* Posts by Mike Richards

3615 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Apple's iPhone 4 denial: insulting or ignorant?

Mike Richards

Not knowing anything about antenna design

I'm a little confused how Apple's claim that recalibrating the display of bars to better show bad signals is going to solve my problem' namely that holding my iPhone 4 in my living room sends the signal from O2's usual 2 or 3 bars to 'No Service'. The previous iPhone had no problems making or receiving calls at home, this thing drops at least half of them.

4
0

Last shuttle mission shifted to Feb 2011

Mike Richards

Re So long Shuttle...

I don't think Beachrider is arguing with the flexibility of the Shuttle, just how the contracts were allocated. Several companies tendered for the key components of the Shuttle and the companies that eventually got the work were not those that were expected. North American Rockwell building the Orbiter was a real shock and there's always been suspicion that Nixon favoured a fellow Californian.

The choice of the SRB is also dubious; it was widely expected to have gone to Aerojet who had designed a monolithic booster design that would never have failed as happened with Challenger. Lockheed was second most likely. Instead it went to a segmented design from Morton Thiokol. Thiokol is based in Utah; at the time of the contract, NASA's head was James Fletcher who came from - Utah.

0
0

Apple denies iPhone 4 antenna glitch, blames inaccurate signal bars

Mike Richards

the clever bit...

...is that all of a sudden the iPhone is going to start reporting fewer bars. Apple will be able to tell users 'nothing to do with us, take it up with the network and demand better coverage'.

And their excuse is bollocks. My 3G registers 3 bars in my living room, it might fall to 2 bars when I pick it up to make a call. The iPhone 4 registers 2 bars and shows 'No network' when I deign to hold it using anything other than Apple's official finger tripod.

6
0

'Huge airships to carry freight starting 10 years from now'

Mike Richards

Yes but...

By your methodology oil, coal and natural gas are renewable fuels.

Helium is being created constantly at a rate of about 3000 tonnes per year across the Earth. Unfortunately we're using ten times that much every year.

1
0
Mike Richards

Oh no it doesn't

The Earth is unable to hold on to helium because helium tends to migrate to the upper part of the atmosphere where the thermal velocity of helium atoms exceeds escape velocity. Some is also lost by ionisation through the Solar Wind.

There is no primordial helium on Earth which is easy to prove since He3 is practically non-existent down here whereas its plentiful on Jupiter which is big enough to hold on to its original helium.

0
0
Mike Richards

Seconded

RoboBlimp!

Surely the real market for these things is as freighters which can bring us the essentials of life (Spanish strawberries and Shanghai iPhones) much more quietly than a 747?

0
0

US $250m superbomber 'almost as good' as $8m robot

Mike Richards

An excitingly swoopy plane

albeit only about half as pretty as the Valkyrie and a tenth as gorgeous as the TSR-2.

4
0

Sony tweaks Twitter gadget for UK users

Mike Richards

Ummmm and the point of this is?

It's a mains-powered iPad that shrank in the wash.

0
0

Microsoft's KIN is dead, long live Windows Phone 7

Mike Richards

Not the device

The problem was the data plan. The target market isn't able to stump up the sort of monthly payments that Kin came with. Had it been sold unbundled it deserves to have done well - the Cloud based approach to pictures and the like is actually a good idea.

So for once Microsoft isn't actually the culprit.

0
1

Strato-droids to mate in upper atmos, exchange vital juices

Mike Richards

Well done Lewis

I think you've earned your pint for the day - and it's not even lunchtime.

0
0

Beeb sacks teaboy, hires Press Association

Mike Richards

Why do they use a Television Centre photo?

Most of the Beeb is now decamped just down the road at White City. Which is - as I can personally testify - the most confusing building on Earth - every corridor leads to a coffee shop.

0
0

Naomi Campbell to appear in war crimes trial

Mike Richards

It gets better

The nation's favourite clotheshorse is refusing to appear at the Hague - it might actually come to an international arrest warrant being issued that would compel her to attend.

0
0

Meryl Streep to tackle Margaret Thatcher

Mike Richards

Better casting

Sharon Stone reenacting her finest moment from 'Basic Instinct' showing how Thatcher charmed Reagan with Jedward to play the Thatcher twins. Graham Norton to host the inevitable BBC talent search programme.

0
0

The 3G coverage picture that can't be published

Mike Richards

MK is in the stoneage for comms

3G coverage is shite here on all the networks, the city centre has a WiFi network that no one can use and the cable network is crapola.

Truly the city of the future.

0
0

Phorm's losses top $100m

Mike Richards

China?

Ah they've finally found their true home. Though whether the Communist Party will be happy about an upstart foreign rival snooping on their citizens is another matter.

0
0
Mike Richards

No, no, no, no...

I'm reserving that song for the day Thatcher joins the great stock market flotation in the sky.

5
2

Duff French missiles for Royal Navy finally fixed

Mike Richards

Not quite the same thing

I was impressed at the Science Museum with their Bloodhound missile - which for a bit of 1950s tech still has a lot of WOW!

Namely it's go up to 400mph by the time it cleared the launcher and went supersonic in 25 - seconds? no - FEET.

0
0
Mike Richards

French frigate, Italian Frigate, British...

...barge.

1
0

Comet-bomb interceptor makes low pass above Atlantic

Mike Richards

Disappointed

Usually NASA have a handy back-of-the-envelope comparison to hand on to tell us just how insanely difficult this is - you know, 'scoring a hole-in-one after a three mile shot' or 'getting five bars while making a call with an iPhone 4' (okay this wasn't that difficult, but you get the idea).

2
0

Power line tech could crash aircraft and shut down the Archers

Mike Richards

So now...

...we've all got to switch off electrical items when the plane is taking off - whether we're on it or not.

1
0

Pakistan set to ban more web blasphemy

Mike Richards

Forwards towards the glorious 12th Century!

While India is turning itself into a 21st Century superpower powered by science and innovation, Pakistan is burying its head in the sand. This sort of thinking (alongside widespread campaigns against Western concepts encompassing everything from rights for women to evolution) is crippling its economic future and giving no hope to its people that they can ever be raised out of genuine horrific poverty.

With the exception of anyone working in Pakistan's nuclear programme, the future doesn't look bright. And for the rest of us, the fact a country with these sort of people making decisions has a nuclear programme doesn't bode well at all.

2
0

UK arms industry 'same as striking coal miners' - Army head

Mike Richards

The only problem with this is...

Thatcher WAS in charge of the country when most of the current batch of white elephants lumbered off the drawing board. She was just as in love with BAe as her successors.

Perhaps now is the time to bring back the Sandys report and scrap all manned aircraft in favour of unmanned whooshy things.

1
1

Vauxhall Ampera extended range e-car

Mike Richards

Built in Europe

Though where precisely hasn't been decided. If you're lucky it'll come out of one of GM's German plants.

1
0
Mike Richards

Looks

It looks like an American's idea of what a European saloon should look like, after having a Maserati described by a mime artist.

2
0

Sony Vaio P netbook

Mike Richards

Colour

Does it come in any shade of sane?

0
0

Future quantum computers could be made of... silicon?

Mike Richards

Apple should make the first quantum computer

It'll deter people from trying to upgrade their machine if they know popping open the box might kill the undead cat that makes everything work.

0
0

Buyer's Guide: 3D TVs

Mike Richards

Correction

'so you don’t have to worry about buying the wrong type of 3D TV and then being left with an expensive and obsolete piece of kit when one format wins out over the other'

Instead, you can now worry about buying a 3D TV and then being left with an expensive and obsolete piece of kit when you finally realise how much you've got to pay to equip family and friends with the bloody glasses.

0
0

Want Olympic tickets? Better get a VisaCard then

Mike Richards

Beastly foreigners

Will be able to use Mastercards. It's just those of us who are paying for the fiasco won't get a choice in which way we actually pay to see what we built.

0
0

Dixons renames itself Dixons

Mike Richards

'Lower stock levels'

Ah that explains why they've decided to phase out floppy disks.

0
0

Redback spiders provoke BAE lock-down

Mike Richards

BAe

You do realise these spiders are the only deadly thing to come out of a BAe factory in the last decade.

Perhaps we should replace Eurofighters with spiders (each with their own cute little parachute) nd drop those on the Taliban?

7
0

Flying-boat tiltrotor catamaran design wins NASA compo

Mike Richards

Oh yes

And whilst we're about it could be also have one of these?

http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2695001730048918155QVwPHU

Either that or an Eagle from Space 1999.

1
0

Apple, Google, Microsoft – are you a Brand Taliban or Brand Evangelist?

Mike Richards

Pro / anti BP?

Surely that's where this all breaks down. BP produces oil and petroleum products that are to all intents and purposes indistinguishable from every other oil company. How can you be a brand evangelist when you can't tell the difference? The only thing that really distinguishes them are their logos and okay - on that alone, BP has the best logo.

It's different where phones and computers are concerned as you can at least pick on some aspect speed/design/OS etc and love it/loathe it.

As for why we do it? Surely it's down to a need to justify our expenditure? 'I've bought brand X therefore it HAS to be the best!'

0
0

Big EU imports of Sahara sun-power coming soon?

Mike Richards

Iceland

There've been a number of studies that have all come to the conclusion that up to 1GWe could be brought to the UK via a high voltage DC cable strung from Iceland to Scotland for less than the cost of a nuclear power station. The Icelanders would probably be happy as it would allow them to sell power at a commercial rate rather than the heavily subsidised rates used by aluminium and ferrosilicon plants.

Though there is growing concern in Iceland at the environmental effects of large-scale hydro power (which supplies about 75% of their output). At the moment they have a power surplus (which must be nice), but there are extremely controversial plans to put more dams on the epic Þjórsá near Hekla. What they'll do with this power is uncertain, aluminium smelting is deeply unpopular as it doesn't require much skilled labour and all the value is added when the metal leaves Iceland. So there is a big push to get server farms to come to Iceland - there's a huge one at Keflavík and even the prospect of solar silicon manufacture.

