* Posts by snafu

101 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Feb 2007


Tim Cook: Apple's 'closer than it's ever been' to releasing new product range


Re: The Facts..........

Um, possibly they wanted to prop their iMac ecosystem first, fast?

The universe speaks: 'It's time to get off your rock!'


Another technique

There is this deflection technique that consists in having a spaceship travelling alongside the asteroid, so that its minuscule gravitational force pulls the celestial body off its original trajectory enough to avoid Earth. No bombs, no tricky landings, no fighting the asteroid spin, etc.: just having enough mass and advance time to do the trick.

Former CEO John Sculley: Apple must adapt or die



"…who is perhaps best known for a 1985 coup in which he ousted Apple cofounder Steve Jobs…"

Er, no: actually, he survived Jobs' attempt at a coup, then relegated him to a corner by his underperformance, and finally let him get out to build NeXT and drive it to the ground while Apple went through a stage of splendor before its decline.

Designer punked fanbois with asymmetric screw


Well, it's just, there are those pentalobe screws of them…

…so it wasn't such leap of imagination to believe that Apple was at it again.


Pixar open sources production animation code, patents


Lucas wanted them to build him some tools for audio and video editing (didn't they sell their tech to Avid later?), film scanning and printing. Once done, their goals didn't align too well, and I believe Lucas needed the cash at the time, so…

Arguably, NeXT and Pixar were the school where Steve Jobs learned to let go his most idiotic business practices and hone his kung-fu. Also, by then the universe finally aligned with his vision: the internet and AV turned computers into true consumer electronics, which is where his instincts excelled.


Re: Why and Why Now?

Well, perhaps because it'll allow others to better interoperate with Renderman, which ought to help Renderman sales. Perhaps its clientele demanded such a move. Or perhaps, simply, they felt like it, as subDs are kind of old news, no longer that significant in a feature list.

Also, this kind of thing is happening fairly often lately: see Alembic, EXR, Ptex and other 3D tech that have been opensourced and embraced by the industry.


SubDs are pretty important in the 3D world

The technique derives smoothly curved surfaces from simpler roughly curved (or not curved at all) ones. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subdivision_surface It's been pretty fundamental in 3D modeling and animation of organic objects and characters for the last few decades (although new more sculptey techniques have come to the forefront lately). Most commercial 3D apps provide with some form of SubDs.

Also, in this, Pixar is following this recent trend in the 3D and VFX industry of opensourcing code, formats specs and such. It's quite exciting, really.

More Steve Jobs iPad mini attacks from beyond the grave


Jobs was always lying through his teeth

The same guy who disparaged flash memory-based mp3 players, all-in-one computers with their innards inside the screen, and often discarded the old insanely great shiny for the new insanely great shiny despite sometimes being far better.

The Kindle and all the eBook readers around have demonstrated the 7" physical format as perfectly viable, and the UI issues are nonsense. That was Jobs playing FUD against a rival format with a serious portability advantage.

Pint-size gizmo shoots X-RAY LASER for first time


Re: Obviously

Please, please do Contact us. Being the control group is BORING!


Graser, actually.

Seven lessons from the HP Touchpad fire sale


Tablets - Their point is…

Far better long form PDF documents reading experience. Far better eBook reading experience (try reading an eBook in a portable for hours. Not fun). Just those two justify their existence, specially the lower-end of the spectrum.

As a computer: real no-buts instant on (which is crucial for casual computing), near-zero or simply zero maintenance, portrait-landscape modes. Far better couch potato-bility. Want a keyboard? There are plenty of solutions out there, many of them laptop-ish.

Mind you, I wouldn't abandon desktop computing (and my 24" monitor) ever, but I adquired the cheapest iPad available just for the eBook/web/movies thing (I had an eBook Reader already: it served me well, but the UI was a disaster and the hardware rather so-so), and it has proved to be a computing experience-changer.

Use of Weapons declared best sci-fi film never made


Impossible movie

"Use of Weapons" is a great story… and pretty unfilmable as a standalone movie, sorry. You need a TV miniseries there.

