* Posts by wdmot

142 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Apr 2011


Dropbox gets all up in your kernel with Project Infinite. Cue uproar


Re: Put your que in your ****


Google says its quantum computer is 100 million times faster than PC


> You're in all of them, and none. Not sure if you level up or down...

I've had dreams like that!

Microsoft whips out PowerApps – now your Pointy Haired Boss can write software, too!


Re: Anyone remember Frontpage?

@Tim 11

Good pay doesn't generate experienced developers. If you want skilled developers, give those "insufficiently skilled developers" jobs that give them more experience and build their skill. School training only goes so far.

NASA: We're gonna rip up an ASTEROID and make it ORBIT the MOON



No worries, by the time they get there, the target will be a pebble...


Ex-Microsoft craft ale buffs rattle tankard for desktop brewery


Re: Kuerig for home-brew?

Yes, sounds like Kuerig to me. Which, incidentally, there are refillable cartridges for (at least the older models); so you could roast your own coffee, mill to your spec, and place in the cartridge to brew. Still would taste crap because the process is wrong IMO: it puts boiling water through the coffee (rather than ~90C) and doesn't let it steep, resulting in thin bitter coffee with sediment.

I wonder if the PicoBrew has a comparable result with beer. I say don't knock it 'til you've tried it, but certainly don't shell out $499 before tasting what it produces. And even if it produces good beer, I fail to see how it's worth that much money.

Bacon can kill: Official


Re: US anything Meat I agree @SteveDavies not on your life....

Chicken for dinner meant a trip to the hen-house, vegetables came straight from the garden. Even the wine was made on the farm.

Count yourself fortunate! Most people in the world can't do that, as they live in urban areas, Americans included. I'm sure there are also many that *could* do that but are too lazy to do so and just buy all their food. (But instant potatoes, really??)

I consider myself fortunate as well, having a small property in southwest Washington state where we can have a large vegetable garden and free range chickens. It's large enough that we could also possibly raise one cow at a time, or grow enough grapes for wine, or something else. Just moved there and we haven't decided yet what to do with the rest of the small bit of land.

Windows 10 out, users happy, PCs upgraded, my work here is done – says Microsoft OS chief


Re: Windows 10 Out, Users Happy...

Hibernation? Nope installed on three netbooks without issue. Maybe its my distro or my hardware but it isn't inevitable.

The problem here is that if hibernation doesn't work with Linux on his laptop, there's generally no one on the forums who knows how to get it to work. Not necessarily that there isn't someone out there who knows, you just have no access to them. Same really goes for other hardware issues. I guess the fix is to buy a laptop with Linux pre-installed, which presumably means the manufacturer has gotten everything working correctly under Linux.

Surface Book: Microsoft to turn unsuccessful tab into unsuccessful laptop



its current amigaOS look n feel

Take that back! AmigaOS never looked or felt that bad!

Rosetta comet boffins: We can explain why there's a rubber ducky IN SPAAACE



"You can imagine the layering a bit like an onion, except in this case we are considering two separate onions of differing size"

Right, then, it's not a duck, it's conjoined twin ogres.

WATER SURPRISE: Liquid found on Mars, says NASA


Re: Tasty Morsel

Or perhaps several other microorganisms. If the wikipedia article on perchlorate is correct (in the very short "Biology" section), over 40 microorganisms have been identified that can grow via perchlorate reduction. As that process usually produces both water and free oxygen, could this be one of the tools to terraform Mars? Assuming we can warm the soil enough for the microorganisms to function, of course!

Batteries on wheels are about to reshape our cities and lives


Re: not using energy (unless heater or AC) when stationary saves a lot

The amount of power used by the entertainment system would be quite small, if not insignificant. A typical consumer laptop has a 60W power brick, which is enough to charge the battery and power the laptop. (That's with integrated graphics which is fine for most entertainment; laptops with discrete graphics chips may use much more; my laptop has a 90W brick.) It would take on the order of 1000-1500 hours to drain a Tesla Model S 85kWh battery with moderate laptop usage. Compare that to the motor draining the battery in 5 hours at 100km/h (using NEDC's range rating of 500km rather than EPA's 426km) and you can see the laptop's usage is rather insignificant (less than 1% of the motor). An in-car entertainment system would be comparable, although probably use double or quadruple the power (a nice speaker system, bigger screen, etc.), but it's still very small amount compared to the motor.

