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NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration

Grench Re: And Yet; (200 comments)

Those would be Shetland ponies. i.e. ponies from the Shetland Isles, north of Scotland.

about a week ago

Sony To Take On Netflix With Playstation Vue

Grench Cue legal action from a UK cinema chain (130 comments)

There's a cinema chain here in the UK called "Vue"; they have over 80 cinemas as far south as Plymouth to as far north as Inverness. And those are just the ones with Vue branding - they own cinema chains across Europe under different trading names. I wonder if they're thinking of rebranding them all Vue right about now... They have the right to, and hell, I might be tempted to, if I was in their position.

I can't see them permitting an online streaming movie product (in the UK, at least) under that name, without at least getting some revenue from Sony for the name, or without being beaten down by Sony lawyers in a bitter dispute. Possibly pan-European, if they did suddenly decide "all of our cinemas are going to be called Vue now".

Also, echoing what others have said - forget trying to compete with Netflix (or whatever Amazon's LoveFilm service is called these days) unless your product can:

1) work in a web browser on any platform, like Netflix
2) have a wider selection of media than Netflix
3) offer this choice for less money than Netflix

It's just pissing money into the wind if they don't make a product that meets all three of the above goals. Sony knows how to make a lot of money from home entertainment, but they know how to lose a lot too.

about a month and a half ago

MicroxWin Creates Linux Distribution That Runs Debian/Ubuntu & Android Apps

Grench Re:Android on my pi? (42 comments)

Ah, my mistake. Hopefully it won't be too long before there is no more reliance on a closed-source blob though.

about 5 months ago

MicroxWin Creates Linux Distribution That Runs Debian/Ubuntu & Android Apps

Grench Re:Android on my pi? (42 comments)

Broadcom have open-sourced the chip used on the Pi now (as I recall, this is including the source for the Videocore GPU); I think that was always the RPi Foundation's intention, but it's only recently made it through the legal processes.

Folk are working on Android for the Pi - it is coming. Personally, I hope this distro gets ported to the Pi, because having a full Debian instance, with the ability to run Android apps within a window (much like Wine does for Windows applications within Linux), gives users the best of both worlds.

about 5 months ago

Linksys Resurrects WRT54G In a New Router

Grench Re:Cost? (310 comments)

As a network engineer, I'd just like to say that I wish I got $100/hr :(

about a year ago

Scientology's Fraud Conviction Upheld In France

Grench Re:Still (321 comments)

Who said I had a skyfairy at all?

I get fed up of all the idiots crawling out of the woodwork and talking crap. I strongly suspect the troll I replied to has never been out of his/her home country, to anywhere there is a different culture, meeting people, or seeing how anyone else but them lives. I've been through the Middle East (can't claim to have visited the UAE or Kuwait, but have been through the airports in both countries) and have spent a combined period of several months visiting Indonesia, not the tourist areas, or staying in hotels, but living in normal folks' houses as a guest and spending time with them.

Anyone is entitled to believe in any God (or pantheon of Gods) they want. They can believe their religion is the only true religion if they want; religion is about faith, after all. I'm just sick of people who put down other people based on their ill-informed, prejudiced view of things. You want to write about someone's culture/religion in a critical manner, you'd better actually see how those people live or practise their religions first.

about a year ago

Scientology's Fraud Conviction Upheld In France

Grench Re:Still (321 comments)

Oh, piss off. If you're too stupid to differentiate between the religion and the extremist interpretation of the religion, then I really pity you. I'm also shocked that this has been modded *UP* rather than down as "troll" or "flamebait".

Scientology is, as has already been pointed out, a cult started by a Sci-Fi author who wanted to make a lot of money. Islam is a religion, and there are millions of truly faithful Muslims out there who are every bit as peaceful in their daily life as the millions of truly faithful Christians (or Hindus, or Buddhists, or Sikhs, or followers of x y or z other faiths).

Just in the same way most Irish weren't involved in blowing up each other / the British during the height of the Troubles (note this was a war about the difference between the two main groups of Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism) and about occupation/independence, and *nobody* was saying shit back then about "all Christians are terrorists".

Those who blow themselves and other people up while claiming they're doing it in the name of Islam are idiots, and are delusional. The average suicide bomber has been brainwashed into it by the sorts of horrific people (i.e. Osama Bin Laden / Al Qaeda and other like-minded organizations) who recognize the power of religious belief and exploit that to their own ends - i.e. money and power. That's what it comes down to, not religion. If they can recruit young and impressionable enough people, and present themselves to these people as priests and clerics, and preach to them that God will reward them if they commit these acts, then it's far more likely to succeed then just placing a wanted ad for soldiers.

