't just go to Sears and and get a Diehard like you can for every other car brand you have to get a BMW battery which has a chip in it that has to be programmed by the dealer.

Elderly? Disabled? You clearly need a .38" Palm Pistol


Lincoln was killed with a derringer

John Wilkes Booth used a derringer to kill Lincoln so anyone who says this can't kill is simply wrong. This thing is basically a derringer with modern ammunition.

Visitors no longer welcomed to Scotland's 'Penis Island'


Athol, MA

In Massachusetts we have a town named Athol. A former governor, Endicott Peabody was said to be so popular that they named four towns after him. Endicott, Peabody, Marblehead and Athol.

CAUGHT: Lenovo crams unremovable crapware into Windows laptops – by hiding it in the BIOS


Re: Windows only though

It can't effect Linux for several reasons, first it's looking for a Windows installation and it won't find one, second it's looking for an NTFS file system, it won't know what to do with EXT4, and finally windows binaries won't run on Linux except under WINE which they won't be using.

Gigabit Google? We're getting ready for 10 gigabits says Verizon


Re: But here's the kicker

Verizon has no caps. I have 150Mbit FIOS from Verizon, it's very reliable. The big problem with Verizon is that they've lost interest in fibre, they haven't added a new town in several years. All of Verizon's efforts are going into mobile.

One more thing, this is for business not individuals. The fastest service that a home user could possibly want is 1G because that's the speed of a PC's Ethernet port, only servers have 10G ports and 10G switches are still extremely expensive.

Boffin: Will I soon be able to CLONE a WOOLLY MAMMOTH? YES. Should I? Hell NO


Re: Anyone for lunch?

They must have been delicious, that's why mammoths went extinct, they were hunted into extinction by pre-farming people. If they had managed to hang on for another 3000 years they might have been OK. The Asian elephant is a domestic animal and they are doing just fine.

Getting eaten by people is by far the best evolutionary strategy for a species even if it sucks for the individual members of that species. There are probably 51billion lbs of chickens produced in the US alone each year (i.e about 10 billion birds), I'm sure that no wild species is anywhere close. The best strategy for individuals is to become pets. By far the best deal was made by cats, they must have had a really good lawyer. They agreed to sit on our laps occasionally at a time and place of their choosing, we get no say in the matter. In return we agreed to give them a house, as much as they want to eat, and a comprehensive health plan.

Cash-strapped Chicago slaps CLOUD TAX on Netflix, Spotify etc users


They will spend more on lawyers then they could ever hope to collect

This is insane. This is basically the same as a sales tax and the law is very clear on this, you can't collect a sales tax from a company unless they have a nexis your jurisdiction. Since none of the streaming companies are located in Chicago they can't collect a tax from them. The streaming companies will fight this all the way to the Supreme Court (where they will win), they have to because if they don't they will end up having to collect taxes for potentially 10's of thousands of cities, towns and states. The cost to Chicago in legal fees will be at least an order of magnitude more than they can ever hope to collect.

Couple sues estate agent who sold them her mum's snake-infested house


Re: US Home inspection..

They must of had a home inspection, you can't get a mortgage without one. The home inspector didn't notice the snakes because he wasn't looking for them.

Tesla's battery put in the shade by current and cheaper kit


Lead is cheap, Lithium isn't

There is a reason that UPSes mostly use old fashion lead acid batteries instead of lithium, lead is cheap, very very cheap. In fact lead is the very definition of a base metal. Lithium is favored in mobile applications because it's light, that matters to the phone in your pocket and it really matters in a car because the energy used to move a car is directly proportional to the mass of the car, for those of you who didn't take freshman physics the equation is

K = 1/2 * M * V^2, i.e.

Kinetic Energy = 1/2 * Mass * Velocity * Velocity.

So if you cut the weight of a moving vehicle by 50% you cut the energy used to get it to speed by 50%. However a battery pack that sits in your basement has a velocity of 0 so the weight doesn't matter as long as it doesn't exceed the load limit of the floor which in the case of a typical concrete basement floor is very very high. So the only factor that matters for a backup battery system is lifetime cost and that's an area where lead acid batteries are always going to beat lithium batteries because no metal is cheaper than lead, and the process for making a lead acid battery is dead simple. Also lead is really easy to recycle when it comes time to replace the batteries because it's melting point is so low as anyone who has ever soldered a wire or a pipe (before they banned lead solder) knows.

Jeez, AT&T. Billing a pensioner $24,000 for dialup is pretty low


Could be an old virus or it could be AOL's fault

Back in the days of dialup there certainly were virus's that called 900 numbers. Sometime around 2002 I found one on my sister's laptop. I solved the problem by wiping Windows off of her laptop and replacing it with Linux. It's entirely possible that there are still some of those viruses out there. There is another possibility which is that AOL eliminated his local number and their software automatically picked a long distance number. That wouldn't be a problem for anyone with a modern phone plan because the phone companies don't charge for long distance anymore on their phone/Internet/TV bundles. But anyone with AOL is unlikely to have a modern phone plan, they would still have a 1990s or earlier plan where you don't have long distance included and what's even worse the definition of long distance is anything outside of yoru town.

Vint Cerf: Everything we do will be ERASED! You can't even find last 2 times I said this


Re: Not really much of a problem

One century's garbage is another century's treasure. That's literally true, the thing that archaeologist's love most of all is garbage dumps and cesspits. Historians in the distant future will find Facebook fascinating. They will also love our primitive cat videos. Undoubtedly they will have some form of cat video which is as unimaginable to us as YouTube would have been to the Egyptians who built The Sphinx (the oldest known cat video).

