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New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

gbjbaanb ok then... but (44 comments)

I understand biofuel may not be very efficient, and that's fair enough - altrhough I'd love for there to be an unlimited, carbon-free supply of cheap energy... there isn't, so we need to be a bit intelligent about it all.

the problem with solar is that you do get energy supply from it, but only during the day, so we need to come up with much more efficient ways of storing that energy. We don't have this yet.

The problem with wind is that it can be quite intermittent, not working on non-windy or too-windy days.

The problem with wave is that its in a corrosive environment so will not be as efficient if you have to continually maintain the equipment.

So what else do we have that can be used. Biofuel, and biomass generation, as part of an overall strategy is something that will help to plug the gaps in the areas when the other renewables stop working. We just need to focus it at an appropriate level rather than thinking its another silver bullet.

36 minutes ago
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LibreOffice Gets a Streamlined Makeover With 4.4 Release

gbjbaanb Re:For example (114 comments)

Why should there be any sort of limit, other than exhausting all memory in the computer?,/i>

I don't know, maybe you should first find out which version of Excel you're having difficulty with and seeing their limitations page.

16,384 columns max in Excel apparently.

At least with LO, you can at least edit the code to fix this and make columns dynamically allocate!

43 minutes ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

gbjbaanb Re:The most important prerequisite (209 comments)

the listening part was just a figure of speech, as I'm sure you know if you took the time to really read what I wrote and understand it in overall context :-)

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

gbjbaanb Re:A great developer knows how shitty he is at cod (209 comments)

For most of us, though, finding and fixing bugs is a chore that we'd rather avoid because writing code (and therefore more bugs) is more fun

maybe that's the fundamental thing - the greater a programmer, the more he treats the work as work and not fun. A professional working on building a product and not some amateur playing with his hobby.

A great programmer will use whatever tools are needed or suitable, the 'coder' will use the tools he really prefers using. Like my mate, when presented with his new job that involves creating an updated embedded PoS terminal, rather than reusing as much of the legacy C++ code blocks the old system has and putting it on a Linux platform, is only interested in rewriting it all in .NET on Windows 7 (or 10 probably).

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

gbjbaanb Re:The most important prerequisite (209 comments)

I think you highlighted the wrong part.

"Identify the need and/or problem" is the crucial part and is what differentiates the great programmer who fixes that need, and the adequate programmer who is so focused on the solution he can forget what it is he's really supposed to be doing.

Or to put it another way, the great are those who listen before talking, the rest just prefer to talk.

2 days ago
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Windows 10 IE With Spartan Engine Performance Vs. Chrome and Firefox

gbjbaanb Re:The problem is the interface (173 comments)

The "good" one wastes screen space

and whatever you use is wasting space on bits of chrome - unless you run it in full-screen kiosk mode.

There's a reason you have things like title bars and menus even if you don't use them all the time. Its because they do get used. The best UI is the one that fits with what the OS says is the primary design. Consistency is key.

Besides, Microsoft did optimise Office's UI for actual use, based on metrics from their UI labs and people actually using menu items. This resulted in the ribbon and a double-size Paste icon (as everyone uses paste twice as often as either cut or copy, so obviously it has to be twice as important)

3 days ago
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Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

gbjbaanb Re:Microsoft would be onto a winner if... (376 comments)

those pesky shareholders are going to get their wish - only instead of Windows 11, it'll be various bits of cloud enabled functionality (for only a small monthly subscription, of course).

3 days ago
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Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

gbjbaanb Re:Three-month-old Continuum screenshot (376 comments)

right - your idea of "if it can run on this dog, it'll run anywhere" and then say you have 8GB ram on it.

Try again, with the 1Gb minimum that Microsoft recommends and get back to us on its performance, if you can get it to load slashdot.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

gbjbaanb Re:Modula-3 FTW! (488 comments)

Rubbish. Once you have 3 or 4 levels of nested braces you're not going to be readable at all.

The only thing that gives you the symmetrical blocks is indentation, in this respect Python is the most readable, but all other languages are just as good if you format your code nicely.

So given that code readability depends on the quality of the programmer,. and that programmers taught using Pascal are better, then it stands to reason that we should be teaching using Pascal. You use whatever is appropriate for the industry you work in after that.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

gbjbaanb Re:Modula-3 FTW! (488 comments)

#in a way your comment is backwards, considering Pascal came first - why did you choose a different toolchain of Java Python or C++ when you already had a Pascal one?

