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* Posts by Graham Bartlett

1617 posts • joined 12 Mar 2007

Now pay attention, 007: James Bond's Q re-booted

Graham Bartlett

I think Benedict Cumberbatch could have played the new Q better - he's young, but not *that* young.

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Why is solid-state storage so flimsy?

Graham Bartlett

Re: nonsense article and "common sense"

Common sense might tell you that a mechanical device spinning at umptytum RPM is less reliable than solid-state. If you're slinging that mechanical device around in your handbag, or clipping it on your arm to go for a jog, then sure.

But leave them both in an immobile PC, and bets are off. If you're not aware of manufacturers specifying expected write-cycle lifespans for flash, then you don't know about the main cause of failure of one of these. If in addition you are using the SSD as the main (or only) drive and you haven't got temporary files being put anywhere else, then you're not aware of the main reason you'll burn through those write-cycles. In short, if your only comparison is mechanical-vs-solid-state then you don't know enough to have an opinion on the subject.

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Australian boffins have a ball with lightning maths

Graham Bartlett

Re: How to make ball lightning

Now explain the marks left.

Not that there's necessarily only one explanation. Yours is perfectly possible. The downside is that retina burn is something everyone has experienced, so we're all pretty familiar with it.

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Inside the mind of a Bond supervillain: Psychotic, autistic - or neither?

Graham Bartlett

Re: Dalton's Bond...

Absolutely.

And prepared to kill anyone with anything. The wait-the-whole-film payoff with the cigarette lighter was rather nifty. Or in "Living Daylights", instead of continuing to beat up on the guy hanging off his leg on the plane, he just cut the laces on his boot. That's the kind of style that Bond hadn't had since Connery, and didn't get again until Craig. Moore and Brosnan were only placeholders.

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Miniature Baumgartner jumps from 128,000ft

Graham Bartlett

Blocked here?

Hum. My company's web-washer (FortiGuard) has blocked that as "other adult materials". What else lives on that server? And any reason it's not been put on YouTube?

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Sarah Brightman plans International Space Station gig

Graham Bartlett

ZZ Top in space

They were arrested for flying whilst blind. Probably because of their cheap sunglasses.

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Linux on ARM breakthrough to take away Torvalds' arse pain

Graham Bartlett

Sub-heading

So Linus has a "f*cking pain in the ass". Is it a coincidence that the sub-heading is talking about a fiery ring? Enquiring minds want to know...

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ISS crew fling out arm, grab SpaceX Dragon capsule

Graham Bartlett

Re: One step closer

Do the sums for how big the turd would need to be to not be vaporised by the atmosphere. I don't think anyone's planning on putting herds of elephants into space any time soon.

(And for those on the "I had a curry last night , and boy did that burn up on re-entry" gag - tough titty, I got there first!)

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40,000 sign petition to oust Rep. Paul 'pit of hell' Broun

Graham Bartlett

Re: Earth is 9,000 years old...

Especially since there's all those people (including politicians) who think that "Born in the USA" is about how great America is, just because it's in a major key and has a sing-along chorus. Go figure.

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Home-grown drone finds ‘missing’ hiker

Graham Bartlett

Re: Shortage of kangeroos/ collies/ dolphins?

"Bloody arse bandit!" - Skipinder the Punjabi kangaroo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wW96Z9AJf38

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This supercomputing board can be yours for $99. Here's how

Graham Bartlett

Re: Occam

+1 on that.

As a one-time Occam/Transputer coder though, the main issue isn't race conditions and livelocks - it's deadlocks. A waits on B, B waits on A, neither gives way. But finding the silver lining, it's totally possible to statically detect this at compilation and warn the coder about it. At least, it is if you use a language like Occam where you can easily see what's going on. By the time you've baked the parallelism into a ton of nasty interface code though, it's all pretty gnarly and you're basically on your own.

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Stars spotted dancing superfast tango around black hole handbag

Graham Bartlett
Coat

Astronomers are looking in the wrong places

I'm sure a bit of googling would help them find a lot of vids of two stars dancing the black-hole tango.

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Crazed Microsoft robot accuses BBC kids' channel of Win8 piracy

Graham Bartlett

There's a better solution. If you live in California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington or Texas (per Wikipedia), barratry is a misdemeanor punishable by prison time and/or fines. You don't even need to sue them yourself - it's a crime, so you call the police and hope for a DA who wants to get their name in the papers as "the man who arrested Microsoft".

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Assange chums must cough up £93,500 bail over embassy lurk

Graham Bartlett

Re: Duties and powers

Er, yes they can. Floods, storms and lightning strikes are pretty well outside the control of your insurance company, but you expect them to pay up when something happens.

