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tygerstripes Kettle (497 comments)

3kW "fast-boil" kettles are very common in the UK. Never underestimate and Englishman's consuming need for immediate tea. Also, they're inherently more efficient than lower-powered kettles :-)

As an aside: When I bought my house, I discovered that the previous owners had rigged their electric cooker to the same loop as the kitchen wall outlets, which itself had a standard mains cable that was nonetheless embedded in the plaster below the damp-course (no trunking.) I'm no EE, but those of you who understand such things will appreciate the need I felt to run a new heavier-grade cable to the fuse-box through some trunking before installing my own electric range...

more than 3 years ago
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Research Finds That Electric Fields Help Neurons Fire

tygerstripes Re:My cell phone makes me feel funny (not...) (287 comments)

I had a friend who hated mobile phones because he got an instant headache whenever one nearby was transmitting. It was remarkable to witness; he would say "phone" about two seconds before somebody's phone started ringing, consistently enough that we could rely on it. Out of respect for his headaches, we would be able to cancel the call immediately, leave the room and call back. He didn't experience this from any other sort of device, to my knowledge.

I'm not suggesting that this is common or easy to explain, but having witnessed this first-hand, I feel confident that there are grounds to dispute any blanket claims that "phones have no effect." I'm often the first to scoff at alarmist knee-jerk complaints about EM pollution and such, but unusual cases like this give good reason to at least entertain the possibility that our understanding is not yet full enough to entirely dismiss concerns.

more than 3 years ago
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Samsung Develops Power-Sipping DDR4 Memory

tygerstripes Re:Meh (152 comments)

I'm not judging here, just wondering: have you considered having more than one box? If money is no object then fair enough, but it sounds like you're shelling out a lot for top-notch hardware to do lots of mid-level tasks, when you distribute the work on a KVM setup. You'd save a bundle in hardware, reduce your VM overheads, and introduce some healthy redundancy for when that very expensive rig does something smokey and difficult to diagnose.

more than 3 years ago
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Solar Cells Integrated In Microchips

tygerstripes Single-chip response (38 comments)

Hmm... provided you could build some capacitance into the die, it would be trivial to manufacture, en-masse, an array of incredibly inexpensive devices that could respond to a light-signal stimulus, much the same way that RFID tags respond to a suitable RF signal.

I can't think of an immediate application, but the key technical difference would be that you can transmit focussed, directional light in a laser, which is a much more difficult and wasteful feat with RF. You could therefore elicit a response from one of these chips at pinpoint accuracy and great range, which is not currently possible with RFID. I'm sure some more innovative people than I could conceive of a novel application.

more than 3 years ago
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Should Colleges Ban Classroom Laptop Use?

tygerstripes Perhaps a compromise? (804 comments)

I appreciate both sides of the argument, but I think the debate should centre around the core problem - which is that of courtesy and consideration - and thereby evince some genuine and wide-ranging solutions rather than result in litigious patches to this specific problem. It should cover other such evils as mobile phones, noisy or obnoxious foods and late arrivals/early departures. In fact most educational institutions do have rules and guidelines regarding such behaviour that include suitable sanctions and instructions for reasonable care, but they are seldom enforced with any consistency or authority.

Frankly, it shouldn't matter to anyone else what a student does in-class (subject to the tutor's whims, of course) as long as they don't cause an unreasonable detriment to anybody else's education. Facebooking or idling online where others can see you and claiming that you're not bothering anyone else is an ignorant and pig-headedly poor appreciation of human nature. I would suggest that lecture halls should be another location added to the list of proposed sites for controlled access to mobile signals (including hospitals, cinemas, concert halls/theatres and any bus seat within 3 metres of me, thank you very much, get-off-my-lawn.)

On that note, when I bought a netbook specifically for use in class (my notes in East Asian History have been significantly more valuable and comprehensive since) I made damned sure to check the noise the keys make before choosing one. Even the most conscientious student can be an insufferable distraction in class if they're banging away like a typing-pool percussionist, and if someone can't appreciate and mitigate the negative effects of their actions on their classmates then some policing is reasonable and, I would argue, necessary.

