93 posts • joined 16 Oct 2007
Night Flyer by Lewis Brandon
A good little book this...
Before the war the author was an actor, but he ended up as a radar operator in night fighter Mosquitoes. They initially defended Britain from German bombers but later flew over Germany, preying on the German night fighters that were trying to attack British bombers. It's well-written and once I had started I couldn't put it down.
Re: Joke ?
Are you thinking of Inmos, the Transputer people? HQ in Bristol, fab near Newport. Not sure about an ARM connection though.
Re: Reverse biased diodes don't pass (significant) current.
Yep, forward-biased makes them glow, in simple applications you use a series resistor to set the current/brightness to the desired level. The resistor often consumes more energy than the LED, hence the use of more sophisticated controllers in lighting applications.
I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the Q-word - Quantum. LEDs are one of the most visible (ha!) demonstrations of quantum physics. The real magic is when the recombination takes place; electrons drop to a lower energy level, emitting the excess energy as a photon (a particle of light). The frequency or colour of light is determined by the energy of its photons, and the exotic materials in LEDs are chosen to get the right "energy gap" to get the required colour.
The macro world we sense has continuously-variable energy levels (e.g. the orbit of a planet, the speed of a car, etc) but at the atomic level only certain discrete energy levels are possible, hence the emission of a very defined quanta of light energy from recombination, and therefore the tight spectral purity of LEDs.
Having played with a 6502 (Ohio SuperBoard anyone?) I designed 8085 (enhanced 8080) and 8086 boards for my first employer. 8086 wasn't just a PC chip - BT's System X digital telephone exchanges used it in some subsystems. After the 286 I designed 386 hardware (and met Gordon Moore at the 386's UK launch!!!) and stayed involved with all the subsequent generations up to Pentium 4. Now I just tinker (for a living) with other people's boards...
When Intel first launched Pentium, the MS Word spell checker insisted on correcting it to "Penis".
I like to RTFM
I repaired a dead Toshiba Tecra M9 recently using a downloaded service manual - which I found invaluable, even though I'm very experienced with PC hardware.
Preventing access to the manuals is just plain anti-social. I hope it costs them a small reduction in residual values and hence a few or more new product sales.
eBay better catch up quickly
I needed to send a camera back to Argos for repair, and they use a local petrol station on my way to work. Brilliant, as personal deliveries are frowned on at my company. Now it's Amazon too - excellent.
Bad news for eBay though! They could offer a service for sellers to drop off and buyers to pick up. But will they?
Apple repair costs
Where I used to work one of our directors had a total LCD failure on his MacBook Air. It was just over a year old and Apple quoted £480 for the repair. I thought it was going to be expensive, but not THAT expensive.
He didn't particularly like the Apple so he bought a nice new Dell instead and kept the change:-)
I wrote a 6502 dis-assembler in 6502 assembler on a borrowed Ohio Superboard. It seemed like a good idea at the time:-)
The Superboard itself was a nice piece of kit, with a decent keyboard, very robust metal case and built-in PSU. I still have some of the user group stuff somewhere.
One Swallow does not a bummer make
The Swallow Hotel in Dundee used to have signs in the bar area saying if you plugged your phone charger into a wall socket you had to pay £1 for the privilege. Apart from that flash of lunatic tight-fistedness it was a pretty reasonable hotel.
Going downhill fast
I've been a Virgin (previously Telewest) customer for about 15 years and it seems Mr Cockup is visiting more and more often. I was affected by yesterday's outage and it's already happened once again tonight. Maybe Virgin should say it's a SOPa/PIPA protest.
I just went over to the green side
I've been using Ubuntu on my laptop and desktop since Hardy Heron, and I've been very happy with it. I use Win7 at work and I definitely prefer Maverick. I've tried Unity and I hate it - I can see it could be good on a tablet but that's not what I'm using.
I stayed with 10.10 to avoid Unity but I was aware I would have to transition sooner or later. Yesterday I upgraded to Mint and so far I'm delighted.
"Linux has to differentiate itself"
Why? It doesn't have to be different to be good. Book publishers don't "have" to differentiate the way the pages turn to sell paperbacks. I worked for a big computer company that just "had" to differentiate its products, even if the differentiators utterly sucked. That company doesn't exist any more, because in their differentiation ego trip they forgot that the users/customers were king.
PS I think Unity's childish icons look like Microsoft Money circa 1995. Separated at birth?
The OP's command will brick your system unless you have the necessary repositories enabled.
The joy of Ubuntu was it worked superbly straight out of the box. Now you have to dick about endlessly to get to a productive desktop - which is an unproductive activity.
And why do Unity's icons remind me of Microsoft Money circa 1995?
I'll stick with my trusty Meerkat until it's no longer supported (please Canonical, change 10.10 to LTS). Maybe Ubuntu will have re-connected with reality by then, if not I'll select the strongest alternative - Mint, Squeeze or Arch I suppose.
