* Posts by NumptyScrub

741 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Jun 2010


Bill Gates debunks 'coronavirus vaccine is my 5G mind control microchip implant' conspiracy theory


Re: This is a typical method of the secret services

"This is how the secret services control the narrative", presented as a comment on an article about someone having to publicly deny an obviously idiotic conspiracy theory, is probably the reason why it has garnered downvotes. I re-read that post a couple of times, and while I'm still not sure if I'm parsing it correctly, that post appears to be suggesting that the idiotic conspiracy theory in the original article is in fact a plant by the secret services, as part of an attempt to control the narrative. Which sounds like a conspiracy theory itself, at least to me.

You are surprised that it would get downvotes in that context? I would have been surprised if it did not get downvotes in that context ^^;

If the Solar System's 'Planet Nine' is actually a small black hole, here's how we could detect it... wait, what?


Re: Great just what I need in 2020

Calm down, the worst is yet to come, China just reported about a new even worse virus found in Kazakhstan.



Another anti-immigrant rant goes viral in America – and this time it's by a British, er, immigrant tech CEO


Re: adults pass it down to the children

Ok fair enough, I thought it would be fairly obvious but that is obviously not the case. It's a slang term for the male urinary meatus, aka the hole where wee comes out, and I honestly am staggered by how long I considered it acceptable to use in conversation. It's amazing how you can develop blind spots like that for conversation practises.


Re: adults pass it down to the children

The UK has been casually racist for decades if not centuries, so you are spot on there. Also you are spot on with the "us / not us" distinction that we naturally gravitate to, being the underlying cause of bigoted behaviour.

Looking back at my early behaviour as a child I would argue that we do pick this up young; I was, back then, what I would now consider a racist little shit. And it was not that I specifically decided that non-white people somehow had less value, it was that UK society at the time had this undercurrent of non-white people somehow having less value which I picked up on. My childhood era is one containing Jim Davidson's line of "Chalky" jokes, and where Robinsons marmalade still had the offensive icon on the label, and the artist who drew TinTin apparently used to work at Robinsons. Friends of mine still use racially charged terms for anatomy without even thinking about it because "that's what we've always called that". I'm not going to mention which part of anatomy, but I'm pretty sure any UK citizen over the age of 30 can work it out. And it is an inherently racist term, no matter that "nobody means anything bad by it" when they use it.

There will always be an "us and them" mentality as this is default brain behaviour, that we probably cannot eradicate. But we can work to stop the denigration and ostracising of "them" based purely on being "them" instead of "us". We can work to stop the use of slurs, we can work to stop the implicit messaging of "less worth" based on language and phrasing, all of which gives kids the opportunity to grow up without similar (unconscious?) bias getting baked in to their world view. I try to be less of a shit now, but it is worrying how easy it is to slip back in to 80s UK mindset and say something which is unacceptable now, and quite frankly should be unacceptable now.

University ordered to stop running women-only job ads


Re: You can't advertise jobs for just women

Internal career and development programs can have just as much gender bias as recruitment programs though? Development programs are not a unique object inside an organisation either, you can have male focused programs and female focused programs simultaneously, and use the one specific to the gender identity of the person you are dealing with.

I appreciate the point you believe you are making, but it is not a bad thing to have resources tailored for specific members of the workforce, whose needs differ from other members of the workforce. Whether that difference is gender based, cultural, or physical (people with mobility issues for instance) any diverse workforce will have employees with differing needs or requirements, and the employer should be willing to meet those needs and requirements with tailored solutions where possible. At least in my opinion, anyway.

Disclaimer: I work for an employer whose workforce is dominantly (>75%) female and as a male, I do not feel misrepresented or a minority in the workforce. This is often not the case in the reversed situation, where it should absolutely be possible to have the "minority" gender feel included and represented.

Brits pay £490m extra for mobes they already own – Citizens Advice


Re: Astonishing isn't it

There comes a point where it's just a stupidity tax that we should let those people pay.

If we're going down the victim blaming road, how far are you willing to travel before you change from "it's their fault they got conned" to "that's fraud and should be punished"?

It is entirely within the bounds of technology to drop the tariff to the equivalent SIM-only price once the initial term is over, and if the customer is paying Direct Debit this can be an entirely automated process. It is also entirely possible to show both figures at time of purchase (monthly cost for the first 24 months, and monthly cost thereafter), so that consumers can make an informed choice when choosing a particular deal.

Is it really the fault of the customer that they are being charged for a product that has already been delivered, or the fault of the provider for choosing not to implement a technical solution that would resolve the issue entirely?

