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Comment: Embedded Controls will have a problem with this (Score 1) 554

by ultrasound (#35266174) Attached to: UK Government Wants to Spring Ahead Two Hours

It may not be a problem for high end hardware, but lower end embedded controls with real-time clocks often use hard coded DST algorithms. For example the EU has defined standard DST dates for years in advance, these change-over dates are often hard coded into low-end devices, but with a default +1 advance. This allows a simple hardcoded table to be added to the hardware without the need for any user configuration, other than setting the initial time and date. Short sighted perhaps, but the reality is that there are huge numbers of these types of devices already installed.

There are lots of embedded controls used for time scheduling control of HVAC, Lighting and other timed automatic controls with this level of technology. I can foresee huge problems with equipment needing to be replaced or firmware upgraded if this occurs, or the need for 6 monthly manual time changes.

Comment: Re:I'm ignorant (Score 5, Interesting) 206

by ultrasound (#32494192) Attached to: The End of the Dr. Demento Show On Radio
Radio in the UK is growing stronger each year, from http://www.rajar.co.uk/:

Radio listening reaches all time high as 46.5 million adults tune in to radio each week Radio digital listening hours up 18% and digital share up 19% year on year DAB ownership up 9% year on year to over 1/3 of the population

Althought the commercial stations complain about the dominance of the BBC, the fact that there are so many quality channels on the BBC (no adverts, mandate to produce quality programming) forces the commercial stations to push similar content quality in order to remain competetive.

Comment: Travel advice (Score 5, Funny) 1095

by ultrasound (#30211492) Attached to: Geek Travel To London From the US — Tips?
Public taxis are subsidized by the Her Majesty's Government. A taxi ride in London costs two pounds, no matter how far you travel. If a taxi driver tries to overcharge you, you should yell "I think not, you charlatan!", then grab the nearest policeman (bobby) and have the driver disciplined.

It is rarely necessary to take a taxi, though, since bus drivers are required to make detours at patrons' requests. Just board any bus, pay your fare of thruppence (the heavy gold-colored coins are "pence"), and state your destination clearly to the driver, e.g.: "Please take me to the British Library." A driver will frequently try to have a bit of harmless fun by pretending he doesn't go to your requested destination. Ignore him, as he is only teasing the American tourist (little does he know you're not so ignorant!).

For those travelling on a shoestring budget, the London Tube may be the most economical way to get about, especially if you are a woman. Chivalry is alive and well in Britain, and ladies still travel for free on the Tube. Simply take some tokens from the baskets at the base of the escalators or on the platforms; you will find one near any of the state-sponsored Tube musicians. Once on the platform, though, beware! Approaching trains sometimes disturb the large Gappe bats that roost in the tunnels. The Gappes were smuggled into London in the early 19th century by French saboteurs and have proved impossible to exterminate. The announcement "Mind the Gappe!" is a signal that you should grab your hair and look towards the ceiling. Very few people have ever been killed by Gappes, though, and they are considered only a minor drawback to an otherwise excellent means of transportation.

I can't take credit for this advice, source
Math

+ - Faster integer multiplication

Submitted by origins
origins (1116903) writes "On the STOC 2007,thesis about faster integer multiplication was submitted. According to the thesis,multiplication can be calculated faster than ever. Schönhage&Strassen algorithm was known as fastest(O(n log n log log n)) but now Martin Fürer algorithm was((n log n 2^O(log* n)). improvement of multiplication algorithm after decades is quite interesting.
Martin Fürer's homepage
The thesis"
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - US wants everyone else to destroy the climate too

Submitted by minuszero
minuszero (922125) writes "BBC news Is reporting on some of the changes the US wants to put in the new G8 climate texts.

Such changes include:
Striking out "climate change is speeding up and will seriously damage our common natural environment and severely weaken (the) global economy... resolute action is urgently needed in order to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions".
and "we are deeply concerned about the latest findings confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)".