AMD backs USB 3.0 on desktop and laptop chipsets



Being Thunderbolt mostly an external PCIe bus thing, it will have to rely on bridge chips to be usable, so quite possibly the cheapest ones will be TB-eSATA and TB-USB 2.0/3.0.

(Does eSATA support USB-style drive mount-unmount without rebooting the host? If not so, the winner would be USB 3.0 for cheap external drives)

James Cameron to amp up Avatar frame rate


Douglas Trumbull's Showscan process realized

This VFX guru (2001, Close Encounters, Star Trek, Silent Running, Blade Runner, Brainstorm, etc.) investigated high fps for inmersive cinema, and found that, above a certain framerate, the brain perceived the image as "real". ShowScan was a 70 mm 60 fps process.

Now it can be done digitally and, seemingly, quite affordably. I can't wait!

Crysis 2

Thumb Up

"Crysis: Legion" Crysis 2 novelization out

Just to point out that the novelization of the game is out, by Peter Watts, a hard sci-fi writer with an attitude. It has an edge over the usual adaptation jobs. You can check a fifty page excerpt here: http://sf-fantasy.suvudu.com/2011/03/del-rey-spectra-50-page-fridays-peter-watts.html

Watts is real hardcore: he had a chance meeting with a flesh-eating bacteria a few weeks ago, and the guy can be seen in his blog minding his leg's innards without tranquilizers. Check his web: lots of Creative Commons-licensed short stories and long form novels, really thought-provoking. http://www.rifters.com/index.htm

Google plugins force-feed open codec to IE and Safari


Flash isn't a factor

…As this is about baseline video in the HTML5 standard. Flash is a plugin HTML5 doesn't care about. H.254 ought to work like a plugin, too.

Ubuntu Wayland: Shuttleworth's post-Mac makeover


Don't paint me dumb

The advantage would be that, even being a different area of the screen, it is always the same area, favoring "muscle memory" and tolerating far less precision of movement (just throw the pointer in the general direction: it will stop by itself upon meeting the top of the screen).

Not that your arguments are invalid (with current big screens there's a bigger visual disconnect between the top menu and an app's windows and palettes), but there are some advantages to the approach and several cons to Windows', too. The issue has been discussed in UI circles often enough.

And please stop the namecalling. Using Macs for a long while (since the SE/30 era) makes one specially sensible to UI issues. We ARE aware of things like that.

Google Chrome OS mauled by Richard Stallman


OpenBSD gruyere?

Actually… http://www.osnews.com/story/24136/_FBI_Added_Secret_Backdoors_to_OpenBSD_IPSEC_

Mass mind control artist condemns El Reg to obscurity


Aw, c'mon

Or if his keyboard is a bit iffy, jeez!

Legendary steampunk computer 'should be built' - programmer


To the Difference Engine!!! (cue Batcave music)

You need to read Sydney Padua's Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. You do!


Steve Jobs carried 'ninja throwing stars' in hand luggage


I can kill you with a tray

This one is wet, this one is wet, this one is wet…


Undead Commodore 64 comes back for Christmas


Will we be able...

...to peek and poke it?

119 iPad apps for admins, coders and geeks


Editing and virtual keyboards

Seeing how Apple's Numbers offers an alternative virtual keyboard layout when entering cell data, I was wondering why those code editing apps don't do the same. Without a numerical upper row, cursor movement keys and a few extra characters around, having to use the .?123 all too often will result in intense expletivity and genocidal impulses.

It already does in normal tasks.

Apple as a religion: How the iPhone became divine


The fragmented Churchs of Nokia, Moto and the like

The funny thing is, i remember all too well how people boasted about their N-this or N-that phones years before and after the iPhone launch. Apple's advantage is having a single product brand name instead of a miriad of names and letters+numbers codenames. It makes for a better monotheism.

Wikileaks publishes encrypted 'insurance' file


No, maybe they should do things right instead of utterly wrong

The question is: are we really doing that, really? And, if so, are we really doing it right? Because that's what the leak is about, really.


