* Posts by Sonya Fox

28 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Jan 2009

HP excessive packaging world record put to the test

Sonya Fox
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Must have been shipped UPS

Considering UPS' standard practice of running each package through a wood chipper, using a catapult to lob packages between distribution centers, then delivering it to your home via air drop from 10,000 feet all that bubble wrap might not be a bad idea. I'm reminded of the time I mail-ordered two expensive Kino-Flo fluorescent tubes, the supplier had wrapped them in 12 inches of bubble wrap, inside a stiff carboard box, followed by another foot of bubble wrap and another, thicker carboard box plastered with "FRAGILE: GLASS" stickers and somehow UPS still managed to break one by bending the entire two foot thick package in half.

Aussie woman's toilet trauma prompts lav-overhaul call

Sonya Fox


I've always thought Aussies were a little weird (Vegemite, for example) but if all Aussie bathrooms are so microscopic that you can actually get stuck in one I do believe a revision to the building codes may indeed be in order, as per Dr. Stevenson's recommendation. I've yet to figure out the utility of even making a bathroom that tiny, especially in a home, my bathroom is 12' by 8' and I think that's too small.

Startup crafts DVD-Rs for the 31st century

Sonya Fox

Snake oil

I've been working with recordable media for 20 years and I've heard hundreds of claims like this and all of them are little more than speculation. When commercially pressed CDs were first marketed they were touted to last 100 years, currently I have pressed CD-ROMs of only 10 years of age that are completely unreadable. The fatal flaw in all optical discs is the layered construction, an acrylic layer, a dye layer, a foil layer, and a lacquer layer. No matter what the dye layer is made of the layers will eventually seperate due to various chemical processes, and if that doesn't happen over very long periods (30+ years) then eventually even the most durable layer, the acrylic, will warp, yellow or become opaque. Most of the long term studies I've read recommend tape storage as the most reliable method of archiving massive amounts of very important data. I use DDS on my workstation to archive photos because it scales well, and offers the best reliability for the price. Unfortunately, tape isn't the best option for every situation, storing 26PB of data on 170,393 160GB DDS cartridges would be a nightmare, but probably not as bad as writing 6,224,423 single layer DVDs. However, if one must use DVDs, the best option I've come across so far is Mobile Fidelity's 24K gold Ultra Discs, the price is a lot better at $4.99 each and they can be read or written on any extant CD/DVD-R drive and (based solely on my experiences) tend to hold up much better than store bought media.

US thesp to attempt audacious tw*tdangle

Sonya Fox


May I ask what he'll do if nature calls? Being suspended in a transparent box in view of the public for 16 hours with only his clothes as a convenience sounds a bit like many a classic BOFH episode. Will he be forced to do it pigeon style then?

RIP tennis gal's DD jubs

Sonya Fox

I wouldn't do it

That does look like it would hurt like hell after a few rounds but if I were her I think I'd rather change careers. Surgery seems like kind of a drastic option.

Russians demand flying cars and telepathy

Sonya Fox

Flying cars

I don't know if anyone's noticed this or not but we already have flying cars. They're called helicopters and there's a very good reason they're expensive and not everyone is allowed to drive them.

CompuServe signs off

Sonya Fox

Am I that old?

I didn't think I'd ever get nostalgic about computers, but the first time I ever used the internet was in 1983 using a "state of the art" Kaypro II with a smashing 64KB of RAM and a 300Bps modem via CompuServe. That was so long ago 30 pound luggables like my Kaypro were still called "microcomputers" and they ran CP/M, none of that wimpy MS-DOS stuff. :) I was but a wee lass back then but it was great fun and a good way to waste time during the winter months. Its a shame to see them go, but not as much of a shame as it is too see great old companies like CompuServe, Maxtor and Compaq acquired then turned into low-end "value brands" by their purchasers.

In-building coverage: What’s the problem?

