* Posts by lowwall

44 posts • joined 5 Nov 2011

RIP Paul Allen: Microsoft cofounder billionaire dies at 65 after facing third bout with cancer

lowwall

Philanthropy was not his first thought

Let's not make too much of his late interest in philanthropy. The reason he had given $2 billion and had only $20 billion left to give - instead of the $50 billion Mr. Gates has already donated and the $90 billion he has left - is that Mr. Allen spent the decades of his retirement buying the biggest toys and coolest stuff available. This includes multiple megayachts culminating in the 18th largest yacht in the world, complete with 2 submarines, a glass-bottom pool, and a recording studio; private planes including a G650 and the 757 he later re-sold to Donald Trump; the above-mentioned sports teams, plus the Seattle soccer club, which are perhaps the ultimate toy for US billionaires; the usual 10 figure homes in Seattle, Beverly Hills, Mailbu, Manhattan, Hawaii, London, Côte d'Azur, etc. and a private island or 2. He also like to collect things including a billion dollar art collection, enough planes (even a MiG-29) to open one museum, enough guitars and music memorabilia to open another, and enough old computer gear to open a third. He even collected his childhood movie theatre, buying it when it was slated to be torn down and refurbishing it just for the hell of it.

He also dumped a lot of cash over the years into dozens of business projects, but nothing much came out of it. He certainly would have been better off leaving it in Microsoft stock or something passive like an S&P 500 fund.

I'm not blaming him, when I was a kid and read about what he was doing, I thought it was the coolest thing imaginable, except for the lack of supercars. But the appropriate summary bio would be Coder, Microsoft Co-founder, Billionaire Hedonist.

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How an augmented reality tourist guide tried to break my balls

lowwall

Re: Dead trees never failed anyone

https://xkcd.com/2030/

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You have GNU sense of humor! Glibc abortion 'joke' diff tiff leaves Richard Stallman miffed

lowwall

Re: Wait, what?

Right. And I've noticed that humour is the hallmark of all internet utterances that contain the term "SJW" (or its apparent synonym "snowflake").

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App devs bewildered by last-minute Google GDPR klaxon

lowwall

Re: Sorry Google, you've fucked up again.

Looks like they've already addressed that:

Google returned to the fray. There will be three options on the consent dialog, a rep explained: 1) Personalised ads 2) Non-personalised ads or 3) Ad free.

"The first two constitute consent to show ads to the user (personalized or non-personalized as the case may be)," explained Google's "Sam".

"The third option is up to you. As previously mentioned, a common use case will be to send the user to the store listing for the premium version of your app."

This makes perfect sense to me. Instead of having to dig through settings menus to turn off ad tracking, you get the option at first run. And, depending on what the app maker decides to offer, you may have a further ad-free paid version. They should, however, list the price of the ad-free version on the consent dialog so the choice is clear.

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Beach, please... Billionaire VC finally opens way to waves

lowwall

Re: B E A C H P A R T Y ! ! ! !

Did regular concert goers judge that the best sound balance was usually to be heard from within large concrete bunkers some thirty-seven miles away from the stage?

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Drunk canoeing no longer driving offence in Canada

lowwall

Re: Surprised

It's a canoe. Not a bloody speedboat.

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Dieting cannibals: At last, a scientist has calculated calories for human body parts

lowwall

2) Amputate a lower limb - cauterise and apply a makeshift tourniquet to prevent the resource spoiling...

You've just described the opening of Richard Morgan's sci-fi novel Thirteen. Now I really enjoyed his earlier future-noir books, but this was a bit off for my taste. (sorry)

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Gov wants to make the UK the 'safest place in the world to go online'

lowwall

Re: It ain't that easy

I do have a cheap Amazon Fire tablet. We bought it for my son when he was 5 and have handed it down to his sister. It does work well if all you need a tablet for is to temporarily distract the little ones. We give it out where their patience runs out in the car or at restaurants. It's especially useful if you have Amazon Prime because they give you versions of some kids' games that have in-app purchasing stripped out and you can download several videos at a time for offline viewing. But it falls apart if you need to go outside Amazon's walled garden. Even after sideloading Google Play, I was unable to get certain apps he needed for school to work. And it suffers from the same lack of granularity in its parental controls that everything else does. For example, you can set a total time limit for all apps, but not individual apps nor can you distinguish between school and entertainment apps.

