* Posts by Phill 3

14 posts • joined 19 Sep 2011

Is the answer to life, the universe and everything hidden in Adams' newly uncovered archive?

Phill 3

Ask Marvin.

I've often thought that Douglas had this in mind but didn't get round to revealing it. If it takes a computer the size of the Earth to think about L,TU&E and we know that Marvin has a brain the size of a planet. Then why not ask Marvin for the answer? Maybe he's so depressed because he knows the answer and nobody has bothered to ask for his opinion.

Help a hack: What's in your ultimate Windows XP migration toolkit?

Phill 3

Tips for deep desert PCs

1) Apps - Use a full suite of PortableApps. This will cover many interests & business such as with LibreOffice. It also means you can simply post them a new USB stick with the latest versions every couple of months. Only install what has to be installed such as Microsoft Office (I doubt you'll get a ribbon generation to run on that hardware but the last of the pre-ribbon may help train for business). And YES I have said use both Microsoft Office and Libre Office - Why wouldn't you have both?

2) Give them a set of Live DVD/USBs of a modern light-weight Linux distro - Why wouldn't you let them try it / use it in an emergency? A live DVD/USB means they can revert to the installed Windows OS back and forth as often as they like.

I like to say: "Compromise - use both!"

3) I believe you can now get an offline DVD copy of Wikipedia. Just like the WikiReader.

4) Bring another old PC or buy a Raspberry Pi to act as a caching proxy. By all means use it as a firewall and file server too.

Can't agree on a coding style? Maybe the NEW YORK TIMES can help

Phill 3

TAB - does what it says on the tin.

The space was designed in the earliest written languages to delineate between words.

The TAB was designed in the earliest typewriters to provide a means of aligning things so that their position has an implied relationship with other things in that same position - such as a tide-table or bus time-table.

Use the right tool for the job: a TAB for alignment and NOT a space.

I wonder if the NYT have anything to say on the excruciatingly annoying habit of TV & radio presenters to say "forward slash" when they actually mean "slash". There is no defense of avoiding confusion as they're only ever reading out things which CANNOT have a back-slash (Web addresses, e-mail addresses, SMS text messages, or plain old English language).

The only people reading out something where they might include a back-slash and therefore might (still incorrectly) want to be clear when specifying a slash, are scammers from India pretending to be from Microsoft support.


Phill 3

Re: Skype, the failed VoIP web telco

That's a failure of the purchaser's financial advisers. Not the product being bought.

Though I'm sure they'll break it soon enough. My v2.8 meets all my needs.

Surprise! Intel smartphone trounces ARM in power trials

Phill 3

Who were the benchmarks aimed at?

Consumers want to compare devices for size, weight, price, battery life & functionality. We mostly don't care how the manufacturers achieve it but there is some brand loyalty.

Device makers want to compare SoCs so they know what other chips or modules they need to buy and find space for within their device. If all other things were equal, a physically smaller SoC would reduce the overall device cost. Device makers are probably a lot more focused on the overall costs than consumers but still aware of the consumers' brand preferences.

SoC makers want to compare CPU cores so they know what other functionality they could or should cram into the same SoC to make it more attractive to device makers. There are many choices that influence the balance here - a better core could need less memory, or the same amount of cheaper memory. Less memory could allow on-die space for hardware to assist the radios. The flexibility of choices created by the competitive ARM eco-system is the killer feature here.

I'm only a consumer so I assume that the SoC makers & device makers have better access to more relevant (& accurate) figures to make their decisions. But as with most techies, I would be very curious to see a real like-for-like comparison at each level for shipping products: Intel & ARM cores, Intel and ARM-based SoCs, Intel-based and ARM-based devices with the same price/feature/performance envelope.

Unfortunately this article therefore seems of no value to device makers, SoC makers or techie consumers like me.

Phill 3

Re: All well and good...

"Intel does not enter a market unless it sees a profitable future in it"

Not quite true - Intel does occasionally try things for which there isn't even a predictable market let alone profit.

Look at the Larbtree / Many-core / Phi path - The latest Chinese super computer is looking good but who would have know all those years ago when Intel started down that path?

Also don't rule out the value of the bigger branding issue. Even a relatively poor product with their name on it can influence buyers for their main product line. E.g. Integrated graphics. No-one would say there's a profitable market for feeble graphics but it did keep Intel's low-end CPUs selling more than AMD's in the not too distant past.