If you want to pay for a class and then piss half of your fees away then that's your own prerogative, but don't expect anybody else to suffer the same losses for your life-choices. There, wrap that up in statute and stick a ribbon on it.

more than 3 years ago
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Tron: Legacy — Too Much Imagination Required?

tygerstripes Re:Things have changed. Get over it. (429 comments)

"...each home should probably have one, albeit for reasons they couldn't quite pin down"

Hey Hey 16K! - M.J. HIBBETT AND THE VALIDATORS

We bought it to help with your homework
We bought it to help with your homework
And the household accounts
If your dad ever works it all out

Lunchtimes in the library, writing down the pokes and peeks
copying an access code, get a taste for home taping
Fetishists of map-making
Rubber keys and rotten leads, rand and run and load and screens
Then five minutes fingers crossed, hoping not to witness the terror
of R: Tape Loading Error

zx spectrum 81, dragon vic and oric1
commodore 64, amstrad and an acorn electorn
cheaper BBC micro
jet set willy, sabre wulf, lords of midnight, underwurlde
dark star, transam, ant attak
and of course, manic miner
the hobbit and knight lore and elite

It made a generation
who can code
A bubble before proper consoles
who all know
That the games you get today
well, they may be very flash
But they'll never beat the thrill of
getting through Jetpac, Oh!

Hey Hey, 16K,
What does that get you today?
You need more than that for a letter
Old Skool Ram Paks are much better.
x2

Personal Computer Games, Your Sinclair, 16K
Kempston Competition Pro, Crash and Cursor Keys
and GO TO Dixons and bother Saturday staff
with loops that never end...

For n=0 to 2

Those were the days

Next N

more than 3 years ago
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Chinese Written Language To Dominate Internet

tygerstripes Re:Quantity, not quality. (535 comments)

There IS a written language called "Chinese," as near as dammit (there are variations, but it's quite intelligible across all of them.) The written language was unified under Shih Huang-di (the first Emperor of China) specifically to facilitate cross-communication throughout the empire, and although it has undergone some simplifications since then it is still as unified and mutually intelligible as the various dialects of English.

The spoken languages of China are sufficiently different to be considered unique languages, and it is this fact that confuses most people, but it's not a relevant problem when discussing written Chinese.

Not berating, just correcting a widespread misconception.

more than 3 years ago
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Minecraft Reaches Beta Status, Price Goes Up

tygerstripes Or use it as a game mechanic...? (279 comments)

I forget where I saw it now, but I saw mention of Mojang considering the creation of a new team-based multiplayer mode that made use of security systems, griefing etc. in a similar fashion to the SourceForts HL2 mod (a truly excellent pre-TF2 mod that's sadly fallen by the wayside)

The idea was for teams to build fortresses and attempt to raid their opponents' using all their ingenuity, setting traps and pitfalls for each other while defending their bases as best they could. There wasn't any more detail than that, but I thought the notion sounded exceptionally fun, and would not require any hacks to the core game mechanic (possibly slightly more prolific mineral distribution, allowing for quicker building of steel defences/doors, circuits, TNT, diamond tools etc.) Distinct build/attack phases could be enforced (again similar to SourcForts) using the inherent day/night cycle to great advantage and enhancing the Survival-mode's need to be in-tune with daylight.

A distinct advantage over other team-based deathmatches would be the ease with which you could host 3 or more teams without worrying about uniquely tailored maps. The exact objective is maybe not clear, but I would think that CTF would work best (flag would have to be below sea-level to prevent unassailable sky-towers). I've seen Youtube clips of people building TNT-powered "cannons," hidden underwater bases and ingenious traps and escape mechanisms, which suggests to me that this niche is aching to be filled (fnarr.)

There are already unofficial game-modes being played - SPLEEF being a prime example - but there is real potential demand for unique, dedicated game modes, once Notch's new team is up to speed.

more than 2 years ago
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Minecraft Reaches Beta Status, Price Goes Up

tygerstripes Re:I liken it to playing with Legos (279 comments)

...if you liked building cars and creatures more than playing the actual game in Spore you'd probably enjoy Minecraft.

Beautifully put. There are other fun ways to play it, but you've just described the game's appealing qualities (to me) in a nutshell. If the sandbox design elements of Spore had a decent risk/reward system, it would very closely map to the Minecraft experience.

more than 2 years ago
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America's Cubicles Are Shrinking

tygerstripes Re:Hear hear (484 comments)

Sounds like we're in the same bind - stand up and wave, so I know which one you are...

more than 3 years ago
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America's Cubicles Are Shrinking

tygerstripes Hear hear (484 comments)

I currently work in an open-plan environment. My job requires some significant coding work (requiring total focus for long periods of time) while all of my colleagues are involved in much more piecemeal work. They have absolutely no comprehension of how frustrating and damaging it is to my productivity to be subjected to their distracted working pattern all day.

