* Posts by Matware

48 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

For FORK'S sake: GitHub checks out Windows client


Mercurial, just use it

I did a trade study while planning to move away from that terrible and expensive IBM product, and came to the conclusion that git is powerful, and git hub rocks. If you do development in mixed environments and want a seamless tool just use mercurial. Great windows integration, great visual studio integration, great command line... the one down side is the inability to flatten history (which I don't miss) and the number of ways you can branch leads to confusion.

To all the subversion users out there.... best practice for merging subversion branches is pulling the branches into mercurial, merge, then deliver the result back to subversion. Time to go DCVS.

To all the TortoiseGit and GitExtensions users out there. Try TortiseHG and Visual HG, you'll think you're doing it wrong because there was no swearing and arm waving.

But... I'll give the new git client a go.

Experts: We're stuck with passwords – and maybe they're best


Knights of the Rainbow Table

You're much better off using a correctly punctuated pass phrase than some 8 character alphanumeric password

It is many orders of magnitude easier to bust :

'ytZo0&5x' (100ish hours)

than it is to bust

"My mum really likes a mango on a Monday" (10^50ish years)

On you will not remember 1s after reading it, the other you have already remembered.

Enormous orbiting solar raygun power plants touted


Sorry to be a hater again but...

Its very rare to find a successful business or engineering project that relies on lots of shiny new moving parts.

If I was a bank manager and somebody came to me and said

"Hi, as you know our company has got all this experience is building 2-10 km scale space structures, and this business partner of ours can lob a payloads into geo for for $1000/ton.

We noticed that company X has just released their new 35% efficient new space ready solar film for $15/m2 meter. Everybody knows how cheap high efficiency microwave tranciever sets are now days.

So all we need is a GW scale microwave beam collimator and we have found a couple plucky young grads who seem to have it nailed! So, for $500,000 million we can build a GW solar plant and turn those free watts in space into $0.05/kwh.

EBIT is about 12% and given the current climate we expect to pay it off in 15years. You in?"

If anybody wants to tell me which of the above moving parts actually exist now, or will exist in the next 10 years I'll invest. On the other hand, any of those things actually existing now or in the next 10 years would probably make space based solar power a wast of money as each one of them is a complete game changer.


I wonder how much it would cost to....

Create an equatorial solar array (nominally at sea level) 24 hours of power, no need to ship it into space.

My beer coast calcs say you'd be able to create a 1 panel wide array around the earth for between $12 and $20 billion. This would produce ~1GW continuously, with the added advantage of being on the fcuking ground. This assumes retail prices for panels. And is an horrendous wast of cash.

To launch said panels, using say, a non-existent space shuttle would cost ~$1700 billion (not including the panels, not including cost of launch vehicles) and take decades. This also adds an embedded energy of ~66Mj / panel to each panel.

This is so much BS designed to put off solving today's problems until tomorrow (like the hydrogen economy, fusion etc). We need to be building nuke plants and R&Ding LFTR reactors, fusion and industrial scale solar.

DIDO: snake oil or wireless salvation?


I must misunderstand this system because

It seems that I have to send all the data to a server to be be processed (presumably via my exceptionally fast fiber connection) before I can send it to the client devices over the air waggle thingies.....

So to support 10 devices chatting with my local NAS at >52MB/s I have to have a gigabit net connection? That seems freaking insane.

Oh, and the other question is, how do all those remote devices talk back to me without treading on each other? It seems like we'd end up with a seriously asymmetric connection, possibly to the point where, if there are lots of these beasties in the environment I might never actually get a response from my mobile device... unless they also had nice gigabit connection back to the DIDO server farm.... oh what?

CSIRO opens Cape Grim pollution data



Well Denarius hop to it, you have the data, you have a hypothesis, your PHD in climate science and fame await! Get publishing.

Well, that about wraps it up for the NBN


It looks like the article has been pulled

nuf said.

FTTN too expensive says Graeme Samuel

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Yay a government side stepped a trap on the road to building a successful business

Why all the hate, they did a good thing, if they side step the next 27 traps we may end up with aceness.

