* Posts by DaiKiwi

53 posts • joined 21 Apr 2011


Why the Sun is setting on the Boeing 747


Re: Some dodgy facts in there

Or by flying into a volcano

Star Trek to go boldly back onto telly, then beam down in streams


Meanwhile... a continuation (not a reboot?)

In the mean time, there's always "Star Trek Continues" to get that original series feeling


Crazy Canucks heat their lab with muahaha-capable server


Re: SoCal IT

How hilarious? It'd be interesting to see the numbers.

And I could cry about the inadequacy of my PC in comparison.

Vint Cerf: Everything we do will be ERASED! You can't even find last 2 times I said this


Re: Not really much of a problem

The Toot 'n' Come In Motel, or some such. I remember reading it in a Readers Digest 25+ years ago. I must look it up...

Ok, I went & looked it up - It was an extract from David Macaulay's 'Motel of the Mysteries' (1979). Macaulay's book begins by noting that America was destroyed in 1985 when it was suddenly covered by a huge flood of junk mail, unleashed by an accidental reduction in postal rates, followed by the sudden fall of solid pollutants from the atmosphere, placing another layer over the buried country. Found it mentioned in a Locus magazine article about the Archaeology of the Future. Now to find the book - and some of the other stories mentioned in the article.

Facebook? More like FOGEYBOOK: Zuck's hangout is a cyber-retirement home


Addicted? Yeah right.

"49 per cent of its users are borderline addicts, accessing Instagram one or more times every day"

If I check my letterbox once a day does that make me a 'borderline addict' for mail? That is a stupid mis- or re-definition of the term 'addict' by the researchers.

Proxima and Ultima: AI, hard sci-fi and multiverse – All good. Romans – not so much


But Romans were never explorers in the sense that the European kingdoms of the 16th-18th centuries were. Roman traders used existing trade routes rather than trailblazing.

Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US has radicalised me!


Broke? - Yeah Right

Not exactly know for living an abstemious lifestyle in the interim. And what has he got stashed away in his Family Trust?

Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9


Re: some visual polish and not a lot else

"Its a joke that calculator is pretty much unchanged since windows 95"

It emulates a handheld calculator. How much does it need to change? Though Win7 has added programmer and statistics skins as well as standard and scientific, meaning it is as useful as a Casio fx-82.


Large Gov't department upgrading from, XP to 7 earlier this year. Very locked down desktops in both cases. The upgrade experience was:

95% of staff: This is the new desktop. Click on 'all programs' to see your available programs. All your bookmarks in IE are still there.

4% of staff: This is the new desktop, Please note that some of your Citrix programs are in different folders and you can use Firefox instead of IE if you want. All your bookmarks in IE are still there.

1% of staff: not relevent for the purpose of this example - they're the non-outsourced IT staff.

Limits to Growth is a pile of steaming doggy-doo based on total cobblers


Re: Watch the Funny Man!

Remembering also that one of the contributing factors to "easier" is laxer safety and environmental restrictions when yield is on the same order.


Re: Denarius Enery is the secret

"It is often quoted that the whole World's human population could be fitted onto the Isle of White if standing shoulder to shoulder."

Only when the world's population was less than a couple of billion. John Brunner got the current scale right when he said 'Stand on Zanzibar' (7+ billion, ~1500 sq km). With a more generous 3 people per sq m we might be able to stand on Réunion (2500 sq km)

ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial


Re: Point of Order


Forget superstars, this HYPERGIANT star is 1,300 times the size of OUR SUN


Bright Light! Bright Light!

By rough calcualtions, if it was at the same distance as Alpha Centauri or Sirius (4-8 ly) it would be brighter than the full moon. If it was 300 ly away it would be still be visible during the day.

Feline OVERLORDS ditch camera-toting human servants, film selfie vids


Once upon a time...

...Cats were worshipped as gods.

They have never let humans forget this.


