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Comment Re: Really, Microsoft? (Score 1) 320

What other consumer- grade OS which can be freely installed by OEMs is there? It's not like the average person on the street is going to bother learning Linux.

The average consumer is in the browser all the time - for webmail, Facebook and porn. The underlying OS makes no difference to them as long as they can see the icon to launch the browser.

Comment Re:Yes, "line rental" is for POTS (Score 1) 82

What happens when there are a decreasing amount of POTS subscribers and an increasing number of cellular subscribers? The total revenue going towards the cost of maintenance of the POTS equipment and the employees starts shrinking. Eventually it gets to a point where there is risk associated with the "subscription fees" not being able to cover the total cost.

Except that the "maintenance" issue is bollocks. I'd like to know where my 19 GBP per month standing charge really goes. What BT need to maintain, and its capital cost, is lightweight stuff compared with my electrical power provider, and their standing charge is half that.

Comment Re:Yes, "line rental" is for POTS (Score 1) 82

People subscribe to it because most internet in the UK is via ADSL or variants which is delivered through the POTS system.

That is right. Cell phone coverage is not good everywhere (almost unusable where I live) and land lines are much faster for data. I am suprised the situation is not even worse in the USA, being much larger and with more remote area.

Comment Re:Yes, "line rental" is for POTS (Score 1) 82

Also, doesn't POTS still work when the power goes out?

Yes they do, provided the exchange still has power...

In the UK all exchanges have battery back-up AFAIK.

Thing is almost all modern phones you can buy require power.... However if you can find a basic POTS phone ... or even better - just a speaker and a pen knife, you can strip the wires and dial by touching the wires together for pulses ...., I don't know if POTS still actually support decadic dialling.

No, pulse dialling no longer works. As I am not one to throw things away, I still have an old (but tone dialling) phone I can plug in if I have a power cut. It is also good for fault finding around the house system.

Comment Re:This is inevitable (Score 1) 82

There's something dodgy with pricing going on though. AAISP offer an ADSL only copper pair for 10GBP/month. The only difference between this and a full telephone service is that there's no dial tone and no telephone number. It's still exactly the same wires as when you go to BT and have the full telephone service. I'm pretty sure they're actually reselling a BT offering.

Look at their small print and I expect that you will find that they are reselling BT bandwidth. I am with UNO for my ISP and they buy bandwidth from BT, yet even with (presumably) a profit they are still cheaper than BT . BT are just capitalising on their "established" position.

Comment Re:In a panic, they tried to pull the plug (Score 1) 68

Then there is the cost of running the AC for a long time when you get home to cool down the house and it's contents that have been warming up all day.

You don't know the UK. It is rare for private houses to have AC, or to need it for more than a few days per year.

The classic definition of the English summer is "three days of heatwave followed by a thunderstorm".

Comment Re:Small details. (Score 1) 91

"How is that any better than an independent single body that could be more easily changed?"

What makes you think that a single, centralized gatekeeper could be "more easily changed"?

Anything would be more easily changed than the CEO or board membership of a company like Google or Facebook - at least for reasons related to anything ethical. Such people can only be changed by a boardroom "palace" rebellion or shareholders' vote, and neither of those would ever happen over an issue (trivial to them) like fake news. Such rebellions only ever happen if not enough money is being made, and are rare even then.

How would that system work and who would get to make the changes?

Something like a body appointed by the W3C. Complaints could be made to it, they'd look into the incident, and at the very least they could name and shame. They could also initiate court proceedings against offenders if actual damage was considered to have been done.

Comment Re:You can't have it both ways. (Score 1) 91

The only solution to fake news is for readers not to be gullible.

I agree but it means that there is really no solution. Some individual readers may not be gullible, but not the majority.

A philospher said, long time ago, that if you had a billion monkeys bashing at typewriters, one of them would eventually perchance reproduce the works of Shakespeare. However, the internet has shown that this does not happen.

OTOH, if some monkeys did produce some gems of literature, another monkey could perchance produce an index pointing where to find them among the dross. However there would be billions of times as many false indexes too. It's hopeless.

Comment Re:Small details. (Score 3, Insightful) 91

We must push back against misinformation by encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue their efforts to combat the problem,

Notice the plural (emphasis mine)

- Tim wants the companies (plural) spreading informations/news to do a little bit of work to help assess the reliability of facts in the links that people pass around.
- Tim does not want a single central entity becoming the official authority on all truth (he doesn't want a central "Ministry of Truth").

Having plural gatekeepers does not solve the problem. "Plural" in practice means jerks like Zuckerberg, Gates, Cook, Nadella and Pichai being in control of gatekeeping. These are people who, as senior company officers, only their boards or shareholdes could remove : such actions in companies are very rare and even more rare over anything ethical, or their influence is not removable at all if they hold a massive share of the company (as in Gates' case). How is that any better than an independent single body that could be more easily changed?

Comment Re:the "loop" in Hyperloop (Score 1) 223

Have they successfully built / connected any curved sections yet? I would imagine that's an important proof of concept at the technical level.

Don't worry. At the speeds they want there cannot be anything like you would recognise as a curve or the passengers' eyeballs would start popping out. Even on modern conventional railways they avoid curves less than 1-2 km radius. "Curves" on the hyperloop could probable be made just by slight shimming of the joints between tube sections.

BTW, I love these Hyperloop stories. They reveal such a load of public misconceptions (I mean generally, I'm not referring to the parent).

Comment Re:thunderf00t says bs! (Score 1) 223

The idea of a vacuum being used is not new. Go google 'Brunel's Atmospheric Railway'. .... The Hyperloop is a very diffferent concept.

Then why bring it up? Brunel's railway used a vacuum tube between the rails for propulsion. The Hyperloop uses a vacuum tube around the whole train and track for air resisance reduction. Nothing whatever to do with each other.

Comment Re:thunderf00t says bs! (Score 1) 223

Like most things, it's bullshit until it works. Then it's genius.

Yes, the key words being "until it works", which in this case will never happen.

It will happen. There will be a hyperloop between a couple of places, as a sheik's toy in Dubai, or even LA to Las Vegas as a tourist attraction, but that will be it. It will be far too expensive for wider use, and for safety reasons run at far lower speeds than Musk talks about, even if there are occasional faster publicity runs by technicians.

Comment Re:Emergencies? (Score 1) 223

In space the pressure is an outward force, in atmosphere it's an inward force.

For steel, the compressive and tensile strengths are similar, so it doesn't really matter.

Yes it does matter, it is not as simple as the failure stress.

Under compression, as the vacuum tube will be, the structure can buckle. What starts off as a small variation from the round shape (even the minutest manufacturing departure from a pure circle) causes a further small distortion which escalates by positive feedback, even though the material is at first still well within its failure limit (and even within its elastic limit). Then, as the distortion gets more and more, the material eventually reaches its failure stress (starting "plastic" distortion in the case of steel). That is called buckling. This would not happen under internal pressure, which would keep a tube circular.

A steel tube would stand a much greater pressure difference if the greater pressure were inside rather than outside.

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