* Posts by Mike Moyle

1543 posts • joined 8 Feb 2007

Greenland's super-melty summer

Mike Moyle Silver badge

...and statistics.

" The research revealed that enough snow melted in Greenland this year to cover the surface of the USA more than two times over."

That's nice... Is that enough "...to cover the surface of the USA (with a 1-snowflake -deep layer) more than two times over," or to "...to cover the surface of the USA (with a 10-foot-deep layer) more than two times over"?

As it stands now, that ststistic is of absolutely zero value (two times over).

(I won't even ask if they meant the entire US (9,826,630 km@), or just the "lower 48" (7.902.634 km) - a trivial 20 - 25% difference!)

Ninja she-devils rob Pennsylvania gas station

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Time for a remake of "West Side Story"?

"When You're a Ninjette

"You're a Ninjette all the way

"From your first cigarette

"To your last dyin' day..."

Iraq fiasco creeps into NSA surveillance controversy

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: "FBI and the law "

According to Bartlett's:

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.—John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Right of Election, 1790"

The pithier "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," is attributed to an 1852 speech by Wendell Phillips (1811–84), who admitted that the phrase was not his but could give no attribution. I presume that his inspiration was Curran's speech. As with many eloquently succinct aphorisms (e.g.: "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."), one thinker may formulate the concept and a later one distill it to its memorable essence.

Details of the Phillips quote can be found here:

http://www.bartleby.com/73/1073.html

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: "Huh?"

"Does a sovereign country have the right to defend itself? Do enemies of a state have a civil right to communicate in secret and unimpeded? Do foreign enemies of the U.S. have the right to set up a VoIP softswitch in the U.S. and route their calls through it for the sole purpose as to prevent military surveillance of their communication?

"There is a difference between criminal law within in the U.S. and its subjects and warfare with enemies, be they foreign states or non-state actors."

Since you are fond of quoting Thomas Jefferson, you should probably be aware, Mr. or Ms Anonymous, that he probably would have rolled his eyes and bitch-slapped your stupid head for those two paragraphs.

Since, to Jefferson, sovereignty lay not in the offices of government, but in the will of the people, the concept of a "sovereign country" would have been unthinkable. Rather than the "country" - the land and the structures (e.g., "The White House") - being the guarantors of liberty, it is the "Nation" - that is, the solemn consideration and will of its people - that is the TRUE sovereignty.

As such, he would have stated that the correct term would be "...the U.S. and its Citizens...", not "...the U.S. and its subjects...", since one cannot be both sovereign and subject.

(...and, sadly, I expect that you probably even PASSED your U.S. History/Social Stusies/Civics/whatever-they-called-it-at-your-high-school courses and STILL have no concept of the rudiments of our political heritage. I weep for the future of my nation.)

On the other hand, it seems clear to me that the current (mis)administration would PREFER that most Americans considered themselves to be "American subjects" rather than actual decision-making citizens, and that a true Jeffersonian rebel would be considered a terrorist by the current regime.

Come celebrate the web...

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: "This is truly sick "

"...Its sick and the "youths" should be hung by their left testicles!!"

And remember - after those fall off, they have rights, too.

MIT builds load-carrying mechanical boots

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: "MIT Sucks"

...Harvard boy, no doubt...

Florida uni cops taser shouty student

Mike Moyle Silver badge

"visibly shocked..."?

...no doubt...

(...unless you meant "risibly shocked"...)

Google's PowerPoint beater beta is go

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: Celtic/Druidic references...

If you were planning to use the Celtic/Druidic theme, then perhaps - since there are three components to the Google apps - rather than the "another wheel to the wagon" reference, you might have been better-off saying that they were "adding the final leg to the triskele". The Celts were pretty heavily into triplets (vis. the Welsh bardic triads) and triskeles were, IIRC, a common artistic motif, while I'm not convinced that three-wheeled carts were particularly common.

(No IT angle, here... nope... none at all. Sorry.)

(Okay... I'm NOT really sorry.)

USAF flying deathbot power-grab rebuffed

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: Four branches.

"Coast Guard got sucked into Homeland Security. :("

Does this mean that they're going to rebuild "The Pentagon" as "The Square"?

And, "Webster Phreaky" - If you don't actually have anything to say that's at least marginally germaine to the article to which you're posting a comment, SHUTTHEFUCKUP.

NBC leaves Apple for Amazon

Mike Moyle Silver badge

@ Cade Metz

Thanks for the followup.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/08/31/apple_and_nbc_go_at_it/comments/

"Re: ‘Hmmm....’"