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lowwall

It ain't that easy

Any of the commenters above have young children? I have a 3-year-old and an 8-year-old. It's hardly as easy the comments above suggest. When I'm minding the young one, how am I supposed to constantly monitor her older brother? I can't cut off net access, his school requires much of his homework be done through websites or apps, including Google Docs.

I can't tell you how many hours I have spent fiddling with privacy and parental control settings and applications between a chromebook, a tablet and the Xbox One his maternal uncle (and thus my wife) insisted on. And he still constantly finds loopholes. For example, I've cut off his YouTube access on all the devices. So imagine my surprise when I get copied on his e-mail that he has comments on his new video. He was making videos of himself and his sister with the tablet and, thanks to Google's integration of everything, sharing them to YouTube via the camera app.

And, BTW, this isn't about porn that I can just filter away. It's about the complete jerks that populate every corner of the web, from commenters on newspaper websites to popular YouTube stars to how gamers talk to each other. Starting around age 5, kids eat that stuff up. They think it's cool and it clearly affects how they act.

Frankly I would welcome some regulation here. Not of internet content, but requiring that devices offer useful and usable parental controls. For example, the parental controls on standard chromebooks are very limited. Such as you can either allow all apps or none. So if I want him to do school work on a chromebook, I have to allow alll. What is most annoying about this is that the chromebooks that google sells to schools can be tightly configured even down to per app time limits. Why can't they make that software available to parents? And why can't I easily configure an XBox to do something like only play games, allow anyone to play anything E10 and below, while disallowing chat and purchases? And Google needs kids' accounts - ones that let parents whitelist allowable activities. They let me do this with my staff at work so I know they have the capability.

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Ad men hope blocking has stalled as sites guilt users into switching off

lowwall

When I hit those sites, I click the button to turn javascript off (with a Pale Moon add-on called JS Switch on this particular PC) and reload. Problem solved.

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China is building a full scale replica of the Titanic to repeatedly crash into iceberg

lowwall

The Onion

Obligatory "The Onion" link - World's Largest Metaphor hits Ice-Berg.

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Transcripts: The crunch courtroom showdown to halt ICANN's internet power grab

lowwall

On the first point

[C]ritically, the plaintiff's own lawyer argued that if the restraining order was not granted, then legally there was unlikely to be a case for a retroactive decision.

Brunn Roysden, acting for the states, described the transition of the IANA contract as "just like the case of a bulldozer about to demolish a historic, unique, important building." The harm, he said, was "imminent and irreparable."

The attorney had to argue "imminent and irreparable harm" as it's a requirement for the granting of an injunction like this. But he is free to now argue the exact opposite - i.e., that the court can order a retroactive invalidation - and these statements can't be used against him. It may seem odd but it's a function of how the US legal system works. Attorneys are advocates, they are expected to provide every remotely reasonable argument on behalf of their clients, even if the arguments are contradictory or mutually exclusive. It is the job of the judge (and jury to the extent applicable) to review each argument in isolation and determine which, if any, have merit.

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FCC death vote looms for the Golden Age of American TV

lowwall

The rules have evolved

In Google’s ideal world the curation and content management of the “appified” DSTAC are absent, giving Google users the ability to take what content they want and present it all on YouTube, without having to enter the kind of negotiations for content that everyone else needs to do. Google users can stick the latest hit HBO show into another YouTube channel, and there’s nothing about the show’s creators or HBO can do about it.

This may be what Google wants and even what was in the initial proposal, but these rules have been through the comment period and have been extensively revised.. The rules currently being voted on require bundlers (e.g. cable companies) to give their customers the option of replacing or augmenting the current rented hardware box with apps so they can watch the shows they have paid for on whatever device they own and avoid paying the box rental fee. The crucial point is that the apps would be provided by the bundler. The bundler would still be in control of billing, DRM and providing the content. This rule does not require the cable companies to offer channels a la carte, not does it require them to stream it through any other platform.

If you don't believe me, here's how Forbes describes it:

The cable industry responded with a proposal that, instead of opening up their signals to all comers through APIs, would require operators to implement their own apps on a wide range of device platforms... Functionality of these apps would be limited compared to the functionality available on operators’ own STBs: for example, apps would not support digital video recording (DVR)...

The proposed rule that goes up for a vote on Thursday resembles the cable industry’s proposal, but it includes stricter requirements for app functionality, including DVR. It requires operators to provide subscribers with free apps on “widely deployed platforms, such as Roku, Apple iOS, Windows and Android,”...

