* Posts by Simon Harris

1595 posts • joined 1 Mar 2007

Got a Fitbit? Thought you were achieving your goals? Better read this

Simon Harris
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"They don't measure continuously, fitness machines only measure when you have a firm grip on the electrical contacts and that's not possible during vigorous movement"

It can be worse than that - There have been occasions in the gym where the HRM on my treadmill was still displaying after I let go of the handles - it turned out that the person on the next treadmill had a radio linked HRM and my treadmill was picking up their signal - it did make me look rather fitter than usual for a while!

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Airbus to build plane that's even uglier than the A380

Simon Harris
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Re: The A380 is not ugly!

"They have the proportions of a Fisher Price toy, and seem to just float in mid air."

Presumably in much the same way that bricks don't ?

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Chaps make working 6502 CPU by hand. Because why not?

Simon Harris
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Unhappy

I wish you luck finding anything you actually need in Maplins.

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Simon Harris
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Re: Static?

Real 6502s were dynamic. The CMOS 65C02 (at least the WDC version) was (and still is) static. The WDC 65C02 also has extra addressing modes on some instructions and a few extra instructions. I can't remember whether they fixed the indirect jump wraparound bug from the original 6502, or left it as-is.

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Simon Harris
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Re: I'll really be impressed when..

If I remember correctly, X and Y were used differently for indirect addressing thus

LDA (aa,X) added X to the operand aa, and the contents of memory at (aa+X) and (aa+1+x) were used as the address from which A was loaded.

LDA (aa),Y took the data from (aa) and (aa+1) as an address and then added Y to that. A was then loaded from that total address.

The first was useful if you had a list of pointers to objects, the second was useful if you had one pointer to an object, but wanted to access data from a particular offset into that object.

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Simon Harris
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Re: I'll really be impressed when.. Intersil 6100

Well, the 6100 was based on the PDP8, so you could copy the PDP8s design (that one used discrete transistors).

The next step would be to recreate your discrete version of the 6100 as a FPGA. Then you'd have an integrated version of a discrete version of an integrated version of a discrete transistor CPU.

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Simon Harris
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Re: Why So Slow?

I was wondering this first when I realised that the original AT motherboard ran at 5MHz and was not much smaller (13.8" x 12").

I think the PCB size itself does not necessary limit the speed so much. However, if the CPU is simply a transistor for transistor substitution from the die to the PCB without any redesign, simply scaling things up might well scale up parasitic capacitances and time constants. Also, the 6502 used some dynamic registers (essentially single byte DRAMs) to reduce transistor count - scaling up the storage capacitor might also limit the clock speed by increasing the charge/discharge time constant.

I presume the 1960s transistor based computers running in the MHz range were designed on the macro-scale to control these capacitances in the first place.

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5% of drivers want Nigel Farage to be their in-car robo butler

Simon Harris
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Michael McIntyre 11% ?

Because satnavs always work so much better after you've punched them in the face.

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Simon Harris
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Just don't drive on the pavement when you come to the UK

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Russia faces Ukraine and Georgia in Eurovision deathmatch

Simon Harris
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Or Georgia On My Mind.

... or if they've set their sights a bit further west... Moldova Beethoven.

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A cracked window on the International Space Station? That's not good

Simon Harris
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"we just need to clear out LEO and GEO of all the bits and recycle them."

Maybe The Clangers and The Wombles could join forces.

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Unicorn adopts rainbow as logo

Simon Harris
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Adopting Rainbow.

They need to rename their apps Bungle, Zippy and George.

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Italians rattle little tin for smartmobe mini lenses

Simon Harris
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"I didn't know they made USB microscopes. I'll have to look into that."

My sister's kids had one about 10 years ago - it was just a webcam with some crude microscope optics - it was a bit pants really. Hopefully they've improved since then.

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Valley VC Peter Thiel becomes an official Trump delegate

Simon Harris
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Re: I spot a trend here ..

"He'll wreck America which is good."

I would have thought turning any country into a wreck (or conversely making it too strong) is probably not good for the well-being of the the planet as a whole.

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Did Spotify hire Alan Partridge to run its Netflix-style video push?

Simon Harris
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Re: Maybe its us? ... or maybe it's you...

Ironically, Alanis Morissette already runs a column in the Guardian discussing why readers can't hold onto a relationship.

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Simon Harris
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OMG OMD

Where members of the 70s new wave group travel the country in a quest to find the person who can pull the most surprised face.

