* Posts by Ramon Casha

18 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Dec 2006

Archaeologists uncover 'Unicorn's lair'

Ramon Casha

Noah's Ark anyone?

Almost as amazing as the American archaeologist who found Noah's Ark, in which 2 or 7 of every species on earth spend almost an entire year floating around while the surface of the planet was completely covered with water.

Polyglot 419 scammers target German and Welsh speakers

Ramon Casha

This is nothing new

There have even been similar emails in the Maltese language (Malta has less than 0.5 million inhabitants). And yes, the grammar was poor - suspiciously poor in fact. Reminiscent of a well-known search engine company which also provides a translation service.

Double-clicking patent takes on world

Ramon Casha

Microsoft has patented double-clicks too

US patent 6727830


US woman says Ubuntu can't access internet

Ramon Casha

Not surprising

There's a good reason why troubleshooting guides always start with "make sure your computer is plugged in and switched on".

Mattel demos thought-controlled game

Ramon Casha

Brilliant! No more need to move at all

Just what everyone needs - computer games that don't even require you to move your thumbs. Now you can literally sit still and only occasionally blink your eyes. That eliminates the danger of accidentally exercising your digits.

US court sides with Janet Jackson's breast

Ramon Casha

People in Europe were dumbstruck...

...at the reaction. I mean, there are about as many boobs in the world as there are humans (yeah I know some girls are still young but there are enough man-boobs to make up for that). Looking at boobs has been shown to "lower blood pressure" among other things... though clearly not for the prudes. http://www.crazynews.net/dp/1-8.htm

Here's a nice close up of a pair of great tits to improve your health:


And how about this pair of masked boobies?


Ramon Casha
Thumb Up

Compare it to this...


In Malta, a dancer had a "wardrobe malfunction" in front of 50 heads of state and truckloads of TV cameras filming the whole thing for the commonwealth countries. Barely anyone batted an eyelid, and the reaction from everyone (except perhaps Fiona) was a quick chuckle then everyone forgot about it, despite Malta being one of the most conservative countries in Europe.

Ryanair begins screen-scraping lawsuit

Ramon Casha

So what if Bravo actually typed them in?

Would it be legal for BravoFly to employ someone to actually read the information and type it in again in their database? If it is, then what's the difference in getting a computer to do the same stuff?

Besides, terms and conditions of a website are legally dubious unless they're merely reaffirming a right already granted by law, such as copyright. Otherwise I might create a site which states "You hereby accept and agree to pay me a couple of grand every week for the next year." Oh, and price lists cannot be copyrighted.

Firefox record breaker sets the date

Ramon Casha

24 hours from release

I would expect that the 24 hours start counting from the moment it's released, whatever time zone you're in.

Oh, and some of us don't need much of a justification to consume beer in embarrassing quantities. The party is not just a means to an end.

There is a difference between this and certain other software downloads - this will not be an automated download initiated by your existing software, otherwise Microsoft Update could break that record easily. This is people (specimens of homo sapiens) who actually go to the site and choose to download.

New York talks net giants into child pornography crackdown

Ramon Casha
Paris Hilton

Didnt't work for the RIAA

If the multi-bazillion dollar entertainment industry can't stop file sharing between those who want to, I very much doubt that this bunch will be able to stop determined kiddie porn makers from sharing their wares.

Incidentally, who decides gets banned exactly? What about that Australian photographer who hit the headlines recently because his world-famous art exhibition included nudes of young girls? According to the ozzie prime minister these were "revolting" among other things. According to people who had actually seen them on the other hand, they were artistic and perfectly ok. If his site (assuming he has one) gets cut off from the internet, who can he appeal to? Is there even an appeals process?

-- Paris Hilton to remind people there is something uglier than kiddie porn.

OOXML approved as international standard?

Ramon Casha
Thumb Down

Far too flawed

Steven, if you haven't been following this from early on you might not know this, but the proposed standard (8000 pages long) produced about 3000 comments and criticism - and that's after they eliminated the duplicates. That's a deeply flawed standard. Many of these comments were not addressed - not surprising given the size of the standard, the number of flaws and the fact that they wanted to fast-track it.. they didn't have enough time. So what's happening right now is that the standard will be passed with fingers crossed in the hope that these flaws will somehow get resolved.

That's apart from the fact that we will now have two different and incompatible standards. Kinda like having two entirely different HTMLs, two different types of wall socket (and voltage/frequency), two different and unconnected telephone networks, etc. The proper way to handle any new requirements for Microsoft software to use ODF would be to simply add them to ODF itself, producing a new version of the ODF standard - after all MS is a board member of the Oasis foundation which is responsible for it.