And in current affairs: Rogue raccoon blacks out city power grid after shocking misstep


We don't live in a spaceship, we live on a rock, inside a maelstrom of (mostly) smaller rocks, floating around a giant unshielded nuclear reactor.

People being callous about a self-immolating raccoon is the least of your worries, trust me. ;)

In-flight movies via BYOD? Just what I always wan... argh no we’re all going to die!


Re: Do not disturb

Is available, in the form of bose QC-series noise cancelling headphones. Several shades more than £50, and if you're an audiophile then you'll probably want to throw yourself out at 37,000ft due to their inability to reach ultrasonic, "unfaithful" 14.7kHz frequency response or some other reason I don't understand.

However, they are incredibly good at blocking engine noise, cabin announcements, screaming babies, and usually the dollies get the hint that you're completely oblivious to any attempt at communication whatsoever whilst you remain blissfully unaware.

I got a pair of (refurbished) QC-20 as an impulse Vegas purchase a while back, and the active noise cancelling is indeed superb. They utterly wiped out any trace of engine noise on the flight back, and the sound reproduction is pretty good (I'm not an audiophile so I couldn't give a shit about perfection).

It's a lot of money for a tiny pair of in-ear headphones, but if you have a use case for turning the outside world off they certainly fit the bill :)

Brit polar vessel christened RRS Sir David Attenborough


Re: It just goes to show

The Public was not being asked to CHOOSE the name, merely come up with suggestions. According to the news reports NERC clearly stated they would choose the name. As for the whole "yes it was suitable because lots of people on the internet voted".. you really don't get British humour do you? We have made a glorious history of being wildly inappropriate (rightly or wrongly) because we think it's funny (rightly or wrongly) and "suitability" has not even had a walk on part.

I get exactly what you are saying, however every piece of coverage I've seen for this mentions that lots of people "voted" for a particular suggestion after it had been made. If you are asking simply for a list of suggestions, then any kind of "like" or "vote" functionality is irrelevant and thus shouldn't be present, only the method of providing your suggestion.

Yes, we all knew they would ignore the silly options, but if they are going to allow for voting on the suggestions as part of their site, then that's their own petard they seem to have been caught on... what people are seeing is some form of reneging on an implicit (unspoken) vote even though they knew the favourite was unlikely to ever be picked.

Not sure where "you really don't get British humour" came from either, given I was supporting the premise that they should have gone with the popular choice, rather than the sensible one.

Yours sincerely,

Disgusted of Kent


Re: It just goes to show

No it doesn't. It goes to show that voting for suggestions that are unsuitable or inappropriate may not get past the judging panel who have to actually make the real decision, and answer for it.

If a specific choice gets more than 4 times the votes of any other choice, then that choice is, by the very definition of "democratic", considered both suitable and appropriate by the majority, otherwise it wouldn't have been voted for.

Just because you disagree with it does not make it the wrong choice. I disagree with the notion that the British Nationalist Party are either suitable or appropriate for power, however I am honour bound to accept that if they get voted in that it is the will of the population.

"Boaty McBoatface" was also the will of the population.

Rampant robot tries to rip my clothes off


Re: "We are the robots."

The Daily Mail is evil paedos, and pre-pubescent daughter of celebrity is "all grown up now"

I'd like to think that the editor/publishers realise the irony of presenting those 2 topics simultaneously. How likely do you think that actually is though? ^^;

Brit spies can legally hack PCs and phones, say Brit spies' overseers


You think they get turned on by the sound of snoring and farting?

Do a google search for that, and prepare to be amazed at just how far down the Rule 34 rabbit hole goes...

Also have a bottle of vodka handy so you can attempt to erase the memories :'(


Re: So electronic records are tainted evidence

You're going to have to explain how his makes for "tainted" evidence.

You mean, as in a situation where the evidence that CPSA are relying on in court to convict you, is evidence that GCHQ have all the access and legal ability to have created or edited on your PC. Because it is entirely legal for them to access your computer and tamper with the data held therein.

This leads to the conclusion that any computer data used as evidence in the UK is subject to the potential for it having been (completely legally) tampered with by GCHQ or any of it's authorised agents at any point during that data's lifetime.

AI no longer needs to fake it. Just don't try talking to your robots


What happens when it reaches the inevitable conclusion that the best thing for humanity is a dose of "tough love".

The same thing that happens when actual humans come to the same conclusion. We have thousands of years of history documenting many such cases, for a myriad of reasons (mostly they all boil down to fear or greed though).