Sounds like I was right, and Universal was less interested in the money than in maintaining pissing-rights over the distribution stream.

I haven't tried Amazon's "Unboxed" feature. Are the DRM limitations stricter or looser than Apple's?

Dino-killing asteroid traced back 160m years

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: Science

I don't neccesarily doubt that the scientists have produced *A* solution that matches their premise - that the Chixilib meteor was part of the Baptistinas.

I'm just amazed that they have solved the N-body problem for somethink with that many variables, even within a 12% degree of certainty. I assume that they started from the (presumed) date and time (?) of the impact to estimate the direction and speed of mpact (?!) and worked backwards from there, calculating any perturbations from the moving gravity masses of Jupiter and the inner planets and the sun.

Quite impressive, really.

Or, they just said, "We have this big asteroid collision - how can we get some press-time...? Hey! Let's tell everyone that the dino-killer may have been one of ours! (...ummm... The statute of limitations HAS run out on that one, right?) RIGHT! I'll start typing up the press release, then!"

Germans plan 578m-high überpyramid

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re Razor blades

"GIven that the perfect ratio of the dimensions of the Great Pyramid of Giza meant that you could sharpen razor blades if you put them dead centre in the pyramid, what would happen to the corpses at the centre of this pyramid if the ratios were repeated?"

"Yup! Ol' Gramps may be dead, but he's still as sharp as a tack!"

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Have they thought this through...?

1 - What do they do when the bereaved complain that they don't want Gran' to be in the middle of the pile because she's claustrophobic? (..and, by definition, the vast majority WILL be in the interior.)

2 - ...and, besides, they paid 700 bills and want to be able to SEE her electric-pink coffin!

3 - Even assuming that they build it as a series of "shells" (think pyramidal matryoshka dolls) as more deaders are added, so that it will always be gererally pyramidal, it'll rarely look as neat and tidy as their adverts show it.

4 - I'm getting "website can't be found" errors, so I can't check, but are the deceased buried intact in brick-shaped coffins, cremated and stacked in smaller boxes, or mixed in to concrete and stacked as cinderblocks? In any case, I can't imagine them being as structurally sound as the nutters imagine. I don't see a tier of standard-sized coffins on the bottom row being able to support the stacks above once you got to any significant height, although I could be wrong. ...and if any of the lower boxed collapse, you've got a corpse-slide of titanic proportions.

On the other hand, the blocks in the current Great Pyramid of Khufu/Cheops at Giza have dimensions in the 5' x 8' x 12' range (480 cu. ft.). Assuming a block for the proposed project - either hollow, for ashes, or a "mix-in" concrete block - of 9" x 9" x 12" (I'm estimating from memory of family members' granite-block reliquaries), it would take 270 of them to equal one average Giza pyramid bllock.

Even using mortar to hold the whole thing together, building a mass that is more than 10 times the volume of the Giza pyramid out of blocks that are less that 4% the volume of the ones used originally sounds like a recipe for disaster. I'm no engineer, but I have a feeling that, when you try building something that large out of pieces that small, you actually have to treat the aggregate as a fluid, rather than as a solid.

Ron Murray, above, may have been joking, but it does, indeed, sound like a take-the-seed-money-and-run pyramid scheme.

41% of Londoners don't care about their pets

Mike Moyle Silver badge

The test of a scientific theory...

...lies in its ability to predict future results.

Based on this study, if someone's dog ate his phone and ran away would he be expected to be more or less upset...?

Pee-powered battery unveiled

Mike Moyle Silver badge

A new cultural paradigm in the making...

Those who feel the need to announce their temporary departure to their friends at the bar will finally be able to drop the archaic need to "see a man about a horse" and replace it with the more contemporary "need to go charge a battery".

Boffins unveil sharpest ever stellar snaps

Mike Moyle Silver badge

More Boffins!

We love boffins.

Ignore the whingers. (Another fine Britishism.)

More Boffins, less whingein'!

NBC to Apple: 'You're fired!'

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: ‘Hmmm....’

I agree that NBC should have the right to charge what they want for their product.

On the other hand, asking more than twice as much* for a season's worth of downloaded episodes than they're apparently willing to accept for the same (plus "special features") on physical DVD seems a tad excessive, to me. I'm sure that they would have been ecstatic, mind you, if Apple had caved, as would have all of the other content providers who would have jacked their prices as soon as they could, as well, but I suspect that, in reality, they are less interested in actually raising the price than they are in attempting to maintain the MPAA/RIAA-style monolithic control over all forms of the downstream.