TL:DR version - I think you're an idiot - "terrorist" and "muslim" are not interchangeable terms.

about a year ago

Myst Creators Announce Obduction

Grench Re:It's called Solitaire (103 comments)

Hitchhiker's had a bastard of a puzzle too, the infamous Babel Fish puzzle, where you literally could not complete the game without solving it. Had my brother and I stuck for many years. Tried many different combinations of where to put the satchel, where to put the dressing gown, where to put the junk mail, etc. Damn fish kept getting stolen by various types of cleaning robot (including an airborne one).

Eventually managed to solve it and complete the game, but when I went back to the game again recently, I couldn't for the life of me remember how I solved it the last time.

Apparently, Infocom eventually started selling t-shirts that said "I GOT THE BABEL FISH".

about a year ago

Eben Upton Muses on the Raspberry Pi, Scratch and, His Love For Parallela

Grench Re:I'd like to see his thoughts on... (71 comments)

Useless? Nope. It's not exactly a stellar performer, but it has a lot of uses. Remember, it's designed as an educational product, rather than as a PC replacement. It is not as powerful as your average desktop PC. But it is not useless.

My own Pi runs Samba4 (it's an Active Directory domain controller for my home Windows PC network, and runs a DNS service), it runs CUPS (for network printer sharing), it runs CrashPlan (for backing up my other PCs' data), and it runs the LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) stack so that it can run some dynamic web-based services - the ones I use are Cacti and Observium (for graphing/monitoring my Cisco devices), and Horde Webmail/Groupware.

This is exactly what I used to use an old AMD Sempron box for. Granted, that AMD box was free, and more powerful - but it's bigger, noisier, makes more heat, and consumes more power than the Pi does.

I think the Pi is a fantastic project. It would be nice to see a more powerful ARM CPU and extra RAM on the next version of the board, but I'd be just as happy to see Ethernet being separated from the USB bus, and a SATA connector with the option to set your Pi up to boot from a hard drive out of the box (note that mine does run off a USB hard drive, but it still has to use the MicroSD card as a bootstrap - a SATA controller could also mean faster I/O throughput).

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Enterprise Level Network Devices For Home Use?

Grench A bit biased here... (241 comments)

I've always run with Cisco gear at work, so I figured, why not run with Cisco gear at home? Price is only a concern if you're buying new, and even when most people buy new, they don't buy at list price - they find a gold-certified reseller who can offer them up to 60% off Cisco list prices. Me? I bought most of my kit off eBay.

My own current setup is:

1x Cisco 1841 router with EHWIC-1ADSL for my broadband connection (this card supports ADSL2+)
1x Cisco Aironet AIR-AP1231G-E-K9 for wireless
1x Cisco Catalyst WS-C2940-8TT-S for a switch

The router was £60 off eBay. The WIC was £40 off eBay.
The switch was £40 off eBay. Sure, it's only a 100 Mbit/sec switch, but my internet connection is only around 10 Mbit/sec downstream. Works for me.
The wireless AP was £50 in a clearance sale from PCW Business - it was brand new in box.

If I'd bought an 1801, it'd have had an ADSL2+ interface built-in, but I wanted a router with a couple of WIC slots.

Total - £190. This ticks all the price boxes for me.

In terms of reliability - I've had the AP for a few years now and it's fine; the switch and router were more recent, and haven't let me down either. I've used all of these device types professionally for years (including in dirty warehouses, offshore oil platforms, and in Portakabins running off diesel generators), and have never had one fail yet, so I don't expect one to at home.

The 1841 isn't fanless, so it does make a small amount of noise, but it's not too bad (less noise than my peronal gaming desktop PC, but more noise than my Dell work laptop). It lives in my hallway next to the phone jack, so the noise doesn't annoy anyone. The 2940 switch and 1231 AP are fanless and run silently.

For server stuff, I've got a Raspberry Pi running Samba4 (for Active Directory), Cacti and Observium (for SNMP polling / graphing my Cisco kit), rsyslogd (for syslogging) and am currently pulling my hair out trying to get Horde Webmail to integrate authentication with LDAP. I also want to get a TACACS/RADIUS setup going.

about a year and a half ago

Arnold Schwarzenegger Will Be Back As the Terminator

Grench Re:Much awaited.. (245 comments)


Despite the events in the second film, the war would have happened anyway. Why? Because it did happen - in the future, there was Skynet and the war, and the terminators. Both sides sent back a soldier - one to kill Sarah Connor (in order to hasten the end of the war in the machine's side) and one to protect her (in order to ensure the human victory that would have been inevitable under John's leadership).