Let’s look at the effects that this proposed ruling would have. It would help make up for the appalling lack of competition for video and broadband internet services in the United States by forcing operators to compete with third parties on reception devices. They’d have to offer STBs that are cheaper and easier to use, and they’d have to get creative in thinking of new ways to add value to their devices compared to the Rokus, Apple TVs and Amazon Fire TVs of the world, not to mention Smart TVs, iPads, Google Chromecasts, etc. (High quality end-to-end tech support would be a good starting point.)

Note, the FCC decided to postpone the vote. The sticking point is on technical licensing and oversight issues, not the basic premise of giving an app option to the rental box.

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BSODs of the week: From GRUB to nagware

lowwall

Naw. That's our job.

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YouTube sharecroppers start world’s most useless trade union

lowwall

Re: Look on the bright side.

Internetainerpreneur or Representative of the Amalgamated Union of Philosophers, Sages, Luminaries, and other professional thinking persons?

MAJIKTHISE: We’ll go on strike!

VROOMFONDEL: That’s right. You’ll have a national philosopher’s strike on your hands.

DEEP THOUGHT: Who will that inconvenience?

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HR botches redundancy so chap scores year-long paid holiday

lowwall

Forgotten Employee

I was working in Minneapolis for a MLS (real estate listings) vendor in the mid-90s while my wife went to graduate school there. Upon her graduation, she got a job in Chicago. Our largest client was in Chicago and we had a 6-person office there to service them, so I asked around and got assigned there for what was supposed to be 90 days to oversee the beta test of our very first client-server application. I was planning on using that time to look for a new job and resigning once the test was done.

But here's the fun part. While I was given an office in Chicago, I still nominally reported to my existing boss for HR purposes, and actually reported to the lead software developer (also in Minnesota) for the duration of the test. While the test was underway, the head of the Chicago office left. The new Chicago lead was told I was reporting to Minneapolis and, since I wasn't on his budget, I became effectively invisible to him. Then my nominal supervisor quit and since there was a temporary hiring freeze, they didn't immediately replace her and HR apparently forgot to assign me to anyone else. So once I wrapped things up on the beta test, I had an office in Chicago and a paycheck, but no job duties and no one to report to.

Meanwhile, I had decided to go to graduate school that autumn which was 6 months away. There wasn't much point in looking for a new job for that short of a time period, so I decided to keep my mouth shut and see how long it would take them to sack me.

They never did. For 6 months, the only actual work I did was helping out the local support desk guy a couple of times a week with questions he couldn't answer. Other than that it was drive in, surf the internet for a few hours, have a long lunch, surf some more and go home. I did a lot of posting on usenet and listservs so I at least sounded busy. To be honest, it got a bit tedious. But I was afraid that if I volunteered to help out the local staff, someone would start asking why I had so much free time.

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Israeli biz fingered as the FBI's iPhone cracker

lowwall

Re: Happy now ?

They already had access to that toolkit. Did you miss the link to the existing contract?

Aug 28, 2013 5:15 pm

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) intends to award, on a sole-source basis, a fixed price purchase order to Cellebrite USA, Inc. 266 Harristown Rd. Ste 105 Glen Rock, NJ 07452.

Cellebrite will provide two Cellebrite USA UFED Touch Ultimate Kits (Logical and Physical Mobile Forensic Solution) for use in Forensic casework.

Market research efforts have indicated that the Cellebrite UFED System is the only hand-held, cellular exploitation device worldwide that requires no PC or associated phone drivers. The system will quickly extract phonebook, pictures, videos, SMS messages, call histories, ESN/IMEI information, and deleted SMS/call histories off the SIM for rapid analysis. Cellebrite supports all major technologies (DMA, CDMA,GSM, IDEN) including, Smartphone operating systems and PDAs (Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Google Android, Microsoft Mobile, Palm and Symbian) for over 95% of all handset models worldwide....

Given this, it certainly does appear that the FBI was using this as a pretext to gain new powers. I'm no Apple fan, but I'm glad they stood up to the pressure.

FWIW, I actually do feel better that law enforcement can unlock encrypted devices in cases like this, where a judge on a non-secret court has reviewed the specific request and determined there is a lawful reason for doing so.

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'Just give me any old date and I'll make it work' ... said the VB script to the coder

lowwall

Every tried to write a free text to date converter?

