* Posts by Scott

33 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Feb 2007

Apple power brick sparks lawsuit


@Nexox and Francis

"So Apple is fudging that safety factor in order to make a 65W power supply that's smaller than a Dell or HP 65W power supply. And that's the sort of thing that leads to people needing to call the fire department..."

Well if this is true, then why is my 90 watt HP laptop adapter smaller than my wife's 85 watt Macbook Pro adapter?

"The solution is to use a proper connector design, and to select a cable that is fit for purpose. It isn't as if these are new issues in the annals of electronics design. Talk to the nice guys at Belden about the correct specification of cable (for instance shielded twisted pair, and a shield that isn't braided) and design a connector with real flex control at entry."

I agree about the strain relief troubles with Apple adapters. I've had more than two adapters fail from this same problem. However, I will disagree with your comments that braided shielding is inappropriate. As an audio technician, we've always been trained to use cables with braided shields when the cable will be moved frequently. This is because the solid foil shielding (the only alternative that I'm aware of) breaks down very quickly when it is moved, whereas the braided shielding tends to fare much better. My personal experience has verified this claim. We've had foil shielding fail after the cable was only lightly moved once or twice, but we have braided shielded cables that have been in use for many years without any failures yet.

However, the point that the shielding should not be supporting the electrical load is well taken. In my (non-electrical professional) opinion, it would be best if the shielding was grounded, but with a separate ground/common wire running within the shielding to carry actual electric load.

NASA CO2 scan satellite launch fails

Black Helicopters

@ Well what happened to it?

"Regardless of what happened to the payload though, this should keep conspiracy theorists happy and busy for a while!"

Yes, but even if it had launched, the conspiracy theorists would just claim that the numbers being broadcast by it were doctored, or that its purpose had nothing to do with measuring carbon dioxide at all (i.e. it's a giant mind-control laser or the "Oooo ray" -- or maybe it was going to link up with the HDTV converter boxes and steal our brain power ala The Riddler in that stupid Batman movie, and it was scrapped in the end because not enough coupons went around to ensure that a large enough percentage of American households would have mind-stealing devices).

There's no end to what conspiracy theorists can conjure in their minds.

Microsoft's Windows Vista 'Capable' bill could hit $8.5bn


I don't see what the fuss is about

I don't see what the fuss is all about. The "Vista Capable" logo never did make any promises that a certified computer would run *every* version of Vista (or every feature of Vista), but just that it would be capable of running Vista (which is true).

PETA cooks up gory game in Cooking Mama protest


Gotta love the veg propaganda machine

"...suffering endured by turkeys and other animals who are killed for food..."

That's just nature. I don't see them petitioning lions to stop eating zebras.

Anyway, there are some of us who have no other option as we're unable to synthesize some of the proteins that can only be found in meat.

Dutch court convicts teens for stealing pixels


All well and good

This is all well and good. Justice was served. However, the specific judgment opens the door for charges in the case that someone slays your character online and steals the item from your virtual carcass.

Apple probes poison-pumping Mac claim


Who produces their own stuff anymore?

Christoph Schneeberger • Thursday 2nd October 2008 15:21 GMT:


"What worries me, is that said vendor (and probably others as well) is unable to deny or confirm that they use benzol or not in the production of their items, one would expect they had a clue what they have put in that shiny box when they made it..."


Welcome to the outsourcing era. Nobody seems to want to make their own stuff anymore. I don't know where the Macs are made now, but when I ordered my iBook about 7 years ago, it shipped from Taiwan. Now I think they're assembled in China.

Even so, it may not specifically be the Apple hardware responsible (assuming the Frenchman's claims are correct, which they probably aren't considering the lack of other complainants). Remember that those things have a processor from Intel; a GPU from either Intel, or an AMD or NVIDIA partner; memory from Hyundai, Samsung, etc.; a hard drive maybe from Hitachi or Toshiba; and so on. Who knows what the offending component could be.

Olympic Committee wins gold for foot shooting


We weren't always wrong...

"WOT!? Like Burma & Uganda, for example? That sure showed them!"

Or perhaps like Italy, Germany, and Japan -- you know, the ones we succeeded with.

Intel papers over remote attack chip flaws ahead of demo



All code must be compiled into machine code before it can be executed, including Javascript.

