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Comment: Re:Competing with government-sanctioned monopolies (Score 2) 184

I'm not sure why you're assuming that a competing utility has to have separate lines. Here in New Zealand the power companies are not allowed to own lines - those are a highly regulated monopoly (The national grid is owned by the government, local grids by local lines companies.) Generating companies sell power wholesale via a trading system, Retailing companies buy the wholesale power (priced at grid-exit points) and deal with the consumer and local lines company. You can be a Generator and a Retailer, but not own transmission as well.

Interestingly the same model is being taken with the national fibre rollout - the fibre owning company will wholesale services to various ISPs and comms providers but will not be allowed to be an ISP itself. This avoids some of the effects you see where several providers build out fibre in the most populous areas, but you end up with monopolies covering less-dense areas and no-one covers the rural areas.

Comment: Interactivity? (Score 1) 164

I wonder how much advantage of the medium a PC version of a TV series will be able to take... I''ve been homeschooling my kids whilst we've been travelling so I've tried a number of these online reading tools. Some are just a mess of unindexed content, or just libraries to wonder in and pick out books to read or subject videos to watch. The best for my 5 yr old has been ReadingEggs which has heaps of interactive mini games joined together into an overall programme that the child can follow through themselves going right from pre-literate to reading age 7 or so.

Has anyone used the iPad app of this Reading Rainbow program? What's it like ? And how much teacher support is needed?

Comment: Re:Descent + SpaceOrb 360 (Score 1) 251

by Adrian Harvey (#47071155) Attached to: It's Time For the <em>Descent</em> Games Return

If you knew how the old game controllers worked and what the driver had to do to read from them you would be glad they're gone. See my earlier post for some hideous detail.... You can buy adapters to USB which are likely to provide much better stability (and not need calibration constantly) and will work with windows 7, though I haven't tested with the Cyberman.

Comment: Re:Hell Yes! (Score 3, Informative) 251

by Adrian Harvey (#47070917) Attached to: It's Time For the <em>Descent</em> Games Return

Drifting off topic, but if we're talking the gaming ports, they weren't serial. They were much, much worse. The joystick potentiometers were connected across pairs of pins in the connector, but then, instead of just making them an input to a DAC or something simple they were basically hooked up as the variable resistance on a 555 microtimer so that the position could be read by triggering the timer and counting how long it took to drop back to it's base state. I know DACs were expensive at the time it was designed, but this choice led to some programs having to busy wait to measure, endless issues with different processor speeds needing to be compensated for, and the requirement to regularly "calibrate" the joystick in each game. I suspect the chances of that precision timing working well on a multi core, variable speed CPU with a real (preemptive) OS and possibly a VM in the mix too, is small.

A USB device that works as a DAC and pretends to be a modern joystick interface would probably improve the controller no end.

And yes, I bought a joystick just to play Descent too. But a simpler one than the GP.

Comment: Re:But who uses Yahoo! mail? (Score 3, Informative) 83

by Adrian Harvey (#46708595) Attached to: Yahoo DMARC Implementation Breaks Most Mailing Lists

Their best proposed solution is to ban Yahoo email users from mailing lists and encourage them to switch to other ISPs

What the #%^+? Since when is Yahoo an ISP?

Several ISPs outsource their customer email service to Yahoo. If you're with one of those, and especially if you use your ISP provided email address, then moving would fix it (or just move to gmail/, you're mail is in the cloud now anyway, since your ISP moved it there)

Comment: Re:miniphone (Score 1) 240

by Adrian Harvey (#46708309) Attached to: How much do you spend yearly on mobile apps?

Yeah, I often think Apple could make a great iPhone Nano, similar size to the iPod Nano, thicker for battery, etc, just like the iPhone / iPod touch, with just basic, simplified apps to show calendar perhaps preview, but not write email, etc. A kind of up-market feature phone, or just as an iPad companion...

Comment: Been done for years (Score 1) 104

by Adrian Harvey (#45343225) Attached to: High-Gain Patch Antennas Boost Wi-Fi Capacity In Crowded Lecture Halls

Xirrus have been doing this for years - see or

They put 8 (or more) access points into a single unit, each with a directional antenna covering a segment of the room or venue. I looked at their product at a trade show or conference once (don't remember which) but it was way overkill for the spaces we had at the time which were separated with heavy reinforced concrete walls and floors, so needed an access point for each area.

The end of labor is to gain leisure.