The second film had another assassination attempt - again, the machines knew they would lose because of John's leadership. John in the future sent the machine back to protect his younger self. Sarah Connor attempted to change the course of the future, but it was in vain - the only reason Miles Dyson and Cyberdyne Systems were working on the Terminator chip in the first place was because one had been sent back in time from when the war had started - this can't have happened if the war wasn't going to happen anyway. All the events of the first film did was change the start date of the war, and all the events of the second film did was reset the date back to the original one anyway - the day of the apocalypse as seen at the end of Terminator 3.

about a year and a half ago

Video Gamers See the World Differently

Grench Assassin's Creed (160 comments)

I know I see the world differently.

After playing through the first Assassin's Creed game, I'd find myself looking up at tall buildings, churches, etc. working out the best path to take for climbing up to the roof.

Never actually attempted to climb to the roof of any building - probably for the best; I hate heights.

about a year and a half ago

Pi to Go: Hot Raspberry Pi DIY Mini Desktop PC Project

Grench Re:Shitberry pi (134 comments)

I had these issues to begin with. But then I used a better power supply and these issues went away. The quality of the power supply unit really does affect how reliable your Pi is. I'm aware that the way they implemented USB power is far from ideal, but they have achieved the goal of producing a (quite surprisingly) powerful computer for $35.

Mine has been running for months with no downtime. It's a Samba4 domain controller, Horde groupware mailserver, DNS server, web server, SNMP poller (running Cacti), print server, and it runs Crashplan to automatically back up data from my family's PCs to an attached USB hard disk. I know I'm not the original target market for the Pi, but dammit I *like* mine, I think it's perfectly good at doing what it does for my needs, and I know I'm not using anywhere near its full capabilities (the GPU component of the Broadcomm SoC is supposed to be surprisingly powerful). It's also silent and draws very little power - which is why I used it to replace the old AMD Sempron box that was doing the same set of jobs previously.

Sure, it's not running the latest version of the ARM processor, or running the Ethernet connection independently from USB. But then if it did, it'd be larger and would cost more to build. Cut them some slack; they're doing something amazing - they're getting kids interested in how computers actually *work* instead of just using one to check their Facebook pages, and it's cheap enough that it doesn't really matter too much if they damage it.

about a year and a half ago

Vastly Improved Raspberry Pi Performance With Wayland

Grench Re:Who gives a shit about the raspberry pi? (259 comments)

Not sure if trolling, but I'll assume you're not (benefit of the doubt) and answer anyway.

HDMI-to-DVI and HDMI-to-VGA adapter cables mean you don't specifically need a monitor with HDMI input. The RPi has RGB outputs as well, so you can connect it to a TV (even if your TV only has a SCART input and not RGB, you can cheaply buy an RGB-to-SCART connector that will let you use the TV's SCART input).

You don't need a big memory card either, especially if you happen to have a spare external USB hard drive - you can have the RPi boot the bare essentials from the card and run everything else off the external disk.

about a year and a half ago

A Cold Look at Cold Fusion Claims: Why E-Cat Looks Like a Hoax

Grench Re:Sad legitimate researchers (426 comments)

What do you get if you sit under a cow?

A pat on the head.

about a year and a half ago

Sony Reveals More PS4 and Dual Shock 4 Details

Grench Re:Nuh uh (242 comments)

When DVDs came out, I didn't bitch that they weren't backwards compatible with what I already had.

Yes they were. CD's play just fine in them.

Yes, DVD players will play CDs.

But most people who switched up to a DVD player wanted to watch films, rather than listen to music. Let me know when you manage to get your DVD player to play VHS or Betamax tapes.

about a year and a half ago

Microsoft Fined €561 Million For Non-compliance With EU Browser Settlement

Grench Re:Meanwhile... (401 comments)

Most Linux dists with Firefox and I suppose Android may have a standard browser to.

Microsoft were abusing their position to ensure other browsers couldn't be bundled as part of the OEM software builds distributed with new PCs. PC makers were literally not permitted to add any other browsers. See this US Dept. of Justice link, section V.C.2 for a summary. This was Microsoft's strategy for winning the browser wars against Netscape Navigator, and was the reason Netscape died out.

Then they integrated their Internet Explorer browser into the operating system so deeply that you can't actually uninstall it. Internet Explorer is present on EVERY copy of Windows released, whether the user wants to actually use it or not.

