* Posts by Andy Dent 2

24 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Jul 2009

US Navy blasts drones with ship-mounted LASER CANNON

Andy Dent 2

Re: Pulse is Infrare, So Silver Paint Probable Won't Make A Difference

As an Aussie and occasional backyard mechanic I can verify that a silver spanner left in the sun gets burningly hot very quickly regardless of the surface it is on. Nope, I don't think conduction through a wooden stool is doing it particularly when the stool is only getting a bit toasty to sit on but the spanner will cause an unwary mechanic to achieve orbital velocities when parking said mechanic's posterior on top.

How I nearly sold rocket windows to the crazy North Koreans

Andy Dent 2
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Re: Mixed lessons from history?

It's not at all believable that a modern jet engine can be copied. James Follett wrote a great book "Mirage" about the Israeli theft of the blueprints after France refused delivery of the planes. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mirage-James-Follett/dp/0749300035 It has a nice scene where an engineer explains how hard it is to reverse-engineer something as apparently simple as a cigarette lighter, let alone a jet engine.

GNOME project picks JavaScript as sole app dev language

Andy Dent 2

Re: Persistent storage, USB and keyboard connections

No, they mean language for your "first class in programming".

Why Java would still stink even if it weren't security swiss cheese

Andy Dent 2

Python - great to code, lousy to ship

I enjoy coding in Python too. Just wish it made it feasible to ship desktop apps built with it. WxPython was close to good enough for the GUI but the wrapping process was intensely painful (caveat, I haven't bothered looking for improvement in the last few years).

Cook's 'values' memo shows Apple has lost its soul

Andy Dent 2

Typical ignorant comment, I bet you're not a programmer or, if you are, you haven't bothered getting past your prejudices to study what Apple have been improving.

Behind the Kindle, under the iPad: an unholy alliance

Andy Dent 2
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Baen are Best

and most Baen books end up in monthly bundles a while after release where the effective price drops to about USD $3.

Did the iPad just save Wired, and Conde-Nast?

Andy Dent 2

Even more expensive paper in Oz

Last time I looked, a single issue of Wired was about $15 AU which is currently around $13 US.

Even subscriptions have typically been 2 to 3x the cost of US mags and although I'm the sort of person who would qualify for a lot of free subs to trade mags if I was in the US, shipping means they never offer those deals downunder.

I'm a bit underwhelmed with the Wired mag but it was an interesting buy to see what they are delivering. I can't see me buying more issues unless it came down dramatically in price though.

British Library sinks beneath Strategy Boutique spam

Andy Dent 2

Linked-in pathetic at spam reporting

Linked-in has no way to mark comments as spam and forces you to chase up the list owner who is the only person with authority to complain.

I have given up on most of the technical lists I subscribed to because of that low form of life known as the "Social Media Marketing Director".

Bill Gates chucks cash at climate cooling cloud creator

Andy Dent 2

Black roofs down under

In one of the most incredibly silly examples of fashion over function I've seen, the dominant house design in Perth, Western Australia, features a black tile roof and insufficient eaves to keep the sun off the windows in summer.

This depressing state of affairs has continue to grow over the last decade and the government's wimpy attempts to legislate "climate-friendly" points systems don't impose sufficient penalty to reverse it.

The roar of air-conditioning in summer drowns out the traffic noise in our street.

Voting chaos in not-fit-for-purpose electoral system

Andy Dent 2
Big Brother

Ask Australia

We too have PR although it doesn't get us better politicians.

Porky Visual Studio way over the hill

Andy Dent 2
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ObjectMaster nostalgia

I still mourn ObjectMaster http://www.artima.com/forums/flat.jsp?forum=106&thread=158259 although I agree with Eponymous Cowherd that the big productivity gain from modern IDE's is the Intellisense prompting for the API.

CodeBubbles looks like a worthy successor to ObjectMaster in some respects but only if it also allows you to skim through pages of code - OM still stored code in traditional source files and let you drill down to them from its Smalltalk-style 3-pane browser.

Google seeks $1bn flight search engine

Andy Dent 2

Lisp finally makes it into Mountain View!

Erann Gat is vindicated

from http://www.flownet.com/gat/jpl-lisp.html


I did try to introduce Lisp to Google. Having had some experience selling Lisp at JPL I got all my ducks in a row, had a cool demo going, showed it to all the other members of the ads team, and had them all convinced that this was a good idea. The only thing left was to get approval from the VP of engineering. The conversation went something like this:

Me: I'd like to talk to you about something...

Him: Let me guess - you want to use Smalltalk.

Me: Er, no...

Him: Lisp?

Me: Right.

Him: No way.

And that was the end of Lisp at Google. In retrospect I am not convinced that he made the wrong decision. The interchangeable component model of software engineers seemed to work reasonably well there. It's just not a business model in which I wish to be involved, at least not on the component-provider side.


Taiwanese chip co asks ITC to ban iPad imports

Andy Dent 2

Tog was here

Apple didn't patent multitouch in general because nobody could - it had been publicly disclosed by Tog years earlier when he was at Sun and did the Starfire video with "pinch to zoom".

I would also hope that a generic patent on using more than one finger on a surface would fail the test of obviousness.