People seem to forget that private businesses balls things up too, but they just go bankrupt so you don't get to knock them as you never get a chance to learn their name.

Iran accused of hacking nuke inspectors' phones, PCs


You're assuming

That it was the Iranians that were attempting tamper with the devices.

US Navy produces smart, cheap 6kg fire+forget missile


I think this makes swarms infinitely more dangerous

It's interesting that you read this as swarms of RHIBs as doomed. I imagine something like a coordinated swarm of Combat Boat 90Hs equipped with these little beasties would punch well above their weight and truly terrify a conventional navy.

Apple 'greed' tax spreads beyond music, movies, magazines


Apple, now in black hats

This is a despicable act on Apple's behalf. They have set up a Hydraulic Empire or protection racket and are just beginning to show how they can squeeze the poor farmers.

First of all, to the people who are saying that Apple is just charging rent for store space..

1. This would be fair if I could rent space in another store. aka myIstore;

2. This would be fair if they were charging a flat rate. eg. 10c per transaction;

3. This would be fair if I could choose to use another API. eg. google, paypal, etc;

4. This would be fair if it weren't retroactive;

5. This would be fair if I had any way to negotiate or deal with Apple;

6. This would be fair if I had any self determination, choice, or power.


If Microsoft had taken 30% every time you ran your credit card through a web site on a Windows PC, people would be baying for blood.


If Google only returned search results that were displaying ads or paying for ads, cars would be burning in the streets.


Even eBay, which could so easily pull something like this off hesitates to act in such a despicable manner, knowing that there would be a vicious backlash from the people who made them what they are.


If any of these organisations were be able to engineer a situation where this is possible they know they would be in court so fast their heads would spin. I also suspect they have more respect for their customers than Apple does.


I remember watching westerns and gangster movies as a kid, and seeing how it ended for the black hat... So good work Apple, I suspect the little guys are now out looking to hire the Magnificent Seven and you have just cast yourselves as the black hats.



"Google charges 10%. Oh, and all that revenue they make from ads - remember they are an ad company - that's how they make money, or is making money illegal these days because it upsets the opentards?"


Google gets 10% of the Ad Revenue, not 10% of every dollar that comes to your web site from any means possible.

www.newscientist.com, shows Google ads, they also allow subscriptions, Google doesn't see any of this money as they were in no way involved in making it! If they were to provide a unified subscription gateway, and newscientist were to use it as a way to streamline their customer management, well that would be a fee for a service, but Google wouldn't ram it down all their customers throats and threaten to ban them from search results if they didn't use it now would they. Becasue if they did, that would be a sign that they were bat shit insane megalomaniacs.

Gadget makes bombs, mines go off 'on average' 20m away


I assume the antenna is the only thing that needs to be within X distance

So exactly how is this an issue? Antennas are cheap (as compared to the amplifier etc). So launch your antenna into the middle of a mine field, turn it on, haul back what's left, fix/replace the antenna, rinse and repeat.

Or even better, walk the antenna into the field attached to a elcheapo bomb disposal robot, I assume that they are reasonably robust.

On another note, I assume that what they are saying is they've found a narrow range of resonant frequencies for detonators.... which seems to mean that there is a narrow range of frequencies to listen to to detect a detonator.

So why not just do a wide band pulse, and listen on those frequencies for re-emitted EM of the detonators, triangulate and map.... seems to be a lot more power efficient than trying to actually blow them up.

Raygun dreadnought project reports 'remarkable breakthrough'


The problem with lasers is....

There are three pretty good ways to shield your aircraft or missile from them. The first and most effective is a mirror; the second is a material with the same colour as the laser; the third, is an invisibility cloak that works at the laser frequency.

Kinetic or explosive weapons don't suffer from this weakness and can apply said shielding, so good luck protecting your fleet.

Aussie parties trade blows over fast broadband


Those darn government monopolies,

That gave us running water, sewage systems, power lines, rail services, postal services oh and telecommunications just can't be trusted.