Re: Bird massacres

"Does it run Windows or Android? (I'm assuming not iOS because Apple won't let anyone else put their OS in another device.)"

A beta version of Android 4.4 - Kit-Kat. What else could it be?

Techies with Asperger's? Yes, we are a little different...


Re: Noise pollution - Pubs & hearing CRTs

That description fits me to a T, although nowadays my hearing cuts out at about 16kHz, so I probably couldn't hear the CRTs even if there were any about the office. Refresh rates that co-workers were happy with bugged me. In a a job I once had that had hot desking I used to go around the computers after work and reset the refresh rates to 80/85Hz.

NSA admits slurping thousands of domestic emails with no terror connection

Black Helicopters

Re: NSA is doing it wrong...

@Marketing Hack

You know, the odd thing is that I could swear I've read SF stories along those lines in the past few years.

Of course, unlike the Cleve Cartmill affair, the magazines these days wouldn't be able to tell us if one of the TLAs had come a'knocking.

Win XP alive and kicking despite 2014 kill switch (Don't ask about Win 8)


Within the margin of error?

I went to the netmarketshare site and looked at the trend for Aug '11 to July '13. This is the fifth occasion that XP has shown an increase in any given month over that period of time, set against a general decline in its market share from 52% to 37%. From this I conclude that even though the sample population is large - 160m unique IPs? - there is still going to be month-to-month variation, possibly up to 1 percentage point.

Texas teen jailed for four months over sarcastic Facebook comment

Black Helicopters

Re: Innapriarte reaction

"Couldn't they [drones] be automatically linked to facebook/twitter so these terrorists are taken out automatically without risk to the police?"

Oddly enough, Charles Stross mentions this idea in his latest blog entry. Interesting discussion in the comments there too.

Privacy expert dismisses PRISM-busting typeface as 'art project'


Re: "buy a pigeon"

The third problem is making sure they stay bought

Kim Dotcom victim of 'largest data MASSACRE in history'


Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"I know what my preference would be, even if I could only afford a public defender"

Yeah, I know what mine would be too - Aussie, Canada and New Zealand all have better legal aid systems than the US. The NZ judges seem to be doing a pretty good job in keeping the prosecution honest in the Dotcom case too.

We want to put a KILL SWITCH into your PHONE, say Feds

Big Brother


"TSA breaks guitars"

There could be a youtube hit in it - but only if you never want to fly anywhere ever again.

Wikimedia edges closer to banishing Wikitext


Does it matter?

Since most editing takes place within the paras etc, does it really make a difference? No knowledge of mark-up language was needed for that. It will probably even out to the current level. Probably. Over a sufficiently large sample. On average. I guess.

Oh, OK, it will be a bl**dy disaster!

Continued lack of women in tech bemoaned by ex-techie lady MP


Re: Woman who gives up,

Because an engineer sees society as an immensly complex machine with a myriad of interacting feedback mechanisms which require adjusting from time to time?

British bookworms deem Amazon 'evil'


Re: Tablets

Could you do black background and (dark) red text? That's what astronomy software does to protect your night vision. I find Cool Reader's white on black dims pretty well - so much so that if I don't reset it I can't see the text in daylight.


Re: The eBook Problem

It isn't the retailer, its the publisher that is the problem here. It would be great to have a bundled deal available.

For a number of years SF publisher Baen Books have included a CD with some hardcover releases with DRM-free e-editions of the book, previous books in the series, other works by the author and other bonus material.

Of course Baen were also the first publisher to encourage their authors to make one or more of their books available online for free as a 'taster'.

Space elevators, vacuum chutes: What next for big rocket tech?


Lunar Catapult

I think we have to add Robert Heinlein to the mix, with the linear accelerator described in "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress", which delivered payloads to earth.

Inuit all along: Pirate Bay flees Sweden for Greenland


Re: If TPB dies

JDX @ 18:52 wrote:

"Weren't there some stats in the news recently suggesting sales HAD increased due to strict anti-piracy laws? I forget the details, maybe someone can recall..."