But why risk those when there's a big island to the South that's having trouble keeping the lights on?

1
0
Mike Richards

Would it be photovoltaic?

Since most of the large solar schemes tried out in California and Spain have been solar-thermal plants which have higher efficiencies and can generate power at night by storing heat in molten salt.

4
0

Huge new airships for US Army: designed in Blighty

Mike Richards

Well let's hope it works better this time round...

...the last airship we sold to the US exploded over the Humber:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R38_class_airship

0
0

Twitter on a ZX Spectrum

Mike Richards

Ah the Dragon

Wasn't that the machine where every game had green on green graphics?

1
0

Tom Stoppard: Tech is destroying the written word

Mike Richards

As Plato once said about writing

'And in this instance, you who are the father of letters, from a paternal love of your own children have been led to attribute to them a quality which they cannot have; for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves.

'The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.'

2
0

ThinkGeek trembles before Pork Board's pork sword

Mike Richards

'what does sparkly unicorn flesh taste of?!'

A little like griffin.

9
0

Kim Jong-Il in radish inspection shocker

Mike Richards

Wow!

Just one of these could cause more destruction that either of his nuclear weapons.

And heaven only knows how powerful they'd be mixed with kimchi (think nerve gas without any of the pleasant aspects).

0
0

A Rumba with a Roomba

Mike Richards

UK prices

Start at about £270 go up to £400ish depending on the model and what else they throw in the box.

I have a 560 (recently discontinued but still available whilst stocks last) which cost about £350 for which you get the robot, mains supply, docking station, two navigation lighthouses, replacement filters and some maintenance tools. Further up the pricing you get bigger dust collectors and a remote control.

HTH.

1
0
Mike Richards

It is a vacuum cleaner

So don't worry. The rotating brush is there to bring dirt into reach of Roomba's terrifying maw.

0
0
Mike Richards

New models vs old models

If you can - get the 560 rather than the replacement 555.

The 560 comes with lighthouses that allow you to confine Gromit (come on you have to name them) to one room making sure that is spankingly clean before moving on to the next. The 555 only has a virtual wall which stops him from passing certain points.

But Roombas are wonderful including the little reversing sound when he rolls off his charging station.

0
0

New leader, same old job for Martha Lane Fox

Mike Richards

An unpaid position I assume?

Since we keep being told that MLF is rich beyond the dreams of avarice I'd hope this was an unpaid position.

And while I'm here, can anyone please explain MLF's contribution to the history of the Internet? Was lastminute.com even an original idea?

2
0

Apple's fresh Mac mini stripped naked

Mike Richards

Time Capsules

It was heat that killed the TCs by blowing their capacitors. It was probably made worse by the all-plastic construction and a nice thick layer of rubber on the bottom. After my original one went bang, Apple replaced it with one of the newer designs which runs much cooler - the top surface is barely warm.

The MM will probably also benefit from having an aluminium case that doubles up as a radiator.

1
0

Did ID card applications surge after scheme was scrapped?

Mike Richards

leave Meg alone!

She's fabulous entertainment value.

This week she was being interviewed and said that the moves to scrap ID cards and the ContactPoint database were evidence that the Conservatives were taking us backwards rather than forwards.

I hope the Register continues to feature wacky New Lobster MP Meg Hitler long into the future.

2
0

Russian video chat site mulls todger filter

Mike Richards

If they were clever

They'd offer a separate premium service for all those who sign on to Chat Roulette in the hope of seeing man bits.

“If he doesn't make a dramatic move soon to clean up the service, the brand will be permanently tarnished,"

Didn't the Chat Roulette brand come pre-tarnished?

0
0

Did the iPad just save Wired, and Conde-Nast?

Mike Richards

Very pretty - but

It's practically unusable.

Navigating around the magazine is a horror as its sometimes completely impossible to work out if an article has more than one page - when you flick up to bring up the next page, or if it is one of their quirky pieces that just suddenly stops - in which case flicking up does nothing and you have to flick left. Wired's pages are so busy that there are graphical doohickies that might be clues as to where the next page might be found, or they might just be the flourishes of someone buggering around with InDesign - certainly they're not consistent.

There's no bookmarking of interesting stuff so you can refer to it later and no search - pretty basic stuff for a reader application. It's like they put all their effort into jazzing up adverts for crappy American cars rather than what the reader might want.

As a demo of what's possible it is a blinder; as something actually useful - well that 500Mb install per issue is the least of its problems.

1
0

Lightning bolt smites 60ft Jesus statue

Mike Richards

There is a god...

...and clearly his name is Thor.

4
0

Hayabusa in fiery return to Earth

Mike Richards

Secret mission

Was to leave Bruce Willis on the asteroid 'just in case'

Admit it - you haven't seen him recently.

0
0

Plucky Finn attempts to drive length of Finland in small digger

Mike Richards

This is usually the point

Where someone points out that Finland isn't in Scandinavia and Finns were never Vikings.

Ah that'd be me.

1
0

Forums