I love you. I will kill you! I want to make love to you: The evolution of AI in pop culture


Re: "what it is that makes us human when computers and machines can educate themselves"

I have yet to see a machine that can learn chess without any programming, then learn backgammon, then move on to learning knitting and finally learn how to plan and build a wall.

I've yet to see a human "learn" chess without being given the ruleset and running many simulation sequences as practise. Similarly backgammon, knitting and even bricklaying are all "taught" to people by providing them with the relevant rules / framework and then allowing them to run multiple simulation sequences, correcting errors until the results are considered acceptable.

I'm not sure how different that process is to what you would mean by "programming an AI", but my massively rusty neural network experience would suggest that they are not that dissimilar at all ;)

UK citizens will have to pay government to spy on them


Re: Pay for the privilege?

First rule of downvote club, don't talk about downvote club ;)

It is however potentially that some people saw the first inklings of a revisit to the "poorhouse" concept there; people in prison being used as indentured servitude ostensibly to "pay for their incarceration", inevitably ending up being a source of revenue for their incarcerators, and eventually being treated as such.

From a human perspective, IMO it is far better to keep prisons as a cost centre rather than a revenue stream, it avoids all the potential exploitative behaviour in the first place.


Re: 15TB?

A wget randomiser could fill those disks without impacting bandwidth much.

Civil disobedience. Would the ISPs then start charging for accessing too many web pages?

No, the government would just make "using technical measures to tamper with metadata retention techniques" a crime. After all, nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

Remember kids, any time you hear a politician state "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" the correct response is "can I have a copy of your expenses claims for the last 12 months then?" ;)

Time Lords set for three-week battle over leap seconds


Re: Why stop there?

I'll tell you a funny thing. There are still lots of us about who learned how to deal with this system at school. It didn't kill us, and we still remember the numbers (16, 14, 8 and 20, since you ask).

Oh I remember them myself, along with l/s/d currency, and inch -> foot -> yard -> chain -> furlong -> mile for length.

Metric / SI units are far more straightforward and easier to learn, IMO :)


Re: Why stop there?

Quite true. The metric enthusiasts mock our old ponds and ounces. But given a pair of scales (just scales, no weights) would you prefer the task of dividing a pound of sugar into 16 ounces or a kilo of sugar into 10 lots of 100gm?

So remind me again, how many ounces to a pound, how many pounds to a stone, how many stone to a hundredweight, and how many hundredweight to a ton? Because none of those are the same factor as any of the others.

Also there are 2 different hundredweights and 2 different tons.

Metric, for all it's faults, is far less confusing when trying to learn the various measures; just learn the SI prefixes and you are good to go with mass, length, and volume right away ;)

Yamaha unleashes motorcycling robot


Re: It was a long time ago ....

Keeping the turn controlled at high speed, on the other hand, requires a degree of concentration (and good sphincter control) if you want to avoid messy accidents.

Playmobil cops broadside for 'racist' pirate slave


Re: Common Lego !!

I'm not generally one of the PC brigade, but in this case I think they should pull it. The "context" is not attached to the figurine; at the end of the day, that is a black slave toy with a slave collar around its neck. If it was on its own in a box labelled "Black Slave Figurine with Slave Collar", I would have a problem with that, every bit as much as I would have a problem with a "Jew Concentration Camp Victim" figurine, for example.

Have you noticed that the pirate captain model (30 00 9632) is apparently female? 30 00 9612 has the exact same skin tone as 9622 but no slave collar, so it would appear to be a pirate crew of the oppressed, possibly fighting against "the man" and liberating the downtrodden on the way. It'll be an easy sell if your child asks awkward questions, anyway ;)

Anyway, I give it 10 minutes before some kid puts the captain hat on 9622 "because it looks better" and the collar either gets lost or put on some other model entirely. Kids don't care about social justice undertones, they just want cool pirate models that have swordfights and dig up treasure. And can fly, for some reason. And sometimes have laser vision.

Kids are pretty cool :)

332M Kick Ass pirates get asses kicked by scareware ass-kickers


Re: Seriously?

Victim blaming? I know some people are almost literally thicker than mud, but that doesn't make con artists any less culpable. Stating someone "deserved" to be a victim of crime is something I would prefer people stopped doing, it takes away from the point that the crime should never have happened in the first place.

ALIENS on CERES? Nope – it's just dwarf's tucked away MOIST BITS


so in a near 5 billion years only one piece of ice has hit it?

In a near 2 weeks some ice I made in my freezer has almost completely sublimed away, leaving a sliver at the bottom of the ice trays. This is direct, personal experience of water ice sublimation on a short timescale.