This is different from Linux distros distributing Firefox as part of their bundle for a number of reasons - chief of which is that Firefox isn't made by the Linux Foundation, it's a Mozilla product. Secondly, it's been a while since I installed Ubuntu, but I'm pretty certain when I did, the installer asked me which browser(s) I wanted (amongst other software) - it's not like Firefox was just given to me, I could have picked Chrome if I'd wanted to use it.

The reason Microsoft are being targeted here is that this is an anti-trust fine. Microsoft are recognized as the leader in the consumer and enterprise desktop/laptop PC OS markets - there are more Windows installs than there are Linux or Mac installs. By bundling their own browser and not giving users the option during installation NOT to install IE (let alone giving them the option to install something else), they could be viewed as using their dominance in the desktop OS market as a tool to gain dominance in the web browser market. Remember that a lot of consumers will also just go with whatever is installed, either through ignorance (they don't know how good other browsers are, and IE just works, right?) or through not feeling confident / tech savvy enough to install a different browser. You have to go download files and run installers and make choices - that sort of thing scares people, which is why the App Store model is so popular - you just click "install" and it goes and does it all for you. Putting the choice of browser in the installation wizard for the OS or in the "first-time user login" wizard when you first start up your brand new PC should even the playing field, giving users an easy way of picking what browser they want to use. Granted, most will continue using IE because that's what they've been used to in the past, or because of the Microsoft branding on it - but that's their choice.

Having the Chrome browser bundled with Android is pretty much the same as Microsoft including IE with Windows and Apple including Safari with MacOS and iOS - yes there are other browsers available, but they don't give you the choice what you want. There is no reason why the European Commissioner for Competition can't go and levy the same sorts of fines against Google and Apple for the same reasons (maybe they haven't received complaints about this practice by these companies?). It's just been Microsoft's turn this time, and the fine they're being hit with is because of their failure to comply with an earlier ruling - they were told previously to give users a choice, and this demand has basically been ignored.


You don't have to change it at all if you don't want to. The point is, it's about having the choice. You may have the technical know-how to do this, but a lot of people won't, so Microsoft win the browser wars by default.

about 2 years ago

Tour of the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Lab

Grench Re:How about the Black Diamond? (35 comments)

we have an old rail line that goes thru the old Navel weapons station..

So you can use a train to escape from the bad guys with the belly button guns?

about 2 years ago

France Proposes a Tax On Personal Information Collection

Grench Enforcement and Boundaries (196 comments)

Their biggest problem, of course, will be how to enforce the collection of this tax. If a user signs up for Facebook (etc), does that mean Facebook has to tell the French government about it so they can be billed correctly for the tax? Doesn't that mean someone can really screw Facebook up by signing up a bunch of bogus accounts registered in France, meaning Facebook has to foot the bigger tax bill? What about French citizens signing up from other countries but marking down their country of origin as France (these people wouldn't be French taxpayers any more, yet Facebook would presumably have to pay the tax on the collection of that users' data). It's not an easy one to resolve...

about 2 years ago



EA Admits SimCity Launch Was "Dumb"

Grench Grench writes  |  about 2 years ago

Grench (833454) writes "EA has apologised over its farcical launch of the long-awaited SimCity 5. Lucy Bradshaw, general manager for the SimCity franchise, wrote this on her blog:

"A lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played, and played in ways we never saw in the beta. OK, we agree that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it."

As compensation, all those who bought SimCity will be offered a free Electronics Arts PC game this month."

Link to Original Source

Google Gives 15,000 Raspberry Pi to UK Schools

Grench Grench writes  |  about 2 years ago

Grench (833454) writes "Search giant Google is providing funding to the Raspberry Pi Foundation to give 15,000 new Raspberry Pi Model B computers to schools all around the United Kingdom.

Google Giving's partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation is a significant investment in UK IT education; it is hoped this will help turn around the decline in UK school-leavers going on to study IT in colleges or universities.

15,000x Model B units at $35 each = $525,000

The Foundation's website also has an article on this news here: http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/3158"

Link to Original Source

Fallout 3-style "Nuclear Batteries" - A Reality?

Grench Grench writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Grench (833454) writes "The BBC have posted a story (here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8297934.stm) regarding the development of very small nuclear batteries, capable of storing "a million times as much charge as standard batteries". This could revolutionise mobile devices, and has potentially endless civil and military applications. Kudos to the University of Missouri!"



How I despair...

Grench Grench writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I work on an I.T. helpdesk for a major oil-sector company that you may have heard of.

Today I had a call from one of our users who wanted to report a problem with his DVD ReWriter. When I asked him "Is it an internal or an external drive?" he asked me "What's the difference between internal and external?"

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