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Comment Re:Sweet! 43 Billion! (Score 1) 222

Unfortunately I agree with you completely in principle, but your arguments aren't really correct...
a) We can do things about water. Such as Federalising Murray Darling water rights so that they aren't overallocated by the states, or stopping Australians farming water-heavy products like Cotton in dry areas.
b) Umm, can't do anything? Well you could adjust the tax differential between owner-occupied land and investment properties so there is lower demand for investment properties?
c)Agree with nuclear - people need to just grow up and accept that it's not like Chernobyl anymore! And nuclear is WAY better for the environment than the coal we currently use!
d)INTERNET IS AWESOME! Yeah, I agree with you in principle but some of your arguments were a bit off.

Finally - your last paragraph. Ironically, the Sydney NBN office is based just over the bridge in North Sydney - point in case?

Comment Re:fine print (Score 1) 222

Well, you're in luck, two fold!
a) I've done the research you couldn't be bothered to (google is so complicated, I know), to find out that there has indeed been an indication of minimum speeds!
a) as pointed out here, satellite and wireless are expected to be 12mbps (at peak usage, so a 'real' 12mbps). I've read a more authoratitive source than that, but I couldn't be bothered doing more research for you. Oh, and finally - I also read somewhere that optical will be cross subsidising satellite and wireless to the extent that Australia wide, you will be paying the same cost for xGB downloads on a 12mbit plan. The only difference between wireless & satellite is that higher bandwidth plans won't be available.

Submission + - Aussie broadband forum crippled by DDoS (

An anonymous reader writes: Australia is once again full of bored IT office workers after one of Australia's biggest volunteer-run internet forums, Whirlpool, was taken down for a second straight day by a sustained distributed denial of service attack. Traffic from the first attack — traced to servers in Denmark and the U.S. — was blocked by upstream providers yesterday, but the attacks resumed again overnight. The web host that takes care of Whirlpool will now hand over evidence of the attacks — including several servers that have been preserved as a crime scene — to law enforcement agencies in the hope of tracking down those responsible. Whirlpool is ranked just behind MSN in Alexa's top 100 Australian sites.

Comment Re:No One Would Notice (Score 5, Insightful) 336

I drink a lot of wine, with a wide range of prices, and disagree.
While it certainly isn't a linear relationship to price, or indeed certain, I have had a lot of very expensive wine which I am more than happy to pay for because I can taste the difference.

I can find a $15 I like and drink, a $30 a love and drink a lot, and a $70 I savour and purely enjoy. The >$300 bottles I've had (not paid for by me, I'm a young professional supporting a student wife!), are usually better than the lot - just not (say) 10 times better than the $30 bottle.

To translate into geekspeak: a top of the line i7 processor might cost 10 times what a midrange 775pin would cost, but doesn't perform the same as 10 of the cheaper processor. Indeed, the majority of users (i.e. browsing & word processing) may not notice the difference.
But some people who are into their computers will definitely notice the difference, and will pay the extra.
I know the metaphor isn't perfect, but you get the gist.

All of that being said - aging wine can be a bit of pot luck unless the conditions are perfect.

Submission + - Officials Sue Couple Who Removed Their Lawn 6

Hugh Pickens writes: "The LA Times reports that Orange County officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for replacing the grass on their lawn with wood chips and drought-tolerant plants reducing their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009. The dispute began two years ago, when Quan and Angelina Ha tore out the grass in their frontyard. In drought-plagued Southern California, the couple said, the lush grass had been soaking up tens of thousands of gallons of water — and hundreds of dollars — each year. "We've got a newborn, so we want to start worrying about her future," said Quan Ha, an information technology manager for Kelley Blue Book. But city officials told the Has they were violating several city laws that require that 40% of residential yards be landscaped predominantly with live plants. Last summer, the couple tried to appease the city by building a fence around the yard and planting drought-tolerant greenery — lavender, rosemary, horsetail and pittosporum, among others but according to the city, their landscaping still did not comply with city standards. At the end of January, the Has received a letter saying they had been charged with a misdemeanor violation and must appear in court. The couple could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for their grass-free, eco-friendly landscaping scheme. "It's just funny that we pay our taxes to the city and the city is now prosecuting us with our own money," says Quan Ha."

Comment Re:Deplete our Fresh Water supply? (Score 3, Interesting) 262

Whilst I agree with your comment that it won't deplete fresh water, your implication that it won't have a significant environmental impact is 'ridiculous, short-sighted, and causes more harm than good'.

Marine ecology is actually highly sensitive to salinity in the water - and this process increases relative salinity in the water. Whilst this won't affect the volume of fresh water available for human use, it will have significant impact on marine life living in the unique ecosystem that exists at a rivers mouth.

Rivers typically also wash a huge amount of nutrients into the ocean (from runoff, natural effluent and the like) - I have no idea how / if these plants will affect these nutrients, but as anyone who has ever fished at a river mouth will know, salt water fish follow that leading edge of 'brown' water to feed off the food washed down by it.

There will be an impact and - similar to Australian plans to pipe fresh water from parts of Australia with plenty to those parts with very little - there seems to have been very little analysis into the impact on marine ecology, and until that has been done, one can't say there won't be any impact. Why do people forget the fishies?!

Comment Re:It happens? (Score 4, Informative) 358

A statistician friend of mine pointed me to a study (that I have now lost) which showed some very interesting figures.

The premise showed that basically, if you selected 100 investment portfolios at random (possibly with some basic rules, I'm not sure), exactly the same proportion would exceed to the same extent as if you the proportion of stock brokers who beat the market.

The point is, if you missed it, that successful investors are no more than stastical effects :)

Now, in reference to 'plenty of economists & analysts were predicting the impending doom', a lot weren't. Pick ANY situation, and you'll have plenty of analysts predicting both ways - and the ones who turn out to be correct are invariably labelled insightful, when no doubt a lot of them are just lucky.

Comment Australia (Score 2, Informative) 180

Completely legal here - in fact, a lot of ISPs use it as a sales tool - they provide cheaper internet if you bundle it with their VoIP service to replace your home phone.

VoIPs becoming fairly widespread these days - many big companies especially are using it, and a growing proportion of home users.

Comment Re:1.6 Horsepower vacuum cleaners? (Score 1) 348

When I was selling vacs (no, not door to door, my uni job was @ an upmarket department store), there were basically three ways of measuring power, in ascending order of relevance, and also the number of people (including sales people) who new about them:
  • Motor power (watts). Doesn't tell you much at all.
  • Suction power at motor (watts). Better, but doesn't factor in inefficiencies like bag & hose length
  • Suction power at nozzle (watts)- best! But then things like nozzle size can obviously affect the actual suction power.

Most people didn't really know the difference, and many companies didn't publicise the last one because (a) people are dumb and might think 200 watt nozzle suction is worse than 1500watt engine power, and (b) because it'd show their machines are crap.

Example - dysons when I was selling them had lower engine power than, say, hoover(1200 vs 2000 watts iirc), but had comparable or higher suction power because the suction didn't need to get through the walls of a bag & a bunch of filters.

End my 2 cents.

PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - Interview: Castlevania's future

ferricide writes: "The latest game in the Castlevania series, Dracula X Chronicles, will be released for the PSP later this year. Thanks to Game Developers Conference, GamesRadar was able to sit down and have a lengthy interview with Koji "IGA" Igarashi. It started out as a discussion of that game (a pack which contains a ground-up remake of the 1993 classic and a port of 1997's Symphony of the Night) but which became more wide-ranging, concerning the development philosophy and future of the entire series."

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