Big blocks of ice on an otherwise dry, rocky asteroid will take longer to sublime away, but they sure as hell won't last forever. You may need to revise your "only one piece in" timescales down to maybe 1 million years, or perhaps only 10,000 years if it's only a few tonnes of ice smashed into small chunks.

"So in the last 100,000 years only one piece of ice has hit it?" sounds far more plausible to me, YMMV though ;)

Astroboffins EYEBALL 13 BEELLION-year-old galaxy far, far, farthest away from Earth


Questioning orthodoxy is pro-science (IMHO anyway) as any true scientist will constantly test and refine existing theories, especially where theory and observation are slightly at odds. Much like climate science, if your model predicts warming over 20 years, and you do not observe warming during that time, you should probably refine your model. If your model predicts that you'll see nothing older than 13by, and you see something older than 13by, then you need to revisit the model (or you have an Outside Context Problem).

In Joerg's case, I value that they are questioning current theories. What's missing is any kind of counter-proposal which fits that data that they are disputing. It's easy claiming that Theory A is wrong, but good science is being able to propose Theory B which fits the observations better.

Where's "Theory B" Joerg? Where is the masterfully crafted theory that explains all these things which you find lacking in the current orthodoxy?

Ashley Madison invites red-faced cheats to bolt stable door for free


Re: Odd modus operandi

This isn't a Hollywood movie and most people aren't cosy with Mafia types, so that's all rather a bit far fetched don't you think?

This isn't Hollywood, this is the same Real Life that had the US physically invade Iraq and deliberately depose the existing government, because they didn't like the existing government. Is that how a sane and developed First World nation is supposed to act in Real Life when dealing with other sovereign nations?

Sometimes you really couldn't make this shit up, and depending on how much power some of these butthurt adulterous leches actually have (Congressmen maybe?), I would venture to suggest that some of the wacko suggestions about people getting offed because of this aren't actually as unlikely as some might think. Art imitates life, and absolute power corrupts absolutely...

Google robo-car in rear-end smash – but cack-handed human blamed


I'd suggest that these events are probably representative of driver experience in that locality. For us meatsack drivers, this is (literally) just another vehicle on the road, and will be treated as such by other drivers. Possibly a minority might recognise it as an autonomous vehicle, but anyone paying that much attention to be able to do so is (in my experience) the exception rather than the rule :'(

FBI probe physical intrusions into Californian internet cables


Re: Founding fathers terrorists? Hardly

Comparing (or alluding to) the Founding Fathers of the US as terrorists (e.g. ISIS) is absurd.

The Founding Fathers work was built upon that of insurgents. People who fought and killed soldiers working for the (then) legitimate government. They were Patriots, absolutely, because they were working to free the Colony from a corrupt and hated regime. That's how they were viewed by one side in the conflict, but the other side absolutely saw them as insurgents who turned to armed revolt; aka terrorism.

From the current US FBI definition of Terrorism:

"Domestic terrorism" means activities with the following three characteristics:

*Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;

*Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and

*Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

Some of the actions of the Patriots during the American Revolution are going to fall foul of that definition, if you look at it from the point of view of the (corrupt, hated) UK Parliament.

I am not saying they are ISIS, but I am saying they are both terrorists (as per the FBI definition of terrorist) as well as freedom fighters, and the difference is purely which side you look at them from. I've not heard of any renowned freedom fighters who, when viewed from the point of view of the other side, wouldn't be classed as terrorists, however if you are aware of any I'd be happy to hear about them :)

The only thing the headchoppers want is a totalitarian nation (aka Caliphate) where there is your hated "my world view is the only world view" in full display, as it were.

Actually I am lamenting the prevalence of such a polarised viewpoint here in the West. Where people are being told that "terrorists" are always and inherently evil, that government surveillance is always and inherently benign, and various other "truisms" that are trivially disputable with just a basic knowledge of history.

For instance, I do hope that the "headchoppers" you mention are, in your own view, the tiny minority of violent fuckwits actually in ISIS or Al Qaeda (or the various IRAs, or any of the Christian terrorist groups), and that you are not using that term in a potentially bigoted manner. The Christian groups who perpetrate attacks on abortion clinics feel that they are doing God's work (they think they are Freedom Fighters) even though their acts are blatantly Domestic Terrorism as defined by the FBI, and they are just as guilty of trying to force their own world view on us as any other terrorist organisation.


Timothy McVey, American, white Christian terrorist responsible for the Oklahoma bombing on US soil! Some people should really learn abut their own country's history.

