* Posts by Suricou Raven

1501 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

Senate decides patent reform is just too much work, waves white flag

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

You want to reform?

How about requiring the patent office actually examine those patents, rather than just rubber-stamping them all 'approved' after a ten-second skim-read?

1
0

Amazon Prime hot air drone service goes a-recruiting

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: I can't see this being useful for consumers

I can imagine something of a niche in medicine. There are certain very rare fluids which hospitals rarely need, but if they do need must be available immediately. Antivenoms, for one. So incorporate drones into stock management. A patient comes into A&E with a snake bite, doctors identify the snake as the rare pin-striped bugle-snake, but they have no antivenom - so the stock system determines that another hospital nearby has some. Thirty minutes away by car, but five minutes as the drone flies.

1
0
Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: The thing with drones...

Drones don't have the range for rural use, though.

1
0

Son of ACTA pours fuel on IP trade fire

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Of course it's dodgy.

If it wasn't full of objectionable things, it wouldn't be negotiated in secrecy. If it is being hidden, then there must be something to hide.

18
0

Bitcoin blockchain allegedly infected by ancient 'Stoned' virus

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

This is not good.

Just coincidence, and the million monkeys effect - but it is possible to put data into the blockchain, if you've enough processing power or a whole lot of luck. That means this could be done deliberately, and is the type of prank many people might like.

The good news is that the blockchain is separate from private keys, so even if your AV wipes the file your coins will stll be safe. You'll just have to download it all again.

1
0

Autodesk to release 'open' 3D printer

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Smooth models

Stereolithographic printers do indeed have those advantages. Smoother, higher detail, better able to handle overhangs.

They do have two disadvantages, though. The printers are more expensive ($5000 is actually amazingly cheap) and they require feeding with a quite exotic chemical concoction - a goo which is not only expensive to make, but has a shelf life. Extrusion printers, the more common type, just need PLA or ABS plastic - cheap as dirt.

6
0

Mozilla agrees to add DRM support to Firefox – under protest

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Except that, for the reasons mentioned in my previous post, they won't trust the DRM. The music industry took years to learn that they could make do with 'good enough' DRM - it doesn't have to be designed to defeat the combined efforts of all the world's bored programmers, hardware hackers and rival company engineers. This is a lesson the movie industry has yet to learn, and a super-locked-down DRM scheme can't be run as a sandboxed plugin. There would be no way it could be sure the hardware, OS, drivers and sandbox were all free of tampering.

1
0
Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Sandbox? How does that work?

A DRM plugin needs low-level access in order to function. It needs to be able to get driver IDs so it can be sure the sound drivers aren't actually a loopback recorder, it needs to be able to check hardware IDs to determine which computer it is on, it needs low-level OS and graphics API calls to prevent the use of screen recorders or just printscreen on documents. A DRM program running in a sandbox cannot even be remotely effective.

Not that they are very effective even without that limitation.

5
1

Apple, Beats and fools with money who trust celeb endorsements

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Analogue, and it not being digital... and why 192k could be useful, not audible

I was under the impression that 48KHz can be a little better because it gives you more room for filter design. Real-world low-pass filters are never a sharp cutoff, ao that extra 4KHz translates to an extra 2KHz space to work with in the filter design.

2
0

Boeing shows off 7-4-heaven SPACEPLANE-for-tourists concept

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Less than 12 parsecs?

About 1 ISS.

13
0

Get BENT: Flexy supercapacitor breaks records

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

The clothing is a bad idea. As soon as you tear the fabric in any way, it'd catch fire.

It's still good tech, though. Fold it up and stick it in a protective box and you've potentially got a replacement for the common battery. Supercaps are purely electrical devices, not electrochemical, which means they don't gradually lose capacity over a couple of years - plus they'll work from sub-freezing to near-boiling temperatures.

3
0

Hey, operators... 'member our edge-of-SPAAACE interwebs balloons? Help! - Google

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Noble idea runs smack into geopolitics

That, and that his transmission system was horrifically inefficient. Lighting up those bulbs in a field was impressive - but he needed an entire power station to run the transmitter.

1
0

Copyright minister: Those missing TWO copyright exceptions? We're still on track

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: So let me get this straight...

Actually, it's worse than that. The DVD and Blu-ray are DRMed: Under the EUCD, members are required to criminalise the distribution (Though not possession) of tools for breaking DRM schemes, and the distribution of previously-DRMed material with the DRM stripped.

That means that you are required to pay a levy for the right to make a personal use copy, but you still can't exercise your right unless someone is willing to commit a criminal offense by giving you a DRM circumvention tool. Fortunately such things are easily found online, where that law is rarely respected.

0
0
Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: So who gets the money?

You're wrong, and it is truly crazy.

0
0

Vinyl-fetish hipsters might just have a point

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: But, but...