I think your misconception comes from the fact that not all types of code are pre-compiled (or in other words, converted into a ".exe" file). Javascript and PERL are two well-known examples of these languages. These are still compiled, however, at runtime.

By knowing how these compilers will react to certain bits of code, it is theoretically possible to exploit bugs at the hardware level.

GPS tracking slapped on laptop recovery service


GPS Accuracy

There are networks of GPS receivers at fixed locations that are used specifically for calculating the error in the GPS signal. The surveyors where I work use cell phones to link their GPS equipped "Rovers" to this service. This allows them to determine position and elevation to within 0.01ft accuracy (or better). Of course, this is done using very powerful GPS equipment and antennas which no doubt do not exist in these laptops. However, I would be surprised if Computrace couldn't use this same GPS service to reduce the error in their GPS readout to less than 10m.

Motorola accidentally makes a profit


Motorola Phone

My last phone was a Motorola phone. Since about 1 month after my wife and I bought ours (we both bought the same model at the same time), We were both counting down the days until our next reduced cost upgrade. Those things were complete junkers: Battery life quickly declined tremendously, Poor call quality with strange voice lags that other phones on the same carrier didn't get, flaky charger connections, limited feature set, clunky interface, and a weird tendency to randomly power off without warning or reason.

We now have a trio of LG phones (got one for my daughter, too) and we absolutely love them. One was even completely dunked in water by accident and it still works perfectly.

iPhone 3G not compatible with existing accessories


Spew bile much?

Wow, there's a lot of bile spewing going on here. Let's look at it from Apple's point of view, shall we:

1) we've got this nifty product that we want to improve with 3G capability, but this takes up extra space on the PCB. Therefore, we either need to increase the size of the phone (undesirable) or eliminate a function from the original design.

2) we've got 12 volt lines and circuitry to convert it down to a usable voltage. There are 5 volt lines that can be used instead to power the iPhone and charge it. We've also told accessory producers a couple of years ago that we were going to stop using the 12 volt lines and that they should stop relying on them to deliver power to ipods.

Hmmm, what would you do in this case? I know that I would probably do exactly as Apple did -- Remove a feature that they warned would be obsolete to make room for a feature that is not.

Blighty's electro-supercar 2.0 uncloaked today


Two Cars?

"Or to put it more succinctly one should think before typing."

If we did that, at least 95% of the content on the internet wouldn't exist.

On another note, I wonder how much of a challenge it would be to set up my home's electric wiring to allow two of these cars to completely charge (out of necessity, my wife and I each have a car). I can't imagine that it would be very cheap to do so.

Duff UK nukes risk 'popcorn' multi-blast accident apocalypse


Pardon me, I'm off to cower in my bunker.

I might poke my head out in a few years. I'll see you guys then (if anyone's still alive).

Malware not man blamed in child abuse download case



I think the employer was dumb not to have the laptop secured better, and I think they shouldn't fire people until their guilt is proven. However, it's the police who need to be scorched on this one. They had no business even thinking about naming this guy as a suspect (much less arresting him) without first conducting a thorough investigation as to whether the laptop was compromised by a virus or other badware.

As for his friends, any "friend" who abandons you in difficult times was never really a friend in the first place.

World realizes Google home page is 'illegal'


Ridiculous Laws

Why does this pointless piece of trash law exist in the first place? If privacy policies are so important then people won't visit the websites that don't conspicuously post them. The fact that Google is so extremely popular without having its privacy policy linked to in their home page just shows how little value this is to its customers.

Seriously, the world would be just as well off without laws regulating every menial aspect of our lives.

Storm Worms exploit April Fools


I got one of these...

It said "Today, you can officially act foolish"

Presumably by clicking on the link.

Laptop vendors burned in battery plant blaze



Posted Wednesday 26th March 2008 13:32 GMT

"They probably do have alternative sources of supply and I'll bet that other manufacturers will quickly ramp up production to fill demand.

That won't stop them all using this as an excuse to jack up prices though."

Yes, this is true, but it's not quite that simple. Typically when a business has to ramp up production, in the short run their per unit costs will increase significantly (think about what happens when you bring in loads of new, inexperienced workers to provide the humanpower necessary to ramp up production -- efficiency goes through the floor and costs go through the roof). The remaining suppliers might turn an extra profit still (otherwise, what would be the point of ramping up production?), but not nearly as much as you'd think.