Their up to no good with their uniform service provision for the masses, we need a tiered society where you have to pay through the nose for privileges like sanitation!

Private business may run big infrastructure at a profit, but god they don't seem to like building it in the first place. And given that governments like selling off infrastructure to pay debts, its best that they occasionally build some new stuff so that future generation can sell it off.

Apple's HTML5 'standards' hype debunked

Jobs Halo

@Chas. Well that would make the site a Safari demo, not a HTML 5 demo then

But most of it works ok in Chrome with a user agent switcher, and isn't that much more exciting than various jquery demos.

At least sites like http://www.chromeexperiments.com have the good grace to let you give them a go in your browser of choice, or kindly explain why it won't work.

US Army portaloo-full-of-missiles project for the chop


Laser dots of doom

I'd assume that the 'laser pointers' actually emit a nice coded message, the same codes are associated with the request for the missile. The little red dot is a little red dot with a nice slow, heavily encrypted message playing over and over. The missile sees the dot, decodes the message, if the message says ACK, the missile homes in, if the message changes to NAK, the missile waves off. Your code is not the same as code as the guy next to you.

Hopefully the is also some way to avoid local reflections causing issues, as it would be a bitch to have someone kick up some dust and have the missile home in on your the laser pointer instead of the target :-|.. But I expect you could do that with two lasers and constructive interference at a focal point... but thats just a first guess.


@Roger Jenkins

I'd assume that the 'laser pointers' actually emit a nice coded message, the same codes message that was associated with the request for the missile. The little red dot is a little red dot with a nice slow, heavily encrypted message playing over and over. The missile sees the dot, decodes the message, if the message says ACK, the missile homes in, if the message changes to NAK, the missile waves off.

Hopefully the is also some way to avoid local reflections causing issues, as it would be a bitch to have someone kick up some dust and have the missile home in on the laser pointer instead :-|

Intel pitches Atom storage platform


I always just assumed that..

The ReadyNAS NVX had an Atom processor. Maybe Intel's marketing department have just caught up with what the rest of the world has been doing on for ages.

Philips 40PFL9704 40in LED backlit TV

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DLNA support

I bought my Samsung for its DLNA support (mkv, divx, h264, etc) and now I couldn't go back. Releasing a TV in 2k10 with DLNA and not supporting these formats is a complete joke, and no optical out, what were they thinking.

Amazon's EC2 brings new might to password cracking

Big Brother

If you really need a password cheap and quickk

A cordless drill and ear plugs.

Does anybody actually crack passwords? I always thought it was a line used to keep the masses in the dark.

MS claims early success for freebie security scanner

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Two things that make it for the win

One. It only tells you that it exists when something needs sorting. AVG Free, is adware no matter which way you cut it and flashes lots of 'important' messages asking you to buy a new version, which is a bit too much crying wolf for my liking. I saw the MSE user interface for the first time in 3 weeks when it kindly told me that a wmv I'd just been served would have caused another browser and OS grief.

Two. I've never seen it consume any CPU or hack wildly at the disk. An hour after starting the system it's done ~30k IO ops, where AVG or Symantec would have busy UI showing and would be sitting in the millions of IO ops, and the CPU load would be on 5% the entire time.

100% win as far as I can tell.

Spanish boffins develop bat-like sonar-vision superpower


I would love to have beena fly on the wall for the grant funding meeting

So you'd like to fund you to find out if people can teach people to use echolocation to see if detect a pen in front of their lips... riiiiiiight what the hell, its a slow week here's a couple of hundred thousand euros, don't blow it all on acid.

Microsoft kills Visual Studio's Oracle data connection


Um, so it still just all works then

And they've just stopped adding features...

So I guess you've still got your easy to use, well tested, provider with a consistent interface that comes built into the framework then, and works with any of the open source of comercial ORM tools.

And if those compiler warnings really really bug you, you could just :

1. Reflect out the source code.

2. Recompile it without the deprecated flags.

3. Add features as required.

I mean seriously, have any of you guys actually used the MS development environments or are you just blindly ranting about stuff you've never used?