Interestingly, assuming that Apple uses the standard retail rquation of "cost + x% = Price", the price rise probably would have had the iTunes store end up as less of a loss-leader, since their profits per episode downloaded would have gone up, as well.

That's, of course, assuming that they would have had any customers for the shows, when sold at a price that's 250% of what they used to cost.

I'll be looking, off and on at Amazon's page for The Office, and other NBC/Universal programs, to see whether their price for downloaded episodes goes from $1.99 to $4.99 in the next few months or not.

If they DO go up, then we can safely assume that NBC/Universal really WERE only in it for the money; if they don't, then the phrase "punitive pricing" might reasonably start being bandied about regarding their negotiations with Apple.

Cade - Any chance of a follow-up article from the Reg digging into whether/when Amazon's download prices might be expected to jump to NBC/Universal's "must have" price point?

__________

* $4.99 x 24 episodes = $119.76; Amazon's (crossed out) "List" price for Season 2 and 3 DVDs is $49.98. Of course, if you go by their "actual" prices, then NBC's "must-have" price from Apple is 4 - 5 times the DVD price.

Cells 'react' to GSM signals claims research

Mike Moyle Silver badge

@ pctechxp

"Inhalation of smoke, whether it be generated by Tobacco or a fire, does cause breathing difficulties due to carbon monoxide and then you have to add in all of the poisonous chemicals that they add in.

"Therefore I do support the ban on smoking in public places as its based on sound Science FACT, but even putting the science aside, it's pretty horrendous breathing in the smoke from a smoker if you are a non-smoker."

I concede all of your points, but not your conclusion.

Please understand that I'm no "Small Government At All Costs" type - but I believe that it should be protecting us from threats that we, as individuals, CAN'T protect ourselves from, rather than those things that we WON'T protect ourselves from.

Dumping of toxic waste in the waterways? Erosion caused by clear-cutting forests? Those are areas where undividuals are at a disadvantage and need governments to step in.

Smoking in bars/restaurants? Not so much.

Here's an experiment: two bars, side by side. (We'll use bars as the example since, by definition, you're supposed to be old enough to decide whether you want alcohol and/or nicotine in order to enter, as opposed to a restaurant where minors might be expected to be.)

One has a prominently-posted sign: "Smoking Prohibited". The other has a similar sign: "Smoking Permitted". Whether you do or don't want a cig with your drink, you know which bar will accommodate you. If not enough customers choose to patronize one or the other establishment, it either changes its policy or it goes out of business. Eventually, with a sufficiently large number of bars and customers who prefer to patronize either smoking or non-smoking places the system should stabilize with the most efficient mix. And all without government intervention. You simply make the CHOICE as to where you want to go and to whom you want to give your money.

Note that the above doesn't prohibit government from establishing simple rules for defining standards for "smoke free" areas and allowing mixed-use establishments with the appropriate use of interior walls, doors, and ventilation that flows from non-smoking towards smoking areas and out.

Personally, I probably WOULD patronize a smoke-free, cell-phone-free restaurant. I would just rather have the CHOICE.

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: Ban?

If at least it can lead to a ban of mobile in pubs, restaurants etc it might be a good news.

I wonder if we could claim that exposure to second-hand radiation is hazardous to our health...? It seems to have worked for the anti-smoking zealots.

Mr and Mrs Renault cannot name daughter Megane

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: A close shave

"Given that the birth years of my three children have coincided with a major release of windows (1995, 1998, 2000), I had thought that suitable tribute names would be "Apple", "Linux", and "Google".

"Sadly, my wife was having none of it."

I know the feeling.

When we were expecting, I mentioned to She Who Must be Obeyed that, if the sprout was a boy, I thought that "Nicholas Richard" flowed well and might make a good name.

Unfortunately, she thought about it for a moment (she knows me too well, it appears) and replied that there was no way that we would have a son named "Nick Dick Moyle" (The Jewish readers just blorted coffee on their monitors, I expect. Sorry.)

Apple sells one in six US laptops

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: FUD? By Rich Bryant

"For once, MS are the victim of deliberate FUD and of course, fanboy ignorance. Vista doesn't really need any more RAM to be "usable" than XP does. It just caches the stuff in advance so you'll rarely see less than 50% memory allocation."

I'm sorry - I'm a geek, but not a techie, so I might be reading the above incorrectly, but doesn't "...you'll RARELY see LESS than 50% memory allocation," mean that you'll MOSTLY see the OS taking MORE THAN 50% of the memory...?

...And this is a good thing, how...?

Google changes Street View privacy policy

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Street photography and privacy

First off, please believe me - I WANT to keep my privacy. I don't like government or businesses or... well... ANYONE keeping tabs on where I go, what I read, and whom I talk to.