It was to do with the closure of Megaupload last year. Allegedly sales & rentals rose 4-10%.


I seem to recall reports before Megaupload closed to the effect that internet traffic to/from file lockers exceeded torrent traffic. If so, then shutting down all the torrent sites - not just the flag carrier TBP - will likely increase sales by no more than 10% again.


Re: I don't even use TPB...

Buy her a cheap no-name chinese DVD player. They are often region free, and if not, have easily findable codes for setting them up all-region via the remote. Many major brand players do too.

Rocket boffinry in pictures: Gulp the Devil's venom and light a match


Upgoer Five

Nice article. And now, the Saturn Five explained in 'Basic English', with blueprint.


Keyboard, you're not my type

Thumb Up

Re: PS/2?

The 2012-released AM3+ motherboard I bought last month has one.

New Zealand court hands out second peppercorn downloading penalty


Film Studio Cheapskates

What is also interesting is that not one single notice has been issued by the film bodies because they refuse to pay the NZ$25 (US$20/£13) per time processing fee.

Perhaps that shows more clearly how much damage the film/TV industry *really* thinks that torrenting is doing in NZ?

British games company says it owns the idea of space marines


Re: They can have "Space Marine"

"Space Cowboyy"? Where's Bat Durston when you need him?

Flames - cos there's a rocket ship.

Paper computers: Not mere pulp fiction


Re: Paper and Future-proof

Your arguments are more applicable against the Amazon model than ebooks generally: When you buy an ebook from Amazon you don't own it. What you have is a license to use it for a while. Per their conditions of use Amazon reserves the right to refuse service, terminate accounts, remove or edit content, or cancel orders at their sole discretion. And, as you say, they are encrypted. Can you imagine if every physical book you owned had its own different lock and key, like church bibles in the days before the printing press? How long before you lost some of the keys, or forgot which belonged to which?

Still, physical books are subject to loss by fire, earthquake, flood, tornado, theft, silverfish, pulp degrading, etc. Insurance might replace your books after a disaster, but they won't be the same editions, and some may not be available at all, even after a long hunt through the online & physical second hand stores. How many copies from a print run of, say, 50,000 are left after 40 or 100 years? It isn't quite in the "yesterday's news, tomorrow's chip paper" category, but not a great percentage.

With other publishers and retailers (e.g. Baen Books and the recently departed Fictionwise.com) you get the book in a choice of formats and *no* DRM. Epub is an open format - basically an xml file in a zip wrapper. A backup of your ebooks can be kept in many locations - on your home PC, on a usb stick at your office, on some cloud service, whatever you want.

Being dropped in a hot bath won't necessarily destroy a book, but it won't do it much good and will show permanent damage even after drying. I have found that a ziplock bag solves the ereader-in-bath problem.

I like my tablet, and keep many books and magazines on it, with the selection changing every few months as the mood takes me. I also still spend far too much money on physical books, both new and second hand. Both have their place.

And as for the paperless office? I've been hearing businesses talk about it for the past 25 years and am still waiting. At least most books published and paper made in Europe, North America and Australasia comes from renewable resources - forest plantations rather than old growth forest.

Linux kernel dumps 386 chip support


Re: 386?

"An abacus? We had to do our calculations with rings of giant stones, and it took the machine 31,557,600 seconds for one clock cycle!"

I thought it was 31,556,925 and a half seconds.

Or was that the mark II?

NASA: 'Those life-on-Mars rumors? Chill, dudes and dudettes'


Under the microscope

Current organics - I don't hold any hope of seeing any. Never have,

Finding some half-billion year old micro-fossils would be a cool enough discovery for me.

Habitable HEAVY GRAVITY WORLD found just 42 light-years away


Re: EE 'Doc' Smith? Larry Niven?