I'm just a hobbyist coder (which I suspect will be obvious), but not finding what I wanted from the commercial options, I wrote my wife's law firm's client management program back in 2000 using vbscript and ASP. I eventually saw the light and rewrote it in PHP under LAMP in 2007. It's designed to work from any browser, so I use no client-side scripting at all (which came in handy when cell phones developed browsers). Since I did not want to force the staff to waste time picking through date and time drop down boxes for every date they entered, I needed to roll my own free text to date function. Oh and it also had to work for my brother-in-law who adopted it for his law firm in Poland.

[code]//FUNCTION - validate user date(time) and convert to mySQL format

function buildmysqldt($ud)

{

if ((!isset($ud)) OR (trim($ud) == '')) {

return NULL;

//triggers error handling in the calling function

}

//split up date(time) and assign day and month according to

//Euro day first or American month first

if (EURODATE==1) {

//remove " - " from common Central Europe "d.m.y - h:m" date format

$ud = str_replace(' - ', ' ', $ud);

list($d, $m, $y, $time) = split('[ /.-]', $ud);

} else {

list($m, $d, $y, $time) = split('[ /.-]', $ud);

}

//Check if next part contains ":" or "m" (from am or pm) indicating it is a time

//and user left off year from date and assign the current 4 digit year and time.

//If no ":" but there is a year, convert to 4 digit year if necessary.

//If nothing assign current 4 digit year.

$includescolon = strpos($y, ':');

$includesampm = stripos($y, 'm');

if (($includescolon > 0) OR ($includesampm > 0)) {

$time = trim($y);

$y = date('Y');

} elseif (trim($y) != "") {

if (($y >= 70) AND ($y <=99)) {

$y = $y + 1900;

} elseif (($y >= 0) AND ($y <70)) {

$y = $y + 2000;

}

} elseif (!($y > 1)) { //add year

$y = date('Y');

}

//make sure year is in somewhat reasonable range

if (($y <= 1800) OR ($y >2200)) {

// echo "Year $y is too large or small - valid range is 1800 to 2200.";

return NULL;

}

//VALIDATE DATE

if (is_numeric($m) && is_numeric($d) && is_numeric($m)) {

if (!(checkdate($m, $d, $y))) {

// echo "$y-$m-$d (year-month-day) is not a valid date.";

return NULL;

}

} else {

return NULL;

}

//format time into mysql 24 hour time hh:mm:ss (no am/pm)

//and validate time using strtotime

$time = str_replace(' ', '', $time);

if ($time != "") {

$includescolon = strpos($time, ':');

$includesam = stripos($time, 'am');

$includespm = stripos($time, 'pm');

//if minutes missing, add ":00:00"

if ($includescolon === false) {

if ($includesam > 0) {

$time = str_ireplace('am', ':00:00am', $time);

} elseif ($includespm > 0) {

$time = str_ireplace('pm', ':00:00pm', $time);

} else {

$time .= ':00:00';

}

}

//adjust time for pm where necessary

if ($includespm > 0) {

$time = str_ireplace('pm', '', $time);

list($hour, $min, $sec) = split(':', $time);

if ($hour < 12) {

$hour = $hour +12;

$time = "$hour:$min";

//replace seconds if there were any

if ($sec > 0) {

$time .= ":$sec";

}

}

}

//adjust time for am where necessary

if ($includesam > 0) {

$time = str_ireplace('am', '', $time);

list($hour, $min, $sec) = split(':', $time);

if ($hour == 12) {

$time = "00:$min";

//replace seconds if there were any

if ($sec > 0) {

$time .= ":$sec";

}

}

if ($hour > 12) {

//echo "$hour can't be am.";

return NULL;

}

}

//if we don't have seconds add them

if (substr_count($time, ':') == 1) {

$time .= ':00';

}

//VALIDATE TIME

$validtime = strtotime($time);

if (!$validtime) {

return NULL;

}

}

//make month and day into 2 digits if < 10

if ($m < 10) {$m = '0' . $m;}

if ($d < 10) {$d = '0' . $d;}

return trim("$y-$m-$d $time");

}[/code]

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lowwall

Re: Effing 'Merikans

Time Zones and offsets occasionally need to be forgotten. Thanks to a 12-year-old GnuCash bug, if I allow my work computer to use a time zone that has daylight savings time, my transaction dates all shift twice a year. If anyone would like to fix this, here's the bug report: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=137017

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Prez Obama cares about STEM so much he just threw $240m of other people's money at it

lowwall

It's not my money

"Some $240m from the private sector will be spent on boosting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs in America, President Obama said on Monday."

