* Posts by John Robson

1408 posts • joined 19 May 2008

End in sight for wireless power standards war as field shrinks to two

John Robson
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I sometimes carry a pair of laptops, pair of phones and my tablet between home and work - I consider that to be massively excessive, but it's useful occasionally

Carried cable count: 0

I have a docking station and charger for the laptops at work, and a pair of chargers at home.

The phones both take MicroUSB, one lasts 10 days, the other 2 - so they very rarely need charging at the same time, but there is a cable on my desk and by the sofa.

The tablet takes a proprietary connection - and there is a cable for it at work and at home.

When I go on holiday I'll normally take a USB charger and one of each cable type... Maybe take two (one for me, one for the wife)

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Skype founders planning non-drone robodelivery fleet. Repeat, not drones

John Robson
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Re: @John Robson Mast Needed

@ Turtle...

I drive a recumbent most of the time, and a flag or mast makes neglibible difference to visibility to motorists.

I dont' see many flags/masts here: Google images

I've been commuting by 'bent for 7 years now, and my worst incident occured when I had colourful 2" wide 6' long kite streamers on a fishing whip and an 18" england flag at the driver's eye level as well as being lit up like a proverbial christmas tree. The driver looked straight at me and failed to see me...

The issue is that motorists look for cars, not clear tarmac. That's why there are so many "SMIDSY" incidents with motorbikes, cyclists and pedestrians. If you claim you can't see this box-on-wheels then how do you avoid concrete blocks in the road?

How do you avoid dogs?

How do you avoid children?

Besides which this thing would only occasionally be crossing a road, so most of the time it should be safe from motorists, except that they can't seem to keep between the kerbs - motorists in the UK kill 40-60 people a year on pavements (this even excludes crossings where the pedestrian has priority)

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John Robson
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Re: Mast Needed

Yeah - because motorists can't see the white lines on the road, or the cats eyes between lanes, so how will they see anything taller than that?

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Time Lords set for three-week battle over leap seconds

John Robson
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Re: Why stop there?

@NumptyScrub - Metric, for all it's faults, is far less confusing when trying to learn the various measures; just learn the SI prefixes and you are good to go with mass, length, and volume right away ;)

Well, except for units of mass...

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John Robson
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Re: Why stop there?

Wow - I made two typos ;)

356.25 is close enough to convey the relationship I mean... If I typed 3.14 then you'd be able to fill in the rest.

The missing day is because I don't work on Friday (pick one at random)

Awkward was missing a "w" - That usually gets typed on that Friday....

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John Robson
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Boffin

Re: Why stop there?

60 and 24 are actually nice numbers - they have many useful factors.

That 364.25 is akward, but is the relationship between two fundamental properties of the planet (at the moment, one of those properties is gradually changing)

Yes - I know (hope) you were being sarky, but too many people blindly agree with that kind of nonsense...

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John Robson
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Sorry - GMT wasn't recognised as *the* prime meridian until 1884

So it's only 130 years old...

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John Robson
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So basically

We are having a discussion to decide whether to keep a time standard that has only existed for a fairly short time (1765 - so less than the 600 years we are worried about into the future).

Yes, I'd like Greenwich to continue to be the centre of time, but it is just an arbitrary point on this roughly spherical planet. It isn't even at 0 degrees according to the shperoid used by GPS (no idea what shperoid is used by GLONASS/GALILEO etc)

Given that we can measure the variation in day length caused by the wind on the mountains - is "high Noon" really important? Cornwall is already 15 minutes "out", so we're talking about "High Noon" moving by ~600 miles in ~600 years (at our latitude)

I'd do away with BST as well, we could all agree to get up an hour earlier or later during some months if we really want to... Office hours are 9-5 in the Winter and 8-4 in the Summer. There, how hard was that?

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'iOS 9 ate my mobile broadband plan'

John Robson
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Re: Are you listening MS ?

You leave the tethering on by default?

Why?

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John Robson
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Re: I don't have a 'cellular' setting..

This - the toggle should be at the TOP - with all the other monile data options.

Why would it be so far "below the fold"?

It's an idiotic design decision...

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Joining the illuminati? Just how bright can a smart bulb really be?

John Robson
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Re: .re: Even if you want this...