They tried. There was an attempt (I forget the name) in the 'home taping is killing music' era - an inaudible signal embedded into the recording which would act as a 'do not record' flag to cassette decks, so if you tried to record your vinyl onto tape for a friend it would either record silence or stop the motor. It failed dismally: Cassette deck manufacturers had no incentive to respect the signal, detection was expensive without digital technology, and the signal was not so inaudible as intended.

1
0

SEC to investors: When dealing in Bitcoin, don't get suckered

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: a bit like moving to the frontier

You can make a fortune if you're first there, but only the insanely reckless would gamble on something so risky as going first.

0
0

The ULTIMATE space geek accessory: Apollo 15's joystick up for sale

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

So many pins.

Why does a joystick need so many pins?

(Conspiracy people, start speculating about the secret experiment concealed inside)

3
0

Mozilla asks FCC to unleash the nuclear option on net neutrality

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

I know what is going to happen.

1. Obama will come out in support of net neutrality, though can't actually act on it very much.

2. In response to this, many republicans and conservative organisations will start opposing net neutrality.

Expect their arguments to focus on the evils of big government and regulation in general while extolling the virtues of the free market, paired with some overblown rhetoric trying to argue that net neutrality is a threat to internet freedom and the first stage in a government takeover aimed at eventually banning christianity as 'hate speech.'

1
1

Stephen Hawking: The creation of true AI could be the 'greatest event in human history'

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: AI is already here . Dumb enough

If people can understand how it works, it isn't called AI any more. Successfully applied AI just turns into engineering.

0
0
Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: two words

The 2) might help. A lot of AI work is on machine learning - a field which requires the application of truely ridiculous amounts of processor power.

We know it can work, because it's worked before - it's the algorithmic approach which lead to us. Doing so required four billion years of runtime on a computer the size of a planet.

8
2

Laser deflector shields possible with today's tech – but there's one small problem

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: So safe on re-entry then?

It serves to protect the ship against radio communication. There's minimal contact during reentry, as the plasma sheath blocks signal.

0
0
Suricou Raven
Silver badge

One other problem.

The power requirements. This thing is basically a scaled-up plasma window. The power to maintain something like that would likely be in the megawatts.

0
0

Google in NOT EVIL shocker: Bins student email ad scanning

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Targeted Advertising?

Wasn't there a similar thing a while ago about some retailers silently raising prices when browsed from an iPad, on the grounds that anyone willing to fork out for a high-end device like that probably has a lot of disposable income?

0
0

New .london domains touted tomorrow amid usual tech hypegasm

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

London, Ontario will be filing a complaint.

0
0

RIP net neutrality? FCC mulls FAST LANES for info superhighway

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

Suffers from the echo chamber - people go to the sites that tell them what they want to hear, which leads to extreme-polarization, flourishing conspiracy theories and a lot of news of dubious sanity and worse accuracy.

0
1

Boss of Russia's Facebook says Putin cronies have taken over his company

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

So, about sixty quid's worth?

1
0

95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Floor Space?

They probably don't all run top-to-bottom. Have you not played SimTower?

2
0
Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Theoretically...

But which way lets you go in style? The bottom floors just get squished - there's no fun in that! If you're trapped at the top though you get to break the windows and grab some pillows and make a desperate leap to safety - and, even though you'll still probably squish and die instantly on impact, you'll at least have a fun few seconds on the way down.

0
0

Whaddaya mean, No refund? But I paid in Bitcoins! Oh I see...

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Bitcoin is strongly deflationary

Bitcoin was designed to undermine the ability of governments to control the supply of money. It's popular because the recent financial mess has revealed that between incompetence and outright corruption, people have lost their trust in both government and financial institutions. They are desperate for an alternative system, even if it means looking to something unproven and fundamentally flawed like bitcoin. It's not a good alternative, but it's the only one around.

0
0
Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Easier fraud?

The bank trick actually isn't that hard. Your bank balance is effectively just a loan - the bank 'owes' you that much cash when you want it. It's easy for them to loan a lot more money then they actually have. This means huge profits for the bank (All that interest on money they don't even have!) and have some benefits for the economy in general (Access to low-interest lending is a powerful driver of economic growth, as it allows for companies to more effectively expand and adjust to changing circumstances). It's almost win-win, except for one small drawback - it introduces the possibility of the bank actually running out of money. Under normal circumstances this would be so unlikely as to be ignored simply for statistical reasons - there's no chance that all the banks customers are going to want to buy a new car simutainously - but it can happen in situations of mismanagement or a sudden loss of confidence - that is, if people believe the bank is struggling they will hurry to withdraw their money while they still can, which can contribute or cause the very collapse they fear.

2
0

Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

I kept things simpler.