In a former colony that only celebrates it's "Independance", because of armed insurrection against the legitimate government at the time*, no less. I daren't turn my irony meter on, I'd never reach minimum safe distance in time ^^;

* one side's "terrorist" (or insurgent) is the other side's "freedom fighter" and it has always, and will always, be that way. You cannot condone (or vilify) one, without implicitly condoning / vilifying the other at the same time. Like when you overthrow the (at the time) legitimate government of Iraq, you are foreign terrorists running a campaign of violence against the State, whilst simultaneously being Freedom Fighters for the people, overthrowing a corrupt and hated regime. If you condone the freedom fighting aspect, you are implicitly condoning the violent anti-State terrorism as well, because it's just a different spin on exactly the same behaviour.

The frequency with which I see signs of cognitive dissonance on people's faces when trying to explain that duality, worries me. They've bought into the whole "my world view is the only world view" bullshit which allows Terrorists to be considered a different thing to Freedom Fighters, rather than being 2 sides of the same coin. You can't eradicate Terrorism without removing the need for Freedom Fighters, and you'll only avoid the existence of Freedom Fighters if you never piss off anyone.

As a government, you pretty much can't eradicate Terrorism. :'(


ISIS / ISIL etc. have stolen my lime light.

Your role has apparently been outsourced to a more cost effective supplier ^^;

Cell division: The engine of life – and of CANCER. Now some of its secrets are revealed


Re: At the risk of sounding frivolous ...

By analogy to cryptography: "cell division causes cancer, so we ought to prohibit it".

Not quite, I'd assert that the correct analogy is "cancer cells use cell division to propagate, so any cell that uses cell division should be suspected of cancerous activities!"

It would also seem to suggest that the "cure" could be enacted by allowing the proper authorities unfettered surveillance of all cell division activities, so they can act upon any cancerous divisions and keep us all safe :)

'The server broke and so did my back on the flight to fix it'


Re: graeme@the-leggetts.org.uk

Plus also it takes a fairly massive dose of it to do any sort of damage, more than a mentally stable person would actually take.

People suffering from severe pain are not renowned for their acute mental faculties and diligent decision making processes. In fact in my experience, otherwise intelligent people suffering from severe pain will often gobble anything that remotely looks like it will help, and keep doing so until it feels like it is helping.

Or in other words, people in serious pain are not necessarily classifiable as "mentally stable" as per your definition :(

Humongous headsets and virtual insanity


I think you underestimate how many non-devs have bought the devkit. Devs won't be ditching theirs to CeX, that's a consumer establishment (real devs will just chuck it in a cupboard "in case it comes in useful later", or fob it off on the new guy) ;)

The one you saw in CeX will be a consumer (like me) who bought one and then realised there was still a dearth of stuff that actually used it, what with it being a devkit and all.

The killer app for me was Elite: Dangerous, but EVE: Valkyrie, Star Citizen, Assetto Corsa, Project CARS, and a whole host of others are now turning up, so I don't feel like I wasted money on the thing.

I just need to decide if I'll get the Vive when it releases, or wait for the Rift CV1... ^^;


Re: AR vs. VR

I would imagine Occulus is the death of Mouse and Keyboard gaming. If you can't see your hands, it's pretty much simple game controller only.

Consoles were the death knell for mouse+keyboard gaming; as an old Doom/Quake nerd I can confidently state I am maybe 80% efficient in current FPS titles using an Xbox controller, versus those same titles using mouse and keyboard. There are some titles (e.g. Payday 2, Warframe) that I play using a pad on the PC in preference to mouse and keyboard; I'd be more accurate using kb/m but I'm more comfortable actually using the pad.

You can also have complex controllers that don't require vision to operate competently; for internet spaceships (E:D et al) I use an X-55 plus the mouse, and I can manage without needing to remove the Rift at all, there are enough buttons / switches / axes on the hotas that I don't need to use a complementary input method. (If I absolutely have to type when wearing the Rift, I cheat and look down the tiny gap next to my nose).

Let's face it, top tier players don't actually look at the keyboard while they are playing anyway, regardless of what game they are playing, it's only scrub tier like me that have do that ^^;


I see iPhones on the shelves at my local CeX, are you suggesting the Rift will be as successful as the iPhone?

I don't think it will be as successful as the iPhone.

I also paid £300 for a brand new DK2 direct from Oculus (this was last year), CeX as usual are pricing themselves out of a sale for a piece of kit with only 6 months to live.


Re: Neck Fatigue?

I'm wondering if there are physical problems due to having the weight of it hanging in front of your eyes for a long time. Has anybody worn one for a long time and noticed any problems and how much do they weigh?