Raspberry Pi DUMBS DOWN to target world+dog

Phill 3

Re: "Please Select Your OS Choice:"

"Adjust" & "Select" together bring up the "Menu" function (L+R=M).

Phill 3

Excellent new system suitable for wider adoption

First this is an excellent idea and not at all dumbing-down. It's lowering the entry point for those who need it and not getting in the way of those who don't.

I think the best aspect is that it allows vendors to ship ready to run SD-cards or packaged bundles, without pre-determining which OS the user might want. So less stock management for the vendor and less confusion for the shopper.

I actually think that this is such a good idea that it should be built into x86 PCs for those who want to buy without Windows. Though I don't see any reason why Windows shouldn't also be one of the OS choices.

There have been several attempts to sell Linux or OS-less PCs over the years but with all the diversity of distro choice a vendor is forced to select just one, as it would be impractical to stock one of each. With the ability to summon the selection at any boot time, this gives the new user the ability to try each distro without inconvenience. Perhaps as a more thorough test after a quick look at a LiveCD. This is exactly what this system is designed for and I think it's a great idea for Pi's & PC's alike.

As a side note, I think it would be nice if there were an option to delete all the distro sources and recover the space once the user has found their preferred new home.

Phill 3

Re: Seemed to be some missing of the point here...

You'd still need the user to know which self-extracting executable zip to use: Win/Mac/Linux/Other.

If they can't cope with this new system then they probably shouldn't be making a decision such as "Which disc would you like me to wipe/format/over-write ?"

How Microsoft shattered Gnome's unity with Windows 95

Phill 3

Re: Who needs to install Windows?

Every point you make seems to me to apply more to Windows than to GNU/Linux.

Who needs to install Windows?

I generally find that a new Windows PC will last about 18-24 months before needing a complete fresh re-install.

If all you do is remove the nasties (including bloatware & updaters) and update everything, then more like every 3-6 months. A fresh format/install/configure/activate/update can take 8 hours with a 2Mbps broadband for W7. This is how easy it is to own a well maintained Windows PC.

The issue of hardware pre-installed with Windows being cheaper should tell you something about monopolistic practices. Nothing to do with the pros & cons of either OS.

Have you seen a normal Windows user struggle with drivers, malware & the seemingly endless variety of updaters that come with 3rd party apps, constantly screaming for attention? The reason why average PCs are so slow & full of this stuff is precisely because the users don't want to deal with it. So they click randomly on anything, inevitable making the situation worse.

Hence I agree with your last paragraph. But honestly GNU/Linux is a breeze to live with compared with Windows.

Phill 3

235 patents & laches

If the claim of 235 infringing patents has now been rendered unenforceable under the legal principal of laches, then why has Foxconn, the biggest hardware manufacturer in the world, just signed a licensing agreement to pay Microsoft? Personally I was baffled as to why they would even before hearing of 'laches'.

Master Beats: Why doesn't audio quality matter these days?

Phill 3

Beats audio quality

I find it interesting that there a no published specs. for any of the 'Beats' kit. Nor for the shorter lived but similar HP branding exercise etc. E.g. Frequency response, sensitivity, THD. I think it's fair enough to promote them on their fashion styling but I find it annoying that they purport to be of superior sound quality yet they refuse to release any figures.

LOHAN ideas..

Phill 3

fail safe launch notes

1) Firing during free fall is probably a bad idea as it could be pointing anywhere.

2) Firing at balloon burst might be OK if quick enough to get clear before the possibility of tumbling.

3) Instead of that pin against a spring (which will jam) how about a clothes-peg with a couple of drawing-pins embedded but held apart by piece of card. The back of the drawing-pins are soldered to firing circuit. The card is tied to the fail-safe line as in your diagram. I spent ages on some ASCII art but this forum thing ruined it!

4) I don't like the idea of tying the fail-safe line to the parachute but I can't think of anything better mechanically.

5) I thought that a straw full of salt water (sealed in) might be useful in preventing premature triggering as the straw would remain flexible until a decent altitude when the water would have frozen solid. Perhaps someone can think of how this might be useful.

Diminutive robot to attempt Iron Man Triathalon

Phill 3


I've just trawled through the many pages of ther web site that they have filled with blurb about how wonderful this new battery is. There is not a single mention of it's mAH capacity. How are we supposed to know if it's any better than their previous batteries or their competitors?


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