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Comment Re:Queue the PCMasterRace kids (Score 1) 86

1541? Get off my lawn.

When I were a lad, we used to load up games off audio tapes. If you were lucky, you'd have a tape deck with a counter on it, so you could fast forward or rewind the tape to the right place so that you could load the game you wanted. And it would then take about 15 minutes to load the game. The border of the screen would generally have rainbow striped patterns flashing all over it all the while, apparently something to do with how it loaded data from the tapes.

Sometimes, it'd take so long to load the game that the game makers would put in a little mini "loader" game for you to play while you wait for the actual game to finish loading in the background. Or, they'd have a tune for you to listen to (Ocean was famous for doing this - the "Ocean Loader", with music written by Martin Galway). That's right - Commodore 64 had multitasking and multimedia, 8-bit style.

And if your game failed to load, you'd have to turn it off and on again, rewind the tape to the right place, and try loading it again. With your fingers crossed harder, this time.

Submission + - How GTA V Renders a Frame (

An anonymous reader writes: A series of blog posts by Adrian Courrèges explains in detail how GTA V renders a frame.
The game managed to squeeze every last drop of power out of the PS3 and became an immediate hit when it was released with a vast open-world to explore with no interruption nor loading screens. The articles shed some light on how Rockstar, one of the most secretive studios in the industry, achieved such level of technical prowess.

Comment Re:What's the point of cloning a pet? (Score 1) 116

But Assassin's Creed tells us that we have genetic memory! That our entire lives' memory is encoded in our DNA and passed down through the generations! And with a fancy machine, our decendents can relive our memories, and those of our parents and grandparents too! Surely a genetic clone would have all those memories too???

Oh wait, it's a game, and not real at all.

This is the issue most people have with cloning - it's copying the physical form, not the memories, and not the personality. In order for "favourite dog v2.0" to be the same as "favourite dog v1.0", you would need to raise that dog in exactly the same way, responding in exactly the same way to its behaviour as you did with the original, AND it would need to learn from your behaviour and respond to it in exactly the same way as the original did. Too many variables.

Once we can download and upload the contents of the brain -- reliably -- then this may be a possibility. But we're so far away from that, that when we do invent this tech, it'll be powered by those long-awaited commercial fusion reactors that are only 20 years away.

Comment Re:At the same time (Score 2) 323

One example was the Hawker Hurricane, which was in service before the Spitfire was developed, and which outnumbered the Spitfire by about three to one in 1940.

Hurricane pilots were responsible for more shoot-downs of German aircraft during the Battle of Britain than Spitfire pilots were.

This is partly due to the Hurricane being available in greater numbers, and partly because the simpler design of the Hurricane meant that the aircraft had a much shorter turn-around time (for rearming and refuelling) than the Spitfire did. The RAF also tended to field the slower Hurricane to shoot down bombers, and used the faster and more agile Spitfires to tackle the bombers' escorts.

Submission + - ESA complete spaceplane test flight; IXV safely returns to Earth (

hypnosec writes: The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully completed the first test flight of its Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), as planned, wherein it saw the wingless spaceplane land in one piece in the Pacific Ocean. A Vega VV04 rocket took the IXV to an altitude of 340 km from where it separated and continued up to 412 km. Reentering from this suborbital path, it recorded a vast amount of data from more than 300 advanced and conventional sensors. According to ESA the spaceplane few east around the globe during its descent and finally landed safely in the the Pacific Ocean west of the Galapagos Islands at about 15:20 GMT

Comment Finish the FTTC rollout first pls kthxbai (Score 4, Informative) 132

My local telephone exchange has been enabled for fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) for a year and a half

The street cabinet my line connects to has not been upgraded. I can't even physically find the damn thing, no idea where they've hidden it. Maybe BT doesn't either. Nobody can tell me when or if it will be enabled.

I can get 4G LTE on my phone and get 30 Mbit/sec up or down. But ADSL2 is as fast as I can get - with the distance from my exchange to my house, I get no more than 9 Mbit/sec down (but more often than not closer to 6 Mbit/sec) and no more than 1 Mbit/sec up.

I'm all in favour of gigabit broadband rollouts - but I want them to finish the FTTC programme first.

Also - I live in the middle of a city of 230,000 people, and the area I'm in is entirely residential. They'd get more fibre subscribers if they enabled more cabinets.

Comment Wireless - does that also mean autonomous? (Score 1) 19

So operating the robot wirelessly - will that mean it is completely self-contained? By which I mean, does the robot's shell contain all of the computer control / decision-making equipment it needs to operate and move around, or will this equipment remain on separate hardware, transmitting commands wirelessly to a much smaller "movement control" system on-board?

Just wondering if cutting the cords means that the robot could simply be told "go and explore your environment", with the decision-making on where to go, how to get there, how to move to overcome obstacles X, Y and Z (i.e. step over, walk around, duck under, etc), without damaging itself or causing injury to humans, all being performed on-board with no external input (power or control).

Comment Re:Makes sense. (Score 1) 629

I just asked my 2012 Nexus 7 tablet to check for updates. I've done this numerous times since Android 5 came out.

It says I'm up to date. That, of course, is false. From this I conclude Google has abandoned me, and I will not be buying another Android device.

My Nexus 7 2012 (WiFi only) just got updated from 5.0 to 5.0.2 the other day, as an over-the-air update. It will happen, just it sometimes takes a little while - I have no idea why.

Comment Re:I'm shocked, SHOCKED! (Score 2) 190

Traditional dealerships make their living on repairs/maintenance and electric cars just don't require that much of either

While the internal combustion engine, gearbox, and fuel tank may not exist on an electric car, they do still have mechanical components that will still need replacement... shocks, springs, anti-roll bars / droplinks, track rod ends, bushes, brake discs / pads / calipers, etc.

Electrical/electronic components wear and need replacing - fuses and wiring can become damaged or faulty through issues like water ingress. Which also means things like your water drainage needs to work, and your door / window / sunroof seals may need to be replaced. Your key (or keyless ignition system) may fail, with the key needing to be reprogrammed for your Tesla. You might lose your key and need a new one.

Teslas still have tyres; some people go to their dealer for tyres, rather than going to tyre places. Hell, even alloy wheels can get buckled if you hit a decent-sized pothole.

That's all stuff that's common between electric cars and combustion engine cars. The electric motors, the charging circuit, etc, may need to be replaced or repaired. Something as simple as a damaged charging socket would ruin your day and need fixing too.

If a chain of dealerships started carrying Teslas or other electric cars, they'd still manage to make as much money (if not more!) from repairs, servicing, and maintenance as they would from petrol/diesel/LPG models.

Submission + - EFF and Mozilla create free, automatic Certificate Authority (

chefmonkey writes: A group of big-name companies including the EFF and Mozilla have banded together to form "Let's Encrypt", a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making HTTPS configuration free, automatic, and easy. According to its website, all it takes is two commands to be up and running for initial configuration — and certificate renewal is completely automated. It's not going live until next summer, but this could be a real game-changer for encryption on the web once it's up and running.

Make it right before you make it faster.