Engineers are troublesome 'expert loners', says prof


The best manager I've ever had as an engineer

Was a trained project manger and engineer (ex NASA & LM), who once a week would get his team into the room and ask three questions:

1. What's finished from last weeks jobs?

2. What's holding you up, and is there anything the team can help you with?

3. What are you planning to do this week.

It combined the best of accountability, team support, motivation, and low friction oversight, and it produced some insanely cool stuff. He realised he had a team of clever people, and that collaboration just a tool that should be used by the individual trying to solve a problem.

Contrast that with the current job where my lovely but out of his depth boss asks my team to explain how our stuff works (by going through code), four hour team white board sessions, and requests to re-design the lot because 'OO seem quite complex', and we have a product that gets dumber by the day.

Google: The internet is 'the right programming model'


Um didn't micrsoft develop XMLHttpRequest

And wan't it first used for Exchange web access.... which pretty much points to MS beating GOG to the punch by a few years in terms of a async xml javascript mail goodness by some 4 years? Not that I think it was a patch on Gmail, but do think that MS gets the web in many ways like GM gets electric cars. They have been leaders, have good ideas for the future, but its about 1% of their revenue stream, so lets not rock the boat shall we.

Microsoft arms half-wit developers with PHP handgun

Paris Hilton

OMFG Python and Java heavy weight languages!!!@@!

I'm sorry, writing your web app in straight up K&R C and Berkley sockets would be a heavyweight. Or fcuk it going a functional language like Haskell just to screw over who ever has to maintain it would be laying down the law. But no, Java and Python are happy sandboxed playpens of where you actually have to plan and scheme to graze a knee, and PHP is just VB for Gen Y .

Don't know why I needed to rant this but the word heavy weight almost make me choke.

France says 'Oui!' to three strikes for music pirates

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Who wants to set up a VPN business

Nice big server in Belgium / Switzerland / Spain offering VPN'd connections to the internet, it will only cost you about 30% of your monthly internet bill and you will never be disconnected.

The Pro service connects you to a different host server every time and uses stenography to pretend you are just posting lots of disparaging comments on leftist blogs.

If we could buy advertising space on your first/second strike notice it could be a real winner.

Any VC out there who wants to make a quick billion?

Sorted, now lets move on.

Microsoft’s Silverlight 3 delivers decent alternative to Adobe


How long has flash been 'Cross Platform' exactly

What, 6 months on Linux makes Flash the king of cross platform, the previous 12 years of them doing nothing but a half assed Win/Mac mac version with the poor dev guys trying to get the same look and feel on both platforms.

So Silverlight has been around for a little less than 3 years (tec demo of 1.0) it support Win/Mac and is feature comparable with the Flash, not a bad effort I say. Oh and on top of they, they have assisted in the creation an open source offering that looks like it will meet the 3.0 specs within months of the 3.0 release date, and you are welcome to port that the any freaking platform you like.

On top of all of that, you have a kick ass IDE in Visual Studio 2008 (with a free tool coming down the line), and your choice of development languages (Java/Script, C#, VB, Python, Ruby, and probably freaking ADA if it turns your crank), access to actual 'form' controls, free graphs, great documentation. Jeez how hard is it for you guys to say, well done, interesting platform, did Microsoft murder a family member or something?

Honda executes 180° turn on plug-in e-cars


Why EV.. well because...

@Albert Stienstra

Well, lets see why electric cars have potential

There is an existing distribution network for electricity.

There are no (local) emissions.

There is the potential for energy recovery through regenerative breaking.

The energy supply is disconnected from a single resource.(think oil), and can be supplied by many sources, including renewables.

There is potential for better use the energy, in that large generators, line losses, electric motors and batteries can be more efficient than small IC engines.

The potential for large gains in performance as EV's go through their technological life cycle, and they may even exceed petrol vehicles and power and range (in 70 years).

They create a lot less noise pollution.

