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* Posts by Adam Foxton

734 posts • joined 16 Nov 2007

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This 125mph train is fitted with LASERS. Sadly no sharks, though

Adam Foxton

Re: Good, but not good enough

You're moving along at 125mph, and producing a phenomenal amount of wide-band noise. Plus with steel rails and pulsing through the air there'd be multipath errors galore- the steel can conduct sound faster and re-radiates it efficiently so you can get 'phantom' readings.

Sonar isnt practical on trains. Laser measurements maybe, but high frame rate optical measurement is probably easiest.

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Apple on the art of the deal: 'Put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement'

Adam Foxton

That just means the followers change tactics

In the main, this seems to be by inventing things before Apple...

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Faster, Igor! Boffins stuff 255 Tbps down ONE fibre

Adam Foxton

Re: Pfffft !

Obligatory Futurama quote: "Those things are all from the 19th century"

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SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION

Adam Foxton

Re: I find this report...

Missiles tend to operate in the air, so with view of a lot of satellites. If one of them was looking out of sync with the others it's likely just discard that satellite.

Also, missiles use inertial nav, star-fixes and other such techniques for nav rather than just relying on GPS. Otherwise a simple GPS blocker would have them dropping out of the sky.

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Judge nukes Ulbricht's complaint about WARRANTLESS FBI Silk Road server raid

Adam Foxton

Theres a right against self incrimination

Shouldnt the Feds be working on the principle that SOMEONE- the owner- has a personal privacy interest in that server?

Or that warrantless hacking of a computer system is plain illegal? That's why we have warrants for things- it means they're allowed to do this thing that would otherwise be illegal.

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Google ordered to tear down search results from its global dotcom by French court

Adam Foxton

How about a war metaphor

If I want to destroy a city, I don't start by bombing cartography offices. Erasing every map reference in the world for a city doesn't affect that city except making it harder to bomb in future.

The courts should be mandating the removal of the information, so long as it's incorrect or untrue. Removing it from Google does nothing to remove the data.

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You don't have to be mad to work at Apple but....

Adam Foxton

Re: The same podcast?

I hate to feed trolls, but pinch-to-zoom was demoed long before the iPhone was released... IIRC it even worked on some single-touch phones.

What messaging functionality was copied? Texts predate the iPhone, as do emails and IM. And mobile video calling. All by a decade or more. Conversation views were done to death by the time it was released, the keyboard-with-a-magnifier/indicator thing had been done on phones before. You could get all the functionality of a modern iPhone- albeit a little slower- on a top-end smartphone from 2006, 2007ish.

As with the mouse and... well, anything else technical they're known for, Apple just copied what was done before and shouted about how innovative they were. They are, however, good at making pretty things.

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Coming to a theater near you: the TETRIS MOVIE

Adam Foxton

why goes it have to be the game?

If memory serves, Tetris has a convoluted international story about its copyright. Throw in some peril (rampaging lawyers, armed russian gangsters (well, KGB) Enforcing the copyright) and you could have a decent drama movie. Maybe blocks falling into place as the link to show that an action is done and you're moving on. Fades to cities crated by falling blocks arranging to make the city's skyline then fading in the buildings.

The Lego movie wasn't about lego, it was about a small boy's creation. ai don't think they used the term Lego once in the film. And it was still Awesome. Tetris could do the same.

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Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights

Adam Foxton
Joke

Re: @Vimes

It's the world of Tech.

We don't need Wat Tyler, we need Watt Tyler!

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Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week

Adam Foxton

That would be brilliant

Also creating subsidiaries called Micro$oft (corporate accountancy) and Microsloth (either small animals or home automation for the really lazy). Just to wind up the trolls as they havent got a joke to make...

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Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source

Adam Foxton

Re: Pedant alert

But when you're referring to a mob you're referring to a singular subject- the mob. Same with Set- It's a collective noun that allows you to refer to its members as a singular rather than a plural.

So 'these mob' is nonseneical, but 'these mobs' would make sense if you had multiple mobs.

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Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables

Adam Foxton

Re: It would be pretty hard

I frequently cut back and reterminate armoured subsea cables, and work with subsea HV systems as part of my job (going round the world fixing ROVs).

Onshore this would be a pretty simple operation (aside from the safety implications of working on live multi-kv electrics) to undertake.

Subsea it would be a lot harder, but the pressure and water aren't the significant problems. The difficulty comes from the lack of human hands and eyes and brain doing the job, but a couple of million dollars in sensors and actuators and hydraulics would get round that problem. It's far from impossible.