I got a little RF-controlled relay box from ebay, and a couple of plain old relays. Installed it in the loft. The RF-box is a remote-toggleable relay, and two plain relays form an XOR gate in relay logic. Add a little power supply and patch it inline with the light switch, and now I can turn my light on and off with a remote kept beside the bed.

0
0

Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Sheer naked greed...

Seventy years? No, that'll still be in copyright.

The term for a film in the US would be 95 years, as a corporate-produced work gets a fixed term. In the UK it's more complicated, but seventy years is a minimum, and unless several key staff all drink the poisoned booze at the wrap party it's going to be a fair bit longer than that.

3
0

KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Most of the things people regard as threats are what hope there exist for the future.

Which really only leaves three routes I can see that a society could go down, assuming it reaches a post-scarcity state:

1. Mass unemployment and poverty. The idle and desperate poor would create a population ripe for rebellion, so a place state would be created to keep them in check. The scenario of Manna. The unwashed masses would be swept off to some out-of-the-way place to serve as a source of cheap labor for those few jobs that resisted automation, and kept pacified by tried-and-tested social manipulation techniques. Although resources would exist sufficient to transition to state three, there would be no means by which the masses could access them, and no incentive for the ruling class to compromise their own wealth and power. Manna's comparison is apt: Those with money to spare wouldn't wish to support a welfare state for the same reason that all of us can be aware of the poverty in the third world yet feel no great desire to donate more than a token sum to charities to help.

2. As above, but the police state fails: Violent revolution results, triggering a transition to state one or three. The situation is (rather correctly) interpreted as class warfare. Unfortunately history has shown that these popular uprisings don't tend to work out very well, and are more likely then not to end with a new totalitarian dictator in power.

3. Popular support manages to trump money. This is unlikely to happen in the US (Where 'socialist' is a dirty word) but is a potential route in much of Europe. Basic income established. Much fuss is made by the rich who find a substantial chunk of their wealth 'stolen' by the government, but the plan goes ahead. This results in a large unemployed population who can live lives of comfortable leisure. The upper class continues to live in unimaginable wealth while complaining bitterly that thanks to the government theft they can only afford twelve bathrooms in their mansion, and they really wanted fifteen.

Three may sound like a utopia, but it's also untested: No society like it has ever existed, or could exist today. It's been tried, but the socialist ideal always fails when scaled up beyond a small community. It's possible that vastly cheaper production combined with the organizational power of computers could change this, but there are just too many unknowns to say if it is remotely viable.

All of this depends upon post-scarcity, though. It's not guaranteed to happen, as such a condition would require major advances in several areas of technology: Robotics, energy production, transport, manufacturing, recycling. It may even be counteracted by depletion of natural resources.

0
0
Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Most of the things people regard as threats are what hope there exist for the future.

There is much potential in the field. The problem right now is that a certain Mr Hitler gave the subject a bad name. Most of his practices were founded in very poor science and motivated by misunderstood history of political reasons, but it doesn't matter - as soon as one starts talking about improving human genetics, people start shuffling uncomfortably and thinking about the gas chambers.

3
0
Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Most of the things people regard as threats are what hope there exist for the future.

There is some concern about the possibility of an 'automation apocalypse.' Those robots may increase productivity hugely, yes - but they may also greatly reduce demand for labor. Potentially this leads to a collapse of the labor market, and as everything else in a free-market economy is entirely dependent upon a functioning labor market, the economy then follows in a positive-feedback death spiral.

It doesn't matter how cheaply the robots can churn products out of the production line if most of the population no longer have jobs to pay for any of those products - the current economic model provides no solution for this, as even if a factory of robots is capable of easily meeting demand there is no means by which it can continue to operate if the product is simply given away without payment to cover the running cost, however low it may be. This was the scenario predicted in the short story 'Manna' - the end point had most of the population of the developed world living in cheaply-made slum housing, where the government ensured they got the bare minimum of hand-outs needed to keep them from rising up in violent rebellion at the prospect of starvation.

There are proposed solutions to this, like a basic income, but these face a lot of political opposition and are of dubious economic viability at best - just look at how loathed the welfare leeches are today, and imaging trying to convince the population that the way forward is to hand out free money to everyone even if there is no intention for them ever to work again, funded by heavily taxing the few who do work or who own income-generating assets. There would be outrage.

3
0

Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: This is whats wrong with music today...

Signing? Why would they sign an act up when they can invent or reinvent one to order?

That's why every major pop song now is about how much the singer loves some unnamed girl, and why mainstream rap consists almost entirely of men singing about how drugs, money and hos while slinging around as much offensive language as they can. These things are made to meet what committees determine are the optimum marketability criteria. As is the stars carefully cultivated public image.