There are definite benefits to working open-plan, but for some tasks it is simply inappropriate and detrimental.

more than 3 years ago
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AMD's New Flagship HD 6970 Tested

tygerstripes Excellent... (152 comments)

Just what I need to get my PC through a cold winter.

more than 3 years ago
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Michael Moore Posts Julian Assange's Bail

tygerstripes Why applaud Mr Moore, specifically? (987 comments)

He's one of a slew of celebrities who have offered up bail for Assange. Why is his offer more significant than any of the other (predominantly British) celebrity supporters who attended the hearing and offered equivalent sums, or the club-owner whose offer of residence was instrumental in overturning the judge's initial bail decision?

I don't mean to rant, but this is an egregiously US-centric summary of a distinctly international case. At least Mr. Moore himself had the decency to mention some of the others (Ken Loach, John Pilger, writer Jemima Khan) in his post - can't Slashdot give the same courtesy?

more than 3 years ago
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Sahara Solar To Power Half the World By 2050

tygerstripes FTFY (363 comments)

the Sahara now looks like a land rich in an important resource: sunlight and lots of mainly useless space.

more than 3 years ago
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Google Earth Adds 3-D Trees

tygerstripes Yeah, but... (95 comments)

It's been forked so many times that it's impossible to maintain. Most of it is abandoned or poorly policed.

more than 3 years ago
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Google, Microsoft Cheat On Slow-Start — Should You?

tygerstripes Re:Ad hominem attack with no facts behind you? (123 comments)

"Ad hominem attack..."

"8 digit registered LUSER ID..."

If you're going to do all the work for me, there's no point in arguing. I'll just apologise for pricking your ego and leave it there.

more than 3 years ago
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German Scientists Create Bose-Einstein Condensate Using Photons

tygerstripes As for memory... (61 comments)

Wouldn't an improved (shrunk) fab process also be used to improve memory and storage (SSD) performance? It really is all about the I/O now.

more than 3 years ago
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Google, Microsoft Cheat On Slow-Start — Should You?

tygerstripes Wow, I'm impressed. (123 comments)

Do you always talk in Perl? I'm not taking sides in what seems to be an embarrassingly petty argument, but that post was truly awful to read.

more than 3 years ago
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Have I Lost My Gaming Mojo?

tygerstripes Oh god... (418 comments)

The constant munching of pills...

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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DIY CPU thermal grease - using diamond dust!

tygerstripes tygerstripes writes  |  more than 4 years ago

tygerstripes writes "The dysfunctor has spotted an impressive project over on InventGeek.com; an innovative chap has developed his own thermal compound for improved CPU cooling, using diamond dust — the best available material for thermal conduction — as the key ingredient.

In spite of the quick-&-dirty DIY nature of the project, the gains in cooling performance are remarkable, especially considering the material cost was only $33. Given the price many enthusiasts will pay for a top-end cooler, it's easy to imagine this product coming to market quite soon."

Link to Original Source
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Adobe Flash to be integrated into TV set-tops

tygerstripes tygerstripes writes  |  more than 5 years ago

tygerstripes (832644) writes "The BBC reports today that Adobe have cut a deal to include the Flash platform in the majority of TV set-top boxes.

According to the article:

Flash will be included on most chips -those made by Broadcom, Intel, NXP and STMicroelectronics — but the deal does not cover TVs made by Sony and Samsung. The first applications using Flash are expected to hit TV sets early in 2010.

The original press release can be seen on Adobe's site here."
Link to Original Source

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Computer solves Rubik's Cube in 26 moves or less

tygerstripes tygerstripes writes  |  more than 6 years ago

tygerstripes (832644) writes "According to the BBC, two students from Northeastern University, Boston, have now proved that the Rubik's Cube can be solved from any state in 26 moves or less. After programming a supercomputer to get the cube to one of 15000 known half-solved states, it took only 63 hours of crunching to reach the solution.

It was known that most states could be solved within 26 moves, but this is the first time it has been proven. This is a significant step in identifying the "God Number" — believed to be somewhere in the low twenties — which is the definitive minimum number of moves required to solve any disordered state.