You can take it for granted that this happens. Fortunately they're secretive government types, so they'll want to keep it hidden. If they developed it in-house it likely didn't cost you that much :)

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Adam Foxton

It would be pretty hard

With a sub or divers. But with a dedicated ROV + custom tooling you'd be able to do it in any depth.

Remove the armouring at 2 points with a grinder (standard practice when cutting ROV umbilicals, which are km-long kv-carrying electric/fibre cables, and easy enough to automate)

Surround the 2 sections in oil, held very slightly above ambient pressure (cheap to do)

Abrade away the plastic sheath around one conductor. The oil prevents it shorting to seawater. Connect to it a surface-mounted jumper wire. Repeat for the other conductors.

Repeat at the second position, and join the jumper cables in the middle with a wet splice. Et voila, you've got a jumper for the power. You can now cut the conductors somewhere in between them and, so long as your jumper is correctly specced, no-one will know.

So you cut and intercept the fibres at your leisure. Fusion splicing is quick and cheap (well, sub-10k for a small unit. Cheap on a SpecOps budget) and introduces very low losses. Pass your data down the adjacent fibre you rent on this cable, or take your fibres off as single strands (so they'll snap off if the cable is recovered, with the remains hidden under marine growth).

Re-seal the cut-apart section and re-lay everything layer by layer.

Remove the power jumpers and relay the armouring, welding the ends back together.

The whole operation could take a few minutes with appropriate automated tooling and practice. The total disruption to the fibre could be under a minute with appropriate planning and equipment.

Even manually, reterminating armoured subsea umbilicals like this can be taken down to well under an hour if you're using a fusion splicer for the fibres. It's essentially the same process except without the power jumping (as it's turned off at the time).

Do it close to a booster and a cable guy onshore with an OTDR would barely notice.

It's not just possible that they could have done it, it's plausible that they do it semi-routinely.

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It's official: LOHAN's arboreal avoidance algorithm is PANTS

Adam Foxton

Re: I'm glad that LOHAN has PANTS

To make sure it could also do with a round of Bureau Electronic Longevity Tests.

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Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?

Adam Foxton

Re: MORE regulation might help the situation

Thats as may be.

But if I had the £250k to buy the stocks and shares I wouldn't need a mortgage, would I?

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Wearables market set to EXPLODE... Wait, is that a STRAP-ON chair?

Adam Foxton

Can't help but notice

In their video the guy working the production line is stood still next to that production line for a long time.

Wouldn't installing a chair / stool / bench / other non-person-mounted sittable make more sense in this context?

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May: UK data slurp law is fine, but I still need EMERGENCY powers

Adam Foxton

"genuinely about making sure that the existing powers remain in place."

Even assuming that what she said is true, given that those powers they're trying to maintain were just declared illegal, shouldn't May and Cameron be getting arrested about now? Or at least getting various enormous books thrown at them for contempt?

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ISPs 'blindsided' by UK.gov's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

Adam Foxton

Re: DRIP...DRIP....DRIP...

the next act is going to be called "THINEDGE"

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SpaceX FINALLY lobs six sats into orbit (don't mention the landing)

Adam Foxton

Re: "(aka kaboom)"

"Boeing is pleased to announce that the first of it's new range of reusable rockets has successfully operated it's self-dismantling systems. This breaks the housing up into 325,000 small tiles which can be washed and used as drinks coasters- hence 'reusable'."

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LG unfurls flexible SEE-THROUGH 18-inch display

Adam Foxton

Really useful

Years ago I had an old TFT screen (An LG, as it happens) and found I could remove the polarisers, backlights, etc to leave more or less just an LCD panel with a bunch of electronics connected to one edge.

Which left me with a semi-transparent (we're talking at most 20% transmissive) panel that I blu-tacked to a window.

When hooked up to my PC it meant I could see the weather forecast and see if I had any Outlook appointments or if it was safe to stay in bed. Nowadays it could be hooked up to a hugely increased number of services and data feeds.

It had two problems, though:

(1) Without a backlight it only worked during the day. As an emmissive tech this would be far better.

(2) Anyone could see what was on the screen. Not a problem in a 10th floor flat, but it's none too practical in my new house...

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Google starts selling Glass to Brits – for £1,000 a pop

Adam Foxton

Re: No symetrical frames

Three well-collimated lasers, giving you a proper Predator targeting system

Or a single one and have a choice between pretending you're a Borg or a Shark :)

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Internet of Things fridges? Pfft. So how does my milk carton know when it's empty?

Adam Foxton

Why the fridge?

