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Comment Re:Ah, the wikihouse - interesting but *so* expens (Score 0) 96

A typical British housing estate is "mass produced" but it isn't built on a production line. Also they're not built with anything like the tolerances and quality control you'd get on a production line (e.g. it's a hot/cold/wet day and the bricklayer just wants to get finished as soon as they can).

The only sector in British housing building that is making serious use of production line techniques is the social housing sector, where often timber frame structures are used. These timber frame "modules" are manufactured in a factory and so can easily go through the QC processes you'd find on a production line before being shipped-out to the housing estate.

Comment Re:Summary, summarized, analyzed (Score 1) 196

I suspect the real reason for this might be the introduction of £9,000 ($14,000) pa tuition fees plus the rise of the "helicopter parent" and a US-style litigation culture in the UK. By using a system such as the one proposed they'll be able to keep a record of who attends and if they are sued for breach of contract (or something similar) when little Jimmy doesn't pass his exams they can turn around and say (with confidence) that he never turned up to lectures. Government visa controls are probably being used as a scapegoat.

Comment Re:Unlikely (Score 1) 272

Indeed, let Samsung or LG do things like integrate the "steambox" within their TVs, ASUS etc can produce their own stand-alone consoles or "steambox" compatible PCs. IMHO the only important thing is to standardise on GPU a,b or c, CPU x,y or z so as to reduce the number of different hardware configurations. Too many configurations and you'll get console users trying to cope some of the problems PC gamers have to deal with - not a good thing.

Comment Wot no BBC Micro? (Score 3, Informative) 290

Thought I should mention the BBC Micro (aka Acorn Proton), manufactured by Acorn Computers (RIP) who gave the world the ARM microprocessor, as it also used the 6502. BBC micros equipped with a 6502 2nd processor were actually used to develop the first generation of ARM processors. So yes the humble 6502 is a pretty important processor, if Acorn had used the 6800 or 8088 then we might not have the ARM processor today.

Can You Fight DRM With Patience? 309

As modern DRM schemes get more annoying and invasive, the common wisdom is to vote with your wallet and avoid supporting developers and publishers who include such schemes with their games. Or, if you simply must play it, wait a while until outcry and complaints have caused the DRM restrictions to be loosened. But will any of that make game creators rethink their stance? An article at CNet argues that gamers are, in general, an impatient bunch, and that trait combined with the nature of the games industry means that progress fighting DRM will be slow or nonexistent. Quoting: "Increasingly so, the joke seems to be on the customers who end up buying this software when it first comes out. A simple look back at some controversial titles has shown us that after the initial sales come, the publisher later removes the vast majority of the DRM, leaving gamers to enjoy the software with fewer restrictions. ... Still, [waiting until later to purchase the game] isn't a good long-term solution. Early sales are often one of the big quantifiers in whether a studio will start working on a sequel, and if everyone were to wait to buy games once they hit the bargain price, publishers would simply stop making PC versions. There's also no promise that the really heavy bits of DRM will be stripped out at a later date, except for the fact that most publishers are unlikely to want to maintain the cost of running the activation, and/or online verification servers for older software."

Comment Re:so long... (Score 0, Troll) 430

100-odd years ago people were saying similarly daft things about incandescent bulbs when electric lighting was replacing gas lighting. I wouldn't be surprised if the same people who complain about CFL now will complain about LED bulbs in a few years time and at the same time extol the virtues of CFL.

The more things change the more they stay the same...

Submission + - Steve Furber on Energy-Efficient Computing

ChelleChelle writes: By now it has become evident that we are facing an energy problem—while our primary sources of energy are running out, the demand for energy is greatly increasing. In the face of this issue energy-efficient computing has become a hot topic. For those looking for lessons who better to ask then Steve Furber, the principal designer of the ARM (Acorn RISC Machine), a prime example of a chip that is simple, low power, and low cost. In this interview, conducted by David Brown of Sun’s Solaris Engineering Group, Furber shares some of the lessons and tips on energy-efficient computing that he has learned through working on this and subsequent projects.

Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child 331

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."

Comment Re:Going to Oxford (Score 1) 1095

Go to Oxford... Have a pint or three at the Eagle and Child, where The Inklings writers' group (which included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis) used to meet-up until 1962 (the Rabbit Room has various bits of memorabilia.). Then cross the road to the Lamb and Flag, where the Inklings group used to go to meet-up after 1962 and have a pint there.

As the saying goes "she was never bored because she was never boring"...

Submission + - Firefox 3.6 locks out rogue add-ons (

CWmike writes: Mozilla will add a new lockdown feature to Firefox 3.6 that will prevent developers from sneaking add-ons into the program, the company said. Dubbed "component directory lockdown," the feature will bar access to Firefox's "components" directory, where most of the browser's own code is stored. Mozilla has billed the move as a way to boost the stability of its browser. "We're doing this for stability and user control [reasons]," said Johnathan Nightingale, manager of the Firefox front-end development team. "Dropping raw components in this way was never an officially supported way of doing things, which means it lacks things like a way to specify compatibility. When a new version of Firefox comes out that these components aren't compatible with, the result can be a real pain for our shared users ... Now that those components will be packaged like regular add-ons, they will specify the versions they are compatible with, and Firefox can disable any that it knows are likely to cause problems."

Comment Re:Yes (Score 1) 712

The idea of a mobile phone isn't actually that new, a US patent for the wireless telephone was granted on 12th May 1908 (U.S. Patent 887,357) so the concept of the mobile phone is over 100 years old now. According to the font of all knowledge (wikipedia) the first mobile phone was introduced in 1945 - well within grannies life.

Even work on the foundations of the Internet very nearly happened in grannies lifetime as work began in the 60's on ARPANET.

Comment But would it actually run Linux?? (Score 2, Interesting) 326

Would such a system actually use ARM Linux? The reason I ask is that the ARM processor is commonly used PDAs and therefore has Windows CE (or whatever they call it now).

So I wouldn't be surprised if M$ just renamed it Windows 7 Green Edition and rolled it out for such netbooks. Joe Public would be all oooh it runs powerpoint and word and IE and they'd be happy.

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