As for productivity, the amount of typing is overrated, considering a) thinking is (or should be) the activity that takes up most of your programming effort, b) IDEs do most of it for you, and c) nothing in Pascal comes close to the verbosity of Java or C#. So what if you have to type Begin instead of { when your method names are 40 characters long :)

so yes, you're right - but not when applying it to Pascal. Besides, I can think of one area where Pascal is a good thing - education. It was designed to teach programming after all.

4 days ago
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Doomsday Clock Moved Two Minutes Forward, To 23:57

gbjbaanb Re:Oh yay, more about the bullshit clock (216 comments)

Well, I've been listening to the BBC's history of the first world war, particularly how it started in the first place. What was just some useless (and lucky!) Serbian terrorist turned into a European catastrophe remarkably quickly through a chain of events based on one country not liking another country and manoeuvring the situation to give them an excuse for local 'peach keeping' annexation.

At the same time I was listening to how Russia was entering the Ukraine "to keep the peace", even though they were not sending any troops over there, and Europe and America were getting unhappy with them, giving them an excuse to impose financial sanctions. Trivial politicking just like our World Children like to play, except this is just the same as happened back in 1914.

I think it'll all be fine, but Russia won't back down but might just enhance its action in a fit of pique, and you never know where it might end, despite no-one wanting war. Just like in 1914.

4 days ago
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US Army Wants Weapon To Destroy Drone Swarms

gbjbaanb Re:a really big net (208 comments)

Nobody, but nobody is going to hand over many billions of dollars to develop "a big net", so no... its way to simple, obvious and probably workable for the defence industry to get involved with.

about two weeks ago
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Silverlight Exploits Up, Java Exploits Down, Says Cisco

gbjbaanb Re:Who the hell still uses Silverlight (55 comments)

Microsoft says "silverlight s dead", ex Silverlight team (now working on WP) announces Silverlight as the thing for WP.

I guess its the natureof Microsoft's non-joined-up team structures, one team likes something another team doesn't. I think things are changing now with Nadella actually taking charge.

The thing for WP and Metro, according to Microsoft is Cordova! I can't argue against that, even Microsoft knows cross-platform toolsets are the way forward :-)

about two weeks ago
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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

gbjbaanb Re:my vote: (647 comments)

When I was a student doing computer science, they taught me:

Pascal, C, assembler, Concurrent Euclid, Simula and Prolog.

This was in the days before Java and .NET (almost in the days before C++!).

The reason they did this was to teach programming, using the best tool (well, a teaching best tool) for each type job - the hardware course, for example, didn't use Pascal, the concurrency class didn't use assembler.

All the people saying you should use language X or Y are totally missing the point. VB is just as good a starting language for anyone (though I think Pascal is better, but VB has much better tooling nowadays), starting with Java because its used in industry is both short-sighted and useless. Same applies to any language.

about two weeks ago
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Could Tizen Be the Next Android?

gbjbaanb Re:Well... (241 comments)

bring me a 16 core, 4Ghz phone, with a ton of ram and 3 days battery life and whatever OS you put on it will be the new standard.

sigh. If only my Windows laptop was as powerful as that.

about two weeks ago
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Could Tizen Be the Next Android?

gbjbaanb Re:I hope not (241 comments)

I don't think so - it would leave you buying a Tizen Note PDA and running all your old Android apps on it using the compatibility layer its got.

about two weeks ago
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Could Tizen Be the Next Android?

gbjbaanb Re:Well if that happens, it'll be bye bye Samsung. (241 comments)

You have to consider that the Samsung extras are the only thing they can really do to make their phones different, and so they have to create something almost by default. The problem is coming up with an idea for a thing that hasn't already been done by Google. (its like Microsoft in reverse, once a 3rd party came up with a great idea and Microsoft them bundled their own version in the next OS, Google bundles them before you have a chance!)

So maybe if they are dedicated to an OS, they will have more of a reason to write good addons and software features to go with it, as Google isn't exactly going to port the whole of Google Play to Tizen for them, and if they don't produce good feature software, no-one will buy the phones.

about two weeks ago
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Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

gbjbaanb Re:Old saying - Be nice to people on your way up . (361 comments)

another iteration of "Here's a nice small fast OS and toolset that does only a few things but does them really, really well."

that'll be either systemd or FreeBSD, depending on your ideology :-)

about two weeks ago
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Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

gbjbaanb Re:Let's be blunt (361 comments)

reminds me of an article by a progressive liberal feminist who had kids, she said that even though she kept all misogynistic toys from her boy and ensured he had a full suite of acceptable role models and no violent media.... he still played guns with the cardboard inner from toilet rolls.

