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Comment Re:Edison reaching out from beyond the grave (Score 1, Interesting) 462

When it comes to high voltages one of the other advantages AC has is safety
with High Voltage DC the muscles in your hand would tend to grip / contract or hold onto a conductor
AC on the other-hand just tends to throw you off as it's alternating back and forth at 50 or 60 times a second
The longer your in contact the more chance you have of suffering burns, or your heart stopping

I'd guess 12V / 24V is probably the best, as it's low enough not to be a safety risk (think car battery)
and at the same time most PC Hardware tends to run on a combination of 12V / 5V anyway (converting from 12 to 5 is trivial)
Having an AC to DC conversion on the side of the wall then running a cable to each rack perhaps in a ring configuration might be the way to go
probably depends on the amount / size / thickness of cabling you can fit in to each rack / under the flooring

When they talk about losses, usually it's over long distance over a few miles or between substations
although I have heard that you can get losses of a few volts of AC between opposite sides of a hanger for example
but that's likely to be less controlled / more dirty than regulated DC within a Datacenter
Also with 12V there may be a lot less cost in terms of replacing the server PSU's as it's already closer to what you already need

Of course the most important thing is that we'd need some form of new standard plug
perhaps a different colour and some extra pins for future expansion
perhaps google should ask apple, I hear they're good with plug design :)

Comment Re:Attach to a Cat (Score 1) 761

1) Find a nearby cat
2) Attach said device to cat (duct tape, collar or other means)
3) Watch Federal Officers attempt to retrieve they're hardware
after they realize your car can now climb walls, cross gardens and go through back doors with ease
4) Hilarity ensues
5) ... Profit

Comment Team Foundation Server (Score 1) 362

I know this probably isn't a popular open source option, but the latest TFS 2010 is quite good at version control.
We've been using Sourcesafe / VB6 / .Net 2.0 platform for a while now
But sourcesafe is all shared drive based which makes it particularly slow over the internet
we're currently in the process of moving to TFS 2010 / .Net 4.0

TFS stores all it's data under MSSQL 2008.
presents a soap interface for checkins / check outs (so will actually work with VB6 or other development enviroments quite easily)
If you have a MSDN subscription the licence for TFS / Database is already covered
the only licences needed are for Visual Studio / the CAL's (Client Access Licences)
you can view source over a web interface and can be set to operate similar to Sourcesafe (only one checkout allowed at a time)
plus it has Windows Explorer integration via the Power Tools

Comment Re:balderdash and piffle (Score 1) 688

From a business point of view the director of the company
(who's also the same guy that started the company)
is a techie and wrote most of the initial apps the business use (SMS Processing for example) in VB6
so we're very VB orientated (we've only just started moving from .Net2.0 to 4.0, and that's because I've pushed for it by setting up a TFS Server to replace sourcesafe)

From a personal point of view most of the first languages I used were basic on a Z80, anyone remember STOS or AMOS or GFI?
I have written some C and C++ now and again (a linux DVBS USB satalite tuner card driver, and a plugin for evms before it was depreciated), plus bits of a million other languages such as PHP and Java
But I always found VB6 better to understand during the early days when I was trying to understand object orientation (the auto complete made it a lot easier to just bash something together)

But I've always felt VB was better at the business logic / those users that had written a lot of VB6 in the past
while C# felt like it was more for those coming across from writing a lot of C++ (I only ever wrote small bits of it)
I could move to C# but it would just feel like I'm writing backwards (because of the variable decelerations)
so it's just more of a personal preference thing in the style of it, I can just glance through VB code and understand most of it in a few seconds, with C# it just takes me a bit longer to get my head around the differences because I'm not used to it

with the newer frameworks (4.0) I don't think there's a lot of differences left between the two anyway

Comment balderdash and piffle (Score 1) 688

Well I write .Net code for a living, VB Mostly instead of C#
I've also been into Linux for a long while (originally Mandrake, now Gentoo)

if nothing else it can be used as a fast prototyping language and it's miles better than the old VB6
our entire business is based on it websites / processing applications
it works well and you can write code for it very quickly and easily
and it's not a language but a platform (language + standard libs for common operations)

In the old days it was all about squeezing as much as you could from the processor
(I know this more than most, assembler on the Z80 / Spectrum, Atari 68000 etc)
each language has it's place depending on the trade off between simplicity and performance
I've always seen C as driver low level, C++ as mid OS GUI / 3D abstraction level
and the likes of Java / PHP / .Net as upper layer for business logic

But where it comes to actual applications or websites that sit on top of the OS not a part of the OS
where business logic not performance counts
where it's key to be able to change something quickly at the cost of a small performance hit
(becuase you have a server with umpteen CPU's and massive memory in a rack, so performance comes secondary)
you need a higher level language than C++ to do these things quickly / simply
and I'm ashamed to say as a Linux geek I've not found anything that I could write cleaner or quicker code in than .Net
I really have tried with java and netbeans, but I hate it's Enums and namespacing, I've even considered scalar
netbeans also has this habbit of completley changing they're platform / libs layout (which sits on top of the java platform)

if I want to write a simple line of text to a text file, I can do it in a single line
System.IO.file.appendalltext(filepath, content)
with C++ unless you count the STL there's no fixed standard list of libs to use for common tasks
it can vary between platforms (less so with open source)
so typically I end up opening a file handle creating an int to store it in, making sure my string is null terminated
etc etc for somethinhg that should be a simple job
having the language managed, and catching exceptions which mean something is an added bonus