Sonya Fox

Passive repeaters work well for many applications

Here in the US, most department stores have metal roofs, which as a consequence of their metal supporting poles are grounded and create a shield that's all but impenetrable to even VHF radio waves. One thing I've seen done at least once in these stores, as well as in an underground tunnel is the use of a passive repeater, which can be a small directional antenna like a UHF yagi on the outside of the building (aimed at the nearest cell tower) connected to a UHF dipole inside via coaxial cable. Then you have a solution that uses no power, requires no maintenance or management, and gives relatively decent coverage where there otherwise would have been none at all.

DARPA: Can we have a one-cabinet petaflop supercomputer?

Sonya Fox

May be possible

I tend to hesitate to say something is impossible when referring to computers, given the staying power of stupid predictions (like Bill G's proclamation that 640KB is enough memory) but a petaflop in a cabinet is pretty unlikely in the foreseeable future. Shrinking current tech to the proper size is certainly possible but then the whole power/cooling thing becomes a huge problem as eventually you get to a point where Moore's law slows down and you can't fit enough electrons through your tiny traces to run your tiny transistors without literally melting the thing into oblivion.

Why would anyone run their own base station?

Sonya Fox

Wat, no phone jacks?

Why would anyone use a mobile phone at home when there's a perfectly good (read: dirt cheap) alternative sticking out of the wall? It seems like a hell of a lot better option than a mobile phone company providing poor service then charging customers extra to make it reliable.

Microsoft's Bing in travel trouble

Sonya Fox

Trolling for lawsuits

Other than the general layout it isn't that similar. All travel sites are layed out like that because it's convenient and obvious. Methinks someone might be not be able to see that because of the dollar signs welling up in their eyes.

Google eyeballs planted on 92% of top websites

Sonya Fox

I block them

I'm paranoid about these idiotic tracking cookies. Its a shame that companies like Google have to make the net irritating, especially when simply turning off cookies, even third party cookies, makes it impossible to log into legitimate websites. Opera has a nice feature that lets you accept or decline cookies, and remember to accept or decline for that domain in the future. Its a pain in the ass but it beats accepting tracking cookies from the likes of Zedo, Google, and Doubleclick.

Also, @AnonCow:

They didn't mean all of those services together, a site can use AdSense AND Google Analytics, etc...

Linutop 2

Sonya Fox

Its cute

Its cute but I can't really think of a use for it. Price-wise its way cheaper to build something yourself, the other day I assembled a 2.8GHZ Athlon/1GB RAM Micro ATX machine for under $45. There are other cheaper thin-client looking things out there that can probably work just as well. What I don't get is why it's always Linux? Specifically the most irritating distribution of Linux? They seem to be marketing this thing as sort of an embedded device, and I've always found NetBSD to work much better on embedded things. As an added bonus it lets you use cheaper, lighter non-x86 processors like the Super H, etc...

Google, Schmidt, and the Gray Lady Resuscitator™

Sonya Fox

Nothing new

"that will feed you the "high-quality news" you want - even when you don't realize you want it"

Isn't that the exact same thing as all of that "portal" nonsense a few years ago?

"sink in a cesspool of drivel"

That's already happened: Twitter, Wikipedia, pretty much every result of a Google search....

Mobile phones to get universal charger

Sonya Fox
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About time

Have you ever seen LG's charging jacks on their low end phones? Why do they think you would need a complicated and expensive, fragile, inch wide, locking 32 pin connector just to connect two wires? USB is a solidly built little connector and already works for everything. Applause for GSMA.

Facebook downplays eternal user data grab

Sonya Fox

Mark Fuckerburg...

...is a pretentious, conniving little twat.

"consistent with how other services like email work"

Hardly. When I signed up for e-mail there was nothing in the TOS about retaining any of my messages for even five minutes, let alone forever.

(Although it should be said that there isn't really any actual content on a social networking site.)

Missed flight woman goes absolutely mental

Sonya Fox

Re: Bad Beaver

"why would one be so disappointed about not being able to leave that place?"

Um, it's China? That's not reason enough for raving hysterics???

