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MIT Electric Car May Outperform Rival Gas Models

Sir Groane Re:Outperform? (457 comments)

Well my Saturn uses 300watts/mile.

watts is not an energy unit, it's a power unit. To get a figure for the energy used we need to know how long it took you to travel that mile. If you're* using 300watt-years/mile it's not so good...

* see the punctuation there?

more than 4 years ago

MIT Building Batteries Using Viruses

Sir Groane Re:And a new super-hero is born! (98 comments)

Err, don't think so. A Cooper made beer barrels, from wood with iron rings. Now if the virus was actually yeast and you could brew a battery the size of a barrel... excellent.

more than 5 years ago

Steve Bourne Talks About the History of Sh

Sir Groane Re:perl (232 comments)

If all you're doing is moving files around or creating tarballs etc. then all those backticks in perl can become a PITA

shell is still around 'cos it's still the right tool for some jobs...

more than 5 years ago

Steve Bourne Talks About the History of Sh

Sir Groane Re:Greenspun's Tenth Rule (232 comments)

Because Steve Bourne was doing this work back in 1975! About that time people had only just got beyond programming by biting holes in paper-tape with their teeth!

These days it is quite easy to get embedded perl or lisp etc.

more than 5 years ago

Firefox Beta Touts Advanced Engine, Solves 8 Flaws

Sir Groane TDD (493 comments)

Test Driven Development is a very useful practice. The test suite describes the standard unambiguously (and, hopefully, accurately :-) and then you develop until all the tests work.

more than 5 years ago

Steve Bourne Talks About the History of Sh

Sir Groane Greenspun's Tenth Rule (232 comments)

it allows you to get strings back from commands and use them as the text of the script as if you had typed it directly. I think this was a new idea that I, at least, had not seen in scripting languages, except perhaps LISP,

Greenspun's Tenth Rule: "Any sufficiently complicated C or Fortran program contains an ad hoc, informally-specified, bug-ridden, slow implementation of half of Common Lisp"

more than 5 years ago

The Future of Google Chrome

Sir Groane Re: (294 comments)

So Javascript is becoming what Java should have been, the run-anywhere language, if only Java hadn't been such a superficially ugly language and goddam slow - the browser is the equivalent of the JRE.

If all JRE's (browsers) are alike in syntax, semantics, security and libraries then the faster one will become the shell of choice to run these cloudy, ajaxy apps. And we'll partying like it's 1980 with browser-and-cloud architectures replacing greenscreen-and-mainframe.

It's a shame that, like you said, javascript is superficially pretty but deeply broken (namespaces? proper, native OO? etc.)

more than 5 years ago

UK Gov: IWF list should cover 100% of UK broadband

Sir Groane Shame, but we've been living good for a long time (1 comments)

(I managed to attract a flame when I commented on the New Zealand filter at El Reg - so let's see how I do here :-)

Basically, through superior techy knowledge, most of us have been able to access any information we like, of any kind, on the Internet. We've been able to access stuff that, under other circumstances, would be illegal in our own country.

For example, the UK, like many other countries, has a film classification board that determines "for the public good" what can be shown in cinemas, licensed sex shops, or not at all. With our technical know-how we've been able to punch a hole in the UK's Customs border controls and, now that the government is getting more tech savvy, this hole is slowly being closed... There exist articles of content that, by UK law, would be illegal to import or own if it was rendered in some kind of physical media (books, photos, film etc.). There's no reason to expect a government would allow it to be imported via the Internet for ever...

Shame, we're no longer going to be able to moderate our own behaviour and viewing pleasure.

But, and this is the BIG POINT, ranting on about how "the Internet wants to be free!!!!" is misguided for (at least) two reasons:

1. it never was. It's a redundant network that had the nice feature of being hard to shut down or block off

2. the key issue is WHY are these things illegal in the first place! Write to your MP and get something done (yeah, I know, good luck with that when we're arguing against a "protect the children" mantra, but armchair activism really doesn't cut it).

Of course there's also the question of how good the IWF are at interpreting the law.

more than 4 years ago

Researchers Hack Biometric Faces

Sir Groane Re:Ok then... (244 comments)

Everything is somewhat vulnerable, and a determined intruder with infinite resource will almost always find a way in.

The point is facial recognition alone is so vulnerable! All you need is a cameraphone and a photo printer - and you can't revoke your face as your password either. At least with fingerprints you can get hacked nearly 10 times (on average) before it becomes a problem.

more than 5 years ago

Do We Need a New Internet?

Sir Groane Already have it #2 (690 comments)

We already have gated communities on the web: they're the "web2.0" sites like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo etc.

1. You have to give up some identification when you enter/join (even if it's quite weak: ie. usually you're verified email address)

2. You have to introduce yourself (or be introduced as in LinkedIn) before you can send anyone a message.

3. All you communications are through a central server that verifies the identity of both endpoints and records all communication (possibly for ever!).

And, yes, it's been seen that people happily give up a whole heap of private info to be part of these clubs...

It would be interesting to find out what the ratio is between email and social-site IM'ing these days.

more than 5 years ago

Va. Tech Students Create Experimental Bricks For the Moon

Sir Groane Re:Energy required (137 comments)

Step 3. Profit!!

more than 5 years ago

30th Anniversary of the (No Good) Spreadsheet

Sir Groane Re:bad analogy - think crank (407 comments)

A beginner blames their tools whereas an expert knows when they are defective...

more than 5 years ago

Researchers One Step Closer To Creating Life

Sir Groane Re:And where...and where...and where... (292 comments)

God said "Start with your own dirt."

But experiments like this show that we can start with simpler and simpler types of dirt. We're nearly at the point were we only need a god (of any kind) to make hydrogen and the rest takes care of itself - and the Large Hadron Collider guys are going to show we don't even need god for that! The areas of ignorance where god can remain are, thankfully, getting smaller and smaller.

more than 5 years ago

Va. Tech Students Create Experimental Bricks For the Moon

Sir Groane Re:Energy required (137 comments)

And the aluminium can be made into the big mirror needed for the aluminium smelting furnace.

more than 5 years ago


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