Yet, a spokeswoman for the White House Council on Environmental Quality claims "The US continues to lead the global effort on climate change."

Question is, did she mean stopping climate change, or encouraging it?"
Privacy

+ - A few trips decades ago put an end to this one

Submitted by Hexact
Hexact (22921) writes "Nearly 40 years ago, a young psychotherapist embraced two-thirds of LSD guru Timothy Leary's advice to the Sixties generation to "turn on, tune in and drop out." Curious how LSD and other hallucinogens might be used in treating patients, Andrew Feldmar turned on and tuned in himself.

Last summer U.S. border guards found out about it. They simply looked up Mr. Feldmar on the Internet and discovered his own article about using LSD, written for the scholarly, peer-reviewed journal Janus Head. Mr. Feldmar was held at the border for five hours, before being allowed to return to Canada after signing an admission that he had once violated the U.S. Controlled Substance Act."
Emulation (Games)

+ - 25th Anniversary of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Submitted by
Alioth
Alioth writes "Twenty five years ago today, Sinclair Research launched Britain's most popular home computer of the 1980s — the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Costing about one third of the price of its rivals such as the Commodore 64 while having a faster CPU and a better BASIC interpreter, the machine sold well in many guises throughout the 1980s and had more than a staggering 9,000 software titles. The machine may well have done well in the US too, had Timex — the company building the machine under license in the US — wasn't already in financial trouble and about to fold. The machine was also extremely successful in Russia, although not for Sinclair Research — because the Russians made dozens of different clones of the machine, and did so right into the mid 1990s. The machine still has a healthy retro scene, including the development of new commerical software by Cronosoft, and new hardware such as the DivIDE, which allows a standard PC hard disc or compact flash card to be connected to the machine."
Power

+ - UK Skycraper generates 380-kilowatts from the sun

Submitted by
morpheus83
morpheus83 writes "The facade of a Manchester skyscraper was originally covered with small mosaic tiles, but after 6 months they began to detach and fall. The tiles were replaced with a much greener solution — 7,244 Sharp 80 Watt solar panels to be precise. Interestingly only 4898 of these panels while the rest are dummy panels. Not only do the solar panels provide a weatherproof barrier but also provide 380-kilowatts of electricity which is enough to power 1000 PC's for a year. Additionally there are 24 wind turbines on the roof, which provide 10% of the total power used by the building."
Encryption

Schneier On the US Crypto Competition 58

Posted by kdawson
from the ante-up dept.
Bruce Schneier has a commentary in Wired titled An American Idol for Crypto Geeks on the US government's competition for a new cryptographic hash function to become the national standard, covered here recently. He talks about how much the competition, slated to wrap up by 2011, will advance the cryptographic state of the art. And how much fun he expects to have.
Microsoft

+ - Microsoft launches British 'Software Audit'

Submitted by thesp
thesp (307649) writes "Silicon.com reports that Microsoft is about to employ legal threats to encourage business customers into Windows Genuine Advantage or other similar license audit schemes. From the article

"Those which refuse an audit risk having their details being handed to the British Software Alliance (BSA) who will execute follow-up interviews that could result in fines and other penalties."

They have launched a new term for this approach — SAAM (Software Audit and Asset Managment) — and hope to use this process to "get a view" of its customers. Microsoft UK's licensing programme manager is reported to have said, that "users who choose to ignore Microsoft's questionnaires face a three-stage process leading up to possible prosecution by the BSA"."
Security

+ - Technology of anti-sniper detection systems

Submitted by
Jeremy Hsu
Jeremy Hsu writes "For soldiers on patrol in Iraq, sniper attacks can seemingly come out of nowhere and leave little chance for return fire. But with new anti-sniper detection systems proving their worth for U.S. soldiers and marines in Iraq since 2004, warriors can now return fire more effectively to defend themselves — and a Montana researcher is independently studying those systems to better understand how they work."

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