I've got the Oculus Rift DK2, comfort is fine and the total headset weight is allegedy "0.97 pounds" which is ~450g (less than a 500ml bottle of drink). It's perfectly usable for prolonged periods, as long as the content being displayed doesn't trip too many nausea triggers* ;)

By "prolonged periods", I mean a few hours at a time; I mostly use it to dick about in Elite: Dangerous and a 2-3hr session is not uncommon, and friends who also have the DK2 say much the same.

*E:D is great as you are a spaceship pilot; being seated and seeing stuff move around you feels perfectly natural. Try one of the rollercoaster demos, or try playing Half-Life 2 in VR mode, and it can be much more jarring.

Linux Mint 17.2: If only all penguinista desktops were done this way


Re: Goodness.

You might like to compare the following workflows for updating my wife's laptop (say) compared to a Win updateathon:

$ssh me@wifeslaptop

$pacman -Syu

You appear to be confusing your usage of the term "update" here; your Linux example seems to be analogous to using Windows Update to install Win7 SP1 on base Win7 (click button, wait until finished, reboot), not installing a brand new version of the operating system (Win8 on a Win7 box). In my experience with Mint, (from Mint 5 or thereabouts through to today), upgrading to a new major revision (Mint 7 to Mint 8, for instance) requires a reinstall from scratch, just like upgrading Windows to a new version.

I actually switched to Mint Debian a year ago or so specifically because reinstalling from scratch that frequently was getting tedious, and I wanted an install that I could just keep pressing update on instead (I am lazy, and that box is mostly for automation rather than daily use).

I think your prejudices may be showing, where Linux Mint (Ubuntu) is concerned the level of effort is quite similar to Windows for both updating and upgrading ^^;

Climate change alarmism is a religious belief – it's official


Re: In other words, "When to act"

Since some form of worldwide climate change is now apparent, even to the deniers, it is completely and utterly irrelevant to take a position of asking 'how much' is necessary to create a dangerous situation once the understanding of climate inertia is added into the equation. The point of those supporting change is that, thanks to climate inertia, any change from this point forward will take years to manifest.

Funnily enough, some form of worldwide climate change has been apparent for as far as we try to look back (linked from this article). Apparently the last 200 million years has been, on average, warmer than it is now, with only the last 3 million or so going colder (than now) and then warming back up again.

We're definitely getting warmer, both short term an on a longer scale, however we are apparently still at the "bastard cold" end of the scale as far as the planet is concerned, taking the last 500 million years in context. No doubt there is an anthropogenic contribution to change in climate, but I would suggest that the main point to be taken on board is not that we might be adversely affecting any "natural" temperature cycle (with all the blamestorming that that engenders), but that we should be focusing on dealing with the effects of the observed changes.

Maybe it's time people got reminded that you become the dominant species by adapting to the prevalent conditions, not by demanding that the conditions be changed to suit you. 50 million years ago the planet was apparently 14C hotter as a global average, if it can get that hot without humans being involved at all, then anthropogenic emissions are obviously not the sole driver for climate change. If current temperatures are toward the bottom of the observed range for the planet, then we need to plan for it to get hotter regardless of what we do or do not do as a species.

Telling people to stop driving cars and it will all get better is not the correct response to the situation. The correct response is to design and create solutions to allow humans to continue to live on a ball of rock that fluctuates between 6C colder and 14C hotter than the current global mean temperature. Anything else is blamestorming and displacement activity ;)

Microsoft releases free Office apps for half of all Android phones


Re: Windows in the cloud? IoT (no, seriously)?

I have no experience of it, therefore I don't dismiss it as a pile of poo. The [hypothetical but plausible] CEO and her family did (probably also with no experience of it... <snip>

Correct me if I'm wrong, but did you not create that fictional CEO (and the attitude of the fictional CEO) with the intent to put across the point that Windows Phone was "bad"? I know 2 people who currently use it in a corporate context and they both actually like it. I've personally only used 6.1 on a terminally underpowered HTC, which was a less than stellar experience and has certainly coloured my perceptions of it, but it did the basics without issue.

Blackberry is of course another example of companies whose market dominance was once thought by the faithful to be unassailable.

Blackberry's real problem was in not being Apple when everyone jumped on the Apple bandwagon. They had the period where iOS still didn't have decent remote configuration and management features to try and catch up aesthetically, but dropped the ball and now here we are. It's a shame as I actually liked BES, but since both iOS and Android decided to allow the ActiveSync "remote wipe" calls to actually factory reset devices (rather than the minimum of just deleting all ActiveSync related data) us engineers still get to power-trip when hovering over the button :D


Re: Windows in the cloud? IoT (no, seriously)?