The water is left over from the Flying Spaghetti Monster's celestial pasta boiler. That's why it's got salt in it. Obvious really.
Your favourite phone hackers
The gutter press will LOVE this - allegedly... Imagine if you somehow obtained the location databases of a bunch of celebs, sports people and politicians. Then you do a bit of SQLing to find the location/time correlations. If they have a regular schedule, your photographers are there waiting the next time they meet. Conclusion: don't carry an iThingy if you're in the public eye!
Apple know they only have a limited time in the sun with phones and pads. The Androids are racing to the bottom and destroying the high margin Apple craves. So this is Apple playing delaying tactics. They will probable get a chunk of their patent portfolio destroyed by prior art if it goes to court, but Apple won't mind too much if it buys them time until they can apply their brand and attention to detail to the Next Big Thing.
What are Tesla smoking?
Did Tesla actually watch Top Gear before submitting their product for review? They would have seen the Ford GT caned for its 75-mile range in Top Gear test track mode, and would have known TG wouldn't get 211 sedate-mode miles out of the Tesla. The Ford GT ran out of fuel on the test track - sound familiar?
Ford is litigious enough to attack Ferrari for accidentally creating a branding link between beautiful Italian supercars and Ford's F-series on-road tractors - but didn't sue Top Gear over the GT's 75 miles. So why is Tesla suing? Do they need the publicity? Or did Darl McBride join Tesla and I didn't notice?
The Beeb say they will vigorously defend, so Tesla is in for a massive overdose of Streisand Effect. Chumps.
I once received a CV with a cover letter starting with "Dear Sir or Madman". Oh the dangers of spell-checkers.
Someone who made it as far as an interview only asked questions about the contacts he might make in the job and then when his mobile rang mid-interview he answered it and had a conversation with the caller. He didn't get the job either.
Feel the force
If you ever have an hour to kill in Coventry, go to the Transport Museum - Thrust SSC is there along with the control caravan. They also have a simulator where you get a mild impression of what Andy Green felt. It was a brutally fast car - I guarantee you will grin when you see the speedo numbers flash by as it gets into its stride.
I reckon it's more like brain science.
On a serious note I'm curious to know whether the problem constitutes an EM susceptibility fail under CE-marking approvals, or if the field strength is above CE test levels. If the former, blame the STB/cable modem vendors, if the latter blame everyone else.
Weather is not climate...
...unless it's some weather that can be blamed on global warming. So if we have a hot summer next year, brace yourselves for the torrent of uninformed punditry from the dumbed-down media.
If Vulture-1 was released at 89,000 feet and didn't encounter any significant air drag until it got down to (say) 70,000 feet, it would have reached 337m/s - which is comfortably supersonic at that altitude!
There are a lot of variables, and of course there is a little atmosphere up there, so it would have been slower in reality. It'd be nice to see a z-axis analysis of the GPS data though.
Is maybe, just maybe, our heroic Playmonaut's first name Chuck?
PS Awesome project, awesome pics and video. Truly fab job folks.
Run a big pipe along the top of the hotel and flow water down the front of the building. It'll look absolutely fabulous, a major attraction, and the ripples and turbulence will break up the reflection.
Please send my fee to...
The gnomes again
1. Collect locations
I used to spend GBP10K-20K a year on expenses (I travelled a lot) and I never fiddled a penny. Yes, really. Integrity is like pregnancy - there's no middle ground.
I know a CEO like that. He can find an "encouraging trend" in sinking by the stern.
This one goes to eleven
So the iPhone will soon have a Spinal Tap signal strength display
Well remembered sir!
The Apricot F1 and also the Apricot Portable (a big black Toblerone with an LCD) had IR keyboards and trackballs. The protocol was very simple and there was a risk that adjacent systems in an office might cross-couple, so fibre optic cables were provided to ensure they didn't.
Crossing the great divide
Phil Jones and his collaborators have crossed the line between Science and Marketing. They have abdicated their position of impartiality and objectivity and instead have been evangelising a meme.
They might be right, but as with anyone selling something very costly, they must expect to be asked a lot of tough questions.
I read the headline, got the wrong end of the stick, and hoped the cannon would discharge a vomit projectile at the assorted downrange scumbags. Oh well. I'm still living in hope for technicolour munitions.
I recently bought one of those ebuyer.com no-OS laptops. It's great - very well made, 4GB RAM, Core Duo T6600, 1680x1050 display and only 350 quid delivered - prices are so low when there's no MS tax to pay. It works superbly with Ubuntu and OO, and the most satisfying thing is MS didn't get a penny:-)
I remember the original SSD; magnetic core memory. It was made by hand, they threaded the bits one at a time. I also remember when all this was fields.
Eric Laithwaite will be looking down from the big carrier in the sky with a huge grin on his face!
