Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/01/letters_0106/
Tom Cruise causes Wi-Fi humour blackouts
Pass us the coffee, would you?
Letters Want to be in complete control of your computer? Put your hands in the air and wave 'em around a bit. That'll do the trick. Well, maybe it is a bit more complex than that. But really, as Microsoft proposes a hand waving, Minority Report-style computer interface, all we care about is that Tom Cruise stays in the Scientology celebrity centre, and away from our sofa:
Ah...yes, I am sure that the new platform will usher in a new era of interactive software....primarily interactive porn.......
Way to go MS!
Actually, and I'm struggling to believe I'm saying this, I think that that looks quite good and many congrats MS for giving it a go. It'll take someone like Microsoft / Apple to make this type of thing commonplace and I think something new like this is long overdue. Logitech be warned, the end of the tyrannical sluggardly mouse is near, or at least visible on the horizon.
There is another angle - MS want to get PCs and their OS under every single TV and hi-fi in the world. It may turn out that getting it under every coffee table might be close enough. Sort of along the lines of "Why buy yet another set-top box when you can plug your telly in to the coffee table?".
Amazing! New technology from micros~1! Only, it isn't. In fact, with a little effort, you can make such a thing yourself. These people did (no affiliation):
There should even be a recordning of the congress presentation of what the germans did somewhere. Of course, our friends from redmond don't need orginality when they have everybody's ear anyway.
"Surface Computing allows users to interact by waving their hands around."
So, hand signals... The future belongs to the Italians...
Yay, over-monied religious zealots have opened a museum. Most of you said what you needed to say in our comments section, but we couldn't resist this little gem:
A creationist theme park? I'm in - how much are the rides, or are they included with the entrance fee?
I really don't see what all the fuss is. Everyone who's seen the Racquel Welsh caveman movie knows we co-existed with dragons, I mean dinosaurs. It's in the movies so it must be real - just like we know Jesus was really good at singing from the historical documentary, Jesus Christ Superstar.
Also is there an Orc exhibit or did they not include Hobbit history for this one? I think my favourite bit is going to be the talking animals petting zoo and the Aslan ride - no creationist theme park is complete with those.
We saw it first in the Flintstones...
Just one little snipe about the terribly nitpicking legal fuss over updated
patent office intellectual property office guidelines on granting patents:
You wrote: "Following the British Office's change of practice in this area, what once was absurd has now become policy."
I thought this was standard for British Government departments?
It is a fair point, and well made...
The Panorama programme on evil Wi-Fi radiation (you know, like in nuclear power) killing us in our sleep may have aired a while ago now, but the subject (as raised by Reg columnist Guy Kewney) is clearly not exhausted:
Thanks for this item. That Panorama programme was a travesty: they should stick to current affairs and leave the science to Horizon.
Great article, but (you just knew there would be one of those), why not mention the biggest killer fact of the lot: the inverse square law? This is never, ever, mentioned in any discussion about the "evils" of radiation and I can't understand why. It is absolutely crucial to any discussion on this subject.
I have tried to explain the difference in levels of say, a Tetra mast (>=30m up in the air) and the handheld next to Mr Plod's ear, to lay (wo)men with some success. They aren't necessarily completely convinced, but they *do* understand what the inverse square law means in terms of levels, especially after being given the example below and also mentioning the 800mW the mobile phone is emitting right next to their head.
The other problem is the concept of "microwaves", which seems to be a particularly elastic term, locally (for example) Tetra (380-400, 410-430Mhz (max ERP 25W)) was regarded as "pulsing" "microwave" radiation until I pointed out that our local TV transmitter (Midhurst, aggregate ERP 1MW, range 3Km)) was also pulsing away (albeit at 12.5 rather than 17Hz) at twice the frequency and had not killed anyone of the several thousand that live in the around it in the near field, that we could point at in the 40 odd years it has been up. And those people "knew" that TV was UHF!
I love the bit about "making sure that the main lobe" (there are usually three, sometimes four of them, not one) of a nearby mobile phone transmitter is not pointing at a school. Anybody that actually knows something about antennas, knows that the safest place for the mast is therefore on top of the school roof, somewhere near the middle! He knows there is a lobe, but doesn't understand what that really means!
In a way, you're gulity of a similar "lack of science". The first question we should be raising is whether, in fact, there's any fundamental difference between WiFi, GMS and any other use of radio, in terms of the effect on the human body. I haven't done any tests, so I don't know, but I strongly suspect, based on years of physics education, that the protocol of the signal carried by the radio link doesn't actually make a jot of difference. But these people (Panorama et al) seem to believe that somehow WiFi and GMS are totally different technologies that have nothing whatsoever in common!
The truth is, neither these, nor any other radio usage, are any different, in terms of human tissue effects. That means they're no different to radar, which all of our airports etc (civil and military) have been pumping out at high level for more than 50 years! And I don't see anyone campaigning for air traffic control to be shut down....
The only (likely) significant parameters as far as human tissue effects are concerned are the frequency of the radio carrier wave and its field strength at the location of the human subject. Let's do what we can to get the emphasis off the nature of the isgnal that the radio wave is carrying, please! Data protocols just aren't the issue here.
The UK Home Office met with handset manufacturers and mobile networks to identify ways in which mobile phones could be "secured by design". Pardon us, but did someone in the back row mutter "biometrics"?
Didn't Tony claim to have solved cell phone theft last year?
Can't this bunch of idiots keep track of the problems they have solved and those they have yet to solve?
I predict that the idiot Reid will suggest that ID cards can be used in some undefined fashion to prevent phone theft and a bit later, bird flu.
Fingerprint biometrics are not just temporarily useless for some people - chippys, brickies, hairdressers, lab chemists, to name but a few all have a very hard time keeping hold of their fingerprints.
If you want a truly theft free phone, all you have to do is start selling them at their going rate and not allow insurance for theft or damage, or charge a load for it. This way you don't get the following:
Customer "can I have an upgrage" Voda3cellO2 "no, you've not even had that one a year yet"
Customer "I was mugged my phone has been stolen" Police "here is your crime number"
Customer "my phone has been stolen please replace it, here is my crime number" Voda3cellO2 "not a problem, here is your new wizzy handset" or Voda3cellO2 "here is a 2nd hand handset. Did you know that we can put you on a data only tarif for a fiver a month (min 12 months) and you qualify for a free wizzy handset?"
"anyone who's tried to use a fingerprint system after sanding wood, wielding metal, or even painting, will know just how quickly one can become persona non grata to such systems."
Would be a shame if a lot of people were doing this prior to turning up at the ID card interrogation centres for enrolment, then, wouldn't it?
In our experience, sailing also has a blurring effect on fingerprints, provided it is windy enough and you have a really tight grip on the main sheet. Just saying...
We're not sure if this guy is being rude or supportive in response to this piece about Manchester and Second Life. In our state of coffee-bar-induced confusion, we thought we'd run it anyway:
Ha ha ha, "Sadville"!
What a good one, I always think the newsroom at The Register must be a bit like a Uni coffee bar with you hacks regaling each other with your wit.
I often find that people who find the time to shout "get a first life", are the ones who don't have one themselves
That is all. Enjoy the weekend. ®