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Herbie Smith Dr Herbie Not dead yet.
  • UMPCs & Vista

    Can't comment on Vista but I was shocked to see the review of a UMPC on The Gadget Show; the latest Samsung UMPC took 5 minutes to boot up!

    Five Minutes!  They'll have to do better than that before I even consider one.


    Five Minutes!

  • Is your alma mater anti-Visual Studio?

    Jack Poison wrote:
    Absolutely they are.

    It's actually interesting, that old Alma Mater didn't support Wi-Fi in the University, and adamantly opposed it, since it wasn't secure. The Business COllege had to do it.

    I can kind of see the issue with Wi-Fi -- the security isn't great and if anyone can crack it easily, it'll be computing academics.  Especially the students.  You can't trust students.  I should know, I was one for over a decade, and I woudn't trust me.


  • Is your alma mater anti-Visual Studio?

    Not sure on this one:  sometimes I think that starting off with just the nuts and bolts gives you a good perspective on how stuff works.  I started writing Windows software pre-MFC so I had to write my own message pumps, etc.  Knowing how Windows messaging works is still usefull sometimes in the C# world.

    On the other hand, you would want students to finish their courses knowing the tools that are current so they can get a job.  This is an old problem -- I remember reading about 10 years ago about a software company owner who refused to hire Computer Science graduates because they didn't know how to write business applications; they could design CPUs and write compilers but most businesses don't need that.

    So I guess that starting them off with a copy of Notepad and GCC and then 'graduating' up the scale to VS2005 (or Eclipse or whatever) would be the optimum.



  • What are your predictions for 2007?

    By December of 2007 I will have come up with some highly witty predictions for 2007. None of these will be relevant to 2008, so I'll have to start over.


  • Sun Warming!

    Massif wrote:
    Dr Herbie wrote:
    The issue with trade is the amount of fuel that's used to transport things.  It's a current topic of conversation in the UK -- which has least environmental impact, organically grown food that shipped in from abroad, or non-organically grown food that's grown locally.

    According to my environmental sciences studying (and highly opinionated) cousin, choose local every time. Then you can try to persuade them to go organic afterwards.

    The last argument I heard (earlier this week) was about tomato growing.  In Spain, they grow them outdoors and pay fuel to transport them to the UK.  In the UK they grow them in heated greenhouses, using fuel for heat instead of transport.  Which is least damaging to the environment?

    Of course, the real answer is to only eat tomatos when they are in season and you can grow them yourself in your garden. Smiley


  • Sun Warming!

    cheong wrote:
    Talking about environment thing, I'd like to know if there's anyone doing research on "the effect of trading to our planet"?

    Here's a summary of my thought:

    Let's assume the theory of birth of the Earth is from the cooling as a droplet of boiling universe substance is true. When the Earth is cooled down to solid, we can assume the mass of substances on the surface is roughly evenly distributed.

    When people on Earth begin to trade, materials are moving to rich places as money flows. The more advanced transportation technologies are, the faster it moves.

    Let think the Earth as a giant "spinning toy"(I forgot what is the word in English), if there's balance weight on the circumference of the surface, it'll spin without problem. If it become slightly unbalanced, it'll become swingy. If we continue to move weight unbalancedly, it'll eventally become unable to spin up.

    So to what level of global trade will have impact to the degree of axis of the Earth?

    I think that in comparison to the volume of the planet, the amount of materials we shift about is too small to matter.  Even if we started shifting entire mountain ranges it would be tiny in comparison to the Earth's volume.

    The issue with trade is the amount of fuel that's used to transport things.  It's a current topic of conversation in the UK -- which has least environmental impact, organically grown food that shipped in from abroad, or non-organically grown food that's grown locally.


  • Sun Warming!

    The problem with scientists is that they will qualify everything with 'possibly' and 'likely' and 'all else being equal'.  That's becuase scientists work in a world of statistical probabilities and nothing is ever 100% certain. 'Is the sky blue?' you ask, 'Probably' replies the scientist. I know this because I still do this even though I haven't worked in science for 7 years. This always leaves politicians with a chance to ignore 'inconvenient truths'.


    You're sitting in your favourite cafe halfway through drinking a cup of your favourite coffee.  Suddenly the manager rushes up and tells you that there's a chance that rat poison was accidentally added to your coffee.  He's not completely sure whether it was or not, but there's a chance.  If rat poison was added, he's not sure how dangerous it would be because he doesn't know how much might have been added nor does he know how potent it is.

    Do you sit there and finish you coffee, or do you go see a doctor?

    We don't know for sure whether global warming is a real problem, but are you willing to take the risk purely for convenience?


