* Posts by Ermie Mercer

34 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Oct 2007

Congressional websites befouled by mucky-mouthed hackers

Ermie Mercer

More Info

The Washington Post had this to say about the attacks:

"The sites are all produced and operated by GovTrends, an Alexandra-based company that specializes in building political web sites and e-mail newsletter systems, said Jeff Ventura, spokesman for the House chief administrative officer."

Russia plans asteroid-defence space mission to Apophis

Ermie Mercer

A hit-or-miss project

And former astronaut Russell L. Schweickart had this comment:

“It takes a very small change in the Apophis orbit to cause it to impact the Earth instead of missing it,” Mr. Schweickart said. “There are a million asteroids out there. Find another one.”

Court: iPod hearing loss your fault, not Apple's

Ermie Mercer

"and the nanny state takes one in the teeth"

This suit was brought by individuals, and the "Nanny State" threw it out!!

Aspiring model pleasures Taoist master

Ermie Mercer

"I believed..."

"I believed he could help me change the luck in my career."

He did... from bad to worse.

AMD ATI Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 DirectX 11 GPUs

Ermie Mercer

"Next time please report on how much heat these new cards put out"

The power draw is entirely converted to heat. Take the power consumption of the video adapter, say 188W, and use a calculator like the one below to convert it to the units of heat you want.


Of course, some of the heat is vented outside the case, and some inside. Information about that might be useful.

US commission urges broadband socialism

Ermie Mercer

@Apocalypse Later

"Pretty much everyone in the US has access to electricity and the telephone, which was brought about without state ownership of the companies providing the services."

Read the history of:

Hoover Dam

Tennessee Valley Authority

Rural Electrification Act

Brooke Shields pic exposes real/online rift

Ermie Mercer

Taken during a movie shoot?

About 25 years ago, I was watching a rented video titled "Pretty Baby" starring Ms. Shields. Near the end was a brief (maybe 5 second) scene exactly matching the description of this picture. It struck me as gratuitous at the time, not really essential to the story being told. I wonder if that's where the picture was taken.

Panicky Plod apologises to Innocent Terror Techie

Ermie Mercer

@Adam Williamson 1

Maybe the letter was part of the settlement. It often is in cases like this in the US.

New York Times pwned to serve scareware pop-ups

Ermie Mercer


Indeed. Many Times readers expressed similar sentiments in response to the warning.

Two convicted for refusal to decrypt data

Ermie Mercer

"There is no key"

"Give us the key!" "'There is no key.'"

Lawyers claim ringtones are public performance

Ermie Mercer

@Andrew 99

"does that mean DJ's need to pay money to play songs?"

In the US, the answer is "Yes." Also bars (pubs), restaurants, dance studios... any business where music is played to an audience.

Feds: Hospital hacker's 'massive' DDoS averted

Ermie Mercer

@AC (not Air Conditioning) 08:22

Here in the US, Daniel Fahrenheit rules. As do pounds, feet, inches and miles.

Mozilla's servers wobble as Firefox 3.5 hits interwebs

Ermie Mercer

My bookmarks...

...all seem to be ok. 3.5 seems to be a little faster as well.

'Bionic ear' can detect Wi-Fi, FM,GPS signals simultaneously

Ermie Mercer

The cochlea

enables you to detect frequencies from 16Hz to around 20,000Hz.

Astronauts suffer 'exploding' space headache

Ermie Mercer

The logical conclusion

If these headaches are indeed "a microgravitational pain in the butt", the logical conclusion is...

Boffins: Ordinary lightbulbs can be made efficient, cheaply

Ermie Mercer

Longevity of the treatment

As a previous poster noted, the surface structure produced by this treatment might disappear as the bulb ages and the filament evaporates. Halogen bulbs have an additional problem. As the bulb ages, evaporated tungsten would be redeposited on the filament, destroying the treatment's remaining surface structure.

DHS offers glimpse into life of its top snot'n'slobber expert

Ermie Mercer

At first glance...