At some point, companies like yours, and many others (including the likes of National Instruments) are going to come to realise that MS currently seem to want Windows to be a cloud-dependent OS, paid for on a subscription basis. Or a server OS, with no GUIs. Or maybe an IoT OS. They'll all be different from (incompatible with?) what you're used to today.

If/when that happens, it seems to leave a bit of an inconvenient gap for a lot of stuff of the kind you reference (and a lot of people use), not just in pharma but in loads of places where a little computer is needed for data gathering and display (and whatever).

Win16 apps are incompatible with current x64 builds of Windows, Windows 95 and 98 drivers are incompatible with current NT kernel builds of Windows. The stuff from 20 years ago doesn't work, but that's fine because we're not using 20 year old drivers for contemporary equipment, manufacturers have realised that they should write stuff that is compatible with the newer builds.

Since input and display are always going to have to be local, peripheral connectivity is also going to remain local, regardless of any OSaaS cloud-based remote computing going on. Funnily enough, I suspect that manufacturers will end up providing compatible drivers for Windows as a Service so that you can still plug expensive pharma kit into your renamed VT100 terminal and get it to work.

If/when that happens, your CEO might be the one asking why you didn't see it coming, that she and her kids knew that Windows Phone was a pile of poo, that they've all given up on Windows at home, so why there wasn't a fallback strategy for the critical uncloudable corporate applications?

Blackberry, anyone? We used to use those, then we switched to iPhones, although it was upper management that made that decision based upon aesthetics (aka brand recognition), rather than any technical appraisal. My personal preference would have been Android, however at the time we moved, only Windows Phone provided the full suite of Blackberry-style corporate lockdown options and remote management out of the box.

So yeah, the "best" option from a corporate perspective was one that neither management nor the techies actually wanted, and the one that you dismiss as "a pile of poo".

If none of this makes sense, try this: Raspberry Pi recently got a Windows 10 IoT variant, not that anybody actually cares. Bear that in mind and read the above again. Where are today's instrumentation drivers, apps, whatever going to run in five years time? MS don't think it'll be the same kind of Wintel desktops as we see today. See a problem with that?

To be fair, I recently bought a tablet with a 2.0GHz quad core CPU and 2GB RAM, that's more than enough grunt for local processing of normal desktop tasks, and approaching equivalency with cheap, low-end business desktops (it was £250 all in, which is also near-equivalency with low-end business desktops). It's not that far fetched at all to consider these devices taking the place of a desktop/laptop for a majority of use cases, and not that surprising that device (or OS) companies are adjusting their infrastructure to be able to work with these devices used in that way.

And that is without even considering that all of them want your data sitting on their servers for sifting and classification so they can profile ads at you (and comply with local security service requests on that data).


Re: "Hate fest"...?

Most companies that I have worked for have switched from Windows to Linux to run their software for reliability, scalability, performance and cost effectiveness reasons.

They must be pretty small companies then; the multinational I work for is still on Windows for the desktop and the majority of servers, because it would cost too much to change. I have yet to find a company that offers (multilingual) Linux training for free, and we have a few thousand people that would need it (including the support staff, many of whom are currently only Windows skilled) :'(

I'd be interested in moving over, but it's the situation where you get fucked by the original design choices (aka Windows) and you have to choose between starting over (for several thousand people) or just living with building on your past mistakes and doing what you can. Budgetary restrictions mean that moving to Linux is but a pipe dream at the moment, and looks to remain that way for a while...


Why do you care if Microsoft survive or not? The world does not need the company, or its poorly written software.

You can replace "Microsoft" in that quote with any tech company (Google, Apple, Oracle, Canonical... the list is endless) and it will still parse. We don't need any single tech company, regardless of how you view their products, but more companies means more choice.

You couldn't get on with Linux?

Yes, they apparently couldn't. I have the same incredulous look when people tell me how they "couldn't get on with Windows 8". Personal preference is fine; I prefer how 7 did it, and I prefer how Cinnamon does it, but that does not stop me from being able to use Win8 or Unity.

(Bloodbeastterror didn't mention which distro they tried, but it could well have been Ubuntu running Unity, which seems to generate as much unreasoning hate for the GUI as Win8 does)

Indiana Jones whips Bond in greatest movie character poll


Re: What no...

Harrison Fords gets first and third, he must be well chuffed :)

Personally I would have liked to see Hobo or Machete somewhere on the list, but thems the breaks...

Tim Worstall dances to victory over resources scaremongerers


Re: But...@Zoolander

Even middle-aged though there is the ability to look good without trying to look "cool", whatever that is.