"This is exactly what happened many years ago when a Taiwanese DRAM plant went on fire. You could still get the stuff with no trouble, but 1 and 4 meg SIMMS (as made by world + dog at the time) became eye-wateringly expensive overnight due to the "shortage"."

Had they not increased prices, there probably would have been a shortage. Basic economic theory dictates that when supply decreases and demand stays the same, the price must be increased to prevent shortages. If you think about it, this makes sense -- fewer people will be willing to buy the product at the higher price, so the quantity of the product demanded will fall (hopefully) to roughly the same quantity of product that the remaining manufacturers are able to produce. It's not an exact science, though, and merchants get it wrong all the time. More than likely, they overshot on the dram pricing a bit, but this type of mistake is usually quickly caught and corrected for. As product sits on the shelf (or in warehouses) for too long, the merchant or supplier begins to drop prices to get it moving again. After all, warehousing surplus product is an additional expense that no one wants to pay.

So what's the easiest box to hack - Vista, Ubuntu or OS X?


@ Mike Lovell

"I always here this shit. 'Vista is completely rubbish' then you ask them 'How long you been running it', then they usually say 'I'm not running it' or 'I installed it, didn't like it, then installed XP again'. Oooo, scary change!!!

Do we really have to do this EVERY time something new comes out!


You're absolutely right, if not a bit harsh.

However, I've been running Vista Home Premium for about 5 months now, so I speak from experience when I say that it definitely shipped before its time. In fact, Vista just crashed this morning and refuses to boot at all (even booting to the "recovery partition" won't work). I know this isn't a hardware problem because I can boot Ubuntu just fine and mount (and access every part of) the NTFS Vista partition.

I guess it's time to dig out those recovery CDs... At least I can use Ubuntu to save off my documents and other important files to a USB drive or something.

Pentagon rattles sabre at Google's Street View


Military Intelligence

They're afraid of street view, but there are publicly available maps of the bases? Wow, and I thought the whole "military intelligence" being an oxymoron thing was just a joke

WARF raiders slap Intel with Core patent suit


@ All

The University of Wisconsin is funded in part by federal taxes. While it's probably true that this is not the university's major source of funding, it still probably represents a sizable piece of its funding. These taxes are paid by every citizen and business in this country. Therefore, every business and citizen in the U.S. who so wishes should be able to make use of the results of their research (after all, we all helped pay for it -- whether or not we wanted to).

Whether everyone in the U.S. is capable of making use of this information is immaterial. Anyone who can make use of the information should be able to. Besides, patents are good for a really fsking long time, and there may be one day in the future (however unlikely it may seem now) when fabrication technology advances to the point where people will be capable of creating their own microprocessors "in their garages" so to speak.

@amanfrommars, RE: Private Institutions

You're not making any sense, man. I'd love to be able to debate you on this, but I haven't a clue what you're trying to say.


*Public Institution*

The University of Wisconsin is a *publicly funded* organization. As such, they should have no right to any of the privileges of a private citizen or corporation such as intellectual property. After all, if the public funded the research (even if only in part), the results of that research should be available for the general public to use free and clear.

Just my humble opinion, of course.

FBI sought approval to use spyware against terror suspects



A magician's #1 best friend is misdirection. It sure seems to me that this "magic lantern" spyware is nothing but smoke and mirrors, and the real tool they're using is running within every ISP in the U.S. (and probably many of our allies) intercepting every packet coming in and going out. They could then consolidate this data, "mine" it, and piece together the IP conversations going into and out of suspect computers.

Anyway, when you think about it, how else could they have used "magic lantern" to nab the mail hoaxers *after they committed the crime*? [*]

[*] assuming they weren't stupid enough to go blabbing about it on a message board or blog.

MIT and TI to produce low energy chips


Body Heat

Powered by body heat?

If I get sick and run a fever, could that produce an over-voltage situation and blow out the chip?

Healthy? You're a burden on the state


Food Tax

"...smokers (and drinkers, for that matter) contribute vast sums of tax to the exchequer every year by resolutely sticking to their deadly vices."

The vices of the obese can similarly contribute if food taxes are levied (if they are not already being collected in your locale). Maybe we should consider a sort of junk food tax.

