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* Posts by Richard Ball

170 posts • joined 28 Feb 2008

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NASA's LADEE: A Great Gig in the Sky, now on a death dive to the Dark Side of the Moon

Richard Ball

Re: Timing

The near side is denser, which means the centre of mass is towards the near side, which means the mountains on the far side are 'higher' to something that is orbiting the centre of (lumpy) mass.

Could be very wrong - just an idea.

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UK.gov recruiting 400 crack CompSci experts to go into teaching

Richard Ball

teaching in the uk

Your perceived* success in teaching has litle to do with your subject knowledge, even in an area where there is a teacher skills gap.

If you have never seriously considered being a science teacher before, don't do it now.

'Good'* teachers are those who are good at the difficult job of wrangling a room full of kids. If you think you can teach existing teachers how to do this then fine - they might one day consider you an expert teacher.

*in the wisdom of the uk system

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Space truck Cygnus left idling outside ISS after data format snafu borks docking

Richard Ball

Re: 10 days late

They were going to put the chicken straight in the freezer, but now it'll just have to go out for the council.

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Apple will swap fanbois' killer phoney phone chargers for legit adapters

Richard Ball

A good opportunity to sell stock at cost and look big'n'caring

If their stuff weren't so damn expensive this problem wouldn't exist.

So I wonder when the day will come on which I can take in my cheap Android - that just could be somehow dangerous - that I chose to buy because i-things are overpriced - and swap it for The Real Thing for £100?

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Sony and Panasonic plan 300GB Blu-Ray replacement for 2015

Richard Ball

Re: " ... 300GB-worth of CGI wizardry ..."

We'll all be lucky if there's 4k of good acting etc to be found in among whatever gets released in this format.

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Google's new Chromecast spills its simplistic guts

Richard Ball

Re: Heat-sinks

They both heat up their environs and (ignoring the oven's thermostat) reach an equilibrium internal temperature due to heat transfer.

Only one of them has a space inside big enough for a chicken though - that's the giveaway.

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Richard Ball

Heat-sinks

Heat-sinks do function in enclosed boxes.

The role of a heat-sink is to (1) spread the heat from the small heat-generating devices over a larger area, in order that those devices and the things near them don't cook. And to (2) encourage that heat to go away somewhere and not build up to a damaging temperature.

It's nice if the heat all transfers straight into air that then flows out of the box through vents, not warming up the surface of the box itself, but that never happens. In many cases the surface of the plastic box gets pretty warm, very little air circulates through the vents and most of the heat generated is transferred out of the box due to conduction through the plastic skin of the box. In the case of e.g. a laptop PSU, all the heat goes through the plastic skin and none goes out through vents. But it still makes effective use of heat-sinking.

In the case of this google thing the metal can is there for two reasons: EM shielding, and also to spread the heat generated by the chips within the can over the entire area of the dongle. Chances are the SoC gets hotter than anything else in there, and without the can it would make a hot-spot on the plastic surface. In segregating the convection into an 'inside-the-can' loop and an 'outside the can' loop, the can might reduce the overall cooling effectiveness and probably result in slightly hotter chippery overall. But by spreading the heat over the dongle's entire area it will minimise the existence of hot-spots on the outer skin that seek to set fire to your curtains and of cold-spots on the outer skin that aren't pulling their weight in the tast of getting rid of all the waste heat.

But still: heat-sinks in closed boxes do work.

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Boeing batteries back under spotlight as 787 burns at Heathrow

Richard Ball

Someone probably left their rounded-cornered device plugged in and charging at their bed.

We all know how those things like to go up in flames.

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The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype

Richard Ball

film vs tv

There is a big difference between watching stuff that was made in a TV studio on a TV, and watching a movie, shot at 24fps on a TV. In the case of TV-studio material, it is footage that was truly created at 50 pictures per second, but with each picture having a lower vertical resolution than the display device. I'm not saying that when you stick them on the screen everything is magic and perfect, but it means that the motion experience for the viewer is very different, and it is much, much less bad than when you're watching a film-movie on TV.

The TV interlacing system was an engineering compromise - and I think a useful one at the time - not a con. TV wasn't originally created to show cinema movies.

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Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!

Richard Ball

Re: Even analogue still used

Hurrah for the 741!

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New EXPLICIT pics support notion of moist, welcoming past for Mars

Richard Ball

exciting times we live in

Super cool - were I one of the Dirt People, I'd want to be working on this stuff.