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Target Silicon Valley: Why A View to a Kill actually made sense

Graham Bartlett

Re: Grace Jones

Acting-wise, she is what she is. Arnie and Stallone weren't ever going to score Oscars, but if you wanted big muscles, they were the go-to guys. You wanted a woman who seriously looked like she could threaten the other guys, Grace Jones was it. (Not bloody Bridgit Neilson in "Red Sonja", thanks.)

And her singing is fantastic, not least because she can still do it at age 60.

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Perth porkfest crowned ULTIMATE BACON SARNIE

Graham Bartlett

Re: How did pork

You don't beat fish. You beat the batter, then you dip the fish in the batter, then you fry the fish. Then you eat the fish.

Although that's still a process which is perfected by the presence of pig products. So mine's a battered sausage and chips, no vinegar, thanks.

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Inside the real-world Double-O section of Her Majesty's Secret Service

Graham Bartlett

The ability to hold it and pull the trigger does not necessarily imply the ability to put a hole in exactly the place you want a hole to be.

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Will you soon be fingering your seven-incher?

Graham Bartlett

Re: Think about it. Eleven.

Ask Mozart and Haydn about that one.

http://www.teachpianotoday.com/2011/10/11/a-long-nose-a-case-of-champagne-and-a-great-piano-teaching-tip/

Actually you *can* have more than 5 points of contact with a single hand. Place all five fingertips on the surface, then drop your wrist - you now have an extra point (actually an area) of contact with your palm heel.

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From Dr No to Skyfall: The Reg's one month of Bond

Graham Bartlett

Re: MIssing article

The invisible Aston Martin has to be top place, no question. I'm glad they stopped for a while after that, because they'd totally jumped the shark there.

But I'd say second place would be the magic pen that let Roger Moore breathe underwater. Sure it's possible to engineer artificial gills to pull dissolved air out of seawater, but it'd be the size of a house.

You could make a strong case for the laser rifles in Moonraker though, I guess, but that's pretty much narrative imperative when the film went all space opera.

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Graham Bartlett

Re: Surely that should be...

+1, except I'd put Moore in the "All the others" category.

Bond is a killer. Moore wasn't, and nor was Brosnan. Both of them were all gadgets and not much else, because they had nothing else going for them. The key thing about Bond as acted by Craig, Connery and Dalton is that although they have some cool gadgets, they're equally able to belt the crap out of someone with their bare hands. The only fight Moore's Bond ever properly won was with two girls, which says everything you need to know.

Also those guys were/are happy to be doing it themselves instead of relying on stand-ins. In "The Living Daylights", there's a fight on a Jeep. That's actually Dalton hanging off the roof by his fingers at 50mph on a mountain road, not some stuntman.

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Whopping supersonic-car rocket rattles idyllic Cornwall

Graham Bartlett

Re: Elephants

If we're talking units, can we have a new one here? If a "jub" is a unit of volume, can we have a "Jubb" as a unit of distance, measured by the tip-to-tip distance for that tash?

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Graham Bartlett

Re: Coolness check-list

If he's got an aircraft hangar as his shed, I'm afraid that beats yours.

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Bone-bothering boffins pull TINY fanged dinosaur from drawers

Graham Bartlett

John Blanche, anyone?

Looks like he's had some serious input into that pencil drawing.

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Hey, Third World! We know what you need: Mmm, patent wars

Graham Bartlett

"promote the understanding of IP"

I think you'll find that the folks over there understand IP pretty well - they just don't see what's in it for them. Which is precisely what the USA did with European inventions during the 1800s, and what China are currently doing with American inventions. Until China takes this stuff seriously, what chance do they think they've got of convincing somewhere like South Sudan that they should care?

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Liquefied-air silos touted as enormo green 'leccy batteries

Graham Bartlett

Re: Pumping water up hill...

The problem with pumping water up hill is energy density - you need to move a lot of water a long way to store a lot of energy, and if you want to buffer *power* then you need to be doing it pretty fast too. Dinorwig uses two largeish lakes and an entire mountain to house the infrastructure, and it's still only just tickling the demand peaks in a relatively small, relatively energy-efficient country. Not really an option for places like the US, especially somewhere like Kansas where mountains are a bit scarce.

Like you say, flow batteries seem a better bet. More complicated, sure, but you're not dependant on having a spare mountain that you can hollow out.

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Graham Bartlett

Re: @proto-robbie

I'm afraid you're waving your ignorance around in a big way there. Fom a purely technical level, DC kicks AC's arse. Anything with AC behaves like a radio transmitter, and that saps power which you would rather be selling to your customers. DC simply doesn't. If you want to talk theory, there are reactive losses for AC (extra impedance due to capacitance and inductance) which just don't apply in DC-land.