The problem, though, is that - unless I want to wear a disguise when I go out, anyone who cares to WILL know all of those things.

BECAUSE I AM DOING THEM IN PUBLIC.

Re: "Just DO it ...: -Anon:

"If the USA had any worthwhile data protection, google would be forced to identify and remove personal information from its streetviews -- either that, or obtain the permission of the subject. But google would not be obliged to find out who the people are, it could simply DO it as a matter of course and leave it at that."

Are you only insisting that commercial operations do this, or would you insist that ANYONE taking photos in a public place do so?

Thought experiment: You take a photo of your family/friends while on vacation. Afterwards, a stranger comes up to you and saya "I was in the background of that picture that you just shot and it is an invasion of my privacy to take my picture without my permission. I insist you delete it, immediately."

Do you:

A - Delete the picture immediately and offer to let the person check your camera (we're assuming a digital camera, here) to see if s/he is in any other pics so you can delete them, too;

B -Thank the stranger for coming over, whip out your handy pad of Permission Forms and politely ask that s/he sign one, authorizing the use of his her image in your offline/online family photo album, then run around getting similar waivers from everyone else who was visible in the snap, or

C - Tell the complainant to take a flying one through a rolling doughnut because you weren't TRYING to take their picture and it's not your fault they got in the way?

Re: "privacy is so last century" - jeremy

"Although a little utopian, the only way we can regain control is to put the assumption of ownership with the subject (i.e. i own rights to all my data / images of me etc)."

The assumption that the individual should own ANYTHING that might, conceivably, identify the individual - potentially to their detriment - is attractive at first but is ultimately (and perhaps counterintuitvely) hazardous to any attempt to maintain a free society.

In the US, at least in the state where I live, the difference lies in whether you are in a place where you can REASONABLY have an assumption of privacy. For example, if someone were to take your picture among a crowd of shoppers on the sales floor of a clothing store you would, since you are out among a crowd of people (and assuming that the photographer is not stalking you, personally) have no reasonable expectation of privacy and so trhe photographer's right to shoot a picture which includes you wins. If the photographer took your picture in the dressing rooms of the store, where you WOULD have a reasoinable assumption of privacy, your right to privacy wins.

At what point does the need to publicize items of public interest or possible wrongdoing outweigh the individual's right to privacy? A friend of mine, some years ago, got a phone call from her mother (who lived a half-dozen states away), scolding her for jaywalking that day. It seems that the Weather Channel had used footage shot by a local station's news department of a street scene showing the heavy rain in the area that day, which just happened to catch my friend (among others) crossing against the light. Her mother was checking the local forecast and caught the 10-second film clip.

Shouild my friend have sued the cameraman, local station and TWC for invasion of privacy and public embarrassment? Or (as she did) admit that getting caught doing something dumb in public was just what can happen if you do something dumb in public?

Should she have had the right to insist that any images of her were her property and no one else should be allowed to use them without her permission?

What about the campus security officers caught on video tasering a student in the campus library? Should the photographer (not a member of the press - just someone who happened to be on the scene) have gotten their permission before releasing the video?

What about the images of people running away from the falling WTC towers? Should they have the right to have their images removed, since their presence was not materially related to the event being covered - the destruction of the towers?

At what point between these three examples would you draw the line and why?

UN moves to preserve Bounty mutineers' lingo

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: come across this recently

"After 10-15 mins of listening to it, it went from sounding like a completely foreign language to being mostly understandable. There was a moment where something just clicked and went from being another language to just being heavily accented English, with a few regional phrases."

It reminds me of going to see "The Harder They Come" when it first showed in the States.

My recollection is that every time a new character was introduced, the dialogue was subtitled for about five minutes to allow the viewer to get accustomed to the accent/dialect, then would just - almost unnoticed, once your ear had adjusted - disappear.

Google will carpet YouTube with 'overlay' ads

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Am I the only one who finds this amusing?

Consider the opportunitries for great screen-grabs:

Cialis ads overlaying (Ohhh...!) clips of Desperate Housewives...

Shatner's fat-ass Priceline ads running over old Star Trek reruns...

Laxative ads over Dubya's State of the Union address...

The possibilities are endless!

US boffins demo steampunk artificial arm

Mike Moyle Silver badge

@ Martin Gregorie

Check out "The Differenve Engine" by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.

If not the seminal novel in the Steampunk genre, it's at least a prime example.

For a (semi) lighter look, check out Phil Foglio's "Girl Genius" comics at your local comics shop or online at http://www.girlgeniusonline.com - fun stuff.