Embrace our equality by all means, but understand our differences.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Dear Apple, pay tax or we'll sue you

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  about 4 months ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "The EU is to decry Apple's tax arrangements with Ireland, Luxembourg and Holland tomorrow, stating that their tax deals amount to "illegal state aid". Penalties if found guilty are massive fines (probably still less than if Apple had paid the 'expected' amount of tax). It suggests an interesting way of making companies pay tax, and I imagine Google, Microsoft et al will be next if this case succeeds."
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Why Banana skins are slippery wins IgNobel

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  about 4 months ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "This year's Ig Nobel prize was won by Japanese researchers investigating why banana skins produced a frictionless surface compared to apple and orange peels.
(apparently "The polysaccharide follicular gels that give banana skins their slippery properties are also found in the membranes where our bones meet." so its not all fun and jollity)

Other prizes were awarded for noting that dogs only defecate when aligned with north-south magnetic fields, and that 'night owl' people are more likely to be psychopaths than early risers. Yes, that probably includes you."

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So black you can't see it.

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  about 7 months ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "A British company is developing a new material that’s so black it absorbs all but 0.035 percent of the visual light, making it the darkest material ever created.

Of course, apart from making album covers, it conducts heat 7 times better than copper and is 10 times stronger than steel.

the pictures are the best, it looks like its sitting on some foil, but its grown on the foil which is all crinkled and bent — only people who have seen it say that it looks smooth because so little light is being reflected."

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AMD's new gfx API Mantle offers 40% framerate improvement over OpenGL and Dx

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  about a year ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "AMD has a new low-level graphics API to take on OpenGL and DirectX. It works by reducing the amount of overhead involved in most graphics operations and getting closer to the metal which results in some substantial frame rate improvements, especially on CPU bound systems.

AMD have been talking about the possibility to hand over control to Khronos Group in the future and that they have a SDK scheduled later this year which will make it possible for Intel and Nvidia to start working on support for Mantel if they want to."

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Fight ash dieback disease.. on facebook

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  about a year and a half ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "Remember folding@home and similar massively distributed programs that tried to get enough computing power to help fightr diseases, the latest one is a little different. In the UK, Ash Dieback disease is has been imported from the continent and is killing all the native ash trees, so researchers have created a crowd-sourced game to match genetic sequences of resistant trees.

Computer systems to match thousands of sequences are difficult to do, but humans are very good at pattern matching, which is why the game was created.

And released on Facebook to reach a wide community, who can play an entertaining puzzle game without having to pay for a single f*** sheep (or leaf). About time."

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Interplanetary Internet tested on the ISS

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "At last — we have a new Internet protocol (eat your heart out IPv6) — called DTN (for disruption tolerant networking).

This "interplanetary internet" has been used by an astronaut at the International Space Station (ISS) to send commands to a robot on Earth and will be used primarily for communication with distant nodes."

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Windows 7 finally overtakes XP

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "Microsoft Windows 7 has finally overtaken the 11-year-old Windows XP operating system on web-based market share figures from Netmarketshare

So what does this mean for Windows 8? Another 5 years before it has as many installations as Windows 7, does that mean that writing Metrp-only apps on a OS that doesn't have critical mass will be as successful as Silverlight?"

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Nokia sells Qt to Digia

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "Finnish software company Digia announced today that it is acquiring the Qt software business from Nokia. Digia plans to pick up where Nokia left off, continuing Qt development but renewing the toolkit’s focus on cross-platform support."
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Apple assisting the trade in stolen iPhones

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "Need a new iDevice? Simple — first steal one, then 'accidentally' break it and take it to your nearest Apple store and present it for warranty repair, and an Apple 'genius' will hand you a brand new one, no questions asked.

So Apple could help make stolen iPhones useless to the thief by locking them, or they could be encouraging thieves who know they'll get a brand new one to sell on. More worryingly, this will invalidate your insurance:

Charlie Durrant was a victim of iPhone theft. After her handset was stolen last year she reported the theft to Apple and her insurer. However, when she requested a replacement phone, her insurer told her that one had already been issued in her name. The thief had taken advantage of Apple's lack of checks. ... "someone had just gone in and got a brand new one, making my insurance invalid.""

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European eID announced

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "On Wednesday, the European Commission published a strategy document aimed at setting up systems to protect children online. In the document — but not in the accompanying press release nor the citizens' summary — the Commission mentioned that it will soon propose a "pan-European framework for electronic authentication", full details will be announced on 30th May.