Those bodyguards that escort Bieber aren't just for his protection, as could be witnessed when he got into that fight with the photographer. They are there to stop the still-immature star from doing something embarrassing. They are his handlers, employed by the studio.

0
0
Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: no market

.. union with the people who are big Elton fans and have to buy every album with his name on it.

0
0
Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: A good whine

And the little tag thing will still snap off five minutes after you get it out the box.

1
0

Want a free Bosch steam iron? You'll have to TALK TO THE DEAD

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: @mage

And still emitting toxic levels of smug as he gives away the billions of dollars he made through underhanded and at times outright illegal business tactics.

5
3

NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

If the NSA knew about this bug, they are deliberately leaving innocent internet users exposed to malicious actors.

If the NSA didn't know about this bug... what are they getting so much money for?

29
1

Eco-friendly fluid keeps SGI supercomputer cool and moist

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Useful with a gaming rig?

Deionised water is no good. It's too reactive - it soon dissolves traces of everything it's in contact with. Copper turns into copper oxide or hydroxide. Electrolytes leech from capacitors. It doesn't stay deionised for long. Then things short. Just ask anyone running long-term watercooling about the corrosion issues - and those algae that somehow appear as if by magic or spontaneous generation.

You get three choices of violent for immersion:

- Mineral oil. Cheap. Works nicely. But some reactivity issues. Nowhere near as bad as deionised water, still enough to seriously shorten capacito lifespan.

- Silicone oil. Much like mineral oil. But less reactive, won't damage components nearly so much. Downside is viscosity - takes quite a pump to keep it circulating.

- Perflurocarbon. Ideal in every possible way but one. Thin, completely nonreactive, won't damage components. Slight flaw, though: The price. Crazy. It can be a tousand dollars for a one liter bottle, or thereabouts.

1
0
Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Useful with a gaming rig?

Looks like another perflurocarbon. Non-toxic. Perfectly safe and no measure than water. Also insanely expensive - if you want to use it in your gaming rig, budget an extra grand or two for the coolant.

Mineral and silicone oils work as a low-cost alternative. Except for the slow degredation of capacitors.

0
0

Microsoft: We've got HUNDREDS of patents on Android tech

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

And they would all fail. No filesystem for portable media can be practical in Windows cannot read it out of the box, and Microsoft certainty isn't going to act in support of a rival to their own patented technology.

3
0

Microsoft spells out new rules for exiling .EXEs

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: is it doable?

Malware makers are getting better than that. I recently received a file on Skype - something like image_2039847rcs.jpg.

Harmless jpeg? Not quite. Because what you can't see is the unicode text direction control character inserted before the 'rcs' that makes everything following it display in right-to-left order. The real filename is image_2039847(UNI-WEIRD)gpj.scr. Windows screensaver, executable.

The obvious partial solution would be for MS to release a patch that makes Explorer ignore unicode direction control characters in filenames, and refuse to load any executable that has one.

0
0

Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' shingles

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Doubtless, 5 of the 7 5.25" bays are empty...

Or a battery charger!

0
0

Intel promises 10Gb Ethernet with Thunderbolt 2.0

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Fix the interface first.

Thunderbolt is really awkward for linux right now. From the OS perspective, it's a documented standard - but one which Apple ignores. So many functions have to be implemented twice, including such basics as device connect detection: Once for Apple hardware, once for everyone else.

1
0

China's Bitcoin exchanges begin pulling down the shutters

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Incoming contradiction.

Half the bitcoin enthusiasts are going to see this as yet another death blow, driving the currency further away from legitimate use and back to the shady underground of drug dealers and other illicit transactions.

The other half are going to point out that the whole idea of bitcoin is that it subverts government control and manipulation, and legal actions to suppress it were expected from the beginning. That a superpower like China would feel sufficiently threatened to start interfering in such a manner is just further evidence that it is a serious payment system and no longer just a crypto-anarchists' toy. They will also point out that, while the 'conventional' finance system can be ordered to stop serving exchanges, bitcoin transactions themselves are effectively impossible to regulate.

2
4

Italy has a clumsy new pirate-choker law. But can anyone do better?

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: It's about time

The lottery enforcement approach: Admit that millions of people routinely break the law, and it's not practical to prosecute more than a fraction of a percent of them. So, grab a handful at random and hit them with life-destroyingly-excessive sentences in the hope that these will serve as highly visible examples and scare the others off.

6
5

'Hello, is that the space station? NASA here. Can you put us through to Moscow?'

Suricou Raven
Silver badge

Re: Perhaps

I actually wouldn't put it past Putin. It'd have to be bloodless for PR purposes, but if he could wrangle things so there was a point when no non-Russian astronauts were on board... easily done. Just need to get them to disconnect any cables permitting remote service access to station systems, and that shouldn't be too hard as the station itsself has only very limited computing capability.

1
1

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018