It does seem that some other agency, the Centers for Disease Control for example, might be more appropriate for this kind of work. On the other hand, an epidemic of a disease with a high mortality rate does have national security implications.

Kamikaze ballooning Brazilian soars to Darwin Award

Ermie Mercer


to the previous comments.

Laptops to blame for Qantas jet plunge?

Ermie Mercer

Now if someone keyed a large transmitter on the plane...

Like the aircraft's transponder, or the pilot's communications to Air Traffic Control...

I just don't see on-board electronic gadgets as being the culprit here.

Miracle airship tech sustained by DARPA pork trickle

Ermie Mercer

But why not...

"But why not simply compress the helium into high-pressure storage tanks when it's not needed?"

My thoughts exactly...

Intel hands out rose tinted polarizing glasses to chip geeks

Ermie Mercer

@ Anonymous Coward

"You'd be meaning Shutter glasses then"

No, I meant traditional polarized viewing glasses. I was imagining a system where a single projector might show alternating left and right images, while changing the light polarization 90 degrees in between them.

Ermie Mercer

How is this new?

"new style 3D glasses, which feature polarizing lenses, rather the traditional hurl-inducing red and green"

All the 3D movies I saw in the 1950s were viewed with polarized glasses. With the exception of using a single projector with (presumably) a synchronized polarizer, I don't see anything new here.

Russian push into Georgia could knock Nasa off ISS

Ermie Mercer

100 Gigadollars?

"As to the cost of the ISS. $100G is a lot of money."

Senator slams DHS boss over border laptop searches

Ermie Mercer

The US Air Force motto

'Homeland Security' translates as 'Staatssicherheit' into German.

The US Air Force motto translates as "Uber Alles."

NASA spies liquid in Titanic lake

Ermie Mercer

ABC News reports

That the lake is on Saturn itself.

Ermie Mercer



Where's the "US journalism going to Hell in a handbasket" icon?

FCC chief wants to throttle Comcast

Ermie Mercer

re: Pot calling the kettle black

"the agency has never given any indication of what it means by 'reasonable network management' "

Neither has Comcast.

Sony spin-off planning 2009 FED TV launch

Ermie Mercer

Maybe this time...

FED has been a "Real Soon Now" technology for the last 10 or 15 years. The main obstacle to its commercial introduction has been the degradation of the field emitters (originally microscopic tungsten spikes) over time. If carbon nanotubes are a solution to this problem, FEDs could be a serious competitor to other display technologies.

Malware not man blamed in child abuse download case

Ermie Mercer


Or unbelievably incompetent...

Ermie Mercer

He should sue his employer

My son-in-law has worked for insurance companies in various capacities. His company-issued laptops were always restricted in what he was able to do with them. They had a standard company image installed, and he was unable to install software of any kind and unable to browse the Internet.

Reading the article, It looks to me like the IT department of Mr. Fiola's employer was unbelievably negligent.

PayPal ambushes users with mystery Skype charges

Ermie Mercer

Credit cards too?

I've never used Skype or any VOIP, but (living in the US) I was just hit with an unauthorized charge from them on my CREDIT CARD. I also have a PayPal account. Could someone have gotten my credit card info from PayPal?

Get 'em while they're hot: critical security fixes from Microsoft, Apple

Ermie Mercer

Multiple problems with XP update

My media card reader disappeared, multiple drive letters were reassigned, system froze during restore (2nd attempt successful). My system had the most recent XP patches & updates, including SP3.

Creative threatens developer over home-brewed Vista drivers

Ermie Mercer

"Don't buy Creative!"

Well then, what SHOULD I buy? Any suggestions? So far no one's recommended an alternative.

Mobiles give you brain cancer?

Ermie Mercer

Mobile Phone Power Output

My recollection is that the typical hand-held mobile phone of a decade ago had a power output of 600 milliwats (0.6 watts), not "six watts to seven watts."