Apple fights iPhone unlocking (again)

Sonya Fox
Jobs Horns

Its not exactly the same

The car metaphor isn't entirely accurate as the car companies aren't offering to sell you a car for a thousand bucks in return for stapling your hood shut. Apple subsidizes the hardware with service plans. You pay $200 for the phone, which is likely less than it costs to manufacture, let alone make a profit on, so technically no, you don't own it-AT&T payed for most of it. It's not good for hackers, but it makes business sense at least.

Microsoft goes retail with own shops

Sonya Fox

Microsoft Wal-Mart?

If they're trying to compete with Apple's high-end boutique stores, I don't think hiring a guy from Wal-Mart will work. Wal-Mart's people know how to rake in tons of cash, but they do it by catering to the lowest common denominator. Considering how hard they've been pushing Vista, it's kind of ironic that Microsoft hired a guy from a store chain that makes most of its computer sales from low-end netbooks and sub-desktops running WinXP. Go figure.

Gates looses mosquitoes on tech conference bloodsuckers

Sonya Fox

Re; angry raving loony, andrew stevens

@angry raving loony

"It's about time that bloodsucking bastard got what's coming to him"

<sarcasm>That bastard! Where does he get off donating all of that money to charity? Someone really must put a stop to this, what a felonious cad!</sarcasm>

@ andrew stevens

"you spelt "fucking" wrong"

You spelled "fscking" wrong.

NEC shutters European PC biz

Sonya Fox

Quite a shame

If NEC computers are even half as good as their excellent optical drives, monitors and integrated circuits then its quite a shame to see them go. Unfortunately, NEC PCs have been discontinued for quite some time here in the US.

Apple banishes Macs to old folks home

Sonya Fox


I wonder if this will make the price go down for the old used G4s? I've always wanted a Power PC machine to run FreeBSD.

Apple rethinks battery bondage

Sonya Fox

Not that big of a deal

Its way cheaper just to dismantle the thing and replace the cells yourself, odds are the warranty's expired by the time the battery goes flat anyway. Mouser sells every kind of battery cell out there, and replacing them is a pretty trivial task if you can solder, but you have to replace them with exactly the same brand and model unless you want to have a pic of your incinerated notebook in the Reg. I'd sooner take my chances than shell out the big bux to them.

Woman jailed for texting while driving

Sonya Fox


There really do need to be stiffer penalties for poor driving, especially for drunken and phone related fatalities. While some cases include mitigating factors, for example if the victim was drunk and stumbled in front of car (obviously not the case here), this particular case is more or less equivalent to murder as she intentionally made a conscious decision to engage in an unnecessary activity which resulted in death and general mayhem. In an ideal world such gross stupidity would be thoroughly punished, however in the real world even massive fines and jailtime are unlikely to deter people like this, they will just continue in their destructive behavior until it gets them or someone else killed. In example, I live in the United States and penalties for drunk driving are quite stiff in my state, however it does absolutely nothing to stop the hordes of drunken teenage boys speeding across city streets and parking lots at two or three times the speed limit. They just don't care.

Ares I manned rocket section explodes in testing

Sonya Fox


That is one tremendously spectacular looking machine, though for my money I still do really like the shuttles. I'll be very sad when NASA finally retires them.

Memo to Microsoft: Enough with the SKUed Windows

Sonya Fox

My Two Cents...

Windows XP Professional SP3 is the best OS I have used in a long time, it does exactly what it needs to, has the advanced features like NTBackup, Group Policy Editor, Regedit, etc... that the lower versions lack, runs games and media applications exceptionally well and is generally very stable and well-mannered. It would be nice to see Microsoft release Windows 7 as a single version with approximately the same general feature set as WinXP SP3, with the option to install any of the other applications from the install CD. That would be what I would consider a "classy" OS. Windows Server 2008 can take care of the enterprise market.

Robot 'Spider-man' casts net to nab burglars

Sonya Fox


Seriously. You can't be afraid of that thing, can you? Its about as dangerous as a garden gnome. Something like this could only come from the country that brought us Hello Kitty and used panty vending machines.

Asus' angular laptop-of-the-future designs spied

Sonya Fox
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An end to the recent idiotic manufacturing trend to make things so rounded they're in danger of rolling off. I wish they'd do this with radios and camcorders.