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Facebook bungs 10-year-old kid $10k to not 'eliminate' Justin Bieber

Simon Harris
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Re: Just how bad does it have to be

Maybe we should put this kid onto fixing the F-35.

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Simon Harris
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Re: 10k...

You guys beat me to it!

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F-35s failed 'scramble test' because of buggy software

Simon Harris
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Re: I think there is a wonderfull message behind this

I only read through the first 60 or so, but those seemed quite sensible, and many of them can be enforced by compiler settings or could be tested with automated tools to check for compliance.

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Switch survives three hours of beer spray, fails after twelve

Simon Harris
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Re: Similarites between rugby and american football

American footballs are actually a bit more pointy at the ends than rugby balls.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware storms live TV weather forecast

Simon Harris
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Happy

Re: Small misfire by M$ leads to a Butterfly Effect...?

"Trust me, Microsoft reads these forums."

I think you forgot to write that post in The Colour Of Irony.

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Simon Harris
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"frankly a little shortsighted"

But if you do need GPU co-processing support in a server wouldn't it be better it go for a full-feature dedicated GPU (or two, or however many you can link together these days), rather than a cut-down version built into the CPU die?

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China's Dalek-like robots fear only one terrifying nemesis: Stairs

Simon Harris
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What? There are more pictures after the one of Servalan?

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30 years on, Chernobyl wildlife still feeling effects of nuke plant catastrophe

Simon Harris
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"if it were not for constant immigration"

"Damn immigrants, coming over here and keeping our population from going extinct!"

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NASA saves Kepler space 'scope by turning it off and on again

Simon Harris
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Re: If cycling power doesn't work...

I'd say about 3x more is more realistic now.

However, for the Atom, TRS80, etc. we're talking about late 70s - early 80s - maybe the price differential was much higher back then, I can't really remember.

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Simon Harris
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Re: If cycling power doesn't work...

"Atom was single board with keyboard on one side and all chips hanging from sockets underneath and could slowly work loose as you typed."

The second generation of their colour encoder that turned the signals from the 6847 into PAL relied on you removing the 6847 from the mother board, plugging it into the colour encoder, and then plugging the colour encoder board (with the weight of the PCB itself, a 40pin dip package, various 16pin packages, all socketed, and discrete components) so it was hanging upside down and held in by the friction of a 40 pin dip socket - not sure how that was ever supposed to not fall out!

Probably the biggest advance Acorn made between the Atom and the BBC was moving all the chips to the top of the PCB!

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Woz says wearables – even Apple Watch – aren't 'compelling'

Simon Harris
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Re: Seconds out... Round 2

"Now if someone repackaged it into something like 'Half-Hunter' format then I might buy one."

I wonder whatever happened to the Runcible phone.

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Simon Harris
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" I don't think many people are reliant on connectivity. They like it and expect it, but when its not there, then meh."

Not just connectivity, but continuation of specific services. Imagine you have an internet connected home controller system (the Revolv, for example), and the company controlling those services goes tits-up or to discontinue services for what they consider an obsolete device.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/06/nests_bricking_of_revolv_a_wakeup_call/

Every time Netflix or BBC iPlayer buffers or drops out, it might be a meh moment, but it's a little hammer to the brain to remind you never to trust the internet to be permanently available.

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NASA prepares to unpack pump-up space podule

Simon Harris
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Re: Full Circle

Wasn't that a project to launch Phil Collins into orbit?

In space no one can hear you bang drums.

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3,000 kids' sketches to fly with exoplanet hunter

Simon Harris
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Passive cooling.

Apparently the CHEOPS CCD is passively cooled.

If they have made it actively cooled they could have included a refrigerator, the door of which is the natural habitat of such pictures!

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Waiting for your Oculus to arrive? Yeah, it's going to be some time

Simon Harris
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Re: Oculus Grift @ james 68

3 million years or so of evolution since Australopithecus Afarensis - I should hope we're past version 1.0 by now!

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Blighty's nuclear deterrent will get a software upgrade amid cyber-war fears

Simon Harris
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The range of a Trident is quoted as being over 4000 nautical miles - which is somewhat further than the distance from Scotland to Moscow, although they might fall a little short of Vladivostok if launched from Scotland.

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Simon Harris
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Trident II is physically capable of carrying up to 14 warheads per missile - I have a feeling that some nuclear weapon limitation treaties may reduce the number they are allowed to carry.

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Simon Harris
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Obscured by clouds...