Ubuntu Wily gaggle builds 15.10 beta beachhead


Re: Vanishing scrollbars - can't wait !

No they don't 'only appear on a mouse over'. They appear when the mouse/pointer is moving (or arrow/page keys are being pressed), and disappear within 2 seconds of pointer/mouse/key activation.

So, very much like Microsoft Office 2013+. A feature that makes no sense to me. If it can be disabled, okay. If not, this version is not for me.

French hacker besmuts road sign right under Les Plods' noses


Re: "the Francophone hacker"

Knowing very little French myself, I asked Google... which says piétones means "pedestrianised" whereas piétonnes means "pedestrians". So Rues piétones would be streets that have been closed to vehicle traffic. Some cities and towns do this e.g. in a market area for certain hours in the afternoon/evening.

But as Google Translate isn't based on a language expert but Big Data, I have no idea if it's correct.

Google's Chrome to gag noisy tabs until you click on them


Re: Why not make it optional?

Not only Flash but HTML5 or anything that makes any sound.

Intel building Xeon into lapwarmers as designers, content creators call the shots


Re: I always hated self-propelled workstations

@Lee D

If I may ask, what laptop do you have?

Update Firefox NOW to foil FILE-STEALING vulnerability exploit, warns Mozilla


Re: Pale Moon

So in the meantime don't allow pdf.js. Or don't view PDFs in the browser.

Magnet-wobble wireless charging system dishes out a respectable 10 kW


Automatic Foreign object Detection and Removal

This feature mentioned in the article and on their website is intriguing:

Automatic Foreign object Detection and Removal

Magnetic linear accelerator? This could be fun!

Windows 10: A sysadmin speaks his brains – and says MEH


Re: Cortana-

As long as you don't realise too late that it's not the doll but you inside the box that you just threw in the fireplace...

Desperate Microsoft PAYS Win Server 2003 laggards to jump ship


I needed more popcorn, so I bought a popcorn maker ;-) now I only need more beer!

So buy a beer maker!

SPACE FARMER 'nauts arrive safely at International Space Station


Re: Lettuce?...could do much better

Red romaine lettuce was used in the previous Veg-01 experiment. The current Veg-03 experiment (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1294.html) will use Tokyo Bekana cabbage. Looks like lettuce but is a brassica.

And apparently VEGGIE part of the ISS recreation programme: "Through numerous tests the VEG-03 science team has refined the pillow concept and selected growth media and fertilizers, plant species, materials, and protocols for using the pillow concept in Veggie to grow healthy plants that can provide crew with food and recreation."

Interesting research, but I am certainly glad I don't need to worry about the microbes on my garden produce -- a simple rinse is generally sufficient.

Smartphones are ludicrously under-used, so steal their brains


Re: Time of Flight

Indeed. Even if you were able to synchronise the processor's 1.8GHz clock (for example) with the laser pulse, the light would travel 1/6 metre in one clock cycle. Not very high resolution, that.

Pluto probe brain OVERLOAD: Titsup New Horizons explained



Well it mentions 128GB storage, and

(128 gigabytes) / (1 kbps) = 32.449295 years

It mentions 128Gbit storage -- you're off by a factor of 8, so about 4 years to send the whole memory. So it seems they have about 32Gbit of data to send after the flyby.

Giddy Google Glass gazers, beware! FCC filing obscures view on new gadget


Head Tissue Simulating Liquids

Looking through the documents filed with the FCC, the image on page "11 of 11" (after which comes "1 of 13") in SAR Appendix F makes it look more like a bluetooth headset than a new version of Google Glass. It's definitely a wearable device: the FCC application is full of SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) test data. SAR Appendix D is a document containing tables of material test data for variations of "Head Tissue Simulating Liquid" and "Body Tissue Simulating Liquid". Notably absent from the documents available online is Appendix A, "SAR Photos & Ant. Locations", so perhaps the FCC is trying to comply with Google's request to keep the key bits secret.

