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Comment: As long as it's not windy (Score 3, Informative) 92

by GrahamCox (#49384051) Attached to: World's Largest Aircraft Seeks Investors To Begin Operation
Most people seem to focus on the safety of airships, in the light of the Hindenburg, R101, etc. Surely a more significant problem is the wind? Any amount of wind is going to make landing and takeoff hazardous, and making much headway against a strong headwind is going to take a lot of power with that much windage. Good luck to them, maybe there are enough fair-weather opportunities to make it pay, but this aspect is seemingly never discussed.

Comment: MRSA != Golden Staph (Score 5, Informative) 97

by GrahamCox (#49382495) Attached to: Thousand-Year-Old Eye Salve Kills MRSA
Staphylococcus Aureus, aka "Golden staph" is not exactly synonymous with MRSA. The MR part means 'Methicillin Resistant', which is a mutated form of SA that can't be killed with Methicillin, a common antibiotic. SA is extremely common - it's everywhere, all over your skin, right now. It's only dangerous if it starts to infect a wound and gets into the bloodstream. Most SA will still respond to antibiotics, only the MRSA strain won't. But this strain is still thankfully fairly rare, though it's a growing problem. One solution would be for everyone to stop taking antibiotics for minor ailments such as the common cold which it does nothing for, but adds a lot of unnecessary antibiotics to the environment, thus prompting common bacteria such as SA to evolve into the MRSA form. If we lose the benefit of antibiotics, it will be a disaster, and we can thank all the stupid people for that.

Comment: Re:Who cares? (Score 5, Insightful) 209

by GrahamCox (#49311503) Attached to: For Boot Camp Users, New Macs Require Windows 8 Or Newer
You cared enough to type four sentences on your tedious rant.

I thought these arguments disappeared in the early noughties, but clearly there are those that want to wallow in nostalgia. While I've always lived in the Apple/Mac world, I've never been one to indulge in this, even when it was slightly fashionable, which it most certainly isn't these days. However, I've had reason to engage with numerous Windows computers this week for the first time in ages, over a range of versions from XP to 8, and I have to say that in every case it was a reminder that even now, fifteen years on from when those arguments raged, it still sucks. My assumption has been for the last, ooh, eight years-ish, that basically there was no argument, the differences were just quirks and it was whatever you're used to, and for the price you pay extra to be on the Mac side of things, it wasn't worth it. Maybe that's true for a lot of people, but the frustration, general bad temper inducing, sheer passive-aggressive baulkiness of the damn thing made me very glad I don't have to deal with it regularly. And that whatever I pay extra, if I do (meh, my company pays for my hardware, so I don't give a shit how much it costs, personally), is worth every single penny.

Point is, a lot of people like Windows for some reason, and lots of other people like Apple stuff, for some reason. Maybe there will never be much understanding either way, but the silly finger-pointing name-calling from one camp to the other is childish, tribal and idiotic. No matter how sincerely the sentiment is meant.

Comment: Re:And the Spinning BeachBall of Death? Sad Mac? (Score 1) 61

by GrahamCox (#49220721) Attached to: Classic Mac Icons Archive Bought By MOMA
I still have all of the original Inside Macintosh manuals and SpinCursor isn't a system API listed in any of them - that's up to volume VI which covered System 7. I don't have the later reorganised Inside Macintosh that was 'horizontally ' organised rather than the 'vertically' organised original series. SpinCursor() rings a vague bell though, maybe it was something that came in with System 7.1 or later.

I do know that while the spinning watch hands and 'target' cursors were commonly seen pre-System 7, you had to roll your own solution using either a vertical interrupt handler or simply periodically going to a new cursor frame. It's likely that the code for doing that was widely shared and copied among developers and it could well have been called SpinCursor(). Since System 7 was cutting edge in 1990, hopefully if my memory has gone a bit dim on the complete API it offered I'll be forgiven.

Comment: Re:And the Spinning BeachBall of Death? Sad Mac? (Score 4, Informative) 61

by GrahamCox (#49211935) Attached to: Classic Mac Icons Archive Bought By MOMA
The original Mac didn't have a spinning anything. Animated cursors were something you had to write the code for yourself if you wanted them - involving messy and tricky vertical refresh interrupt handlers if I recall correctly. Later versions of the classic Mac added colour cursors, but no standard support for animation (though there was a standard resource type for a series of cursor animation frames, just nothing as standard that understood it - rather odd really, I'm guessing that was a MacApp (Apple's Application framework) thing).

Mac OS X introduced the "spinning pizza of death", I think inherited from NeXTSTEP. But a lot of people misunderstand what it is. It's not an indication of a crash, it's an indication that the main run loop has been executing user code for longer than a preset interval. In other words, the run loop has to be entered often enough to stop the system automatically showing the SPOD - a bit like how a watchdog works in embedded systems. So if your code takes too long or hangs, you see the SPOD.

Comment: Re:Oh bullshit! (Score 1, Troll) 320

by GrahamCox (#49123491) Attached to: FedEx Won't Ship DIY Gunsmithing Machine
Goodness knows why this has been modded up as insightful. There is no analogy between guns and flowers, and FedEx are not concerned with the identity of the recipient, so adding in the false conflation of "gay man" and "gun loving" is your invention. I fully applaud FedEx's stance - the one thing the USA does not need any more of is guns. Besides, Cody Wilson is a grade-A twat.

Comment: Design (Score 2) 138

by GrahamCox (#49053041) Attached to: Apple Hiring Automotive Experts
I see terrible design all the time - washing machines, TVs, PVRs and of course cars. It's getting worse - the rush to put a touch screen in every Holden (GM's Australian arm) and execrable crap like BMWs iDrive and Ford's whateveritscalled convoluted garbage. It needs taking by the scruff of the neck and kicking into touch, and if anyone is in a position to do it, it's Apple. While their approach is not perfect, it's usually somewhat better than most alternatives. When I hit yet another irritating and apparently arbitrary snag point in the software system of my PVR for example, I often wish Apple would make one just to show them where they've gone wrong (it's a Topfield if you're interested). As long as they make their in-car system solid and secure along with sensible usability (hint: for a car that means NOT a touch screen) they'll have a winner on their hands. As of the 2015 model year, the only way is up.

Comment: Or do something to eliminate journeys? (Score 5, Interesting) 481

by GrahamCox (#48985035) Attached to: DOT Warns of Dystopian Future For Transportation
Does the report suggest any ways to eliminate journeys? I expect not. That's the problem - they assume that journeys are always necessary, and increasingly so. How about putting in place policies that incentivise people to live near their workplaces, don't have to drive to go to a shopping mall, reduce the need for long-distance business travel, etc. Not only would that improve "traffic", but actually make people's lives easier and better as a bonus. Worth a thought, eh?

Comment: Bill Gates the futurologist? (Score 1) 458

by GrahamCox (#48948553) Attached to: How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft
FTS: "Bill Gates said in an interview that he "couldn't imagine a situation..."

That's all you need to read. Bill Gates has a terrible track record of imagining anything. >640k memory, the Internet, Apple's recovery, etc, etc. Just because he was once a very successful moneymaker despite his inability to predict things should mean you stop asking him to predict things.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein