The Components

An electronic cigarette consists of the following parts:

  • A battery with a switch
  • A tank containing liquid (eLiquid)
  • An atomiser
  • A mouthpiece

rurwinrurwin 30 Dec 2013 16:2107 Jan 2014 15:58

Over the last year the use of electronic cigarettes has grown exponentially. More and more people are using them either to help reduce smoking or to get around smoking restrictions. If you look into the topic in any detail you will find two camps. One group condemns them as unsafe and unregulated, the other praises them as a safe alternative to tobacco. Both of them point to scientific research to prove their point of view. So who do you trust?

rurwinrurwin 30 Dec 2013 15:3903 Jan 2014 13:22

Digital Rights Management, or Copy Protection, to give it its old name, is all around us. It makes sure that we have bought the books on our Kindle, and that we have bought our copy of Windows 8. It ensures that the hard-working writers, artists and programmers get paid. Without it pirates would steal all their creations and give them away for free. DRM is a good thing, right?

Wrong. DRM is the best way there is to alienate your customers, and it doesn't stop piracy. It is the worst of both worlds. And this is why.

rurwinrurwin 11 Sep 2013 21:1412 Sep 2013 10:15

As soon as we started programming, we found to our surprise that it wasn't as easy to get programs right as we had thought. Debugging had to be discovered. I can remember the exact instant when I realized that a large part of my life from then on was going to be spent in finding mistakes in my own programs.
— Maurice Wilkes

Not many people understand programming these days. The Internet and the XBox have created a generation for whom computers are consumer boxes. Back in the 1980's it wasn't like that. To get a computer game running you had to type it in, or if you were rich enough to afford commercial games, at least know the right commands to load it from cassette tape. All the kids knew enough to be able to wander into a Tandy store, type a two line program:
20 GOTO 10

They would set it going and then run away laughing.

The glamorous art of programming, the art schools used to teach, and may soon teach again, is the art of putting a program together. First you design how it is going to work. You decide what its initial conditions will be, and what its output will be, and how it will get from one to the other. That's very boring and everyone tries to skip that bit. Then you write loads and loads of cryptic instructions to tell the computer to do what you want. That's the fun bit. That's the bit you see in the Hollywood movies. The sort of program that you write in school might be a dozen lines of code. The first time you try to run that program it will probably fail, so you find the silly mistake, and you correct it, and the program works.

And then you get a job as a programmer in the real world.

rurwinrurwin 18 Aug 2013 12:4918 Aug 2013 14:13

A long time ago in a school far, far away, I was given an essay to write. I had over an hour to write a two page essay on the rise of the Nazis. That assignment made such an impact on me that even now, forty years later, I can quote that essay in its entirety word for word. Here it is:

One day Hitler jumped onto a chair.

It wasn't that I didn't know the subject; I wasn't the world authority on the Nazi party, but I had been listening. Still, I stared at that almost blank page for an hour and couldn't think what to write. It wasn't that I didn't think I was good enough; it was only a stupid essay in a subject I intended to drop the next year. It wasn't that I expected to have some mystical inspiration; nobody was going to see it except me and the teacher, and I didn't expect a gold star. I didn't have to do the washing-up, walk the dog or fetch the children; at that particular time and place I had nothing to do except write that essay. After the first five minutes or so, I knew that I would not be writing anything. I knew that that stupid sentence was going to sit there, forever alone. The longer I debated what to write, the more trivial it seemed. Nothing that my mind could come up with was worth writing.

rurwinrurwin 15 Aug 2013 13:1818 Aug 2013 11:31

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