Seagate's spinning rust most likely to crash, claims backup biz


Re: Seagate 3TB

You are misremembering. The Death Stars were IBM drives (now Hitachi) not Seagate. At the time (15 years ago) the Seagates were the reliable drives and the dogs were IBM and Maxtor (now part of Seagate). In the last five or ten years the Seagates have been junk, I've lost a half dozen and I only have 10 machines so that's an incredible failure rate. The other brands have been fine. I don't buy Seagates anymore. I'm really glad that these statistics are being published. This is a significant sample set so the numbers are very meaningful. It sounds like Seagate has gotten the message and started addressing their problems if the 4T drives are operating reliably. It's possible that they've just gotten lucky with the 4Ts, we'll have to see another years worth of reliability reports to see if they've really fixed the problem or not.

Free Windows 10 could mean the END for Microsoft and the PC biz


Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

A VM is forever. I'm also a Linux user and only run Windows as a VM. You can move the VM to different hardware and different versions of Linux without Windows knowing it's been moved. All you have to do is make sure that the new VM is identical to the old including MAC IDs.

As for increasing the size of the virtual disk, that's easy. I've done it for an XP VM and it worked fine. Create a larger virtual disk, then in a Linux VM mount both the old WIndows virutal disk and the new larger disk and use DD to copy the old disk to the new one. Use ntfsresize it resize the partition. You can also resize with gparted.

US Navy's LASER CANNON WARSHIP: USS Ponce sent to Gulf


Re: "Ponce"

This sounds like a case of two peoples separated by a common language. Ponce is just a name in the US, I've never heard it used as anything else. Ponce de Leon discovered Florida, that's the best know Ponce.

What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight


Re: Hmmm

You're being really unfair to the Palm Pre. Palm OS was way ahead of anything else at the time, it's multitasking was better than today's version of Android let alone anything in 2009. The Pre came out a month before the first Android phone (it was supposed to come out 8 months before but Palm was chronically incapable of executing, if they had met their schedules the world might be different today). The Pre was a ground breaking product, the Amazon Phone is just a medocre phone at a high price (although in the US they are have a fire sale, $200 unlocked, bet they don't sell any even at that price).

Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized fusion reactor breakthrough boast


Just in time for a time machine

Doc Brown brought back a Mr Fusion home reactor from the year 2015 so this annoucement is just in time. However they need to boost the power to 1.21GW and reduce the size so that it can fit in the backseat of a Delorean, but maybe they can do that by the end of next year.

How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example


Have you tried a Virtual Machine

If the problem was software only then a virtual machine running on Linux is the obvious answer, because NETBEUI is involved you will have to try it to see if the performance is good enough (it probably will be). Because this is a business the choice of Linux distros is simple, You should use a Redhat Enterprise Linux clone like CentOS or Scientific Linux. RHEL is supported for a very long time, 11 years, and it's incredibly stable, it just doesn't break. If you want to clone the existing system you follow the same procedure that you would to create recovery files in case of a disk failure. Using something like Acronis, or any other XP backup tool, to create the recovery files. Then you need to create a fresh KVM virtual machine on your Linux box, there is a very simple GUI to do this with. You should set the MAC IDs on the virtual NICs to be the same as the MAC IDs on the system that you are cloning. After you created the VM you should attach the ISOs of your recovery disks as virtual CDROMs. Then boot the VM and follow exactly the same procedure that you would if you were restoring to a fresh hard drive in a real PC. Once you are done you can boot the VM and you will have a clone of the original machine. If you have an install CD for XP you could also just create a fresh XP virtual machine.

Once you have the VM you won't be tied to any particular piece of hardware, you can move a VM anywhere, it's just a file. As long as you make sure that the VM on the new machine is a clone of the original (same MAC IDs, same virtual graphics card), XP won't know that it's been moved. This will allow you to use the system forever even if the PC dies, you can always move it to a new PC. You also won't have to worry about the system becoming corrupted, as long as you keep backups of the VM file you can restore the system. If you keep a copy of the VM on the same PC then you can restore the system in about a minute, all you have to do is rename the backup copy to the primary VM's name and reboot the VM.

The underlying Linux box won;t be subject to viruses, it will be much more stable than any Windows system. Linux includes SAMBA so it can share directories with the Windows systems on the network, including the XP VM. If someone needs to access the Internet from that box they can do it from Linux so it won't be subject to any malware. I've been using WIndows VMs on Linux since 1999. I've never had a virus on my WIndows VMs, not even when I had a Win98 VM, because the only Internet access I do on the VMs is to a couple of trusted sites like Microsoft and Intuit. I use Linux to access the Internet and it's immune to the malware that's out there including the stuff on sites of a sleazy nature.

Friends don't do tech support for friends running Windows XP


Re: No

For someone who needs more than a Chromebook can provide but doesn't need things like video editors, a RHEL clone like CentOS is definitely a great choice. XP users clearly don't embrace change so an ultra stable distro like CentOS is the perfect choice. It doesn't break and it will be supported for a very long time, Redhat intends to support RHEL 6.x for another six or seven years. The user interface of the 6 series is Gnome 2 which is menu based so XP users won't be confused. If they got their copies of MS Office at the same time as they got XP then they are going to be on Office 2K, 2003 or 2007. The UI of OpenOffice is very similar to the classic versions of MS Office, certainly much much closer than the current UI on MS Office is.


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