No fail yet

Actually, the war in Iraq has produced such a situation (zealots blowing themselves, repression on women, etc.) ex novo. Instead of reducing Saddam to an administrative insignificance and so letting the iraqi live under a Westish regime, we westerners manage to destroy it and then let it rot in the worst mishandling of a postwar situation ever seen. How many dead up to now? 106.000? And it was all about furthering the "American Century" goals as the neocons were shamelessly boasting at the time.

One thing is defending human rights and so, another one is defending only our human rights and f*ck everyone else's.

About Afghanistan: the wikileak was all about uncovering the lies about the state of play and the reasoning behind past and current strategy, because it is really questionable and is producing deaths in both civilians and soldiers, and until now nobody had any means to know about it and steer things to saner courses of action. However one considers it, this is a triumph over a policy of undemocratic obscurity and lies.

If the disclosure produces allied civilians' deaths, of course it is reprehensible. Until now there seems to be no proof of that, so we'll see.

3D films fall flat


For some it was all about digital projection

Interestingly, for some of the pioneers in shooting films with HiDef digital cameras, 3D was really about forcing movie theatres to install digital projection systems.

HP 'delays' Android tablet after death of Windows slate


But then, WebOS is theirs now

Windows wasn't so. And Android is rather me-too (they can PlanB into it anytime if everything else fails, though)

I really want this to work. And, actually, WebOS For Printers is a rather quite nifty idea.

El Reg marks Steve Jobs for termination


It's all true

That's the Mutants Red Cross.


Fanboi's lament – falling out of love with the iPad


iPads for the elderly, disabled and computer-illiterate

I'd be mightily interested in you people covering the iPad as it applies to the elderly, to people with disabilities and the computer-illiterate. The iPad seems to be right now one of the best devices out there for them. I've ordered one to see if my mum can take advantage of it (she has quite bad eyesight so she cannot read regular books and newspapers' font sizes. Also, she is not computer-knowledgeable at all).

'Phantom Ray' robot stealth jet rolls out


I like this ship

…It's exciting

Apple locks resellers out of iPad sales


Try before buying

I need to evaluate the thing to see how it works for people with sight disabilities. How do I do that, then? No Apple Store in Spain yet.

Hawking: Aliens are out there, likely to be Bad News


Solving the Fermi Paradox


If we ever develop antimatter-based rockets, then:

-We will be abe to build relativistic missiles able to snuff whole biospheres.

-These engines will produce unmistakable radiation signatures.

If we don't happen to civilizationally fritz ourselves, building those engines is mostly a given. For us and for any other technological race out there. So then you have several players, us included, able now or in the future to get the means to exterminate each other. Would we risk it, or would we hit first? Would they risk it, or would they hit us first?

Supersonic stealth jumpjet achieves its first mid-air hover


strange design thing

Doesn't that cover panel act as an enormous airbrake?

Bing shies away from gay-as-day search results in Arab countries


What about Human Rights?

Shouldn't they supersede any non-compliant national law?

Note to Captain Kirk: Warp speed will kill you


A couple of things

Warp drive doesn't isolate the ship from surrounding space (it isn't really an Alcubierre-type drive but a "grab a wet soap bar and press until it shoots out your grip" drive, with extra apparent mass reduction effects), so the deflector beam must be active while at warp, as the warp bubble is permeable to external matter.

Shields are gravity-based instead of magnetic.

I love nerding.


Bussard Ramscoops but no Bussard Ramjets

The "Star Trek The Next Generation" guys, when doing the series' bible and the "science" behind the show, certainly did a good job at spotting the most obvious issues and formulating adequate treknobabble. That ST:TNG Technical Manual is a delight for science fiction aficionados.

One problem with any scientist or science journalist that tries to har har at the series is that the people doing it had some scientific knowledge or knew who to consult. Of course, Trek's science is pants, mostly, but they acknowledge its problems even if just by plugging the holes with some dandy buzzword.

