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Comment Re:unwittingly... (Score 1) 182

If you haven't heard of him before then you've been missing out. He's the author of the excellent "The Code Book" and "Fermat's Last Theorem", both cracking examples of popular science writing.

Everyone really should check them out:

Comment Re:I'm sceptical (Score 2, Informative) 379

Miles per Gallon is the silly figure. It's so silly it's practically useless.

Hypothetical time!
Let's say that my neighbour and I work at the same building, 25 miles from home.

I drive my car at 50 mpg on the way to work and therefore burn 0.5 gallons of fuel. If on the way home I'm more frugal and drive at 55 mpg, I burn 0.455 gallons of fuel. A saving of 0.045 gallons over this morning's run.

Now let's say my neighbour's car's a bit more economical and he can drive to work at 70mpg, using 0.357 gallons on the way. If he follows my frugal lead and is careful on the way home he too saves 5 mpg and so at 75mpg only uses 0.333 gallons of fuel.

His "light foot" exercise nets him a saving of 0.024 gallons. From this we can see that an extra 5 mpg going from 50 - 55 mpg is more worthwhile than going from 70 - 75 mpg. Almost twice as effective.

That's why mpg is a silly value as every time someone posts a new "high score" they are actually posting less and less of an improvement.

l/100km give you an accurate, unbiased view of fuel consumption.

Comment In the UK... (Score 2, Informative) 270 should be fine.

This article details legal proceedings in just such a case.

A choice quote by Lord Justice Jacob is

"A series of drawings is a series of graphic works, not a single graphic work in itself. No-one would say that the copyright in a single drawing of Felix the Cat is infringed by a drawing of Donald Duck. A series of cartoon frames showing Felix running over a cliff edge into space, looking down and only then falling would not be infringed by a similar set of frames depicting Donald doing the same thing. That is in effect what is alleged here."

This is similar to the Lexulous (formerly Scrabulous) case, where the games makers were forced to make minor changes, including a rename, as it was too close a copy of Scrabble.

More details can be found at

Comment Re:History Repeats Itself (Score 1) 140

That's not the first occurance of history repeating itself through telecomms. I rememeber when we had both K56flex and X2 competing for the 56kbps modem standard and ended up with V.90. My ISP had 2 different phone numbers to call depending on what modem you had.

Exactly the same thing happened then as did with the 11g and now 11n situations, one firmware update and suddenly everything plays well with each other.

Comment Re:Support for Mac? (Score 1) 317

Wow, touched a nerve there, good thing I had my flame suit on!

Sorry, I thought when you said "macs and os x for games" you meant Macs and OS X as two separate items, not as a single platform.

I'll agree wholeheartedly with the OS X is a shitty platform for games, and it hacks me off that the industry sees the Transgaming/Cedega/Cider thing as "supporting" mac as a platform, because it really, really isn't. There's no legitimate reason for it not to be, it's all the same hardware and there is OpenGL support, it's just a shame that the game developers like DirectX more.

The reason that I can probably ramp up the settings is because the 24" iMac comes with what is supposed to be an 8800 GS, but is really an 8800M GTS with 512MB VRAM and I spec'd the RAM up to 4GB. I've done the willy-waggling thing with custom PCs before and have had nothing but headaches throughout the process, so I can't be bothered any more. I have a life outside of computers, so the time I do spend with them I like them to be working, rather than be working on them.

When I buy from Apple they warranty the whole system rather than just the components so if something does go wrong I just package up the lot and ship it off, rather than tearing the rig down and eliminating the dodgy components myself. I used to be an IT guy, but I've moved to software development specifically to get away from that.


Submission + - New site dedicated to the cheapest of notebooks ( 1

Little Linux Laptop writes: "There's a tiny little laptop that goes by many names. The 3k Razorbook 400, Trendtac 700 EPC, Elonex One T, Yinlips Micro PC, Bestlink Alpha 400 are all basically the same notebook, rebranded and sold by a variety of different companies in different parts of the world. What these laptops have in common (aside from nearly identical hardware) is the fact that they're cheap and they typically run Linux or Windows CE. Because of the different names, searching for resources was quite a hassle. Luckily someone decided to put up a site dedicated to these laptops: where you can find fixes, patches, software and games, all for free."

Submission + - Harry Potter and a Goblin's Take on Copyright (

DevanJedi writes: "Here's a passage from page 517 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows : (Ron's brother Bill is warning Harry against trusting a goblin Griphook.) "You don't understand, Harry, nobody could understand unless they have lived with goblins. To a goblin, the rightful and true master of any object is the maker, not the purchaser. All goblin-made objects are, in goblin eyes, rightfully theirs. [...] They have, however, great difficulty with the idea of goblin-made objects passing from wizard to wizard. [...] They consider our habit of keeping goblin-made objects, passing them from wizard to wizard without further payment, little more than theft." These goblins sound like our friendly neighborhood MPAA/RIAA lawyers!"

Submission + - Are Mobile Phone Masts Responsible For Illness?

drewmoney writes: According to a major UK study, symptoms of illness caused by mobile phone masts is "all in the mind".

Excerpts from

Dozens of people who believed the masts triggered symptoms such as anxiety, nausea and tiredness could not detect if signals were on or off in trials.

However, the Environmental Health Perspectives study stressed people were nonetheless suffering "real symptoms".

Campaign group Mast Sanity "" said the results were skewed as 12 people in the trials dropped out because of illness.
XBox (Games)

Submission + - Gamer creates auto-"play" robot for the 36

root_42 writes: As the BBC reports US gamer David Harr created a small device to restart games of Perfect Dark Zero for him. As a devote gamer he collected all achievement points, except for the final 60. Those could only be achieved by playing 2,000 offline games of Perfect Dark Zero. So he just built a "robot" that pushed the buttons so as to start and re-start the games, instead of him, which would have taken 40 hours in front of the Xbox.

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