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Comment The English alphabet sucks (Score 1) 315

What's to appreciate -English also needs lots of simplification - 'c', 'k', 's' pick two of them, make them always sound different, 'q' can go ('kw' does the job in "Bridge over the river Kwai"), 'g' or 'j' pick one, toss the silent 'h' and the silent 'k' - 'gh'->'f', etc etc

We can probably get down to 20 letters if we try hard

English is an insane polygot mess it's long past time we tossed all that useless history from it

Comment Re:China makes cheap copy's / rips off other tech (Score 2) 95

but I do - and I go to Schenzhen to build my open source hardware - the thing is it's the first-mover advantage - have a bright idea and get it to market fast. If you build and sell stuff cheaply from the get-go you're less likely going to get nuked by copying,the copiers will go off an copy someone pumping their prices higher

Luckily I live in a country that doesn't allow software patents - as I said if one doesn't have to have the US's stupid rent-seeking IP laws you have a leg up - the whole TPP et al attempt to force the rest of us into the straight jacket you've made for yourselves is sad, if it succeeds, I'l just reincorporate in China, that's quite doable these days

Comment Re:China makes cheap copy's / rips off other tech (Score 4, Insightful) 95

what a bunch of whooey - China has a quarter of the world's population, and a quarter of the world's smart people. Do you really think those smart people are just going to make 'rip offs', when there's more fun stuff to do - Chinese geeks are just like geeks anywhere

Spend some time hanging out in Shenzhen and you'll see just what you're up against, lots and lots of smart people - your designers in the US are building in China, but they're designing 1000s of kilometres away from their factories, designers in Shenzhen are a subway ride away from them, they can pop over and tweak a process to save money and time to markegt

Chinese IP law may not be the same as the US's - they're a different country, you know they are allowed their own laws, they don't have to have yours. If they can compete better by not having the US-style copyright nightmare - good for them - without Disney on their backs they can compete far better than you can

Comment Re:Launch from balloon (Score 1) 22

to get into orbit you need to be going sideways fast enough that as gravity pulls you down you miss the edge of the earth 100k ft (20 miles) still has enough atmosphere that that's hard (esepcially with a non guided rosket, just fins, that can't go up then pull that fast right turn). Launching above 100kft also requires extra federal oversight that makes it a whole extra magnitude of effort

Comment Homeopathic Pollution (Score 1) 668

So let's just assume that homeopathy actually works they way they claim it does, they dilute stuff throw away 9/10 of it, dilute it again, and it gets stronger and stronger at each dilution ..... what happens to that 9/10 they throw away? it goes down the drain, into the sea where it gets diluted way more, and presumably becomes far stronger, the ocean must be full of horribly strong medicine for all sorts of things, a quite dangerous place to go.

Mind you it's also full of diluted fish-poo too .....

Meanwhile I'm off to make some 150 proof homeopathic beer ...

Comment Kdenlive (Score 5, Informative) 223

I've found kdenlive is great - I've had to make a couple of small videos recently,it was a breeze with a couple of minor hiccups

1. As mentioned figuring out how to do transitions was hard - they're there, just hard to figure out

2. Ubuntu .... grrr .... their last distro has broken libraries (libav+melt - broken for lots of video editors, not just kdenlive) you can happily edit away but when you try and make the final stream, no audio -apparently all they need to do is to rebuild their binaries

Submission + - OneRNG open source hardware entropy genrator (

taniwha writes: Moonbase Otago is pleased to announce its Kickstarter campaign for OneRNG — an open source hardware entropy generator, is already 3/4 funded after 3 days.

OneRNG is a USB key in the same form factor as a USB flash drive, it's an entropy generator, it makes random bitstreams suitable for feeding to your computer's encryption systems to make better and faster keys to make interception of your communications more difficult. It has two entropy sources, an avalanche diode and an RF noise source, either or both can be used

OneRNG is also open hardware, that means all of the design, both hardware and software, is Open Source — you can inspect the hardware and software to make sure there is nothing hidden that stops it from functioning as promised. It also means that you can inspect a unit after shipping to make sure it has not been tampered with, both by lifting its lid to look at the components, and by inspecting the embedded firmware both to make sure that it contains what you think it does and also that it is cryptographically signed with a valid key.

Because you don't truly own your own hardware unless you can reprogram it we're also offering device programmers for those who want to take the existing software and make it better or their own.

Comment Re:And many, many more (Score 1) 942

I lived through the conversion as a kid, really it wasn't hard, school work (all those conversions, all that manual long division,) went away and got easier. We had dual speed limits up for 4-5 years.

in practice when you switch to metric you switch to natural units - a pound is about half a kilo a pint about half a litre (american pints are smaller) - you don't buy a quart of milk you just buy a litre, you go to the butcher and you ask her to cut you half a kilo of meat, no one asks for 0.23kg, that's silly

In the transition you use some useful equivalences: 2 inches are ~ 5cm - 3 yards ~ 1m, 30miles=50km 50miles=80km 60miles=100km (speed limits are easy unless for some weird reason you've chosen to use numbers that end in 5 rather than 0) 2pints ~= 1l (in the US) 1pint=600mL(in the UK, but half a litre will do for lots of day to day stuff), 2lb ~ 1kg

"cups" are am interesting issue: cups in the UK and US are different by about 20% (because the pints are different) so recipes sometime don't work well between them today, the metric cup used by everyone else is an intermediate size, as a result european recipes tend to work slightly better in the UK and US

as far as fluid ozs are concerned they're just such a mess they're best avoided

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[We] use bad software and bad machines for the wrong things. -- R.W. Hamming