I know there are a lot of wrapper libs for this sort of thing like QT
kdevelop has auto-completion but it's still not a patch on the ease of use of Studio / .Net's
simply because of the differences in language design

In an ideal world I'd like to write .Net VB apps that use QT as a GUI backend
and that can run under windows or Linux via Qyoto and mono
given that KDE's smoke has recently been split into seperate parts under Gentoo and that Qyoto has been updated to 4.7
I'm hoping this might finally be possible
Linux is missing a lot of GUI based apps for configuration front ends vs windows
and with .Net you could create these very easily

But at the end of the day it's all about personal preference
some people can probably write code in C++ more quickly than .Net depending on what they're more familar with
also we don't have the same patent issues over here in the UK as the USA (for now at least)

Comment a VPN? (Score 1) 214

the concept of a '.secure' network for critical services such as financial institutions, sensitive infrastructure, government contractors, and the government itself that would be walled off from the public web

ohh you mean a VPN right? yeah we've had them for a while now

Comment The new Splinter Cell Conviction (Score 1) 430

The funny thing is, when the new Splinter Cell Conviction comes out over here in the UK
I was going to actually buy the PC version
but after reading the above and this
I'm actually really tempted to pirate the thing
(or perhaps get an xbox given that Sony's screwed me over with the whole otheros thing)

Comment Re:And Sony will respond by... (Score 1) 468

Personally I've always intended to use Linux on the PS3 not for the usability aspect
but simply because it has around 7-8 cores (if you include the PPU) running at around 3.2Ghz (most have limited memory)
the sort of thing ideal for running simulations / cracking codes
(personal interest was more geared towards the use of FEM or Finite-Element-Analysis to simulate different types of stress's within CAD)
if your clever enough to code for it, effectively your own mini super computer

I'd be fairly impressed if he does manage to pull off running custom firmware on the PS3
From what I understand there's been some hardware around for a while (similar to a mod chip)
that allows you to read or write directly to the firmware bios chip

but the main issue has always been that the firmware code needed to be digitally signed before it would run on the metal
which meant you were pretty much limited to just switching between different official versions of the Sony bios
up until now the use of such a mod was fairly limited / useless as you couldn't run any custom code without getting around the digital signature issue

given recent developments, such a mod may become more popular if it allows users to say switch temporarily to an older official bios for Linux
then back to the new one for the PSN

if the new hack that's recently been discovered could somehow lead to a workaround on the digital signature
(if custom firmware's could be run on the box in some way)
that pretty much opens the flood gates for pirate software, as all your missing then is a custom loader
from what I understand of the loaders so far most of them have relied on bugs patched in new firmwares
and even then the closest I think anyone ever got to running pirate games was booting them off the HD

If the firmware itself with the digital signature is hacked then Sony's going to be in for a whole world of hurt
even if they tried to block users on the PSN I don't think it would take much to simply generate a new random number and pass this onto the PSN to re-register if you've gotten as far as accessing the box at the firmware level

Comment CAE Linux anyone? (Score 1) 413

Try CaeLinux a bootable CD distribution which is basically a collection of different open source Cad apps
I'm hoping to make a reprap 3d printer at some point, so I've been looking into writing some ebuild scripts to get some of the stuff from caelinux into gentoo
like Salome, elmerfem, brlcad

I'm not an expert in CAD mind you but some of the below may be useful

One of the things I've discovered is that there's a difference between 3D Cad and 3D Modeling software
Modeling is about approximating the appearance of an object for appearance sake only, usually using a mesh / grid of some kind, this is a typical use for Blender
CAD is about what the object is made of, and it's physical dimensions in real space, typically objects are constructed from primitives such as a hollowed out cylinder for example
Modeling = what you can see the outside appearance, CAD = the innards, what it's made of and more of a focus on measurements in real space

If your going to design something that's going to be built it's probably better to design it in Cad software first
then convert it to a modeling form later on for the sake of pretty pictures / animations / appearances in a demonstration etc.
This way the original design is stored in a form where there's actual physical measurements (in mm for example)
and in a form that can be manufactured (drill holes at these points here and here etc)

While Blender could in theory support CAD capability, I think it's current features are lacking in that area
(although it is open source so if you want to add those features go right ahead)
From a commercial perspective I think the 2 main packages are Catia and Solidworks

Also If you want to simulate the environment on a 3D Cad object, the usual way is via FEM or Finite Element Analysis
This is the sort of thing used to simulate the way temperature travels through an object made of different materials for example
I think Catia / Solidwords have this sort of thing already inbuilt, in the case of open source software there's a lot of separate packages to play around with (elmerfem for example)
I think the linux cae pages have some good tutorials / examples on this

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