"The Golden Age of science fiction is twelve."

iPad Mini vs Nexus 7: inch makes all the difference, says Apple CEO


No Sale.

That extra inch apparently means a width of 5.3 inches - about a third to half an inch wider than the various 7" Android tablets.

The 7" Androids fit snugly in the inside pocket of all of my jackets - be they casual, leather, suit or even tails. The extra centimeter makes the the mini-iPad too wide to fit in most of them, and therefore of no use to me, even if I was going to consider it otherwise.

Network sniffing algorithm could have fingered 9/11 suspects

Thumb Down

Founder Effect/Self-selection Bias?

"...a detailed model of the network of roads and waterways that could have spread the disease from village to village..."

"...a computer simulation of the telephone calls that could have occurred during the terrorist attacks..."

Not a model of all the roads, paths & waterways that exist in the area, just the ones they think the disease could have travelled along? And not a record of calls etc that really happened, but ones that they've made up that they think might be like the ones that might have happened?

Opera updated following unexplained Outlook.com lockout


If you don't like these standards we have others

Typical of Microsoft - our websites only work properly if you use our browser.

SHEEP NEED TWITTER, insist my noble Lords


Re: Bollocks

That is precisely the conservative point of view.

Rural areas don't deserve the additional infrastructure because it isn't worthwhile.

Unless some duke/earl/internet billionaire is in a given area, in which case exceptions will be found.

Jackson’s Hobbit becomes a trilogy


Too much padding?

How can they manage to turn a 300 page novel into films running six to eight hours?

(Anyone want to bet that any of the three parts will run less than two hours?)

My favourite Jackson film is "Forgotten Silver", followed by "Meet The Feebles".

50 years in SPAAAAACE: Telstar celebrates half-century since launch


Re: Clarke's Stations: Not Manned

I liked George O Smith's "Venus Equilateral" series, and reread it earlier this year. It is a great example of a SF writer extrapolating from the best knowledge of the time. It is also an example of how unforseen and perhaps unforseeable discoveries and advances invalidate the basic assumptions that the story is built on.

I must see if there are any interviews with Smith, who died in 1981, comparing VE with how space communication actually played out.

Oz ISPs propose copyright enforcement trial


A novel idea

Actually running a trial and evaluating its cost and effectiveness at the end, rather than just passing untested three-strikes legislation at the behest of US interests. Wish they'd done that here in NZ.

Amazon Kindle Fire


As a quick rule of thumb...

Take a standard CD case and see if it'll go in the pocket. For most of my inside jacket pockets the answer is 'yes'.


No card slot = No go

My Nook Color works quite nicely on Cyanogen, I'm sure the Tablet will do even better once a stable release comes out, which probably won't be too long.

Re. 'rediculous' glare - that's what the brightness control was invented for!

Tablets need permanent Black Friday price slash to triumph


When is a tablet not a tablet?

"Seven-inch models represented just 2 per cent of volume tablet sales"

Unless you factor the Nook Color's sales into the numbers.

Why was it the NC counted as an e-reader, so was excluded from any 'tablet' sales figures, but the Kindle Fire is deemed a tablet? Both are crippled and restricted to the insides of their walled gardens in much the same way unless rooted/hacked. Personally, I think excluding the NC has skewed both reports and perceptions of the market over the past 12 months.

Dick Smith faces tricky times


Ditto in my location. They 'upgraded the customer experience' a couple of months ago and removed all the components etc. For what, more TVs and a Kindle display?

Royal rugby star bar snog CCTV upload - bouncer in court


pretty normal

First appearance - is normally the day after arrest/charge. Next appearance 14 or 21 days later to enter a plea. How much longer it goes on after that depends on if he pleads guilty or wants to fight it out.

How are we going to search our hard disks now?


Copernic 2

Agreed. I made the mistake of 'upgraging' to ver3 once. What a great leap backwards. Ver2 mostly does what I need, and is very handy for foing full text sarches - if only it would read inside .rar files.



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