Academics slam Java

Ramon Casha

Java is the best language to teach

Java is the best language to teach students - not only is it good for learning concepts gradually, but in the end you've been trained in a language that has very solid commercial prospects. You can use it for web applications, GUI applications, command-line applications, database stored procedures, business logic, mobile applications, and even Blu-ray interactive stuff.

Languages like C still have their place, of course, but it's a much smaller place - low-level stuff like drivers, kernels etc. I'd include it in a later stage of programming tuition.

Personally, one of the things I hated about C++ is that if I wrote a program using Borland C++, and later had to switch to MS-C++, all the dependencies on the Borland libraries didn't work any more. Oh, and forget about switching to a different platform like Unix. Anything beyond some fairly basic standard libraries is different in each brand of compiler. The shift nowadays is for the language to include a substantial library of classes/routines which is always present whichever compiler or platform you use. So, whether it's Java or C# or PHP, you're not so tied down to one brand. Java is tops in that regard.

It's good for programmers to have at least some knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes when they make use of a library, but on the other hand it's nice to be able to just call a function to read an HTTP connection without having to learn all the details about how to handle proxies, redirect status codes, and all the other nitty gritty.

Microsoft vs European Commission: the verdict

Ramon Casha

They can't just keep on appealing... and other stories

It's normally normal that you can appeal a decision from one court at a *higher* court. Yes, MS can appeal but they can't just keep appealing one decision after another indefinitely. Eventually they will get to the highest court - I'm not sure if that would be the ECJ itself.

Yes, Apple does bundle stuff, as do many others. However Apple does not control around 90% of the market. Nor have they been found guilty of monopolistic practices. Microsoft has. Its path to success is littered with the remains of companies it crushed out of existence using these illegal practices. For instance, you are basically forced to BUY Microsoft Media Player because its price is included in Windows, and you're not given the option of not buying the media player component. A company like Real Networks wouldn't stand a chance, because few users would want to buy yet another media player after they've already paid for this one.

Now imagine if Windows were stripped to the core OS, and its price reduced accordingly. Then, OEMs can decide to bundle the OS with their own choice of media player, browser, antivirus, and any other combination of software which they feel is the best choice for users.

Microsoft Windows patent will spy for advertisers

Ramon Casha

They will call it Windows Genuine Improvement(tm) and you'll have no choice

By the time this idea makes it from the legalese of the patent application to the marketese of the product description it will have a title like Windows Genuine Improvement, it will claim that it "analyses computer usage to help Microsoft provide a better service" (without specifying for whom the service will be better), and make all future security updates depend on the presence of the adware module. After that it's a matter of changing a few parameters so that certain items will only work if the user clicks on a certain percentage of adverts.

As long as people keep on using Windows Microsoft will see no reason to behave any different.

Sun's activity not to blame for climate change

Ramon Casha

Sun's activity? Of course not! It was Microsoft :D

Sun's activity? Of course not! It was Microsoft :D

Boffins put encrypted bio-copyright watermarks in beer DNA

Ramon Casha


So suppose that their patented DNA gets out via the normal processes of pollination - by wind, bees and other methods - and ends up in a competitor's fields, who would they sue? The queen bee? Aeolus, god of the winds?

Linux and Solaris face off

Ramon Casha

Linux does all I need

The reason I'm using Linux and have not - as yet - switched to Solaris is that I haven't heard of anything in Solaris that Linux doesn't provide. I'm pretty sure that there are many differences, and many ways in which Solaris is better than Linux, just as there are ways in which Linux is better than Solaris. However I haven't seen anything that made me say "Wow, that is something I absolutely must have". Why should I take the trouble to change from a Gnome-based Unix-like operating system (Linux) to a Gnome-based Unix-like operating system (Solaris)? Different backdrop?

Will robots ever become just like humans?

Ramon Casha

Get real

We are nowhere near making a robot which is like a human. What we're doing is making robots which LOOK more and more like one - and biological reproduction is not the big issue here. Even if we made a robot which looks absolutely indistinguishable from a human even at close range, which can replicate the movement of every muscle and joint, recreating perfect facial expressions... without the ability to THINK like a human they remain nothing more than Madam Tussaud's statues with some animatronics thrown in. We're getting close to making robots that look and act like humans, but we're light years away from anything that thinks and feels like one.

Not that there isn't a use for the robots we're developing. The primary advantage of a human-shaped robot is that it can occupy spaces and perform tasks using tools designed for humans. C3PO could sit in the driver's seat and drive you around much better than R2D2 could. However our C3POs still can't do much better than follow a set of programmed responses.