See the words "private sector"? The title implies, and several of the commenters above state, that this is about US taxpayer money. It's not.

What we have here is a typical White House (not just this administration, all administrations do this) bit of PR fluff that's not actually news. But El Reg recognized the clickbait potential and the "I hate Obama/Government/H-1B"-tards did their usual job of rising blindly to the bait.

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Big Data shocker: Over 6 million Americans have reached the age of 112

lowwall

Bollocks. "Illegal Immigrant" is not an official status. And there is no such thing as an "official US ID" other than a US passport.

I imagine what he was talking about was that it is possible (and even required) for non-citizens and permanent residents to get a SSN or Taxpayer ID number for various tax purposes. These will include a statement like "Not valid for employment" or "Valid for work only with DHS authorization" (the exact wording changes occasionally).

This is not to say that employers will never hire someone without the proper papers, but it's become much less likely, especially for white collar work and any corp large enough to have an HR department as the DHS has been steadily upping the pressure through workplace audits over the last decade.

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This ISN'T Net Neutrality. This is Net Google. This is Net Netflix – the FCC's new masters

lowwall

Re: Getting back to the point

Oops. I saw Orlowski's posts above and assumed he had written the article. For the record, the author is Kieren McCarthy. Although they both appear to share the same misguided opinion on this.

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lowwall

Getting back to the point

These rules are a huge positive for consumers. Consumers require an ISP in order to gain access to internet content. By defining the role of the ISP as a neutral provider of this content, customers have at least a fighting chance to base their decision on an apples to apples comparison of prices, speeds and usage caps.

Naturally, the ISPs hate this. No one wants to be in a commodity industry, where you can only compete on price and service. They would much prefer to play the games that cell phone and cable and satellite TV providers play (in the USA), locking in all but the most determined with proprietary products, bundled products, and lengthy contracts.

The fact that the rules do not disfavor whatever content provider Orlowski currently dislikes is no reason at all to see these rules as anything other than a total win for those of us who both produce and consume internet content. Speaking of producers, and contrary to Orlowski's claims, it's the smaller producers - El Reg included - that had the most to lose if paid prioritization and selective throttling were to become standard. In addition to pushing their proprietary sites, ISPs would be falling all over themselves to provide fast access to the few household names on the web such as Google, Facebook, Netflix and Amazon since no one would sign up for their service if these were lacking. You can bet that every comparison of ISP services would include a table of response times for those sites. It's everything else that would get shifted down the priority list. BTW, I suspect in the long run, the ISPs would actually end up paying the big content providers for fast access rather than the reverse, much the way cable TV providers have to pay up to offer ESPN.

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Forget the $2499 5K iMac – today we reveal Apple's most expensive computer to date

lowwall

All Wrong

The Model T was far from the first automobile, what made it important (in the USA) was that it was the first that was cheap enough and usable enough to be purchased in large quantities by average families, which set off the massive restructuring of our physical spaces around the automobile.

The Model T of computers were the IBM PC clones. Again, these were the first computers that were cheap enough and usable enough to be purchased in large quantities by average families, which set off the massive restructuring of our informational spaces around the computer.

If I had to choose one particular clone as a best match for the Model T, it would be the Dell (then PC's Limited) Turbo PC. Even better, if you can find one, it'll only set you back a few hundred bucks.

As far as cars go, the Apple 1 is much more like the thousand or so handbuilt cars built by the Ford Motor Company before Mr. Ford developed the Model T.

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Giant advertising, sorry, 'Search' firm Google makes BILLIONS - but not enough for Wall St

lowwall

Re: re: "... around 77 per cent was from ads served on its own sites"

Hardly surprising when consider those own sites include stuff like Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, Google News, Picasa and Google Maps. It adds up to something like 40% of global page views if the stats from last August's outage were correct - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/08/17/google_outage/

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EU privacy A-Team tells Google: Get a grip and obey OUR laws

lowwall

Why do we expect Google to be the arbiter of these requests anyway? Sure, have them put up the request pages, but the requests should be routed to WP29 or equivalent Brussels' practitioners of tetrapyloctomy. The decisions would be binding unless google wanted to appeal it at their cost to some specified court. Make google pay for it if you want, although I'd rather see a hefty charge for the request (hardship waivers available, naturally) with a full refund if granted.