Everybody wants to give two fingers to the computer at some point!

Ex-Sun man Bray takes on paranoid Android role at Google

Andy Dent 2

When did the iPhone start Censoring the Internet?

I'm not sure what planet Tim is on?

Yes, the AppStore has substantial and sometimes capricious limits on what Apps can do.

I hadnt' heard that Safari on iPhone was suddenly censoring the Internet as well!

Compliance bods treat Cebit to watersports

Andy Dent 2
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Navy Pier

There is a whole collection of such fountains in the gardens in Chicago's Navy Pier - I had a wonderful geeky time trying to work out if the pattern varied when we visited last summer.

Apart from accuracy, one of the mesmerising things about these fountains is the way there's a "slug" of water which cleanly describes part of the arc, with minimal trailing droplets.

Apple yanks Wi-Fi detectors from iTunes

Andy Dent 2

Apple improves violation detection, yawn

As "the Other Steve" explained so well - you sign a legally binding contract with Apple saying you will not engage in certain behaviours. It seems fairly obvious that Apple have improved their ability to detect such violations and people are now being caught.

Think of it as the AppStore equivalent of drug cheats in sport - lots of people do it, many get away with it and the authorities periodically make a significant improvement in their ability to catch people with a resulting peak in publicity of folks being caught.

It doesn't appear to represent any major change in the contract with the AppStore or Apple's attitude no matter whatever beat-up is used by the folks trying to justify themselves. They should consider themselves lucky that Apple don't go after them for the money they gained under a contract violation.

"Failure to catch you before now" does NOT equate to "endorsement then we changed our minds"!

iPhone must-have crowd inflates UK gadget insurance claims

Andy Dent 2
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Is there a slump when new models expected?

I was wondering if there is a corresponding slump in cases when a new model is expected? How many of these are people who have trashed or lost their phone who decide to hang out a few months until the new model is shipping.

Not sure if that counts as a minor fraud or not, unless they are signing a declaration as to the date of the incident.

This effect comes to mind because my wife's iPod was nicked and replaced under insurance the week before the new model came out with camera :-(

German electropulse energy drill bitchslaps lasers

Andy Dent 2


Head-mounted EMP

The new tool of choice for Water Environment Evil Dictators to fit to their sharks.

Mine's the one with the seeds in the pocket and the white cat hairs.

EU officially objects to Sunacle deal

Andy Dent 2

EU understands GPL

GPL is not Open Source it is a subset of Open Source.

The Oracle argument only holds up if Sun first release MySQL under a different license which allows commercial reuse of a fork without GPL viral restrictions or commercial penalties.

Giant megaships to suck 'stranded' Aussie gas fields

Andy Dent 2

Scary prospect if it leaks

There is currently a relatively small leak running from a traditional rig of the NW coast of Western Australia. "Just" a few hundred barrels a day, for seven weeks so far.

The most they have been able to do is use a dispersant so it mixes with the ocean and just poisons things en-mass instead of causing an ugly slick.


So, how much oil can one of these mega giga outside legal limits thingies leak if they screw up down on the sea floor?

Suicide bum-blast bombing startles Saudi prince

Andy Dent 2

Anyone remember Live Wire?

The Pierce Brosnan 1992 flick http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104743/ featured a liquid explosive that looked just like water but was triggered by contact with normal water including when people drank it. Now *that's* an internal explosive device!

All we need now is to have some polly fall asleep in front of the telly, wake up during a late-night rerun and think it''s a documentary and we'll have a total water ban in vulnerable public transport and buildings!

Xperia Pureness: The oddest mobile phone ever?

Andy Dent 2

SMS whilst Driving?

It seems obvious to me - translucent screen = "yes officer, I had my eyes on the road at all times" defence

Online minor marketing law marked web's 'worst'

Andy Dent 2
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Law bans marketing, not sales?

I haven't taken the time to look at the original legislation but as quoted in your report, it doesn't say they can't sell, just that they can't hang onto information for marketing.

I also wonder about this ambiguity:

"knowingly collect or receive health-related information or personal information for marketing purposes"

I can read that statement as:

a) "(collect or receive health-related information) OR (collect or receive personal information for marketing purposes)"


b) "(collect or receive health-related information or personal information) for marketing purposes"

b) is solely about using information for marketing.

a) is more serious as it stops them receiving health-related information for purposes such as advising on what drugs to buy, or not. That seems to lock out advisory services as well as sales.

I'm not a lawyer, just a programmer who spends his life looking for subtle ambiguities in code...

Tasered Oz man bursts into flames

Andy Dent 2

Petrol Sniffing realities

Every one of you making casual comments about petrol sniffing should go and see "Samson and Delilah" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1340123/ to get a realistic look at what sniffing is like in indigenous communities in OZ.

We were at the Perth premiere and captivated and saddened by the director Warwick Thornton's discussion of the movie held immediately after.

This story has been one of the biggest on Australian news and TV since it broke. From the police point of view, the only alternative would have been to shoot the guy. The police officer who Tasered him suffered such severe burns himself, trying to help the victim, that he also had to be flown to Perth for treatment.

We have had many shameful incidents here with mistreatment of indigenous people. This doesn't sound like one of them but rather an unhappy accident.