I can see the novelty of a smart beer keg that indicates pressure, flow rate, purity/quality of beer, that sort of thing. Or if you're a commercial concern, having a machine monitor your food levels, have the kitchen prioritise certain things in the run up to lunchtime, dump the old stuff, etc could be useful.

The only use a Smart Fridge as described could have would be as a test bed for some pretty snazzy AI. That's the level of understanding required to manage a fridge autonomously without having the world retag every individual freakin' carrot just for you.

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AT&T has Amazon 3D smartphone on lockdown – report

Adam Foxton

'Active Lenticular'?

Given that Lenticular lenses are an array of bumps on the screen, and this would seem daft in something that's supposed to be touch-enabled and as thin as possible, I'd doubt it's "active lenticular". That'd suggest changeable lenses, which if nothing else would suggest we should have seen many more camera phones with optical zoom, single-sensor 3D digital cameras, etc.

Pupil-tracking faux-3D is a lot more sensible- it doesn't rely on people being able to see stereoscopic 3D images as you're only looking at a 2D image, you only have to render a single image rather than two displays, and there's no loss of image quality (whereas lenticular halves it). You just track where the user's looking and display a slightly different angle depending on where they're looking from. It's the same technique that's been used in 3D games for decades, just hooked up to an eye-tracker.

Not only that, but the increase in manufacturing cost is zero- all the bits required already exist in most smartphones- as opposed to 'significant' as you add an extra precisely-aligned-optics stage to their assembly.

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Plucky Playmonaut bails out of smoking Vulture 2

Adam Foxton
Coat

Re: Luckily the story is supported by evidence

Water fowl load of puns those are!

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Could a 'Zunewatch' be Microsoft's next hardware foray?

Adam Foxton
Joke

Re: "The Zunewatch, as it will most certainly not be named"

Could have been worse- it could have been called the BobWatch!

Or a pervy-sounding Watch for Windows

How about a WoW! Watch (Windows on Wrist)

Xwatch sounds a bit badass, though.

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Google clamps down on rogue Chrome plugins and extensions

Adam Foxton

The problem with that

Is you're not then paying for what you're consuming in any way. Many websites- including The Register- rely on this ad revenue to survive.

By using AdBlock you're depriving them of potential revenue, making their ads worth less to advertisers.

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Facebook Oculus VR buyout: IT WANTS your EYEBALLS

Adam Foxton

This isnt that bad

Facebook.doesnt have the experience to build another Oculus, presumably. Otherwise they would have already. It's a simple enough concept too, split an LCD in two and apply optics.

The thing is there are 2 generations of dev kits out there now. People have full access to the hardware, and FB wont be changing it too much- that'd be a waste of cash and dev time.

So when the Facebook-OculusRift (abbreviated to 'Foc-u- lot' just to make a point) is launched, it'll take about 20 minutes before it's cracked and free from all this social crap.

The thing is, Oculus mods or not, stereoscopic 3D gaming had been about for a decade at least; there used to be a thriving 3D headsets community on the nVidia forums (which spawned MTBS3D) before nVidia properly entered the 3D arena themselves. Things changed then and I dropped out, really need to go back!

The principle behind those drivers still exists, so once people are hacking code for the Rift it'll be exploited. So you'll be able to play your favourite current and past games in 3D stereoscope with headtracking.

Someone might even make a fortune selling 'defacebooked' versions of the Rift.

Tl;dr: Its not all doom and gloom. Facebook wont change the underlying software so theyll be hacked out of it in minutes.

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Facebook swallows Oculus VR goggle-geeks. Did that really happen?

Adam Foxton

I was as horrified as any of you

Not least because I donated to the Kickstarter and got nothing from this.

But they'll add facebook to some games. Sooo... Isnt this going to be a software thing to fix? I mean people crack copy protection out of games all the time.

If not, then its back to my eMagin z800 headset with me!

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Samsung puts ultrasonic echolocation cover on a smartphone for the blind

Adam Foxton

Re: This is great! So are iBeacons but NOT for shopping.

Excellent idea, I did a similar thing a few years ago with WinMo and a Bluetooth SPP thing plugged into a microcontroller. Didnt get to mount it to a building, though.

But why not use QR codes? They're weatherproof, require no power, the sensors are available on even 10-year-old phones, and (more importantly) they can be used to calculate your inclination, range and bearing relative to them (and, with a bit of maths, relative to the shop door, allowing then to guide someone into the doorway). So they can be a useful addition to GPS in urban canyon environments.

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Adam Foxton

Re: Let's hope ...

They sort of already have, by owning a better sensor.