After the recent news that Draughts (or Checkers) has finally been completely solved, albeit after 20 years of crunching, how long will it be before chess finally has its comeuppance?"
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tygerstripes tygerstripes writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tygerstripes (832644) writes "The Register has a story about the discovery of a flaw in part of the IPv6 specification which has experts scrambling to have the feature removed, or at least disabled by default. From the article:

The specification, known as the Type 0 Routing Header (RH0), allows computers to tell IPv6 routers to send data by a specific route. Originally envisioned as a way to let mobile users to retain a single IP for their devices... RH0 support allows attackers to amplify denial-of-service attacks on IPv6 infrastructure by a factor of at least 80.
Paul Vixie, president of the Internet Systems Consortium, described the fault bluntly. "It can be exploited by any greedy Estonian teenager with a $300 Linux machine.""
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tygerstripes tygerstripes writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tygerstripes (832644) writes "BBC News has a report on the US Joint Economic Commission's intention to investigate virtual economies in MMORPGS.
Committee chairman Jim Saxton said its investigation was not being carried out with a view to slapping taxes on this trade. "This, I believe, would be a mistake." Instead, he said, the investigation wanted to get a better understanding of where the line falls between taxable and non-taxable trade.
The actual committee press release (pdf warning) makes the following point:
Based on existing law, if an individual generates cash income in U.S. dollars from transactions in virtual economies, the question may arise whether a tax is due on that real-world income. However, if the transaction takes place entirely within a virtual economy, then it seems there is no taxable event.
"
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tygerstripes tygerstripes writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tygerstripes (832644) writes "Cellular News carries an article detailing plans for a new phone that emits UV light.

Patent US 2006/0183516 has been submitted, detailing the integration of UV LEDs into mobile handsets which, when held close to the face, can help in treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, also known as Winter Depression).
Most SAD sufferers experience normal mental health throughout most of the year, but experience depressive symptoms in the winter. Seasonal mood variations are believed to be related mostly to daylight
The patent apparently also notes that, if set to a 370-450nm wavelength, the LEDs could also have a beneficial effect on acne. Studies show that daily treatment with this kind of light can be very effective. Computer Weekly, a UK IT publication, points out that most spotty, depressed teenagers are already inseparable from their mobiles, so this may well be a winner..."
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tygerstripes tygerstripes writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tygerstripes (832644) writes "The BBC has announced that it has signed up to an agreement with Microsoft to explore ways of developing digital services, following a "fact-finding tour" in Seattle by the Beeb's director general, Mark Thompson.

This follows a steady increase in articles from the BBC speculating about the impact of the internet and digital technology on news coverage and media in general — especially from the Beeb's Tech Blogger, Bill Thompson

Amusingly, Bill Gates is quoted as saying
"Microsoft's strength is in driving digital innovation, and our vision is to open up rich, new consumer experiences that allow people to enjoy digital content anytime, anywhere and on any device."
If Mark Thompson was charmed by that, maybe he isn't up-to-speed on Vista..."
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tygerstripes tygerstripes writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tygerstripes (832644) writes "London's Science Museum is opening a new Computer Games exhibition on 21st October. Called Game On, the exhibition will feature over 120 games spanning the history of computer gaming — right back to the original Spacewar! (referred to as "Space Wars" by the BBC article). According to the BBC:
The organisers also hope to show the cultural impact of games and consoles. Drawings by Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the character Mario from Super Mario Bros, will be on display.
Gaetan Lee, programmes developer at the Science Museum, said he was "particularly excited" that visitors would get a chance to see PDP-1, the computer that ran Space War.
"
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tygerstripes tygerstripes writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tygerstripes (832644) writes "IBM have announced that they are gearing up to build the world's fastest supercomputer — by using a hybrid solution of off-the-shelf CPUs and Cell chips designed for the PS3.

Nicknamed "Roadrunner", it is to be built in a US government laboratory and installed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, occupying approximately 1,100 square metres of floorspace.

According to the BBC:
The computer will contain 16,000 standard processors working alongside 16,000 "cell" processors... each cell is capable of 256 billion calculations per second.
Tha article goes on to mention other, potentially faster, Cell projects (principally SETI@home and folding@home) but points out that these do not require the processes to be in constant communication with one another, unlike the complex complex simulation situations this computer is designed to handle."

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