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Torvalds rails at Linux developer: 'I'm f*cking tired of your code'

lowwall

Oh yeah?

Belgium.

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Is the World Wide Web for luvvies and VCs – or for all of us?

lowwall

It is not happenstance that the world you posit is not the world that exists. If you insist on any level of sophistication in your markup, you immediately cut your potential pool of volunteer content creators by at least an order of magnitude. And of course, much of the markup you do get will be hopelessly wrong. HTML took off in large part because it didn't try to force much structure onto content creators and it was pretty forgiving of sloppiness in the markup it did require.

And the volunteers matter. They matter a whole lot more than VC or even the web offerings of conventional businesses. The volunteers created the content that brought the eyeballs. The latter two only showed up because the eyeballs were already there. You are the one confusing cause and effect by saying VC bets determined the direction of the early web, it's actually the direction of the early web that set the possibilities for (internet) VC.

BTW, it's also you that is ascribing "God-like omniscience and wisdom to search engines" if you really believe they would be able to usefully parse out "a language, or a tag set" that changes arbitrarily from site to site. Anyway, HTML has always allowed metadata like creation dates to be included via the use of the META element. When I was creating websites in the mid to late '90s, I dutifully filled in meta author, keywords, dates, etc. All of which is now ignored by search engines since META got perverted into a SEO tool in the aughts.

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lowwall

What Orlowski is missing is that a full-fat SGML world wide web would never have happened and will never happen. Regular people have neither the interest nor the skill to do the markup work that makes an SGML doc useful. Even catalogue librarians, who tend to be reasonably intelligent and actually care about this sort of thing, need to go through extensive training to properly enter the small number of fields that make up the bibliographic entry for an entire book. What sorts of results to you think you will get from webpage authors' self-marked-up docs on Orlowski's imagined SGML web? Useless would be the best we could hope for. And if search engines were foolish enough to take the markup seriously, it would quickly become worse than useless as the markup became just another SEO toy.

Berners-Lee got it far more right than wrong. The hyperlink and the minimal required markup made it possible for any literate person to share their interests by creating web pages. The content collectively created by these folks was what eventually made the internet compelling enough for the average person to venture online.

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Zuck on THIS: Mobile users propel Facebook to RECORD earnings

lowwall

It all makes sense now

Now I understand. Years ago, Facebook put into action a fiendishly clever plan of regular privacy "gaffes" to ensure that those who were both interested in their personal data integrity and capable of doing something about it voluntarily removed themselves from the service. This has left Facebook with a user base that will accept anything at all.

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The FLOATING mobile phone shop on the edge of the Internet

lowwall

Re: Re-using nails

I was living with some friends in the early '90s in Ho Chi Minh while they remodeled a bar. Construction debris (mostly chunks of concrete) was stacked outside the front door. People, the better off ones with wheelbarrows, would appear from nowhere and take it away.

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Brit fantasy artist sues James Cameron over Avatar world

lowwall

Spirobranchus giganteus

The best part of the movie for me was looking at the scenery (the worst was the plot). It was obvious to me that most of the flora, fauna and landscapes were borrowed from the real world, including the undersea world. Examples... An image search on "Huangshan" provides a much more likely source for the visualization of the floating islands than old prog-rock album covers and the major trees were clearly modelled on banyans and baobabs. As a scuba diver, I'm also convinced that the giant Christmas Tree worms (helicoradians in the movie) were Cameron's nod to all tropical water divers.

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Astroboffins to search for mega-massive alien power plants

lowwall

Re: Mass

Even our puny civilization has built aerogels and metallic microlattice materials that have densities of under 1kg per cubic meter (excluding any trapped air). Use something like this for most of the bulk of the sphere and you have plenty of mass left for the support struts, PV panels, greenhouses and whatnot.

Regarding the tensile strength issue. Surely most of the surface area will be dedicated to harvesting energy in one form or another, which requires neither gravity nor general atmosphere. So you don't need to spin the whole sphere, just the bits that require gravity. An array of spinning earth-diameter mini rings (with lips on the inner edges to contain the atmosphere) orbiting just inside the sphere could handle any needed 1G real estate.