AT&T's race car logo lawsuit crashes and burns

Mike Moyle Silver badge

How about...

... a big "I don't Sprint!" logo in ATT blue?

NASCAR races are 200-, 400-, 500-milers, aren't they? That's not a sprint race and, as the saying goes: "It isn't slander if it's true".

US airforce in $500m push for better jet turbines

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: Re: Moller flying cars

"Moller has been touting his flying cars for well over 30 years, has raised significant amounts of capital and has still to come up with something concrete."

Maybe he should try lighter materials...?

Peterborough bloke warned over 'offensive' t-shirt

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Offensive t-shirts

So, I'm imagining what would happen if you had three people in t-shirts waiting for a bus:

T-shirt #1: "Fu" ("It's Chinese fro 'luck', Mr. Warden1")

T-shirt #2: "ck" ("I'm a big Calvin Klein fan!")

T-shirt #3: "Authority"

Anyone for civil disobedience?

Drunken German joyrider totals 300 chickens

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: German joyrider

...Well, that's certainly a feather in HIS bonnet!

(Now, where'd I leave my coat...?)

New MoD push to silence internal dissent

Mike Moyle Silver badge

This could have possibilities...

Assuming that enough service-folk and reporters are willing to work together, I can see a passive-resistance (or possibly "passive-aggressive") tactic to use here:

Reporter #1: "So, Young Serviceperson - how are you enjoying your service in your nation's Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, or Reserve?"

Young Serviceperson #1: "I'm soryy, Mr. or Ms reporter, but I'm not at liberty to say; you'll need to speak to the Press Liaison officer on base, Major NNN #1."

Repeat through any nera-endless combination of Reporter #N and Y.S. #N (where N is a VERY large number). If *ALL* requests for simple statementrs are sent to Headquarters, much confusion and merriment could ensue.

I'm just thinkin'.

Pentagon chief: no more oil for blood, man

Mike Moyle Silver badge

The important questions

"...mushroleum? mushroline?..."

Fungas?

Would the Air Force make their fuel from Fly Agaric?

If they made the fuel from yeasts, could the Israeli Air Force fly during Pesach?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Orange dismantles Bristol Tower of Doom

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: Cluster incidence

@!heystoopid:

"...why are high powered Airport Microwave Radar Transmitters are deliberately angled above the surrounding horizon on high towers ..."

Ummm... I'm just guessing here, but maybe it's because they're HIGH power...?

I'm hoping that you will agree that the output of a 100W (max) cell-phone tower is significantly lower than that of a 500KW air-traffic control radar.

The other minor detail about radar is that it's supposed to be looking UP AT THE SKY. Both ATC and local approach-control radars become much less useful if they're full of ground-clutter reflections and, if you avoid pointing them at the ground, you have less of a problem there, now don't you?

As to the "Radium Girls"; it's true that, in its early days, radioactiity was claimed to have health benefits (e.g.; health tonics with radium salts in solution, etc.) but my understanding is that the death rates of the Radium Girls was frequently due to their practice of licking the tips of their paintbrushes to get a nice point on them, thus ingesting minute amounts of radium, rather than merely because they were in its presence. Should they have been slapped upside the head and told never to do that again the first time it happened? Doubtless. But I believe that this is irrelevant because:

I believe that your main error, regarding your conflation of radio-mast radiation and nuclear radiation (and I'm sure that someone here will correct me if I'm wrong), is that the main risk from nuclear radiation is in the emission of alpha-particles (heliom nuclei stripped of their electrons - heavier and much more reactive than electrons) and gamma radiation (much higher frequency and energy than radio-band emissions). Radio-spectrum energy is electronic in nature, not nuclear, so the bulk of your post really has nothing to do with any actual or potential risks from cellular masts.

So, in the end, while all of your facts may be accurate, you appear to have managed to contribute nothing of actual value to this particular debate.

AK47: the open-source weapon that took the world by storm

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: Utility of a rifle

Truthfully, Rich, both tactics have their uses. During the 1700s and most of the 1800s, troops were trained to fire in massed volleys. Partly this was done because most troops were isued smoothbore guns which pretty much had the accuracy of a moderately-well-thrown brick, and partly as a way of doing what a modern soldier can do with an automatic waepon - intimidate the enemy into keeping his head down or running away.

On the other hand, the troops who had rifled guns and stood a better chance of hitting a specific target could fire alone and at will and still do significant damage. This was one of the advantages that the American irregulars had in the American Revolution. It meant, for example, that they stood a better than average chance of shooting the British officers in back of the battle-line without having to first work through the rows of musketeers in front.