  • Conditional Breakpoints in Background threads

    Thanks for the efforts guys, it looks like I was doing something stupid -- could not get it to work all day yesterday (tries several times), worked first time today. Perplexed


  • what is significant about Mars?

    Sabot wrote:
    The human race is getting larger.

    For now.  Population growth is not an ever-increasing graph, it's more like an S-Shaped curve, slowing down as capacity is reached.
    Check the chart of world population growth on wikipedia, the rate is decreasing.

    Sabot wrote:
    To support a larger number of human beings is going to mean we are going to need to put into place infrastructure to build new homes and places of work, new roads so people can move about, expand existing methods of transport to cater for the greater numbers ... all of this will require a greater number of all resources. You can not recycle to make more stuff, it just means you take less new resource but ultimately we can only go so far.

    Your thinking in the 'Western' philosophy, like it is assumed that people need roads and transport.  Ever been to Africa? Most people in Africa get by pretty happily without roads, cars, TV, internet, piped gas.  We in the West tend to assume that we are happier than Africans, but we don't actually know that. Rather than assume that we'll need to add infrastructure, how about the possibility that we learn to do without?

    Sabot wrote:
    People will continue to breed, we can't stop them, a condom will only serve to slow population growth. Infact all the measures we put into place will only slow done the inevitable.

    Back to population growth models again -- we will not grow continually, we will reach capacity and level out.

    Sabot wrote:
    ... I'm saying that our needs will drive us to look else where for what we need. We still need to save what we have left

    Our we will examine our 'needs' and decide what we can do without. Electricity and TVs are not needs, they are luxuries that we've got so used to that we think of then as needs (unless you happen to live somewhere really inhospitable like Aberdeen).

    Sabot wrote:
    We can not solve tomorrows problems with todays solutions. We need to invest in tomorrow and not be narrow sighted about the prospect of using resources in space to help us ...

    I agree, but I don't think that we should automatically move out into space without dealing with what we've already got.  I don't see human living in space (as opposed to other planets) as a real option and I don't see 'faster than light' travel as a possibility.  We have to face the likelihood that Earth is the best place we're ever likely to have. Kind of 'Fix our back yard before moving to take over our neighbours back yard' philosophy.

    Lets not forget the pstchological aspect to space missions -- they can often generate an optimistic feeling in society.


  • what is significant about Mars?

    Rory wrote:

    The problem isn't that we're running out of space.

    If we pick up and move to another planet, we'll just do the same thing we did to this one. And, after Mars, we have noplace else to go (and don't bother suggesting one of the moons of Jupiter - not only would we be severely lacking in sunlight - already a serious problem on Mars for humans - but we'd have the magnetosphere of Jupiter to worry about).

    So, rather than just moving humanity and all its problems to another planet, we ought to just change our ways here.

    I should also point out that there are some big problems with the idea of moving to Mars:

    1. Would this be a full-scale exodus of all humans? If not, then what's the point? Why move a handful of people just so they can go overpopulate another planet?

    2. If you are thinking of a mass exodus, then have you considered the fact that Mars is not habitable yet? And that it's smaller? And that, therefore, we'd be moving to a much worse situation than the one we'd be leaving?

    3. If we have the ability to terraform, then why wouldn't we just use the technology to "fix" Earth?

    4. Etc...

    There are plenty of reasons why transplanting humanity is just silly.

    Also, studies of population growth and sustainability indicate that the world population is going to top out around eleven billion people and then begin a decline. These estimates are based on things like resources, manpower, ability to prevent the spread of disease, etc.

    So, what we're left with is that there isn't really a problem with Earth, but, rather, with Humanity, and if there were a problem with Earth, any work we'd have to do to make Mars habitable could be done here, but much more inexpensively and to a greater end (we also wouldn't have to worry about problems like living in an environment where the gravitational strengh is approximately .3Gs - that in itself is a reason not to go).

    In short, humans are the problem - not the planet. And, until we can live happily on the Earth, we'll never live happily anywhere else.

    Also, it would most likely be easier to keep Earth under control than to terraform another planet for colonization.

    Plus, what happens when we run out of space on Mars?

    Finally, the engineering effort that would be required to move our butts to another planet would be much better spent on keeping our butts on this one.

    I was about to launch into a rant with a similar view when I got sidetracked by work (stupid work, interfering with my C9 conversations Mad).

    Animal populations are self-regulating -- there's no reason to assume the the human race is any different.  When we reach capacity war, famine and disease will keep us in check.  It might be more humane to deal with the problem before it gets to that stage, but it's unlikely that the people in power will have the motivation to do anything.

    I hate the 'we broke this planet, can we have another one?' attitude of some cultures; it's like everything's disposable, even Earth.