They create a lot less road side pollution (oil/petrol residues) allowing better use of waste water (big problem in Aus).

The vehicles should last a lot longer as they don't contain as many moving parts, solvents or hot bits.

They should have lower service costs, and are simpler to maintain.

They are Freaking Cool.

Ireland scraps e-voting in favour of 'stupid old pencils'



Um, in Aus you can do the equivalent 'straight ticket' vote by putting a '1' above the line, or numbering all the boxes below the line.

Pencil + Paper = Simple + Reliable

What is it with engineers where we have to jump on the latest technological revolution to fix a problem that doesn't exist? I mean, mechanical voting machines!! How much work goes into designing that machine and setting one of those up vs one printing press and and a few hundred thousand pencils? It seems a touch pathological now I think about it.

Profs design AK47-locating 'smart dust' helmets

Black Helicopters

Replace Bluetooth with UWB and it might be a little less dangerous

I don't like the idea of my helmet asking every mobile phone within 30m to 'Pair' with it..... I also expect that this will result in a roaring development effort in bullets that can change trajectory mid fight, remote controlled sniper rifles and big bore silenced subsonic weapons (with payloads)...

That snipers working in groups...

Microsoft team hacks Silverlight for Chrome


Um I use Chrome and Silverlight works just fine

On all 6 sites out there using it.

Big labels or Google - who is the songwriters' worst enemy?


nobody will probably read this comment but...

Um, if you are a good song writer and believe that you can assist the musicians in writing good song,s why not cut deals with the musicians directly? Some musicians make money for performing their songs live, so why not do deals with independents that see them and you making more money?

On a different note, saying that Google and p2p have shafted you when you were actually sacked by the big music biz just decided to stop spending money on music 'R&D' seems a bit silly. In the tech world a smart young boffin will go out, create a startup, get venture capital,and release products that will kill their old employer. Why don't song writers do the same if they have this ability to produce popular product? Recording and distribution costs have dropped to zero, you have the 'hits' that everybody still apparently pays for on I tunes, and you decent studio musicians are a dime a dozen?

Reading this interview it appears that you are just pissed that the times changed and would love someone to enact Proposition 457 'Bring back the good old days' which is a sure way to kill art dead.

Mac fans see MS porn everywhere


Can we pleas just send iPhone users to the wall now

They're easy to spot, and shouldn't put up too much of a fight.

Melamine, poisons and the misappliance of science


China a bad place to do this

When i first saw this story, I thought those Chinese scam artist, ripping off the world! Then I thought about it and realised that in all odds the people who will get the blame in China will end up having a few grams of lead inserted into the back of their skulls, and a bill for the bullet sent to their family. The Americans, New Zealanders, etc will maybe face a fine, maybe face a few lawsuits etc, but that will be the extent of it. I expect China will treat this a lot more seriously than the rest of the world and be a lot more hash in its punishment of the offenders, and I suspect that may help stamp out this issue in China.

As for the rest of us, well how a about, when a company does something as despicable as this (think cigarettes, asbestos etc), instead of suing a multinational company, the governments steps in, closes down the company liquidates its assets, and gives the proceeds to the victims and sends the CEO to gaol.

Bet against the bubble - how to head off a subprime crisis


The down side doesn't have to be financial

You don't have to make bankers pay back money if they lie (restoring balance to the force), you just have to call it fraud, put them in jail, and let them be sodomised buy Bubba and his hand puppet.

The up side is bonuses, the down side is that that bonus comes with a paper trail, and the person who lied about the quality of the debt, an any body who the lies, or misrepresents the risk, or uses small print when explaining risk, or attempts to absolve themselves of blame by shrouding themselves with paper work gets to go to jail.

As for the oil price bubble bursting, jeeze are you guys retarded? It's currently sitting at $114/B (which was freak out territory 12 months ago) and the US is about to lose 10% of its refinery capacity.

Shell pulls out of Thames Estuary mega-windfarm

Dead Vulture

How many uranium mines are there in the UK?