The launch of the strategy follows a push to strengthen internet security in the EU. It also outlined legal measures to make it easier for people to use a single e-ID for online services across borders, which would underpin a move toward a pan-European framework for electronic identification, authentication and signature (Pefias) framework."

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Amazon accused of bullying small firms, and inflat

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  about 3 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "Online shopping giant Amazon has been accused of artificially inflating prices by banning firms that trade on its website from selling goods more cheaply elsewhere on the internet.

Amazon has ordered them to ‘maintain parity between the terms on which you offer or sell each item through Amazon’ and the amount they charge for the same product on other sites."

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Nokia sells 12 phones per second

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  about 3 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "no, don't worry Windows Phone hasn't taken over the world... this is the S40 "burning platform" success story.

What surprised me: To make S40 phones attractive to them, the software — and the hardware it runs on — now supports a wide range of apps, from the wildly popular Angry Birds game to instant messaging and apps to connect with social networks. Ms McDowell says that "a lot of work is being done to get such marquee apps" on to the S40 platform, to boost its attractiveness.

So why run a smartphone when a 'dumb' phone can do everything you want, including 3.7 million app downloads per day.

Last year, this low-margin business contributed about half of Nokia's profits."

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Spanish bank BBVA to use Google's cloud

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  about 3 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "Spanish banking giant BBVA is switching its 110,000 staff to use Google's range of enterprise software.

The bank told the BBC it would use Google's tools only for internal communication, but the deal can be seen as a breakthrough in corporate adoption.

The customer and bank data will still be held on internal systems, but all communication will be via Google services, mainly driven by a need to serve the bank's increasingly mobile workers."

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Winner of Microsoft Excel World Championship

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  more than 3 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "The world of competitive computing has another winner to add the the honour-rolls. This time its UK student Rebecca Rickwood who has beatuen 78 other finalists to be crowned best user of Microsoft's spreadsheet software, Excel 2007.

Sincere congratulations to Miss Rickwood, but please — find out about boys soon."

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the Longhorn dream reborn

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  more than 3 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "Early this month, Microsoft dropped something of a bombshell on Windows developers: the new Windows 8 touch-friendly immersive style would use a developer platform not based on .NET. Cue howls of outrage from .NET developers everywhere, but here Ars Technica descibes what's more likely to have been going on and why Microsoft is finally getting its act together for developers."
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New runtime for native Android apps on Windows

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  more than 3 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "A startup called BlueStacks has developed an Android runtime environment for the Windows operating system.

BlueStacks has overcome the performance barrier by building a native x86 Android runtime that doesn't have to rely on emulation. The company says that Android applications running on its stack will be highly responsive on Windows and won't suffer from the kind of lag that developers are accustomed to experiencing when using Google's emulator.

No product is availablefor download to the great unwashed, but partner Citrix showed a demo of the system at Citrix Synergy conference. An alpha of the runtime will be available for download in July."

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Skylon spaceplane passes key review

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  more than 3 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "A revolutionary UK spaceplane concept has been boosted by the conclusions of an important technical review.

Skylon is a design for a workign spaceplane that uses revolutionalry engines that work as normal jets near the ground and switch to rocket propulsion in the upper atmosphere. The concept means the plane will not have to carry as much fuel and so will not need disposable stages.

Its estimated the cost of delivering payloads to orbit will drop from $15000 per kilo to $1000 making this the best prospect for commercialisation of orbit."

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Web standard gets EU funding

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  more than 4 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "The BBC is reporting news of project Webinos, an initiative to provide a common platform for web applications that would sidestep current operating systems and allow devs to create web-based apps that would run anywhere — PCs, TVs, cars, mobiles.

The project aims to sidestep operating systems and proprietary app stores by providing a web-based approach.

The idea would enable a given app to work, for example, on a web-ready television, in a car and on a mobile, no matter the makers of the devices... Companies can afford to have an app on two or at most three platforms — they're extremely costly to develop and ensure the user experience..


Makes sense for all, except companies that thrive on having their own, proprietary systems to 'differentiate' themselves from the other proprietary systems."

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ISP's top data hog gobbles 2.7TB of data in a mont

gbjbaanb gbjbaanb writes  |  more than 4 years ago

gbjbaanb (229885) writes "In a rare turn of events, a Belgian ISP has released figure for its "super users" by bandwidth usage not to demonise them, but to show how good their network and plans are! 1 User downloaded more than 2TB, 7 others hit the 1TB mark.

Its only a matter of time before there's a competition for who can clog this network up with the most traffic :)"

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