Sun's out, guns out: Plucky Philae probot WAKES UP ... hits 'snooze'



Probably Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (http://www.dlr.de/dlr).

Shadow of the Beast: Amiga classic returns from the darkness


Sprite tricks

Thanks AlBailey, that was a very interesting read!

DuckDuckGrow: Privacy search soars 600% after Snowden dumps


Too bad they still suck at searching for what I type and not some morph of it, just like Google et al. And can't filter results by date :-\ The !Bang syntax could be useful for searching specific sites without having to load those sites with all their overhead, but usually I don't know what site would have the info I'm looking for (generally technical info).

Google blames Flash for hobbling Chrome, says it sucks (too much power)


Re: Is Flash not dead yet ?


No, sadly it's not. And unfortunately for me, I can't uninstall it: the payroll company (paychex .com) that my company outsources to *REQUIRES* Flash to use its website. Without Flash, all that the website displays (after login) is a banner at the top with not so much as a link to anything. Perhaps using Flash means not having to test their website with more than their favourite browser.

The USB Lego, bluetooth coffee cups and connected cats of Computex 2015


Coffee cup speakers

I fail to see the point of the coffee cup speakers. They take up precious space on your mug tree! Okay, maybe most people don't have that many mugs. But "cruelly practical"?

One USB plug to rule them all? That's sensible, but no...


Re: As the old saying goes...

And then they want to send 20 AMPS over it as well?

No, only up to 5 amps. It'll deliver up to 100W but that's at 20V, not 5V. The cable will be thick but comparable to a USB 3 cable (which is already as thick as a kettle lead).

Apple recalls Beats speakers: Rap chap's crap batt rapped in zap mishap flap


Re: Branding ahhhh

Hey, look at my new Beats tattoo!

It's FREE WINDOWS 10 time: 29 July is D-Day, yells Microsoft


@graeme leggett

Exactly. So, I'll just wait for SP1 too.

Free Windows 10 upgrades from Microsoft will FLATTEN PC sales


Re: What ads?

If not actual ads, then links (with images) to other El Reg articles. Either way, covers up part of the table.

Split decision: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi convertible


Re: Proper review for once!

Except... 1200x1600. Why that resolution, when the native resolution for the T300 is 2560x1440?

WOODEN computer chips reveal humanity's cyber elf future


Unless it's for underwater imaging?

Starbucks denies mobile app hack, blames careless customers


Re: Tested?

Agreed, their app needs to be thoroughly tested, and they should be able to prove that.

However, it's very unclear how the app relates to this fraud. As far as I can see, from Bob Sullivan's and others' articles on the issue, it's all through their online account at starbucks.com. Miscreants obtain login credentials via phishing emails or a variety of other means, and there's a chance those credentials work on starbucks.com (or many other popular sites!) because many people re-use the same username and password. Not much Starbucks can do for stupid people, although they can educate the ignorant. And that applies to any other site where a similar transaction is possible.

This (from the article) is complete nonsense:

Sullivan recommends that all Starbucks consumers immediately disable auto-reload on the Starbucks mobile payments and gift cards.

The most that would do is slow the crook down a few seconds, since if they have access to your account, they can quickly turn that feature on and proceed to auto-charge your credit card. Perhaps what he really means is "Don't store your credit card info in your starbucks.com account so that auto-reload is not available". Then the most the crook can steal is your current Starbuck's card balance.

Any site where you have your credit card or bank details stored which can pay for anything other than, for example, your monthly electricity bill, must have a strong and unique password. Even if you get your stolen money back, it's still a big hassle. (And in this case, Starbucks should be refunding every single reported fraudulent charge -- they have a record of all the gift cards to which those fraudulent charges were sent, after all, and can invalidate the cards.)