Just curious what all you nuclear power lovers will be thinking when everybody realises that coal/gas/oil getting a bit scarce on the ground. I think it will be fun to see what happens when uranium prices start getting seriously influenced by market forces.

I live in Australia, I think we have about 30% of the worlds proven uranium reserves (and lots of experience digging holes). Good times for us for the next 60 years, not so good for people driving electric cars in the US/EU. Who wants to bet that the next owner of Harrods is Australian or Canadian :-p

Snort coke, shaft the environment, say boffins

Paris Hilton

Bad as an absolute, but in relative terms

I have no idea what the figures are, but I'd love to see cocaine vs wheat, sugar, corn, chicken, beef, etc. just to give some real perspective...

But more importantly, I think you guys have just identified a market for Organic Fair Trade Cocaine, for the discerning super model trying to help the planet in any way they can.

Ohio voting machines confiscated in criminal investigation


National Body

Of course in Australia we also have a national body that

1. manages the elections,

2. makes sure that the process is simple,

3. runs national advertising campaigns explaining how to vote,

4. Is apolitical and incredibly professional.

If you have a mishmash of a system, you expect to get a mishmash of results.

(but they still managed to lose my voter registration update last time)

Iran fires rocket 'into space', plans satellite for '09


@C. B. Legier

Hmmm I guess you missed the point I was making....

So to bang you over the head with it...

Iran could do absolutely anything with rockets and power plants, but until they actually do something they are just regular folks who are peacefully living their lives. Any talk of how dangerous they could possible be on a Wednesday with the wind blowing in the right directions is just propaganda, because Everybody could be that dangerous on said Wednesday, we just don't feel the need to talk about it.

Iran hasn't in anyway demonstrated that they capable, or intend to do any of the things people are freaking out about. YOUR country has demonstrated both the intention and a propensity, and listening to Republican presidential candidates talk in the debates, they say the are willing to 'push the button'. Iran's leadership are saying they they only want to use these technologies for peacefully purposes, they could be lying which is bad, but your guys could be telling the truth, which scares the shit out of me.

Forget about what 'could' happen because the sky is the limit, and focus on what has happened, is happening, and what leaders say they are willing to do in the future...


How to demonize a country

1. Point out how 'those' people are just not like us regular normal folks.

2. Take things that they do, and put the evil spin on it.

3. Point out how easy it would be for them to harm us if the really wanted to.

4. Show pictures of how ugly they are.

5. Make propaganda about how ugly/unreasonable/aggressive they are to display in the local media.

I only draw up this list off the top of my head because I remember this happening during the cold war. I remember all Russian women being old with large calves, I remember communists having no morals because they were godless, I remember movies portraying young Americans defeating the evil communist machine.

Then I found out that lots of Russian women are really good looking. I realised that no-one except America has ever used nuclear weapons in anger. That when Americans have wars, it's more about stand off weapons platforms than Johnny Hero fighting to save a child. Neither the governments of Iraq, Iran, or Afghanistan sponsored 9/11, or have ever attacked the UK or the US on their own soil (that was 'Al-Qa'ida' not the Taliban).

So, to make a few points. Iranians are just like us. Their leaders are not insane, they are a good deal less likely to sponsor foreign violence than the UK or the US, and they have beautiful women. If they are making satellites, that's what probably all they are doing, if they are making nuclear reactors, that's all they are doing.

The Electric Car Conspiracy ... that never was



Sorry to confuse Jim, I was referring to the myth perpetrated by the lead additive company, that the new additives used to replace lead in leaded fuel would lead to an increase in benzene emissions, and hence increased cancer risk. This was peddled by the makers of the lead additive, and was a patently false, as benzene based additives are not required and there were other, safer alternatives (such as ethanol and MTBE) are used instead.

Although this is not the place to debate the pro/cons of catalytic converters, I suspect the they have lead to a net health improvement due to the reduction of photo chemical smog, and the slow but steady reduction in lead contamination of of out cities.

Black Helicopters

WTF 80% of the energy goes into making the car... my ass..