@ Have they fixed/replace the attrocious network manager?
Notwork Manager is shite isn't it? Whoever writes it seems to be on a crusade against automatic logon - if you do that, NM then pesters you for the default keyring password, somewhat defeating the object (I've seen Evolution do this too).
Ubuntu now have the simpler and superior wicd in the repositories, just type wicd into Add/Remove Applications and Bob will soon be your uncle.
"anyone who has ever had internet provided by them (whether on cable or not) will tell you that it is shite"
I've had Virgin cable internet for 7 years and the only problem I've had was a garden spade through the cable - fixed the next day. I'm on the basic package yet this afternoon I've downloaded something large (and legal!) at an average speed > 1Mbyte/sec. Not bad, and definitely not shite.
Virgin cable in Birmingham OK for me...
...didn't even realise there was a problem.
However Fasthosts POP was intermittent Tuesday afternoon and most of Wednesday, causing significant disruption at work.
Bah! My Psion 3a ran for eons on a couple of alkaline AA batteries.
Could US F1 be worse than Team Haas Lola?
I have a feeling that US F1 will unintentionally end up being very very funny. Which is good, because F1 needs comedy moments to lighten the long gaps between the interesting bits.
You had better explain "shagging" to our cousins. The poor deluded fools in South Carolina have a dance called The Shag and they display signs outside venues to advertise Public Shagging Contests. You can imagine the depth of my disappointment...
I've seen an old 3 mobile with the SIM comprehensively epoxied in - it looked like it was potted, rather than just a "drop of glue". The phone was dusty and languishing on a shelf, the user having migrated to a proper network long ago.
8.04 with wireless is working just fine here on my 5 year old Dell laptop, complete with the dreaded Broadcom BCM43xx wireless chipset. Like NB, my experience improved when I switched to wicd - NetworkManager has a blind spot with automatic login and the keyring.
If you're ever near Chester Zoo with a couple of hours to kill, go to the bat house. It's night time inside and the bats fly freely around you. It's an amazing experience, though you may come out guano-positive.
The Spitfire in the photo is still flying and is operated by the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight. It flew in the front line operations in the war and destroyed a German bomber. Later in its life it was involved in a famous incident when it accidentally took off with a ground crew member sitting on the tail - she hung on and was unharmed.
I'm very pleased that the plane has been preserved in Polish colours.
Meanwhile on CoRoT-Exo-7b...
...the silicon-based denizens are reading an article about a newly-discovered exo-planet provisionally named 3arth. They're very excited about it because it's a small and rocky planet a bit like their own.
Unfortunately 3arth is bitterly cold - around 300 degrees K! It's so damn cold that water exists mainly in its liquid and solid states and all silicates freeze solid! So obviously there won't be any life there then...
Flames, 'cos it's pleasantly warm on CoRoT-Exo-7b.
Oooh, this is bad tempered, isn't it?
UBfusion, that really isn't your given name is it? Though I did hear about one poor bastard whose parents named him Astroflash. And Mungo, I hope you are in theatre having your head removed from your own arse when when the theatre computer reboots itself.
As for all the NHS bashing, last year my girlfriend had some life-threatening health issues and our experience with the NHS has been:
* NHS medical personnel: excellent, absolutely outstanding
* Facilities and equipment: far better than you would expect (esp if you believe Daily Mail)
* Admin: Rubbish - utterly useless, incompetent, lazy and contemptible
* Overall experience - better than private at Priory Hospital despite the atrocious admin
PS I'm OS neutral, I dual boot XP and Ubuntu and both have their place and their limitations.
I was stationary at a pedestrian crossing when someone drove into the back of me. The BMW-driving wanker who hit me was on the phone of course, "oh, sorry mate" as he shrugged sheepishly. It was a big impact - ironically my own hands-free kit flew out of the tray under the dash.
It could have been a lot worse, if I hadn't been there to arrest his progress he would probably have killed the teenage girl who was crossing the road - she was exactly in front of me when he rammed me.
So I'm all in favour of "the nanny state" banning mobile use while driving. I would support mandatory bans and re-tests.
UFD = Unidentified Flying Deity
The site is sealed because of the amount of pasta remnants strewn around. The offending turbine was smote by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, for reasons that only He may know.
"The secret to business...
...according to Sun Microsystems' chief executive Jonathan Schwartz is to first build volume and then figure out how to make money from the audience you've created."
I thought the Underpants Gnomes had already patented that business model.
@@shows what happens
I think he might be talking about the US. I have come to this conclusion based on him spelling "subsidise" with a zee and "favoured" without a "u". Or maybe his spell checker is set to the wrong dictionary.
Whatever it is he's talking about, he's certainly gone off on one.
@ DIDA formats / John Fielder
"There is not a free reader for Word format"
Are you/they joking? OpenOffice is free and it reads (and edits) .doc format. Anyone who doesn't know that needs re-education!
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