So, anyway, there we go: the show's version of Warp Drive implies that the "subspace" bubble that propulsively distorts spacetime and also lowers the apparent mass of the ship to avoid a relativistic snafu is permeable to external particles in the way. So the navigational deflector pushes them out of the way or, if too big, the ship alters course and avoids them. That has been so since the original series.

About the Bussard Ramscoops: they are there to collect interestellar hydrogen but they are not Bussard Ramjet engines at all. The idea is to collect matter and feed part of it into a matter-to-antimatter converter. Its efficiency is terrible, but as a M/AM reaction is the only means to feed the warp engines, the ramscoops are the only way to collect fuel if you run out of antihydrogen and have not enough hidrogen left to convert (one can imagine lots of nitpicks here, but…).

I think they have never been used as intended in the show, really, but they have been featured here and there as some means to escape some tricky situations.

I love technology-fiction, and I collect spacedrives as others do coins or stamps. I also happen to not have a life, sad anorak that I am.

Google (finally) nabs On2 video codecs


…it is proven

On2 codecs are already in commercial use, some of them are comparable to h.264 and so on.

iPad pitch to the Wall Street Journal laid bare



…CS5 moves several apps to Cocoa to get 64 bits. They would have done that sooner hadn't Apple produced and then cancelled Carbon 64.

Apple bets on Mac-only photo land grab with Aperture 3


Adobe's own take on Apple's Aperture

"Instead, Apple pushed out its own take on Adobe’s Lightroom - Aperture 3"

Wouldn't that be the other way round? Aperture was first to market by a decent margin.

Apple iPad spanked with Defective by Design protest


No Ogg

No, it won't. Neither Ogg nor FLAC, AVI, MKV, etc. Just as format-starved as the iPhone.

Welcome to the out-of-control decade



Apple's model isn't Orwellian but Huxleyan, actually.

A New Year's call to Apple: publish and be damned


"64bit operation is the default modus operandi"

"…because 64-bit operation is the default modus operandi under Snow Leopard…"

What do you mean by that, exactly? As far as I know, Snow Leopard behaves just like Leopard, supporting 32bit and 64bit apps. Also, for now it defaults to booting in 32bit kernel mode.

Attack exploits just-patched Mac security bug



Not quite: historically, Apple has lagged behind everybody else Java updates-wise.

US Navy electromagnetic mass-driver commences tests


Sounds like FUN

Is that picture available in HiRes somewhere? All those guys and gal look like having great fun.

Apple wins attack of the clones


Yes, but…

If it is a true update disc, that's what will happen. But most retail editions of OS X are full installers that don't demand any previous OS install to exist, and the last known "update disc" (Snow Leopard) happened to be a full installer too.

Spanish region teaches kids how to crack one off


Ant they fall for it… again

Our current Leftoid government is a master at throwing this kind of moral outrage silliness targets to its Rightish opposition, so that it does its usual foaming mouth act and gets both distracted and painted as retrograde. Abortion law reform, euthanasia, etc., now this. Please don't see it as another idiotic act from government: the dosage is too precisely measured. You could argue good reasons behind every initiative of those, but they usually are all too well designed to push the Right's right buttons. It doesn't help that the Right has too many of those, plus its eagerness to froth at the mouth whatever the real level of offense.

Yes, being a Spaniard IS fun these days.

The manual, by the way, is a simple sexuality Q&A guide covering everything from masturbation to peer pressure, A bit disorganized and faux-hip, but nothing to worry about.

Large Hadron Collider scuttled by birdy baguette-bomber


Mushroom mushroom

You KNOW what happens if badgers take up residence.

Volcanic African 'unzipping' could see continent divided


Call Emmerich!

He knows how to sex this up. "Crack in the World" remake, anyone?

Ares I: What's the point?



Because the shuttle was and is a bad idea: its cargo capability is not that great,its dead weight wings don't contribute lift during ascent, its placement in the stack produces off-axis loads, subjects it to fuel tank pieces impacts and makes emergency separations problematic, uses uncontrollable solid fuel rockets, and above all, has a deadly track record.

Getting a heavy loads launcher is more interesting and flexible, I think.