Pakistan URINE STORM: Google Maps chokes off user editing


Re: The new 'improved' Google Maps


I feel the same way. You could try out http://gokml.net/maps. It has a note "This map is only a prototype, to explore the feasiblity of recreating Classic Google Maps" so I don't know if it will be around long. It has a few bugs but works okay in my use. Maybe with feedback and perhaps help, Barry Hunter will improve on it.

It's not just an issue of layout either. New Google Maps has features that require more processing power and better internet connection to work smoothly, and even then, I much dislike UI features that pop up when your pointer hovers over something -- it makes the experience jolting, especially if I'm not expecting it (nor need said feature). Sluggishness is so noticeable at work with a 1Gbps internet connection on a 2-year-old desktop with a mouse with scroll wheel, but quite noticeable at home with 20Mbps connection and 8-year-old laptop with a trackpad.

Why don't you rent your electronic wireless doorlock, asks man selling doorlocks


Re: If a monthly payment is missed....?

No but the OP wasn't talking about water.

But a law could be enacted which provides the same protection for lock rental, if in fact the lock could be controlled remotely (rather than just a fob or NFC-actuated mobile app). However, more likely the electronic/hands-free functionality would be suspended when a monthly payment is missed, and you'd have to resort to a physical key. The lock itself wouldn't stop working or stay unlocked. Just don't get in the habit of not carrying your real house key with you because you normally only use your phone for access!

Tesla Powerwall: Not much cheaper and also a bit wimpier than existing batteries


Re: Just add capacitors

@Alan Brown

"You'd need a fair few farads to handle that"

True, but they do exist, and are getting better all the time. For example, Maxwell Technologies makes several modules that could conceivably be used in this application, as high as 600 farad capacity. Inverter electronics would of course be needed. Given super capacitors' high discharge-recharge cycle count, maybe a hybrid supercapacitor-battery system would be best.

Amazing how capacitor technology has advanced -- when I was in high school, we were told that a 1F capacitor would be the size of a railroad car, and now I see this 350F 2.7V capacitor the size of a D-size battery, for $12! Of course, you'd need something like 106 of them to run that 1.5kW kettle for 3 minutes, ignoring inverter losses.

Drill, baby, drill: HIDDEN glaciers ON MARS hold 150bn cubic metres of precious frozen WATER


Re: When is a billion not a billion?

And also, why use square miles for units of surface area when you're starting with metric? (And it's a scientific article!) If you stuck with metric, it would be very easy to estimate -- and wouldn't have to link to wolfram alpha (or is that the point?). 1.55x10^5 km^3 / 1.44x10^8 km^2 is about 1.1x10^-3 km or 1.1m.

Firefox hits prime time as version 37 manifests


Re: Browser features

A feature I'd like is to disable auto-play of any HTML5 media. It's very annoying when I'm scrolling down a page and suddenly video (ad or news or whatever) starts playing. And yes, I have media.autoplay.enabled set to false, and no, I don't have Flash installed. I want to be able to choose which video to play, and it must not rely on web programmers writing their code properly. NoScript has a roundabout way of doing this, but I don't see why it shouldn't be part of the browser itself, and easier to use.

Lighty and flighty: Six sizzling portable projectors


Re: The answer to your question is

We use a projector as our "TV" at home. (That is, for watching movies and a few shows from Amazon Prime or Netflix.) Whilst I wish we had a higher resolution projector -- ours is only 1024x768 -- I really like our 0 mm thickness screen. The living room layout in our flat is such that I don't think I could find a good place for even a relatively thin flat screen display and still have a good furniture arrangement. Someday it will become a high enough priority that we'll spend the money for a nice full HD or 4k projector.

PIRATES and THIEVES to get Windows 10 as BOOTY


Re: Upgrade process?

Sounds like anyone who wants it can legally run Windows 10 until Microsoft ends support for it, by pirating Windows 7 in a VM and making it legal by upgrading it.

Sounds like, but only with incomplete information. See http://www.computerworld.com/article/2899480/pirates-will-stay-pirates-even-after-windows-10-upgrade.html -- the free upgrade is still not legitimate. Good question about running it in a VM; that would currently be my only use for it. I guess we'll just have to see what they post "at a later time" about their device supported lifetime policy.