Apple bought Prime Sense, who made the Kinect sensor for MS. This could be shrunk and incorporated into a phone's hardware (especially something the size of a Note) to give a mobile device with a phenomenal 3D camera. So you could not only take selfies but cut out anyone behind you based on depth. Or 3D scan something and pack it off to a 3D print shop to have a basic copy made.

With the right software it also does object recognition pretty well, certainly better than a low-powered sonar could, and that puts it in competition with this doohickey here.

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'Mommy got me an UltraVibe Pleasure 2000 for Xmas!' South Park: Stick of Truth

Adam Foxton

Re: YES!

I dont mind Steam's DRM- it doesnt need always-on Internet and their user agreement states that if the service gets turned off they'll patch it so you can still play the games. Also, they charge a reasonable price for the games- no price-gouging here- and dont seem to have exclusivity agreements, at least with the big studios. Plus you can take your Steam collection to as many PCs as you like.

If you need DRM, Steam's by far the best platform for it.

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Women! You too can be 'cool' and 'fun' if you work in tech!

Adam Foxton
Boffin

It depends entirely how you present it

I'm an ROV tech-cum-engineer-cum-tech support. Which sounds dull as dishwater.

If anyone asks, though, I go round the world fixing robot submarines. Much, much cooler sounding!

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Microsoft to get in XP users' faces with one last warning

Adam Foxton

Design issue with that website

These people are still using XP. Why take them to a black-and-blue flat website with a Windows logo that barely resembles the one they're familiar with?

I wouldnt trust this as far as I could throw it.

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Microsoft dangles carrot at SMEs, eases Windows 8 Enterprise licensing

Adam Foxton

I was wondering that too

Isnt this just Microsoft offering us the freedom to develop software and deploy it onto our computer? You know, one of the key things that made it succesful vs other more restrictive platforms?

Whatever happened to Ballmers chant of Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!?

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Google Glass: Reg man tests tech specs

Adam Foxton

Re: Glasshole

But not like the Q in Tesco

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Boeing going ... GONE: Black phone will SELF-DESTRUCT in 30 secs

Adam Foxton

Re: Security on Phones

Why use flash?

RAM takes bugger all power to maintain so a small backup battery could maintain that while the phone is 'asleep'. And if the phone's lost, so is the data. Remember this isn't just for things that could be inconvenient for the enemy to know, this sounds like it's aimed at black projects too- stuff that doesn't officially exist to the point where even the accountants don't know what's going on. I'd presume that non-Project people not knowing what's going on is very important to these people.

Add in a dedicated bit of syncing software and you could have a device you charge with both power and data in the morning and whose contents (and value to the enemy) are lost when the battery runs out. That would be incredibly secure. A little inconvenient if your battery dies, but it could retain its mobile number (e.g. on the SIM card) so when powered up it'd reconnect to the network.

You'd lose your contacts- so no-one would know whose it was or who they'd talked to- and you'd lose some UUID that lets you dial secure numbers.

When whoever found it turned it on it'd register on the network and bring down men in suits to retrieve it (or drones to properly erase it). If the OS was wiped and re-loaded into the RAM during the Sync process every morning you'd have a system that wouldn't exist long enough for most malware to get a proper handhold.

You'd get a good, reactive UI too if it was all RAM and no flash. So it'd feel like a premium product as well as being very secure.

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Official: British music punter still loves plastic

Adam Foxton

Don't complain too much

or they'll start calling it CyberMusic!

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Devs SLAM UK.gov's JavaScript-astic, 'shoddy' security education website

Adam Foxton

Now now, this does seem to be a wires crossed thing.

The intention was likely to have no 'buffering' or slooooow page transition to give a good user experience.

Somewhere down the line a middle manager has made that 'page load times as close to zero as possible', and the next one down says 'zero page loading times ever.'

Its the same management structure that thought you could target women 33-55 and SMEs with exactly the same site. And the same management structure who didnt think that 'good practice is good practice, regardless of who you're talking about'.

Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence.

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SCRAP the TELLY TAX? Ancient BBC Time Lords mull Beeb's future

Adam Foxton

Re: Just a News Operation

Oh come on, it's not like Top Gear, Doctor Who or Panorama have been about for any real length of time is it? They're just a flash in the pan!

The BBC should be a lot more dynamic, turning out quality TV shows like The X Factor. Things that will stand the test of time and bring people together from all walks of life in admiration of... I'm sorry, I feel ill from all that sarcasm.

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France demands that Google post badge of shame on its pages

Adam Foxton

Re: To obfuscate the ruling Google should simply use ...

Great idea! They could change the white background to white with legible, readable grey text in the background repeating the apology. In stacks of languages (including French), one after the other. Maybe have a google translate link on there too.