Damnably unsporting.

It's also the reason why - along with issuing weapons capapble of full-auto fire to the mass of troops - most every major military also trains specialist snipers for long-range "one shot; one kill" tactics (using highly-specialized bolt-action rifles, usually), which can unnerve the enemy in a whole different way.

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Geek alert. **

"Another insane piece of gun phraseology. In the British forces, the command 'Load' means 'insert a fresh magazine (clip, in American) of bullets into the weapon,' as in 'with a magazine of twenty rounds – Load.' The old Self-Loading Rifle/SLR was a good gun, but it couldn’t actually change magazines on its own, as its British name would imply to a British user. Your correspondent pointed this out to a training sergeant long ago, and was commended for his perspicacity before being invited to bash out a quick thirty press-ups."

Did he give you another thirty for calling a "magazine" a "clip"?

Strictly speaking, one can have an external magazine, as in the AKs, M-16s, et.al., and an internal magazine, as in the American M-1 rifle from WW II. A full load of cartridges, held in a spring-loaded "clip" was inserted into the M-1's "magazine" and the clip would be ejected automatically after the last shot was fired*.

It was only after soldiers got used to inserting a full load of cartridges in one motion that the name was extended to calling any external magazine a "clip".

* Some opponents learned to listen for the distinctive sound of the clip being ejected in order to attack while the American troopss were reloading. ...To which the GIs adapted by carrying empty clips and, on occasion, throwing them to the ground to draw the enemy into sight while they still had loaded rifles.

** I DID warn you!

Slickr player makes a bold promise

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: Aaaaagh!

David:

...That's "iNapstr", if you please!

False positives run amok in Vista anti-virus tests

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Now, I'm not a programmer...

...so this may be way out in left field, but I had an odd thought while reading the article.

Were I a cynical and suspicious sort of individual (...which, of course, I'm not...!) I might wonder how difficult it would befor MS to insert a subroutine name, or a commented line that happens to be identical to an identifiable bit of code (call it "xyz") from a known virus or trojan, then tell their own AV product:

if <xyz>

then if <creator = Microsoft>

then return <No virus found>

Thus, MS's AV products would report the program as clean, while other AV programs would report a "false positive" based on spotting "xyz".

I seem to recall something similsr where an MS product checked to see if the computer was running MS-DOS and, if it found DR-DOS (? I think ?), would crash even though there was no intrinsic reason for it NOT to work under the other OS.

Just running variations on a theme, really...

But that's what I might think if I were a cynical and suspicious sort which, of course, I'm not...

NASA ponders manned near-Earth asteroid visit

Mike Moyle Silver badge

(Untitled)

"The spacecraft could also conduct research which might be of use in future attempts to deal with dangerous emergent NEOs, killing two stones with one bird as it were."

Lovely, Lewis. ...first time that I've smiled at work, today.

Facebook security glitch exposes user in-boxes

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Bravo, James Wray!

I hereby nominate Mr. Wray's post for Flame of the Week (Satire Division).

Well done, Sir!

The cold, cold heart of Web 2.0

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Score: Web 2, Kismet 0

The main problem that I see from the Web 2.Overhype is that it seems to be based on a compulsive urge to take randomness, luck, kismet, and all of those other "messy" aspects out of life. (I think that this urge to excise the messy aspects from life is the reason that the Web 2.0 people tout "mashups" as art, rather than learning to paint or sculpt, say - it doesn't require learning how to peacefully co-exist with a medium that has its own characteristics and needs to be manipulated within those constraints in order to work. But that's a rant for another time.)

Take Amazon, for example: If I'm looking for a book on, say, Arthurian literature, I type inm my search terms and up comes a list of books on the subject. I click on one and I get info about that book and other books that I might also be intersted in (tm).

Fair enough... it's efficient, give it that.

Now, let's go to my public library and make the same search: I go to the terminals (since they got rid of the wonderful sensual experience of diving into those wood-and-wax-smelling oak drawers full of file cards... but that's ANOTHER rant for another time!)... so I go to the terminals and pull up a list of books that might be what I want. I take my list of titles and Dewey decimal numbers and head into the stacks. I find those books and, flipping through them, I find the ones that actually are useful to me. But in the meantime, while walking down the aisle to find those books, I've found two books of British archaeology and one on the history of post-Roman Britain and France that puts the Arthurian legends into historical context. ...And Suetonius' "The Twelve Caesars", and Pellegrino's book on Biblical archaeology, which are unrelated to what I originally went in for, but are fascinating reads in their own right, and which I never would have picked up on if I hadn't gone down that aisle, scanning the shelves for the stuff that I originally went in for.

