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Comment Re:Nano straw to Earth (Score 3, Informative) 155

no, and sticking nano on the front of it doesn't make much difference.

You know how barometric pressure used to be given in inches of mercury? well that was the number of inches you could suck a pool of mercury up a straw (don't do that!) before you end up with a vacuum at the top of your straw and you are sucking away and nothing is rising any further because the pressure of the atmosphere won't push it up any more. Turns out you can't suck it up that far before it would rather not go any further. If you use other fluids the same kind of thing happens, but more so, because mercury is heavy. For water I think it is about 13 meters For the atmosphere itself the distance you can suck it up a straw is exactly the height of the atmosphere!

Comment they had one, they gave it up (Score 2) 345

it is patented, here it is differential workfactor encryption, as used in the International version of IBM Lotus Notes until the US government decided not to classify encryption as heavy munitions. It gives the US government 40 bits of encryption to crack and everyone else gets 128 bits. (and you can vary the assisted evesdropper and workfactors to taste). As far as I am aware they never once gave a single shit about it whilst they had it, and never wanted other products to implement it.

Comment it is about high frequency trading, or nothing. (Score 1) 273

It could be an entirely meaningless coincidence, the ship killing a bit of time, or doing some maintenance or a drill whilst out at sea in an area that happened to have a cable two miles below it, that is my option #1. It could be a bit of Russian research into whether they can find and disrupt these cables, that is option #2.
If we want to go down the fantasy route, and accept that the Russians would not just try to find a cable to see if they could, but would contemplate actually disrupting a cable, then that would adjust the ability of high frequency traders to play international stock markets, possibly allowing some kind of economic advantage to be taken somehow. In this fantasy, at some point in the future a cable mysteriously breaks due to a completely deniable cause, stock markets go into meltdown and someone in their Kremlin lair makes a lot of money. It is hard to describe the number of levels on which this fantasy makes no sense.

Comment Can we stop the bullshit reporting here please? (Score 5, Informative) 414

Someone asked her about homeopathy, she ducked the question. She was far from enthusiastic about it, but said she would be open to hearing arguments about it - which is what politicians say when they have no clue what their policy is and don't want to answer the question. She should have been decisive and said that the NHS should not ever fund anything that does not outperform a placebo and has no plausible theory of action, but she didn't, yet. This failure to respond to the question is now being spun, and slashdot is getting in on the action too. Maybe if she ever actually takes a position on homeopathy then there will be a story to report, but right now, @heidi_mp has not really done anything other than duck a question.

Comment how low can it go? (Score 1) 45

Clearly it is at a good height now for imaging the whole surface, but as there is no atmosphere could it get down to a mountain scraping orbit? Just high enough to get round the lumps and bumps and variability in the roundness of the object? Would that enable it to image things at a really small pixel size?

Comment Re:They should have concentrated on desktop (Score 1) 45

in theory, one day the desktop will run the phone operating system. I think this is what they mean by convergence, it will all be the same and it will all be QML. You might still be able to run GTK things on a desktop, but I am not 100% sure of that, I just can't see a viable desktop based on just QML things if it is supposed to be a successor to Ubuntu desktop.

Comment Re:Any useful reviews? (Score 1) 45

no, you don't need to have an account to use the phone, you need a SIM card. If you want to use various googley (alphabetty) features like gmail then you need a google account. If you want to use telegram then you need a telegram account, same for facebook and ebay and various other things. Your phone will collect accounts, get over it. If you want to install things from the store then I think you need a launchpad/ubuntu account in order to leave feedback, fairly sure you can install apps one way or another without having that - but your phone will collect accounts, get over it.

Comment Re:What software? (Score 4, Informative) 45

it runs various QML programs and there are a bunch of web based things mildly optimised for it.
Yes, you can run a terminal out of the box.
No, you can't run KDE or a different GUI (well you probably can, but if you were going there this isn't a good starting place)
The scopes are equally pointless with or without privacy violating things (and really, that is almost entirely bogus FUD anyway based on the misunderstanding that the global search box in Unity was an application launcher, those concerns don't apply on the phone (there is no global multi-scope search)). Scopes are just categories of things you can search for, they are not that exciting.
It uses a browser based on QML and Webkit, it is called Oxide and they ripped off the Safari icon for it (compass needle pointing north east).
If you know Ubuntu and have been using it avidly since 2006 and know Unity 7 really well, then forget all that you have learned because this isn't the same at all. It is a new phone platform, bit like Android or iOS with no clearly defined market. I have one, it is my one and only phone, it is OK, but really I am not very demanding and completely anti-social so I don't really need to have a phone at all :)

Comment Re:My God! (Score 4, Interesting) 178

it is a result of quite a few years of lobbying by organisations such as Open Forum Europe and internal pressure from certain folk within the civil service. The government is reasonably receptive to well made arguments. They have a big love-hate thing going on with Microsoft. They know they are being screwed over by an American company that doesn't pay it's full share of UK taxes, so they like to kick back a bit now and then.

Comment stop doing stupid shit with VAT then (Score 4, Interesting) 57

At the start of this year VAT changed so that for digital online sales the place of supply is where the consumer belongs. This means if you sell an app/ebook/knitting pattern/recipe/tune then you have to collect two bits of non-conflicting evidence of the place of belonging of the consumer, then figure out which of the 70 or so rates of VAT across 27 countries applies for the specific product (several have special ebook rates) then you add VAT to the price and remit it to HMRC through the mini one stop shop (VATMOSS). There is no threshold for this and you can get penalties each quarter from 27 different countries if you get it wrong. Or, you can geoblock and say "screw you, I can't cope with this shit." to potential customers outside the UK.
Geoblocking is about the only sane response to VATMOSS.

Comment training!=teaching (Score 1) 213

this "preparing for the workplace" mantra is the thing that ripped computing out of primary and secondary schools and replaced it with Microsoft Office training. The assorted coding in schools initiatives (Codeclub, the Barclays code playground, Rewired State Codecademy and so on) are the rest of the industry trying to put teaching back into schools. Even Microsoft know they went too far pushing training and want to get teaching of coding back into schools.
I have a suspicion that Finland will make this work (they have a good track record of making stuff work) but I think it is important to distinguish between training and teaching.

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Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. - Voltaire