"Why keep the submarines in Scotland some aggrieved Scot Nat will surely ask, because Faslane is the cloudiest place in the UK which made (makes?) it harder for foreign satellites to count the number of submarines alongside."

And I thought security through obscurity was supposed to be a bad thing!

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Let’s re-invent small phones! Small screens! And rubber buttons!

Simon Harris
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Re: "No one thought to check what channels the UK actually shows."

"canal porn"

Is that like hedge porn but with soggier pages?

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Comms 'redlining' in Brussels as explosions kill up to 30 people

Simon Harris
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Re: getting close to home

"Duvel is 8.6%, as I learned the hard way. But I think Chimay Bleu is over 10. Hic! Which I think is the strongest beer I've had that was actually drinkable. Delicious in fact."

Both very good choices, as I discovered in the north of Belgium last week. Brugse Zot is another nice one (as are all the HalveMaan brewery beers) with a lighter taste at only 6%.

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Simon Harris
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Re: getting close to home

Makes you think, if you're going to partake of the beer, it's probably best to take the train rather than drive.

A few glasses of very tasty 9% monastery brewed beer can leave you distinctly wobbly.

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Hands on with the BBC's Micro:Bit computer. You know, for kids

Simon Harris
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Re: "Same memory as the BBC Micro Model A"

@ac

However the kibibyte, as recognised by the IEC, postdates the BBC Micro by about 17 years.

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Simon Harris
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Re: Old photo caption @ chika

If I remember correctly, a more obvious distinction was that the Atom case was ribbed (for extra pleasure?) while the BBC was stippled. The BBC was deeper behind the keyboard yoo.

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Simon Harris
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Re: It's a jungle out there - re school bus.

In my old school, someone set fire to the school, gutting the main building.

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Simon Harris
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Re: The same memory as the BBC Micro Model A of 15 years ago...

"because you got "snow" on the screen if you tried to write to the buffer while the image was being displayed"

I remember that being an significant Atom problem, but I don't remember having snow problems updating the screen on the BBC.

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Simon Harris
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Re: "Same memory as the BBC Micro Model A"

@Symon - as I remember it, the BBC as standard had 32KB mask programmed ROM, with the option of extra 16KB application ROMs sharing a common address range.

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Simon Harris
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Re: Old photo caption

Probably a pre-production Atom - it should have the Acorn Atom logo to the right of the spacebar - unless it's just the way the light is falling there doesn't appear to be one here. It could possibly be a mockup using an Acorn System 2/System 3 keyboard - this used the same case moulding as the Atom.

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Simon Harris
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"Same memory as the BBC Micro Model A"

Technically it is the same amount of RAM, but on the BBC Micro that RAM had to hold application code, the screen buffer (up to 10K on the model A) and working variables, stack, etc. - this could leave, depending on graphics requirements only about 5K for code. On the Bit, I assume application code will go into flash, and there is no screen buffer to speak of, so the 16K is only necessary for working variables, stack, etc., and code can be much larger.

BTW - I think you might have meant 256KB and 16KB rather than 256Kb and 16Kb.

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Western Digital spins up a USB disk just for the Raspberry Pi

Simon Harris
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Re: The price baloons. To what exactly? @Timbo

By Jove!

I think you've hit on the solution to all the IPv4 addresses being used up - use irrational number addresses and they'll never run out!

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Simon Harris
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Re: The price baloons. To what exactly?

"@AC. Good catch yesterday was also pi day in the US"

I expect we Europeans will have to wait until 22/July for delivery!

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Simon Harris
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Unhappy

Re: The price baloons. To what exactly? @J.R.Hartley

Damn - I forgot!

Suppose I'll have to wait another year now!

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I beg you, please don't back up that secret directory full of photos!

Simon Harris
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Re: Seriously

"found next to the Garbage bin" PCs

Is that the modern equivalent of 'found in the bushes' or 'found by the railway tracks'? - the now legendary sources of pr0n in my schooldays.

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Simon Harris
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Re: Cannot unsee ...

Top boss!

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Simon Harris
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Re: Years ago, when the net was young

"Oh, and if you DO have a "hidden" directory, full of photos of you and the missus in the alltogether...first of all, congratulations, and secondly, before you bring the machine for service, perhaps a little housecleaning is in order?"

Naughty pictures - that's what external drives were invented for - then there should be no compromising folders to rummage through when the computer goes bang - (provided you remember to manage your browser download folders and caches regularly).

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