The wikifiddlers entry for "Smart casual" dress code actually shows someone wearing jeans, a shirt and blazer in the sidebar, apparently Topman magazine thinks that that sort of ensemble is viable for whatever bizarre fashion reasons.

YMMV, of course ^^;

It begins: Time Warner Cable first ISP accused of breaking America's net neutrality rules


Re: "Peer"?

First rule of downvote club: don't talk about downvote club. If people haven't already posted why you're unlikely to get any explanation anyway :/

Maybe they just took exception you you using the æ grapheme? Who knows..


Re: "Peer"?

"Peer" implies a relationship between equals; ideally, upstream and downstream traffic is expected to be, to within an order of magnitude or so, roughly equal. The chances of "a streaming company" providing that sort of profile seem to me - slender.

I would be interested to see the commercial arrangements between Content Delivery Networks (such as YouTube, Akamai et al) and service providers like Time Warner, because they are also going to be massively biased in one traffic direction. I am assuming Time Warner charge the same "competitive rate" for bytes moved on behalf of Google's video delivery website, as they are proposing for CNS?

I can't imagine YouTube's upstream bandwidth requirement being within an order of magnitude of the downstream...

Vicious vandals violate voluminous Versailles vagina


Re: Offensive "art" deserves an offensive response.

Simple rule of thumb I use. If you have to argue the case for something being "art", it almost certainly isn't.

I know someone who sees literally no value in "art", and thus classes all non-engineering, primarily aesthetic works as "a waste of time". If you were talking to them, your rule of thumb would define nothing as art. Which is certainly true from their point of view, but not necessarily from others.

Full disclosure: I think this particular piece is indeed a waste of time, but I'll defend the creator's right to call it art, and defend their right to claim any defacement is vandalism.

Post-pub nosh neckfillers: Reader suggestions invited


Re: Noodles and peas.

The most common error is using cold water or beer, and neither results in anything that will hurt you.

COTW material :D


Re: Cheese and tomato sandwich

But the best toasty is the egg toasty. You need a maker with pronounced edges, that crimp the bread effectively to avoid leakages. This is bad enough with cheese, but far worse with egg.

Oh. My. $DEITY. That sounds delicious, I am going to have to try this :D

I'd imagine that pickle, like jam, is deadly.

Anyone who has ever used a toastie maker (of any brand) will be well aware that there is a ridiculous difference in the specific heat capacities of some ingredients. The main problem is that finding this out only ever seems to occur after the fact :'(

California über alles? Is MEP Reda flushing Euro copyright tradition down the pan?


Re: Limit the term

I am not so keen on the 70-year extension after death (based on an old model that he's want to keep supporting his widow and kids).

I've heard allegations that it's actually based on the model that the Disney Corporation don't want anyone to be able to copy a stylised mouse that was first drawn in 1928, because it is still an enormous cash cow for them.

So if I write a song when I am 20, at 40, my rights in it expire? What if it was a steady seller, with many cover versions down the years? Why am I suddenly not allowed to reap the continued fruit of my creativity after I am 40? If it right that film makers, looking for a sound-track, can scour old songs and use them for free to their huge profit, while I, who wrote the song that helped cement the popularity of their movie, sit and watch them rake in the dosh?

I never quite figure out why a creator suddenly isn't allowed to get the profit of his or her actions throughout his/her lifetime.

Counterpoint; I invent the cure for cancer when I am 20, and patent it. Under existing law it is already time-limited to 20 years after filing and after that anyone can use it; I have 20 years to make my money out of it, then it becomes a free for all where I receive no recompense from anyone using and benefiting from my work. At 40 years old, I, who invented the cure, have to sit and watch them rake in the dosh, and this is the expected result of the patent process.

I completely agree that creators have intrinsic rights to (and over) their creations, however there is an enormous discrepancy between the terms of patents and copyright. 20 years vs life+50 (or life+75 if it is a corporate copyright) seems to indicate that the value of one is grossly disproportionate to the other; especially given that both are essentially a state-protected monopoly over the creation in question.

Personally I would see either patents becoming life+50 (which is an idiotic idea in a free market which relies on innovation), or copyright becoming 20 years (which will outrage anyone who owns copyright in anything), because IMO if you are going to protect a creators rights over their creation, it should be done equally and without prejudice to the actual creation in question.

I completely understand that I'm probably alone in that view, though :'(

The world .sucks at a minute past midnight on Sunday


Re: Does anyone even use these additional add ons?

You could register yourself on the specialist dating site, hunglikea.horse, order in some liquid refreshment from fetchmea.beer, and then go on to browse some classic Mr. T quotes on pityda.foo, the possibilities are, if not endless, certainly quite large ;)