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Amazon cosies up to Nokia for Google Maps alternative

lowwall

Re: But you can download google maps

"For about the 3rd time in this thread, it's necessary to point out that you *cannot* do navigation (or search) offline in Google Maps / Navigation!.

Caching the maps just helps cut down bandwidth costs thereafter. They are all but unusable without a connection."

Right. I guess you *cannot* do navigation with a paper map either.

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lowwall

But you can download google maps

Google maps are downloadable on any Android device running version 2.2 (Froyo) or higher. They added it in just before the Nexus 7 came out.

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Pints under attack as Lord Howe demands metric-only UK

lowwall

If you want human-based measures, you ought to move back to Fahrenheit. 0 = very, very cold. 100 = very, very hot. It's perfect.

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LightSquared hits FCC right where it hurts

lowwall

There is an outstanding account of the issues, both technical and legal, surrounding Lightsquared in the Register. But it's not in this article, it's in the comments on this and the earlier articles.

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lowwall

Re: Lightsquared = Dillusional [sic]

Note that the waiver in the link I posted - http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-133A1.pdf - was adopted January 26, 2011. Prior to this, in practice ATC authorizations were for fill-in only stations, because by the terms of the spectrum grant and even after the 2003 modification, all handsets had to have satphone capabilities. Since most people don't want to lug around satphones, especially since their satellites only cover North America where terrestrial service is widely available, it's probably not a money maker. But that's business, they made a gamble that the government would allow them to offer services that were not part of their original remit. They lost the gamble.

Lightsquared can and does still provide the mobile satellite services for which it does have rights.

They never had a right to provide service to non-satellite-capable phones. They have no constitutional taking case based on the government decision not to give them additional rights. All they have left is a PR push to try to get the politicians to bail them out by giving them some unencumbered spectrum.

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lowwall

Re: Lightsquared = Dillusional [sic]

"The government proposes to take away the ATC authorizations granted to Lightsquared without compensation" should read "The government proposes to take away the ATC authorizations granted to Lightsquared despite the letter of the law according to a provisional waiver, a waiver whose requirements Lightsquared ultimately proved unable to meet."

"LightSquared are complaining that they aren't being allowed to deploy a network in their own spectrum". They can and are deploying it. From orbit. Which is where the spectrum they purchased is allowed to be deployed.

They got the spectrum cheap precisely because it was only allowed for satphone (and satdata) services. A 2003 FCC decision expanded this for all satphone providers to allow very limited usage of ATCs (ground stations) to help fill in the satphone service in areas like cities where a direct sky view is impeded. But Lightsquared wanted to go further and leave off the satellite service entirely for most users so they filed for a waiver of this requirement. This was entirely inconsistent with its original spectrum grant, which was duly noted in the FCC's grant of the waiver, see page 14 "Failure to Satisfy the Rule" of http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-133A1.pdf

The FCC decided to grant the waiver despite their own findings based on the hope that the eventual service would be of net benefit to the public. But the waiver grant included a clear requirement that Lightsquared be able to demonstrate it did not overload GPS receivers - see pages 21-22 of the FCC waiver grant, starting with "GPS AND OTHER INTERFERENCE CONCERNS" [caps in original] and ending with "LightSquared Subsidiary LLC’s authorization for Ancillary Terrestrial Component operations (Call Sign: S2358) is modified to include authority to provide terrestrial service as described in its application, and subject to the conditions specified in paragraphs 36 and 41-43 of this Order." [paragraph 41-43 are the GPS bits].

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Serial killer PYTHONS stalk Florida's Everglades

lowwall

"My evolution included a club."

[Paraphrasing from a vaguely remembered sci-fi short story].

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HUD's up! Ubuntu creates menu-free GUI

lowwall
FAIL

Clippy? Is that you?

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Samsung v iPhone 4S French entrenchment: 'TOTAL WAR'

lowwall
Facepalm

You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders!

Never get involved in a FRAND war in Asia.

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US Army orders more Judge Dredd smartgun ammo

lowwall

FMJ = Full Metal Jacket

For most FMJs the thing jacketed is a lead core. In fact most is nearly all, because for fully jacketed ammunition where something other than lead comprises the core, the round tends to be named for the material or purpose of the core. Examples: HE (high explosive core), AP (armor piercing core), frangible. Tracer has a partial lead core.

BTW, there are bullets made of solid bronze or other hard metal. They are known as "solids" and their use is primarily confined to hunts of thick-boned dangerous game.

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