Employee's silent rampage wipes out $2.5m worth of data


$2.5 million

Could very well be a conservative estimate of the value of that data (depending on their contracts and the type of data they're storing).

I work as an admin for a small Civil Engineering firm, and in many respects our business is very similar to theirs. If our office lost 7 years of project files, we could easily amass much more than $2.5 million in fines and labor costs in recreating the files. This is why we have daily on and off site backups, and why our backup methodology (and even the existence of said backups) is not discussed with anyone other than top management.

However, I do have to wonder why she had access to do so much damage. It's generally not necessary for a secretary to have that much access to project files.

Steve Jobs' Macworld Expo spiel spied on web?


I'm betting it's fake

If this were real, it would probably have the sales figures, etc. in it rather than just say "Sales Figures". Besides, the real thing's probably kept locked up almost as secure as the gold in Ft. Knox.

Drivers on the phone face the slammer


Hands-free Devices

"...as research seems to indicate that drivers lose concentration even when they've got both hands on the wheel."

Quite right. My father-in-law works at the Liberty Mutual research center (a major insurance company in the U.S.). Their own extensive research on the subject found that drivers talking on a phone via a hands-free device were actually *more* distracted and dangerous than drivers talking on a phone without a hands-free device.

Man uses networked 'crazy' toaster to hack PC


The next predator

At least it's not flying yet.

Laughing Squid squirts ink at Best Buy



Lawyers are like firearms. Dangerous in of themselves, but not truly a menace unless wielded by idiots.

Dublin designer branches out with 'tree' PC


They're after us!

Dyson award -- ala Miles Dyson of Terminator 2 fame? Skynet's plan for world domination has been laid bare by one of its agents in a careless bid for fame and fortune. They intend to hide their agents amid our forests where they can be upgraded in secret into giant human smashing tree monsters (think Tree Beard from "Lord of the Rings").

We must act swiftly to prevent this terror! Burn the forests to save mankind!

American inventor builds jet-propelled crapper


Sorry, couldn't resist.

Hence the saying, "when the s**t hits the turbofan..."

'Please read this important email: you are being shot'



I love how people seize the opportunity to advance their gun control theories. The truth is that this is completely irrelevant. The constitution guarantees a right to bear and keep arms. Actually, what it says is that the right to bear and keep arms shall not be infringed. In other words, the government is not to impose any limits on the citizens' ability to carry any weapon, for to even impose a "minor" limit such as clip size is a type of infringement on this right (after all, we aren't limited in the type of words we can speak or the types of religions we can believe in). The only limitation is the person must be of military age to exercise this right (this is implied by the term "militia" which meant at that time the whole populace of the country that is old enough to serve in the military).

There is no place for an argument about whether it's right or not. It is what it is. Either live with it and the inherent risks, leave the country, or try to change the amendment. All this whining and speculation about gun control is not doing any good.

James Cameron finds grave of Jesus & Son


RE: Ian Damage

The council of Nicea was convened in about 325 AD mainly to resolve conflicts about whether Jesus was part of the God-head (trinity) or merely a creation of God. The overwhelming majority of Bishops in attendance (300+ vs. 2 or 3) decided that Jesus was one with God (they decided so because it's what the original apostles used to teach). The creed that was adopted at this council doesn't even mention the virgin birth (that didn't happen until the council of Constantinople and it only declares that Mary was a virgin when she became pregnant with Jesus.). Furthermore, Mary's virgin conception of Jesus was known before the Nicene creed - it was written in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

Besides, the Bible says that Jesus had brothers and sisters.

All of the Gospels were written less than 70 years after the death and resurrection of Christ. They differ slightly because they are the written from separate points of view.

Finally, Judas Iscariot was not Jesus's brother, otherwise he would have been identified Judas of Nazareth as this was Jesus's family's hometown (hence Jesus of Nazareth or the Nazarene). Also, Judas was a very common name at that time, thus the Judas identified as Jesus's brother would have been a different Judas (the disciples identified as Thomas and Jude were also named Judas, btw). Ultimately, however, it doesn't matter. Supposing that Judas Iscariot was Jesus's brother or cousin, what would it change? I would say it changes absolutely nothing. To focus on that would be to entirely miss the point of Jesus's birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection.