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* Posts by John Robson

768 posts • joined 19 May 2008

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Martha Lane Fox to clone 10m copies of self

John Robson
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No money needed

According to her on the Beeb this morning.

After all the gubbinment has already got lots of computers in schools and DOCTORS surgeries...

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Lindsay Lohan: The interactive court drama

John Robson
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Slap over TCP

or it's not interactive...

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Android slurps market share from Apple, RIM, Microsoft

John Robson
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I got othello to crash, sort of....

On my 6310i I managed to get two moves in othello, before the phone moved - so I ended up winning with a bunch of 6 blobs in the middle...

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RAC prof: Road charges can end the ripoff of motorists

John Robson
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Pint

Road tax was abolished in 1936

When Winston Churchill said:

"it will be only a step from this for them (motorists) to claim in a few years the moral ownership of the roads"

See The Motor Car and Politics in Britain by Willam Plowden for more information

This is a return to the thought that road tax should only be spent on the roads, which the same great man derided as follows:

"Entertainments may be taxed; public houses may be taxed; racehorses may be taxed; the possession of armorial bearings and man-servants may be taxed - and the yield devoted to the general revenue. But motorists are to be privileged for all time to have the whole yield of the tax on motors devoted to roads. Obviously this is a nonsense. Whoever said that, whatever the yield of these taxes, and whatever the poverty of the country, we were to build roads, and nothing but roads, for this yield? We might have to cripple our Trade by increased taxation of income, we might even be unable to pay for the upkeep of our Fleet. But never mind, whatever happens, the whole yield of the taxes on motors must be spent on roads! Such contentions are absurd and constitute at once an outrage upon the sovereignty of Parliament and upon common sense."

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Motorola advert revels in anti-iPhone schadenfreude

John Robson
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There's nothing Apple nor anyone else can do to get around physics, plain and simple

They need to hire Scotty...

"you canna break the laws of physics"

"she canna take it"

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Low-priced home digital media connections promised

John Robson
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2Kx4K standard (4096-by-2160)

is it just me - or is that name the wrong way round?

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Hybrid hard drives: what's not to like?

John Robson
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10+GB, as a separately addressable partition

Then I'll be interested.

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Council of Europe condemns teen-bothering Mosquito

John Robson
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Boffin

95 dB

Shouldn't they be subject to noise regulations.

That's a dangerous volume for any significant amount of time. So anyone who works anywhere near one should get ear defenders etc.

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Vauxhall Ampera extended range e-car

John Robson
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big pedal?

On all automatics I've driven the big pedal is for stopping...

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Want Olympic tickets? Better get a VisaCard then

John Robson
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I need a few mastercards and maestros

And then see how long I can hold the queue up for ;)

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Google claims Wi-Fi slurp legal in the US

John Robson
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Hard discs

Are they so cheap that the great Google didn't notice that the usage was increasing at a faster rate than expected?

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The Reg guide to Linux, part 1: Picking a distro

John Robson
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Thumb Up

TinyCore

TinyCore linux is my choice.

<10MB - lways runs from RAM.

Easy to add software - it just get's loaded into RAM, replacing an required files, so it's trviail to uninstall as well (just delete the file, and it isn't loaded over the base system).

MicroCore is the same but without X

I use these as rescue systems all over the place, and would recommend a customised version for a nice netboot based school/office layout.

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You think mobile voice is expensive?

John Robson
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International companies...

They own networks across europe, so there should be zero excess charge.

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Nokia rides you hard for power

John Robson
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Boffin

Alive and well

Dynamos are alive and well. Just because you stopped cycling when you were ten doesn't mean everyone else did.

Alot of dynamos now are built into wheel hubs, and the drag is equivalent to cycling up ~5 feet per mile. That's not enough to be called a slope, even if you live in Norfolk.

Bottle dynamos are less efficient, about 10-15 feet per mile (boo hoo)

Reelights and similar use non contact dynamos - a loop of wire on the frame and a magnet on the wheel - pure induction, no mechanical drag. Yes they also take energy, but at less than 5 feet/mile you'll not notice.

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TwitPic-nicking Mail nicked

John Robson
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no title

daily depress

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World+bitch flocking to expose self on Facebook

John Robson
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FAIL

Maths?

"The blog adds that Facebook is on track to reach 600 million users and $1bn in revenue by the end of 2010. The social networking site had less than a third that number of users - around 15 million - just 12 months ago."

600m /3 != 15m

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Atlantis 'nauts suit & boot up for bolt release spacewalk

John Robson
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Boffin

Left hand threads are useful

For instance ~half of all bicycle pedals have left hand threads - else precession would tend to uscrew them...

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German net crippled by top level glitch

John Robson
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WTF?

Emails

Surely the smtp server will have failed to resolve DNS.

They'll either return the email as undeliverable, or retry...

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Physicist unmasks 99-year-old mistake in English dictionaries

John Robson
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Boffin

Thought experiment

Only 'cos I can't go there...

Two open bowls on the surface of the moon. One (filled with mercury) on a table 1m above the other.

Coil a hose in the top bowl, put a bung in the end and lift that end out

- On earth it would stay full of mercury, even when put upright

- On the moon I'm not so sure. I think it would stay level.

On earth the height difference is the basis of a barometer / manometer, with zero pressure acting on the main surface of the liquid why would it object to zero pressure inside the tube?

If you pumped the mercury up the tube and put the blocked end in the lower bowl...

Then I expect that it would split at the top and each half would fall in the obvious direction. Liquids are not known for their tensile strength, and that is all (I can see) that would prevent this.

Can we please ask the Myth Busters to visit NASA and have a play in one of their really big vacuum chambers?

Variables:

- Atmospheric pressure

- Fluid

- Tube diameter (capillary effect?)

I think that height difference is not relevant to the discussion.

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Rogue admin waits for verdict

John Robson
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Coat

BUS NUMBER

of 1 is never a safe place.

He should be commended for illustrating how badly set up they are

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Giant solar-powered aircraft takes to the skies

John Robson
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WTF?

5 hops != flying round the world

Or I can jump 7 miles...

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How Labour’s Web2.0rhea cockup helped the photographers

John Robson
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Why?

Are they all publishing posters of each other?

Do they not have any policies they'd like to tell me about?

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Dell 1320c

John Robson
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FAIL

PC only???

The Dell works fine under Linux - just detects it as a PS network printer.

Never plugged anything into the USB port, but why would I want to?

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Segway + motorbike = futuristic dorkmobile

John Robson
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Boffin

Argh

That'd be BRAKING.

Breaking is what you do when you fail to brake!

And stability is easier with wheels side by side - a bike is naturally unstable - in motion you can make continuous corrections which keep you upright, but if you watch carefully you'll never go in a straight line (the back wheel never rolls along the front wheel track).

At least this has instability in the direction it can control (forwards & backwards)

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Facebook stands up to UK.gov's cyberbullying

John Robson
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(untitled)

Might even drive some traffic to uk.gov - and then their "performance metric" of traffic seen will be excellent...

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Patchy Windows patching leaves users insecure

John Robson
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Software repositories...

So - like running aptitude, or yum, or emerge, or any of the other various tools that keep linux distros up to date.

Seems like a good idea to me - they just need to work out a sensible format and get it adopted. Of course they can't take the obvious approach and repackage other peoples patches because no doubt that would make some lawyers rich.

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Silicon Valley hypegasm for miracle shoebox powerplants

John Robson
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Go

No good for houses but...

could be excellent for electric vehicles...

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1.3 million phones found down back of the sofa in UK

John Robson
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Surely this is a UK article

Don't necessarily mind US articles using American selling, but really...

"a tag which bleeps if your handset is more than a few meters away,"

How do you measure how many measuring devices there are between you and a handset I wonder?

Does a multimeter count for several?

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Industry groups leap to Chip and PIN's defence

John Robson
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3141

"The best thing that we could do is go exclusively pin only auth and do away with signatures altogether. After all, how secure is an authorisation system that displays the supposed secret part of the auth on the back of a card?"

And for those who can't use C&P?

Not that I'm particularly convinced that people can't remember a four digit number...

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'McDonalds' burger-lers making millions

John Robson
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WTF?

Each, or the original use of the @ symbol

""Lottery tickets £1.00" U wouldn't expect to get 2 for a quid would you ?"

Yes I would, unless it said LT £1.00 *each*, or LT @ £1

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Pupil database claimed to be breach-free

John Robson
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Paris Hilton

Known Breaches...

surely...

PH - as smart as politicians.

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Brits take iTablet moniker for 12in iPad rival

John Robson
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Camera

Can'#t see it on this side,. which means it's on the back - useless for skype... (surely the main use of such of a webcam on such a device)

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iPad forces operators to shave their SIMs

John Robson
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WTF?

It's size

The iPad is so small it nee....

Hold on that's not right is it. The iPad is HUGE cf+ modern phones, so it could easily take the cc sized model, although they're basically obsolete nowadays.

The "normal" SIM size doesn't seem excessive, but I can't recall if they found space for an SD card either?

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Michigan man in DIY rocket sled explosion

John Robson
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Grenade

Youtube link

Someone videoed it - please

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Airport scanners go live today, kids included

John Robson
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Security Theatre

No - security pantomime nowadays...

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Who ate all the iPies?

John Robson
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Isn't music

The only thing Apple do let you multitask on an iTouch or an iPhone?

And tbh - it's about the only thing I can see wanting to multitask, the iP* do sufficiently fast task switching that I couldn't care less.

Of course I like having skype in the background, but if I look at the task manager on my HTC hero it's mostly stuff I'd be happy to have hibernated in some fashion.

So long as it checks for mail every few minutes I'm fine and dandy...

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Entire UK will be on ID database sometime in next 3 millennia

John Robson
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Alien

Fingerprints

""Where an individual is unable to record a full set of ten fingerprints (eg due to an amputation), they will be able to register as many fingerprints as it is possible for them to record". Excellent news."

