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Comment Re:hyperloop without the hyper or loop (Score 1) 216

The original railways lines in the UK were formed by making lots of small connections at first and then connecting them up later. London's underground started off as a tunnel going underneath the Thames and avoiding the smell and muck on the bridge. Then others started building more tunnels, eventually they kept extending all the tunnels until they started going over land as well.

Comment Re:What's a DLL? (Score 3, Informative) 151

Dynamic Link Library or Shared Object. In the early days of UNIX, it was found that the huge amount of space was being used by GUI applications and command line programs statically linked to common libraries like standard IO, sockets, X-windows, GUI's, maths and crypto libraries. Huge amounts of disk space were being used to stored duplicate copies of compiled code. So they figured that it would be more cost effective to dynamically link at run-time instead of a compile-time with the bonus that they could be compiled into relocatable code only loaded into system when needed.

If you run "ldd" on a program, you will see all the libraries needed for that program.

By separating the library files from the applications, any bugs or problems could be fixed through a simple upgrade. The downside is that someone can rootkit a system by replacing a DLL used by applications that need system access.

Comment Re:Maybe it's not profitable? (Score 1) 244

I've noticed that - my old laptop (2.8Ghz dual-core with nvidia Ti5600) used to be able to run Google Streetview quite comfortably. Now, it just got slower and slower as new version of Firefox came out. My assumption was that the software was using a larger cache size or something.

Intel still has all those "extensions" like AVX, multi-core, Thread-Building-Blocks and hyper-threading", but there just isn't that many applications that require an overclocked 4GHZ twelve core vector accelerated floating-point unless it's some kind of supercomputing application. That's where they make most of their money. The markups on the latest high-end processors are usually three times that of the medium range ones.

Comment Re:Lots of GMTO Articles (Score 1) 105

Astronomers have found ways to get around atmospheric interference. Amateur or pro-amateur astronomers used lucky imaging. They use a high-speed CCD to catch multiple images of a particular target and keep the ones that are in focus (or even just the bits of image that have a high level of sharpness). Then they can combine these together to make a perfect picture.

With the larger telescopes, they have adaptive optics to compensate for the refraction caused by air turbulence. They fire off a laser into the scape to determine the light distortion. They then adjust the direction of all those dozens of smaller mirrors to keep the image in focus.That allows ground based telescopes to rival the Hubble telescope.

Comment Re: What's the viable alternative? (Score 1) 158

Back in the 1980's during the "Information Technology revolution", my high school used to have typing classes using big clunky mechanical typewriters. In a small advanced teaching subject room, they had a single LCD line word processor. Along side with an Apple ][ with dot matrix printer and color TV/monitor.

Everyone was really scared about what it meant. Some national companies had a 3:1 worker/manager ratio. Director : 3 x managers, 3 x engineers. With every department moving away from their own separate databases to a single national database, the workload was reduced by vast amount (no more paperwork being shuffled across in, out and pending trays to different departments). All those management jobs just disappeared.

When the first computers arrived with keyboards, email, word-processors and spreadsheets, some managers felt they were "just becoming glorified typists".

Comment Re:Who needs a startup? (Score 2) 25

"It's humid today" isn't exactly a scientific measurement. I'd expect some kind of electronic measurement with barometer, thermometer and hygrometer. You can get an all in one wireless system with automatic logging for less than £40. If you want to splurge out on a bit more (£130), you can get a wireless weather station that connects via the internet to a smartphone. There are probably others with more features and functionality, but it was the first I found.

Comment Re:What's the viable alternative? (Score 3, Insightful) 158

Parents just want to make sure their children "get into computers" because that is where the money is (working in IT compared to working at McDonalds). Computers are programmed, so therefore their children must learn "computer programming".

With high school education with BASIC, the teachers would start from scratch, introduce variables, arrays, strings, input and output, arithmetic, for/while loops, conditional logic, and each of those topics would be covered in a week. At the end of the course, you would be lucky to have got onto drawing graphs in ASCII. At the same time, the business community would make sure that you got to learn about mainframes, batch processing, punched card, magnetic tape and databases.

At home, the programmable toys in the past were BigTrak\and some robots you could build with technical Lego. With computer software, there was Logo and printer/plotters. The first thing anyone did was to run the supplied tutorials or copy some code in from the instruction book. Then they would combine bits from the different tutorials to make their own programs. Eventually, they could write an entire program from scratch once they knew what all the different commands would do. Local newsagents would have racks of computer magazines with guides on sprite programming, MIDI sound programming, generating mazes, player-missile graphics, how to connect sensors, weather stations and just about anything else.

It would make more sense to give students a catalog of home learning kits and let them order a couple for free. Anything taught in schools at a regimented pace is going to bore some students, and others still won't be able to keep up.

Comment Re:Lots of GMTO Articles (Score 2) 105

I don't think anyone is allowed near those telescopes. They don't have to as everything is accessed through the internet. Each astronomer gets funding for a project. A portion of the funding goes to booking time on a telescope. They specify the target, the time, the telescope, pictures are taken electronically via high-resolution CCD at the eyepiece of the telescope and placed on a server. There are some telescopes which are just continually recording data non-stop to high-capacity RAID array storage packs. When someone wants to investigate a particular object, they can retrieve all those images with that object in view.

In the earlier days, an astronomy student has to spend the entire evening in the observatory, aiming and targeting the telescope while taking photographs to be developed.

Comment Re:Is this really new? (Score 1) 49

Some systems work on detecting the direction the eyes are looking by measuring the shape of the pupil. Advertising and human-computer interaction people use eye-gaze detection systems that are used to measure how long and where a person is looking

Comment Re:Lots of GMTO Articles (Score 1) 105

Here's a list of the largest telescopes in space and on the ground:

The diagram is probably the most informative part of the document:

Imagine if both Europe and the USA could build two large telescopes that could be combined together to form a stereoscopic telescope the size of the planet...

Comment Re:The way to fight this (Score 2) 570

Sure you can block one IP address at a time. Then they'll switch to a range of IP addresses, then funnel *everything* through a single IP address with a proxy server. I got fed up of constantly seeing IP traffic sent out, so tried blocking things. I'm using Privacy Badger:

Safe Browsing also stores a mandatory preferences cookie on the computer which the US National Security Agency allegedly uses to identify individual computers for purposes of exploitation.

"Add-ons Blocklist: Firefox contacts Mozilla once per day to check for add-on information to check for malicious add-ons. This includes, for example: browser version, OS and version, locale, total number of requests, time of last request, time of day, IP address, and the list of add-ons you have installed. You can turn off metadata updates at any time, but it may leave you open to security vulnerabilities."

"To help display relevant snippets, Firefox sends Mozilla a monthly request to look up your location at a country level using your IP address. We then send that country level information back to Firefox, where it's stored locally. Firefox will then choose snippets to show you based on the locally stored country information."

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 570

My parents used to have an dialup account, but they were forced to spend more and switch over to ADSL when AOL stopped providing dial-up modem pools. Still kept the old email account. With an old PC, their routine used to be; switch on PC, go into the kitchen, put the kettle on, put the toaster on, wait for the kettle to boil, wait for the toast to be ready, make some coffee, make the toast, have breakfast, go back to the PC, wait for the login screen to appear, dial into AOL, wait for a modem to be free, feed the cats, feed the dog, wait for the email to download, read email, send reply, do stuff for the rest of the day.

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