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Herschel boffins spot fat dwarf Ceres in TEARS over astro-identity crisis

Adam Foxton

Re: "largest asteroid"

...where's the carbon coming from? There may be some locally but there's no saying what the concentrations would be or how easy they are to collect.

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Obama reveals tiny NSA reforms ... aka reforming your view of the NSA

Adam Foxton

handed off to an unnamed third party for storage

This third party has already been determined... It's the

NonGovernmental

Storage

Agency

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Google Glass driver told she CAN wear techno-specs while on the road

Adam Foxton

Re: Just curious...

Forensic analysis?!

Just drop an email to Google and subpoena their records for that device at that time.

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Now we're cookin' on gas: Google crafts sugar-alert contact lens for diabetics

Adam Foxton

Cross compatible with Glass?

Done properly this could become an add-on for Glass, with the headset powering the eyeball-mounted sensor wirelessly, like an RFID device, and providing you with 'live' readouts of glucose levels, blood pressure, heart rate- maybe even oxygen levels. With a polarised antenna it may also be possible to determine where you're looking, helping make the Glass UI a bit smarter.

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Dusty old supernova could reveal answer to life, the universe and EVERYTHING

Adam Foxton
Joke

Re: Look at this mess...

I think you'll find space is already pretty thoroughly vacuumed!

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Mars One's certain-death space jolly shortlists 1,000 wannabe explorers

Adam Foxton

Re: 600,000 people supposedly have already visited or live on Mars

This would be about the time in his life where he started dropping acid, right?

According to a quick Google this is a guy who was accompanied on his journeys through time and space by a talking dog, constantly followed by a man from the CIA. That's not the best description of Stewie Griffin I've ever heard!

If nothing else, Mars is that cold only the most genetically-pure Geordie could walk around in just a t-shirt.

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Haswell micro: Intel’s Next Unit of Computing desktop PC

Adam Foxton

Re: Power Usuage

@Steve,

Rather than random conjecture here's some numbers grabbed from another review: About 4.5w at idle, jumping to 25ishW when undergoing a stressful benchmark test. So perfect for something that'll spend a lot of it's time more-or-less idle (or sat in a loft serving up the occasional file), and an i5 will be more than sufficient for a file server.

Let me just re-iterate that. 4.5w. FOUR AND A HALF WATTS. On x86. If you kept the use light, you could run this for a couple of hours using the battery from my mobile.

@Everyone Else

I don't think he meant that his Atom-based NAS actually drew 500w, just that he wouldn't want to leave something on 24/7 that DID draw 500w.

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The Pirate Bay changes domain again … TWICE!

Adam Foxton

That's something completely different

And the reason I can never go back to sea-world.

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Parents can hide abortion, contraception advice from kids, thanks to BT's SEX-ED web block

Adam Foxton

Surely this is endangering children?

Having them not know what to do- and what the dangers are of what they're doing- is like never letting them near a road, meaning they have no knowledge of how to react to them. Kids die every day on our roads so we teach them- Stop, Look, Listen.

Banning the access of inquisitive minds from otherwise freely-available life-saving information is child endangerment. Kids DIE because they don't know that there are bad men out there. People DIE because they contract STIs. Lives are ruined by avoidable, unwanted teenage pregnancies- and potential lives are lost because the mother's don't know how to best ensure their baby is born alive, healthy and without deformities.

The only 'upside' to this is that some parents don't have to explain a process which they themselves have performed. AND THEY SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES FOR THIS APPREHENSION.

Creepy Uncle Ernie rejoice; the kids don't know what you're doing to them. Also, FUCK MUMSNET AND FUCK THE DAILY MAIL.

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Submerged Navy submarine successfully launches drone from missile tubes

Adam Foxton
Go

Recovery not necessary

You can't radio-control through water (well, you can. But that's the rule-of-thumb). So it's going to be an autonomous drone. This means it'll have smarts on-board that can look at the world around it, identify vessels, etc.

So Drone pops up, scans the surrounding area then compresses the data as far as possible before dropping to the sea surface. It can then use an acoustic modem to send the data to the sub without giving away the sub's position too exactly (some of those modems have a 7km range (so if you see the drone you only know the sub is somewhere in a >21sqkm circle), and I'd be surprised if the hydrophones on a sub couldn't top that for receive-only functions).

The drone could then turn into a Slocum-style glider AUV (flooded body so as to kill the electronics, air-filled pouches in the wings for buoyancy, wax-pouch hidden somewhere in the body) to get itself away from the Transmission zone (further obfuscating the position if the sub) without needing any batteries.

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