There's a better reason why Westinghouse won the AC v. DC battle - and it's that if you don't have semiconductors, getting high-voltage DC back down to low-voltage DC is a seriously complicated procedure, and if you can't go high-voltage then you need much thicker cables. With AC though it's dead easy to use transformers to step voltages up and down, so back in the Westinghouse/Tesla days, it was AC all the way. But now we have these things called "transistors" and "diodes" which you may have heard of. In fact transformers are still more efficient than semiconductors, so local grids still use AC - but start pushing power over any real distance and AC gets proper f*cked from the extra losses in umpty-tum hundred miles of cable.

So since the 50s MOST long-distance links were HVDC, and since the 70s EVERY single long distance link was HVDC. Do yourself a favour and google "HVDC".

(PS. Yes, I did actually have a job at a place which designed and built HVDC equipment for national grids, once upon a time.)

FWIW I happen to agree with you on alternative sources and nuclear, although the fact that you can't rely on alternative sources isn't a complete disaster. If you've got a few days of storage lined up, you've got plenty of time to start ramping up those power stations which have been offline for the last month or two. All you need is to ensure that all the offline power stations can meet the nation demand if necessary. So it won't let you get away with fewer power stations, but it *will* let you cut their fuel bill pretty dramatically.

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McFlurry McMisdemeanour costs Welsh lass McJob

Graham Bartlett

Re: Why?

Oh boy, memories there! I wonder how many people here remember "The Mary Whitehouse Experience"?

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What does Steve Wozniak do at Fusion-IO?

Graham Bartlett
Angel

Woz in the frame

I can't decide whether he's Alvin

http://www.fanpop.com/spots/alvin-and-the-chipmunks/images/23371193/title/chipmunks-screencap

or Boss Nass...

http://images.wikia.com/starwars/de/images/4/4d/Nass.jpg

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Christian footie match ends in almighty brawl

Graham Bartlett
Trollface

Re: An influx?

Funny you should mention that - I've always thought most footballers looked like Quasimodo.

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Neil Gaiman’s saucy pop wife agrees to pay her musicians in money

Graham Bartlett

Nothing wrong with playing for exposure

That's a perfectly accepted way of getting your name known. You play support for someone whose music is similar to yours, so you're playing to a thousand people in an auditorium who you already know are likely to like your music. Cool, job done.

Joan Armatrading is currently doing this around the UK. Every show, she has a local singer-songwriter doing support. (Local to me, it's a girl called Alice Walker, who's seriously talented and deserves wider recognition.) AFAIK they're not getting paid, but they're getting their names out in front of a crapload of potential fans, and they're getting to hang out with one of their idols.

This is not quite the same for a horn or string section. Sure, you might get to hang out with one of your idols. But is *any* audience member likely to say "nice work on that cover of Strawberry Fields Forever, let's go and see the string quartet play Mozart next month"? (Hint: the answer is "no".) This is why session musicians get paid per job.

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'People will give you their data if you don't do nobbish things with it!'

Graham Bartlett
Holmes

Re: Who or what is "Demos"?

Alternatively you could JFGI. Guess what comes up as the first result, Sherlock?

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Google acts against prostitution app after complaints from Congress

Graham Bartlett

Re: cops did the same thing with craigslist

Why not? Well one involves killing people, the other doesn't. Engage brain before posting, dude...

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'Stuff must be FREE, except when it's MINE! Yarr!' - top German pirate

Graham Bartlett

"I can be anything on the Internet"

Except apparently a normal, morally-sound human being. Nice one, kid.

Which is why I can't be arsed with aliases these days. I don't want to be Hitler or a little green crocodile when I'm online - it's enough trouble keeping one head going, without inventing new heads to put on! So I don't need anonymity, bcos there's nothing I'd say which I'd be ashamed of having quoted back at me.

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NASA working on faster-than-light drive capable of WARP TEN

Graham Bartlett

Re: It doesn't take take thousands of years

Yeah, but that's still kind of inconvenient in many ways. There's a Heinlein (IIRC) book about a generation-ship where they finally get to their destination planet and find that a few centuries of research has resulted in a way of getting there in a half-dozen years. Or if we turn out not to be the only ones out there, the "Forever War" scenario of trying to strategise over centuries.

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Work for beer, Neil Gaiman's wife tells musicians

Graham Bartlett

Re: @Law I need to lie down somewhere...

"Established and successful"...?

Never heard of the Dresden Dolls myself. Googling them, I see they managed two studio albums and one live album in a decade, and their act is *very* niche. They certainly haven't troubled public awareness to any great extent. And she's *so* successful that she can't afford to pay musicians on her tours...?

Neil Gaiman OTOH has been writing for over 20 years, and doing *very* well out of it. The "Sandman" comics were somewhat niche, sure. But his first novel "Good Omens" with Terry Pratchett did very well, and "Anansi Boys" went straight in at number one. He's won all sorts of awards. "Neverwhere" was a BBC series back in the 90s, before he adapted his own screenplay to a book. "Stardust" and "Coraline" have been filmed. He wrote the CGI film "Beowulf" a few years back (the Sean Bean/Angelina Jolie one).