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Barnes & Noble bungs Raspberry Pi-priced Nook on shelves

Richard Ball

Re: Scheduled to ship

Just been through all this with every possible cockup on their part.

They have now invited me to buy another product at several times the price.

Total total total crap. Not a chance I'll be going there again.

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Dragon capsule makes fiery entrance, safe splashdown

Richard Ball

Re: Dirty Laundry and Empty Packaging?!

Bet they end up with a lot of used plastic bags though, all things considered.

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Oi, Microsoft, where's my effin' toolbar gone?

Richard Ball

obfuscation is not encryption

Hello, Mr. Dabbs?

It's Johnny's teacher here... yes, Mrs. Cuck. Hi.

I'm calling about the funts... yes.

yes, the cucking funts...

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Unwearable tech: Five ways IT garb's gone HORRIBLY WRONG

Richard Ball

Re: OMG it never worked before, why still try?

They need to get away from the Wonky Look.

Fair enough the thing is asymmetric, but the guy wearing them in that image seems typical of many, many amusing and geeky traits and is doing a good job of achieving a jaunty angle.

Perhaps this would be solved by a big wodge of elastoplast or araldite on one of the hinges?

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Drone quadracopters throw and catch inverted pendulum

Richard Ball

weapons

A small downward-pointed shaped charge might be quite effective against squaddies / cars / enemy UAVs / whatever. I'm guessing for a given amount of offensive power it would be a smaller and lighter payload to carry than anything that works like a gun or grenade.

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Earth escapes asteroid flyby, boffins want lasers aimed at next one

Richard Ball

Re: Never use a simple solution when an expensive high tech one will do.

Does something lead you to believe that a laser beam doesn't diverge?

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Schoolgirl's Hello Kitty catonaut soars to 93,000ft

Richard Ball
Thumb Up

Very good work. Well done to kids, teacher and school.

Obviously in an ideal world the teacher would just use his gun(s) to get it down out of the tree though...

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Boffins build elastic wires with liquid metal

Richard Ball

...don't want to eat... ...may be toxic...

Might as well just use mercury and be done with it.

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Facebook to debut auto-play video ads in 2013

Richard Ball

Re: Advertisements? In my social medias?

Surely e would come somewhere between ii and 3?

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Richard Ball

not today

Some days I assume that one day I will join FB.

With this and the Instagram thing, this is not one of those days.

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North Korean rocket works, puts something into orbit

Richard Ball

Re: Keen!

If this is a way of inspiring the rest of the world to give them aid... It's an odd way of asking for help.

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Richard Ball

Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

Yep, coordinated strike on everything from the air - we could call it 'shock and awe' - that'll sort 'em out and no mistake.

They'll be welcoming us in the streets just like the girls in paris welcomed the Sherman tanks in 1945.

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Moon riven by colossal cracks

Richard Ball

looks like an elevation map

What cracks?

This looks so much like an elevation map that it would be interesting to see this data subtracted from elevation data. Then perhaps the cracks (and TMA etc) would just jump out at you.

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McAfee seeks asylum in Guatemala

Richard Ball

None of this stuff is true

He's an intelligent guy, he's hardly going to be giving us a FACTUAL blow-by-blow account of what he's doing. That was clear from the outset.

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Xboxes stay on sale but may cost Microsoft money in Google case

Richard Ball

Re: Do not evil

Altavista: those buggers swallowed up my favourite search engine, Infoseek.

Called it "Go".

And it did.

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Children increasingly named after Apple products

Richard Ball

Re: Prior feline usage of the name

For anyone bored enough to read this, my last post (pointless, regarding cats) brough back my Bronze medal. Hurrah!

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Richard Ball

Re: Prior feline usage of the name

Strictky speaking it's 2+n

where n is the number of households that think they own the cat.

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Richard Ball

Re: Not all iBrats

A fair assumption, but not if you're writing for the Reg.

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Smear campaign

Richard Ball

Re: Solution

Yes, but that would turn instantly into a 3M microfibre cloth covered in snot.

Seems a waste of everything.

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ViewSonic Pro 9000 laser hybrid LED projector review

Richard Ball

Rainbow

Can the reviewer tell us please:

Do you normally notice the rainbow effect with moving edges on DLP projectors?

What was it like on this one?

I usually find DLPs horrible for this reason so I have a (poor contrast) LCD.

Cheers.

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LAST EVER British typewriter manufactured in Wales

Richard Ball

Re: Innovation

Better make sure it doesn't have ROUNDED CORNERS!

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Worried dad invents pepper-spray iPhone case

Richard Ball

Next

Someone make an android phone case that incorporates an Uzi.

