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Comment: Re:This again? (Score 1) 458

by mikael (#49596823) Attached to: New Test Supports NASA's Controversial EM Drive

The system bounces microwaves inside a cone. When a photon hits the base of the cone, that pushes the vehicle forward as it bounces backwards. But the conical shape means that the next "bounce" of the photon will be distributed between a sideways movement and a small backwards movement. But because of the circular shape of the cone, the sideways movements cancel out. The forwards force is greater than the backwards force, so the final velocity is forwards.

Comment: Re:Who gives a fuck (Score 5, Insightful) 104

by Mr_Silver (#48791947) Attached to: Chrome For OS X Catches Up With Safari's Emoji Support

I consider then harmful.
I suspect Emoji are like those smileys with mustaches, beer steins, and birthday cakes that show up in skype chat. I hate that garbage. Many a time, I write a sentence that contains a parenhtesis, using grammar correctly, and then my message comes across as some random retarded shit sprinkled with smileys. I have a hard enough time avoiding typos, I don't really need the client mucking it up even worse.

That's not the fault of Emoji, that is the fault of the client replacing things like ":)" and ";P" with pictures in order to simulate Emjoi.

As bizarre as it sounds, you actually want to be embracing the support of Emoji! This is because all the searching and replacing logic (which, as you rightly pointed out, tends to make unwanted changes to your text) is now redundant and can be removed by the developers.

The net result is that people can still insert smileys with moustaches, beer steins, and birthday cakes and you can still type grammatically correct messages (or code) without fear of them being replaced with pictures. A win for everyone.

Comment: Oh dear (Score 1) 391

by Mr_Silver (#48746635) Attached to: Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman

At some point, my iPod Classic is going to bite the dust and I'd love something that is a similar size that can store my large music (and video) collection and have a decent battery life.

This could have been it, but with an old version of Android and a stupid price point, I think I'll pass. Hopefully they'll come up with something that is less audiophile and more useful for the masses.

Comment: Re:No... (Score 1) 598

by Mr_Silver (#48739177) Attached to: Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

But they are right about the software, never has it been more insecure and more geared towards grabbing up your data and marketing/profiting from it.

The only thing I can think of that involves "grabbing up your data and marketing/profiting from it" would be iAd and that's hardly a large part of Apple.

What's your proof that Apple are making a massive play to slurp up your personal data and use it in the way Google would?

Comment: Partial solution (Score 1) 598

by Mr_Silver (#48738389) Attached to: Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

Part of the solution would be for Apple to decouple application updates from operating system updates.

I see no reason why a bug fix to Safari (of which there are plenty required) has to be delivered in the same way as an iOS update when they already have a perfectly good app updating mechanism (the App Store). Plus customers are used to apps updating frequently and automatically, adding Apple to the mix isn't going to be something strange for them.

Comment: Re:As expected... (Score 4, Informative) 400

by Mr_Silver (#48717323) Attached to: Box Office 2014: Moviegoing Hits Two-Decade Low

When you keep releasing a slew of poorly written movies, yet continue to demand unreasonable fees, this is the result. People aren't willing to shell out the bucks to see a B grade movie. It's just not worth it anymore.

This gets mentioned a lot on Slashdot but, in reality, the number of "good" movies has remained reasonably unchanged each year.

Here are the movies in the IMDB Top 250 grouped and counted by year:

Year Total
2014 6
2013 4
2012 5
2011 5
2010 6
2009 6
2008 4
2007 5
2006 5
2005 3
2004 7
2003 7
2002 4
2001 8
2000 6

In fact, 2014 (Interstellar, Boyhood, Gone Girl, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Grand Budapest Hotel and X-Men: Days of Future Past) was actually a better year than 2013 (The Wolf of Wall Street, Rush, 12 Years a Slave and Prisoners).

The "prime" year was 1995 but that only resulted in 10 films (Se7en, The Usual Suspects, Braveheart, Toy Story, Heat, Casino, Twelve Monkeys, Before Sunrise, La Haine and Underground).

(Nitpickers will point out that I really should run this over the entire DB and not the Top 250 and all take into account all film ratings - they'd be right, but that's a lot more work which I don't have the time to do).

Comment: Re:No big red button? (Score 1) 212

by mikael (#48647787) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

Unfortunately for Airbus, it didn't quite work out when an airshow decided to have an aircraft do a low fly-pass in front of the crowds. The combination of low altitude, low speed with flaps and landing gear lowered made the AI think that the pilots wanted the plane to land. So the flight control system cut the engine power in preparation for landing.

Comment: Re:No big red button? (Score 1) 212

by mikael (#48646929) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

The problem is that blast furnaces aren't simply switched on and off, but have feedback software systems that adjusts fuel feeds, cooling systems and exhaust extraction to achieve the desired temperature while minimizing fuel consumption, cooling and pollution. Much the same way as electronic car ignition. The operating temperature would have to be ramped up and down slowly to avoid any damage through thermal stress.

It's the hardware overrides that would allow the cooling system to be reduced or switched off while the fuel feeds remain on.

Comment: Re:We're so far from that now! (Score 4, Interesting) 115

by mikael (#48606345) Attached to: The Personal Computer Revolution Behind the Iron Curtain

Back in those days, start of the art technology in CPU's were "restricted exports". The USA wanted to show that Communism didn't lead to as many advancements in technology as Capitalism, so they restricted exports on technology such as chip design software, CPU's and other chip logic (remember the A-team trying to block smugglers exporting flip-flop chips? It was that serious). This led to the Eastern European countries doing various work-arounds. They could get gray imports through third-party countries that weren't part of the Western trade block, and weren't part of the USSR either. Or they could set up fake companies in the host country that would export the technology.

Another strategy was to make their own logic chips. However, yields for complex logic such as CPU's, wasn't that good, so they ended up with CPU's with missing instructions. But that wasn't a problem, mathematician/software engineers figured out ways of emulating broken instructions using other instructions. If JMP was broken, then use CLR; BCC. Arithmetic operations like ADD could be replaced by NEG and SUB, and so on... So they ended up with an abstraction layer using assembler macros that provided a set of functioning instructions.

Comment: Re:Unless it has support for Bitcoin... (Score 1) 156

by mikael (#48602717) Attached to: Small Bank In Kansas Creates the Bank Account of the Future

In Norway, you can just go online to the bank website, use an authentication system based on a username, password and your mobile phone.
Then you just use the IBAN/SWIFT system to transfer the money to the account anywhere else in the world, and you can download your transaction history as a spreadsheet file.

Other banks in the UK require you to go into a branch, and have a clerk use a quill pen to fill out an entry in a giant leatherbound ledger book.

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