Efficient...? Hell, no - but ultimately more satisfying to me.

There are stores that I go into when I'm looking for a specific item, and there are stores that I go into when I'm looking to see what will present itself to me that I never knew I needed and can't live without (thank you, Archie McPhee, for that phrase!).

Until Web 2.0 can provide me that level of useful inefficiency it will not fully meet my hunting/gathering needs.

Suit blows £105k in London bar

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: ‘Price still doesn't add up’

Pete -

Remember that, as I mentioned, restaurants/bars are required to sell ALL alcoholic beverages at per-drink prices. For example, if a bar sells shots of tequila @ $5/one-ounce shot: 750 ml / 30 ml (generous, for ease of calculation) = 25 shots/bottle. Thus, if one were foolish enough to buy a full bottle of tequila at that bar, they would BY LAW sell it to you for $125 and smile widely as they did so. (Not bad for a $15 bottle of Cuervo!)

Next time you go out to dinner, note the prices of a couple of wines on the respaurant's list. If they sell them by the glass AND by the bottle, so much the better. Standard rule of thumb is that there are 5 "glasses" in a 750 ml bottle. (5 oz., a bit less than 150 ml.)

So for a wine that is priced at $5/glass, a full bottle should cost you around $25 at the restaurant.(Note that if they're generous with their glasses, you may get 4 drinks/bottle; if they're stingy, 6. This may be reflected in their per bottle price.)

Now, take your list to a liquor store and check the retail prices. Your $25 restaurant bottle is probably a $10 - $15 retail bottle. (The "per-drink" markup isn't as horrendous as in the tequila example above, because there are fewer glasses of wine in a bottle.

BUT, with a 6 L Methuselah, you're back to the same drink/bottle numbers as you were with the tequila in the prevoius example - in this case 6 l /150 ml = 40 glasses/bottle. So, even if you were drinking the house bubbly at $7.50/glass (probably a $12 - 20 retail brand), a Methuselah of it would set you back $300 at that restaurant. Now figure your price differential between Chateau Whizz du Chat and Roderer Cristal and your $17,000 retail bottle could conceivably become a $30,000 one at table...

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: Hold up a sec... (et al)

Regarding the price differental between fifths/magnumsJeroboams/Methuselahs (not to mention Rehoboams, Salmanazars, Balthazars, and Nebuchadnezzars) of cahmpagne:

having worked in the liquor biz (retail) I think that I can answer this. In general the latger sizes of champagnes cost significantly more than a simple multiple of the 750 ml size due to several factors, most of them having to do with the fact that they are sparkling wines.

Note, for starters that the bottles must be significantly trhicker than the standard, since the wine is under pressure. Simply making the bottle larger while keeping the walls the same trhickness would, essentially, produce a wine-grenade with glass shrapnel. Not a good thing.

Now, increasing the size of the bottle linearly squares the surface area and cubes the volume of glass used. But because of the additional pressure the bottle-makers use significantly more material per bottle than the simple mulriple/square/cube law would imply,

Secondly, having already used x times as much champagne (a commodity of limited production) and increased the price that way, then adding in the increased price for the materials in the larger bottle, you have a niche product designed mainly for displays of wretched excess. This limits the number sold and, hence, the number of bottles that the champagne-bottllers purchase from the bottle-producers, again raising the price of each bottle (smaller production run + more material used = greater per-unit price).

(This, by the way, is probably why the party in question was forced to limit themselves to the relatively mundane Jeroboams and Methuselahs. The larger Salmanazars, Balthazars, and Nebuchadnezzars - 9, 12, and 15 L, respectively - are, IIRC pretty much special orders, produced on demand and not normally kept in stock in even the most upscale of wine-bars.)

Thirdly, because the larger sizes are generally sold BECAUSE they are intended as brilliantly impressive displays of excess and BECAUSE they are scarce commodities, the wine producer is safe in charging a premium on TOP of the added production costs, which (in the states, at least) is then COMPOUNDED as the importer, wholesaler, and retailer all add in their markups.

Lastly, as a general rule (again, here in the states - or at least in the ones where I've worked in the biz) bars/restaurants are required to price ALL alcoholic beverages on a PER DRINK basis. Thus any FULL BOTTLE sold must be calculated as "$Bottle == price per standard portion x number of portions/bottle". Now this is the only part of the whole price calculation which is a straight multiple but, again, you're making this calculation AFTER all of the markups have been compounded...

And there you have it: more than you probably ever wanted to know about champagne pricing.

(Does using "$Bottle" in the calculation give enough of a programming flavor to get past the "Where's the IT angle" whiners?)