Just make sure the corners are good and sharp - that way not only do you not get sued - you can jab it at the attacker when you run out of 9mm leaden goodness.

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Disney buys Lucasfilm, new Star Wars trilogy planned

Richard Ball

Star wars

Can't they see that thing is dead?

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Surface tablet's touch cover is ZX81 REBORN

Richard Ball

Re: Mix and Match

And those hifi systems took up a lot of space and cables. New audio gear, and laptops, have all their components squeezed and integrated into as small a space as possible.

Your modular plan would require you to accept a bit of wasted space - so if you really want to carry around an ATX-sized laptop, then that could probably be arranged.

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Google rolls out new, cheaper Chromebooks 'for everyone'

Richard Ball

What's the point?

If the experience is anything like using google docs or google mail, then no thanks - they'd have to be giving them away for nothing and even then...?

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Theresa May gets a smile out of Gary McKinnon at last

Richard Ball

Re: Timing

Great minds and all that. Even got my title too.

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Richard Ball

Timing

Seems like this was waiting until after the guy with the hook had been successfully got rid of.

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Just how good is Nokia's PureView 41Mp camera tech?

Richard Ball

Video tear

Looks lovely and well done on the innovative use of a big sensor - however:

Why do all mobile devices, costing hundreds, and offering HD video resolution, all suffer from the wierd distortion that occurs whenever the camera is moved? I presume it's because the image is effectively being 'scanned' from the sensor, so that for any given frame the timing at the bottom of the sensor is different from that at the top, but it must be possible to do this better and dispense with the distortion?

As far as I know proper video cameras don't do this (I'm assuming as I rant) so why do expensive 'premium' mobile-type devices have to?

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Rapper rips up Microsoft's Atlanta store during performance

Richard Ball

Re: Clippy dead

Yep.

Metal fatigue.

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Snack-slinging robot restores faith in Yankee ingenuity

Richard Ball

Re: It's a hoax, people.

Yes. Two microphones won't give enough location information to do what this appears to do.

Nice film though, good model and good marketing.

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Google spikes old MS file formats

Richard Ball

Re: @KJ re downvoting

So you float around, trying to say things that people will all agree with, never anything that could offend or provoke a click on the red button.

Lib Dem by any chance??

It's fine when people agree, but that's not really the point of these fora.

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Apple scrambled to hire iOS 6 maps engineers DAYS before launch

Richard Ball

Re: Lies....

If you're the boss, yes it is.

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iPhone queue ‘superficial and pretentious’ says queuing fangirl

Richard Ball

Nowt

so daft as folk

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

Richard Ball

idiots

Of course you have to modulate the warp field; do they know nothing?

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Apple iPhone 5 hands-on review

Richard Ball

Re: Expensive?

I realise the competitors are similar in price.

It's expensive relative to a phone I can use to talk to people on, or a month's disposable salary, or an alternative device that does some of the stuff I'd quite like an iphone for.

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Richard Ball

Looks like a nice product but damn it's expensive.

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Apple Lightning adaptors reveal limitations

Richard Ball

Re: Yikes!

It's not unbalanced mains supplies that make that happen - it's because there is a small capacitive coupling between the output DC and the mean voltage of the input pins at any given time. So with the neutral pin at or near ground-potential and live going between plus and minus 230V (RMS), the mean will alternate between plus and minus 115V with respect to ground. The output DC is lightly coupled to this mean through the very small capacitance of the transformer in the SMPSU, so it normally doesn't take much to hold the output near ground potential. i.e. a small current to ground easily defeats its ability to exhibit a high voltage.

With no earthing in a PSU, I believe this effect is expected to some degree whether the PSU is good or cheap.

If alternatively you ran the SMPSU on AC that had both pins alternating about zero, like the RLV supplies that building site tools run on, then the average voltage would always be close to zero and the whole effect would be history.

I always wonder whether the visible sparks that jump around when I plug HDMI cables between the boxes by my telly are really a sign of good engineering ...

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Sceptic becomes UK Environment - but not Climate - Secretary

Richard Ball

Re: I'll believe in climate change

That's a nice point, but don't let your own conviction depend upon an Nth order result of the actions of some politicians. There are better ways for us to learn about the climate.

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Radio arse tags solve modern-day TV musical chairs dilemma

Richard Ball

These people really ought to go and find useful things to do with their lives, instead of broadcasting morons playing musical chairs.

How about pin the tail on the donkey?

Or pass the parcel?

Or piggy in the middle?

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