Maybe I should soak my fingers in vinegar for a few hours before registering ;)

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Church of England takes on Ofcom

John Robson
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Capital Depreciation Periods are the problem

OfCom is assuming 3-5 years, churches generally have lightly used mics and therefore expect them to last 15+ years.

It's a case of all cars must be scrapped, we reckon on replacing our car every year, so we'll recompense everyone (who has bought and registered a car within the last year)

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FCC evicts wireless mics from future 4G band

John Robson
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Megaphone

compensation for users

Churches in particular tend to have 15+ year replacement cycles for this kind of kit - even the theatre I work with reckons that our wireless mics will last 10-15 years.

OfCom are proposing compensation based on a 3-5 year depreciation cycle, which is probably appropriate for a hire company (where the mics are in continuous (not particularly careful) use, but is woefully inadequate for many amateur societies / churches etc.

What's the state of play in the states? Who is compensating all those users who have bought kit in the last n years?

PS - bullhorns on stage don't look good.

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One second-hand space shuttle: Yours for $29m

John Robson
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Boffin

Really:

"Let's evaluate this based on the test of "seeing it in action for the first time"

OK - not a perfect metric, but I'll run with it...

Concorde:

"it looks like any other airplane. An oddly shaped one, but not that different."

No, it really doesn't - Massive delta wings, no tailplane, dipping nose, afterburners. I used to live under Heathrow flight path, Concorde never ceased to fascinate and impress.

Nothing that size had gone anywhere near mach2 before - remember that this was also 40 years ago!

Harrier:

If you think that a gliding return capsule is innovative then VTOL is certainly innovative - the idea was French, but the invention was British.

On seeing a plane hovering you think "WTF is going on - how does it do that!" When you think about it you get even more confused and impressed.

Shuttle:

Reusable - don't make me laugh, the three largest sections are jettisoned early in flight and are recovered; That's no better than adding a parachute to the Saturn stages, certainly derivative.

The actual shuttle is a reusable capsule - it lands on wheels rather than splashdown (Apollo style) or bumping to land (Soyuz style), but the innovation is that the heat shield can withstand multiple entries and be repaired.

Otherwise to draw an analogy with your dismissal of Concorde: It's just a space capsule crossed with a glider.

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Latest Asus Eee Keyboard desktop demo'd

John Robson
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Go

Linux?

What drives the dual screenage?

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Integrated tube tickets not on the Olympic menu

John Robson
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WTF?

VISA fail

That's just daft - I think I'll take a cheque book ;)

Mind you I'm glad that there'll be no mobile coverage underground, although I can't see how issuing "free" oyster cards can be *more* expensive than other options...

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Lenovo joins the smartbook gang

John Robson
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WTF?

why no corners

why not fit a decent height screen and have corners on the thing - there is a massive amount of waste at the top.

Otherwise it's a nice looking product idea - assuming 10 hours includes wifi/3g being on and possibly btooth for a keyboard

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Ofcom sets 60GHz free

John Robson
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Bandwidth will be....

6.8GHz, as stated in the article.

Or are you asking about data transfer rate - a different beast entirely ;)

For that you need to check modulation etc, but it should be pretty high, even if you assume you can only use one frequency, and can cram no more than one bit per cycle into the data stream then 60Gbps.

Of course you actually have 6.8GHz to play with, if you can use 1000 different wavelengths without interference then 60Tbps is the basic assumption.

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Honda goes NUTs for future micro-car

John Robson
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Good concept

Lousy design

I've been thinking about an e-commuter with a similar layout for a while, but it doesn't need to be the ugliest thing on the road.

I'm no Bertone, but that means I stick with a classic design, like the mini, in my head...

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EA exec punts 96,000rpm e-car engine

John Robson
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Jet engines

Have long been the way to do this - glad someone's worked it out...

Servicing a jet is fairly simple - they're effectively only one moving part after all...

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BOFH: Made of win

John Robson
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Boffin

it's

The formula for the locus of a circle centered on the origin (or will be when the radius is squared too)

Basically - draw this graph and you've drawn a circle.

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NASA to develop haptic air-typing spacesuit gloves

John Robson
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Boffin

Gravity

Still works at that altitude - the issue is that they are in freefall.

But actually someone else has pointed out that it's not "up" that is needed, but acceleration of the fingers. If you are just doing acceleration based measurements then you need to be pretty sophisticated, I'd go for some sort of visual tracking hybrid else the haptics will trigger the motion detectors, triggering the haptics....

PS - Yes I know you specified orbit, indicating more understanding than most of the population

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ICANN condemns registry DNS redirection

John Robson
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Go

Browser hijacking???

That's the least of the issues - it's everything else which uses DNS that's really screwed up by these things. In a browser you get to see the crapy html they've decided to send you, if you are running any sort of a script then there's no telling what you'll get, or give, them..

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Microsoft hit with lawsuit over Xbox memory card ban

John Robson
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By which time

you'll be out of business and they can ignore you...

Oh what a surprise...

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