So compare niche cabaret act with number one NYT bestseller author. Yep, "wife of" is about the shape of it.

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'GNOME people are in total denial about what their problem is'

Graham Bartlett

*REAL* maple syrup

...is a thing of beauty. We had some Canadian friends for dinner once (and they tasted great barbecued! Ahem.) and they gave us some proper maple syrup, as extracted from Canadian maple trees. Lovely.

Unfortunately, what passes for "maple syrup" in the UK has approximately the same resemblance to actual maple syrup as strawberry Angel Delight has to actual strawberries.

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Raspberry Pi 2.0 ready to ship

Graham Bartlett
Happy

Re: Still waiting for mine and I ordered mind in March!

Well hopefully your mind will arrive before your Raspberry Pi does.

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Voyager's 35th birthday gift: One-way INTERSTELLAR ticket

Graham Bartlett

Re: Build quality

I'd be more impressed with a vacuum bought new in 1968 still working, regardless of temperature.

Incidentally, good luck getting temperatures down to -470 degrees Celsius in this universe.

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Wireless Power breakthrough: Iron Man can lose the chest reactor

Graham Bartlett

Re: "Ada Poon"

Just hope she never has a Chinese boyfriend. The possibility of someone getting an actual surname "Poon-Tang" is frightening.

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So, just what is the ultimate bacon sarnie?

Graham Bartlett

Re: We know whats good for you

Just don't cut the corners off...

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Graham Bartlett

Re: Not Made By Me!

Correction: The best bacon sandwich is one you didn't have to make *AND* you don't have to wash the frying-pan up. Bonus marks for it being a camping frying-pan where shifting the burnt-on crud requires sandblasting.

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Graham Bartlett

Re: @A Non e-mouse

Ah, the *special stuff*...

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Safer conjugal rights via electronic skin

Graham Bartlett

Re: Excessive precautions?

But surely he can reverse the polarity of the forward deflector dish...?

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UK: 'We're legally bound to arrest Mr Assange'

Graham Bartlett

With apologies to Freddy Mercury

Wikileaker! (Wikileaker) Wikileaker let him go!

Assage-assage NO! We will not let him go!

Let him go!

Assage-assage NO! We will not let him go!

Let him go!

Assage-assage NO! We will not let him go!

Let him go! will not let him go!

Let him go! will not let him go!

Let him go! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!

Oh extradition, extradition, extradition let me go.

Beelzebub has a snow-plough put aside for me, for me, for MEEEEEEEE!

(Sound of SAS storming the building)

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Robot rover Curiosity sets out on first long Mars trip

Graham Bartlett
Facepalm

Re: Why so slow?

Because if you happen to twat into a rock and bend something, it's a bit difficult to send a bloke up there with a screwdriver.

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Harvard boffins build cyborg skin of flesh and nanowires

Graham Bartlett

Re: Skin of flesh and nanowires

So a tube (gun barrel) is a complex shape...? Not really.

And whilst chemical reactions might be no use, there's nothing in the film premise that rules out a gauss gun. Hell, if you wanted to go lower-tech then a crossbow mechanism would work perfectly well. Maybe the T1000 would be unable to do it, but an Arnie-type one could easily have this built in.

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Ten movies inspired by video games

Graham Bartlett

Re: I kinda liked...

"There's also the Final Fantasy film, that's ok."

Presumably this is an Uncanny-Valley-heavy, badly-animated, occasional-jaggies, lack-of-plot-and-characterisation meaning of "ok" which has passed me by.

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Akihabara unplugged: Tokyo's electric town falls flat

Graham Bartlett

Re: Yes, we know.

"I can't understand why Japanese nerds are into manga"

The reason you can't understand this is quite simply because you don't know a damn thing about it. If you'd watched some and didn't understand the appeal, then fair enough. But your comment demonstrates that you haven't even done that, and you don't even know what manga *IS*.

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Password hints easily snaffled from Windows PCs

Graham Bartlett

Re: How?

"Only close friends could do that"

Except that it wouldn't be at all unusual to be able to look back a few years on someone's Facebook and find the "Here's Schinkenstern running around in his little plastic ball" vids. And there's more than a few people in my area who know the name of my first pet, because I've met them whilst walking the aforesaid puppy. Of course that means I wouldn't be stupid enough to use the dog's name as a password, but I'm sure there are people who would.

Come to that, mother's maiden name is a particularly stupid choice of security measure too, given that there's an absolute ton of ancestry sites out there now, all using publicly-available information to tell you this stuff.

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Driving a car? There's an app for that

Graham Bartlett

Toadal Recall

Anyone else remembering the cages that Arnie and co got strapped into when they were shot into the arena? (Yes I know that was Running Man, but something involving vintage-looking cars and an Arnie reference, I couldn't resist.)

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