Can Osama keep Bush afloat?

Mike Moyle Silver badge

@Not Needed

"People are saying Bush is an evil genius planning world domination and in the same paragraph people explaining how he is such an idiot. "

As one of that 60% "minority" of Americans that beliaves that the Bush administrations's policies have screwed this nation for generations to come, I have to agree with one part of your displeasure. People who accuse President Bush of being an evil genius ARE sadly mistaken.

IMO he's merely a fool who is a convenient stalking horse for Cheney, Wolfowitz, et. al., who are the true architects of the wholesale torching of the Constitution and the rights that it was supposed to protect.

I propose a simple test, Mr. Not Needed: If a Democratic administration had proposed warrantless wiretaps on American citizens, indefinite imprisonment without legal counsel or court trial, a record number of administrative letters which say, in so many words, "I don't have to obey the law that I just signed because I'm the President," made the Office of the Vice-President a de-facto fourth branch of government (not subject to Congress because it's part of the Executive and not answerable to the Executive or Courts because it's part of the Congress), and had saddled you and your children and grandchildren with a $9 Trillion Gross National Debt, would you still be saying "get off his back"?

...Or ould you be screaming about how those lousy, interfering, snooping, tax-and-spend, Liberal @#$%^&**s in the White House had sold us down the river and should be impeached and shot (not necessarily in that order)?

Jesus Phone needs an exorcist

Mike Moyle Silver badge

@Anonymous #7

"Try Googling +"jesus phone"."

Did. Didn't see it used as an affirmative term by anyone that I would classify as a "fanboy". Or are you classifying anyone who doesn't immediately shout "Apple sux!" whenever the subject comes up as a "fanboy"?

If the former exists, of a rabid Apple fan seriously referring to the iPhone as the "Jesus Phone", then the request for a citation stands; if it's the latter, then get a life, sonny.

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: ‘Jesus Phone needs an exorcist’

Dan -

Re: the line, "... the highly-revered device, which has been dubbed the Jesus Phone by its more blindly faithful users."

Citation please?

Not to be rude, but even Wikipedia's lame editors would expect you to cite your source for that one.

Mum given young nympho's phone number

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Well, clearly...

...When she gets "business" calls, she should get their credit card info, then hang up immediately.

Then, she can decide whether to:

A - Do absolutely nothing with it and let the holder wait for the shoe to drop (preferred), or;

B - Bill the credit card with a memo "You have just been *SCREWED* by 'Big Susie'."

iPhones, iPhones and more iPhones

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Recursive Posting

Webster Phreaky: Commenting on the article listing the comments on the week's articles.

Me: Commenting on Webster Phreaky commenting on the article listing the comments on the week's articles.

... Sad, really.

Plods to get helmet cams

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: I can't believe it's not been said yet....

"Will they be called iPlods?"

Best laugh I've had all day - Thanks Matthew!

Police hunt renegade cow sex youth

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: I'm sorry..

"..but how the fuck do you shag a cow?

"The guy must either of been 8 foot tall or brought a couple of milk crates to stand on!"

Maybe his friends put him up to it...

Right... Coat, please...!

Hyperion harbours building blocks of life, says NASA

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: density, mass, impact velocity, escape velocity

Dave -

I think that you're assuming that an object impavting will be ":falling" due to hyperion's gravity.

Consider, instead, a bit of rock that is crossing Saturn's orbit. It will be traveling at planetary-orbital speeds - much higher than Hyperion's escape velocity.

Bush and Cheney subpoenaed for wiretapping

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: "Weasel words"

"'a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection'

"That'll be 'lies' then - why don't they say what they mean?"

Because they're NOT the same thing.

If the (mis)Administration said, "Nope! Never done that! Nothing to see here." THOSE would be lies.

If (as they have essentially done) say, "Well we believe that there's a sub-clause in the Interstate Pastal and Town Criers Registration Act of 1795 that implies that we can do this," they may not be lying. They may: A - honestly (a hard word to type in this instance without giggling insanely, but there you go) believe that that clause does allow it, or; B - they want to get people so tied up in looking at EVERY law that might possibly be usable to justify their actions that they won't have time to ask embarassing questions.

The point is that, if you feel the need to "spin" a story, it's generally best to do so by telling the truth, and nothing but the truth, and hope that everyone is going to ASSUME that you're telling the whole truth.

Besides... The times when they actually HAVE lied previously (Iraqi WMDs, etc.) they got caught out too easily, and the baklash was more than they wanted to deal with; there's less fallout if hey're only caught spinning the truth, instead.

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