Ok on the Hummer vs Prius debate search for

"Prius Versus Hummer: A Nickel for Your Thoughts". It's a lie that's up there with the unleaded fuel is giving you cancer crud that was peddled in the 80s.

Nobody should contend the fact that petrol is a denser source of energy than any battery you could name, but following logic that denser is better we could use hydrazine to power cars, or go the whole hog and use plutonium.

And on the increasing fuel efficiency of cars, every major technical improvement for increasing car fuel efficiency that that has been released into the general car market is at least 40 years old. The technologies have recently helped improve efficiency, like turbos, fuel injection (mechanical), variable valve timing have been around for more than 70 years. The only reason that those gains have been realised is that the car makers have set them selves very low bar to hurdle, by building the cheapest engines they could while oil has been cheap.

On top of all of that, if an improvement is patented, the care companies won't use it, full stop. I know that GM engineering in Detroit keep a library of patents filed by expiry date, when they expire, they may make it into a new vehicle. The car companies actively stifle innovation.

I think the film, although biased did a pretty good job of documenting what a big company does when it realises it's about to change the status-quo, and it treated one of it's own divisions as it would have treated a competitor, and snuffed it out to keep the game rolling. It will be interesting to see how the next crop of electric vehicles fair, and what sort of reception they get from the motor industry cartel and their paid law makers.

Oh, and on a final note, the Prius is a work of business genius. It's a more complex, harder to maintain car, just the sort of thing that car companies love with that long maintenance tail and gave Toyota the biggest green wash.

The day Microsoft 'embraced and extended' Java


Cunning plan

Convince the company to use a .net front end, and a java back end, the blackmail them into paying you twice as much to undo the mess..... now that sounds like a plan.

time to work on my cv.

Microsoft loses battle of the piggybacking passwords


What were patents created for

My history may be a bit shaky, but I believe that the concept was invented to avoid businesses having trade secrets, and building multi generational monopolies out of them. Patents exposed the secrets to the world, and allowed people to build on that secret knowledge once it was exposed. Hence the obviousness test. If something couldn't reasonably become a trade secret, then what's the point in giving someone a government sanctioned monopoly for 25+ years, it would hinder innovation rather than expand it.

No I believe that patents were abused right from the start, Watt (of the steam engine fame) was notorious for having sued his competitors into the poor house, and then taken their ideas when they couldn't defend their own patents.

I also know that drug companies use the double whammy of trade secrets and patents, they only patent drugs when they wish to sell them, and keep better replacements as trade secrets until the old drug has gone out of patent, and worse, bullying companies that release a safer variant of the original drug. This is a gross misuse of the patent system and means that medicine is decades behind where it could be.

A case in point of this was the anti-depressant that caused kiddies to kill themselves. Another drug was available and tested before the first went on the market. The better version was patented and available only when the old one went out of patent, but the test data showed that it was created at the same time.

So in summary, our current patent system kills children.

US navy's robot carrier plane building fast



Given what drives commercial airlines (costs and sales), it will be interesting to see how the market changes when it's cheaper to insure a robot airliner, and it the fuel consumption is a lot better, but older airlines push the 'would you trust your life to a toaster' marketing angle.

On the topic of fully autonomous fighters/bombers (vs UAVs), given that modern game AI has to be toned down to not waste anything with the enemy marker above it's head in 3 seconds flat, I'd hate to be the sucker from a small central American country that has to go up against a stealthy, hight speed, highly maneuverable, well armed aircraft that's about as smart as a wasp (which you could probably simulate neuron by neuron). Or for that matter, I'd hate to be the US pilot flying an F35 going up against a 'swarm' of Sukhois.

Windows random number generator is so not random


That's so cute using time to help generate random numbers

I loved pointing out to my fellow developers how easy it was to work out a 'random' key based on time/ticks/any system count.

Your clock resolution is in the milliseconds. you used the key at 14/11/2007 at 10:45:30 AM, how many seeds to I have to try before i hit on your seed, and this your key......