Re: Windows for free?

See http://www.computerworld.com/article/2899480/pirates-will-stay-pirates-even-after-windows-10-upgrade.html. If you pirate 7 or 8/8.1 to get a free upgrade to 10, then that upgrade will also be pirated. It'll have things like a watermark permanently on the screen saying it's non-compliant (or "Test Mode") which will make less desirable to use. (At least "Test Mode" is what shows across the whole screen of an unactivated Windows 8 device I use for testing.)


Re: Balancing the accounts.

But Microsoft's not giving pirates a legitimate copy. According to Computer World, a "Microsoft spokesperson" said:

"If a device was considered non-genuine or mislicensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mislicensed after the upgrade." (http://www.computerworld.com/article/2899480/pirates-will-stay-pirates-even-after-windows-10-upgrade.html).

So I don't know what they'd gain by upgrading Windows 7 before it goes EOL. Upgrading Windows 8/8.1 on the other hand...

Pi(e) Day of the Century is upon us! Time to celebrate 3/14/15 in style, surely?


Re: Dates?

So when ought one celebrate Tau day? 6th day of the 28th month? 62nd day of the 8th month?

Besides, Brits and Yanks both have the date format wrong -- it should start with the (full) year to make sorting by date easier...

Pebble Time Steel ready in May. Plus: Now you can strap on sensors, GPS ... Geiger counter


Re: Not impressed with the greed.

Sounds like they are basically using Kickstarter as a marketing platform, I'm not seeing many rewards to the fans that handed them 25x their target.

It's exactly what they're doing. In an interview I heard the other night with one of the Pebble guys (don't know if it was Eric Migicovsky or someone else, as came in in the middle of the interview), he said unashamedly that they use kickstarter for marketing even though they're "extremely well funded" because it allows them to reach out to their customers and get feedback from them more easily. Funny they didn't mention anything about getting development pre-funded, a free loan...

Nokia boss smashes net neutrality activists


Re: Connected Cars


Yes, what you're saying makes sense, but it's not what Suri said (according to the linked article): “You cannot stop collisions from happening in the first place if the information that would prevent them is slowly making its way through the network." Avoiding an accident (as in not getting stuck in the traffic jam behind it), sure -- reroute around it based on info from a traffic service over the internet; if the network is congested, that info will be late and the car will be stuck in the jam.

But if a driverless car can't avoid hitting a car in front of it that stops suddenly, it's driving too close; same for a human driver. A safe driverless car *cannot* rely only on a network connection, even to cars around it (e.g. the type of peer-to-peer network that auto manufacturers are pushing). Any such network is susceptible to attack, such as by a RF jammer, or simply failure.

BOFFINS: Oxygen-free, methane-based ALIENS may EXIST on icy SATURN moon Titan


Re: bad units

Agreed, AC, even in technical journalism. Kelly Fiveash should at least stick with the units the study's authors used (K) and not the archaic units which the American university used in its news release.

'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross



Yes, Word can do outlining -- but it often messes up. Especially if you add a section, copy/paste into an outline, or change the outline level of a section. Unfortunately, in my experience, this is behaviour that LibreOffice has copied. Weird thing is, when I used Word for Mac back in 1990, outlining and indexing worked quite well.

Get yourself connected: GrovePi+ Starter Kit


Re: A great little kit.

Its predecessor had the same I2C communication problems. They should have fixed it in this version (the "+"). I wonder if the problems have anything to do with the bit the author suggests you might want to skip: have you got the right pull-up or pull-down resistor? Is there too much capacitance in the line? Or perhaps cross-talk between clock and data? Those cables are pretty long parallel lines, and they don't run the ground between the clock and data as they're supposed to (for lines longer than 10cm, according to the I2C spec). Longer cables will not only allow more cross-talk, but also increase the capacitance on each line. Either one of those could result in I/O errors.

OTOH, there could be lower level driver issues. I once worked with a serial I/O library that would timeout after 10 seconds if you didn't first wait a half a second or so before reading after writing, even though the message read didn't come for several seconds after setting up the read.