@Charles Manning - It's really no more stupid than $150/metre gold speaker cables with $4000 speakers on the ends. The sound isn't any better than speakers and wire a tenth of that price.

That really depends on how much you've spent on the acoustics of the room (well, it does for the speakers, if not the cable)

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ITU rubber-stamps '3D' audio format

John Robson
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Re: Mono

And it is a single speaker - it just has more than one driver.

In the same way a battery is usually composed of multiple cells.

A disc is made of many platters.

etc...

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John Robson
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Mono

A single driver cannot be coaxial - because it has nothing to be coaxial with....

Of course it would also be a massive compromise in terms of frequency response - a decent multiple driver coaxial mono speaker with good crossovers is a nice bit of kit though ;)

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How do you create an SLA and status page for the whole internet? Meet IANA: Keepers of DNS

John Robson
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Re: Root hints...

It only has access to the root servers, they have access to the root zone, and tell me the "next step" DNS server to contact.

I don't use the root zone *file* at all - that's the job of the root servers, which are accessed via the root hints file (which is very rarely updated - and usually changes have at least a six month lead time, so you can reasonably update once every six months.)

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John Robson
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Root hints...

...file is even smaller and more useful - although the root key is also useful at that point.

I've *never* had to use the root zone file - because root hints gets me to that information without having to update it any time elbonia decide to update something...

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'Death star' reaches out invisible hand, rips planet apart

John Robson
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Re: Now, that is something

So aroudn a dwarf star a dwarf planet is called a planet, not a dwarf planet?

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Wait a minute, Doc! Are you telling me that you built a self-driving car ... out of a DeLorean!?

John Robson
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That's the best...

description of rally driving I've heard in a while, and an excellent piece of research - I can't wait for autonomous vehicles to start drifting round mountain hairpins that currently take a three point turn for most people...

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Some like it hot ... very hot: How to use heat to your advantage in your data center

John Robson
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My "data centre in my loft" used to get so hot...

...that the rubber feet on the keyboard melted into the top of one of the PC cases.

Only occasionally the CPU temp alarms went off (set to 85) despite all CPUs being maxed out by SET@Home, and the loftspace was seriously toasty!

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Bug-hunt turns up vuln in LibreSSL

John Robson
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It doesn't stop - because the bad guys don't stop either...

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Volvo to 'accept full liability' for crashes with its driverless cars

John Robson
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Re: this issue will get solved eventually

Surely the only way premiums wouldn't drop is by cartel?

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John Robson
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Re: Risky strategy at first

The record will become longer than a typical human will ever manage within months, maybe faster.

A typical human might drive for 70 years...

So if you sell 12*70 cars = 840 cars...

Then they'll take 4 weeks to accumulate a lifetime's experience - in fact the test program has probably already gained more than a lifetime's experience!

Added to that is the fact that the early adopters won't be the elderly ladies who run them down to the shops once a week, but the salespeople who do 35-50k miles/year, and want to make phone calls on the journey - the time taken to get HUGE experience will be trivial.

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John Robson
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Re: How do these cars cope with motorcyclists?

They are MUCH better at doing so, pedal cyclist, pedestrians and other cars as well.

Horses, concrete bollards, ambulances with Blues and Twos going - all more likely to be spotted by a self driving car than a meatbag

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John Robson
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Re: Questions that bugs me....

How do you tell? You edge round iff safe and stop if not.

Of course with more driverless cars the one that is stopped, defending a collapsed person, it can tell the car behind...

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John Robson
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Not all that brave...

They know what their cars are doing - and can therefore insure against that.

Their first insurance policy will be quite pricey - but it will rapidly come down in price...

As for theft - how do you steal a car that will drive itself back home?

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WIPO punts Cambridge University over attempt to grab Cambridge.com

John Robson
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Re: Land grabbing

Meh - There'll be a cambridge there as well - co.ms.us - or whatever the mass 2nd level domain is.

com isn't appropriate for a huge number of the domains therein.

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John Robson
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Re: Land grabbing

Why should one random Cambridge in the US get the "commercial" domain - why should the UK cambridge have a company domain?

Surely there is a .co.us for the larger Cambridge in the US (although again - why is it considered a company), and maybe there should be a reversion to type for domains - there is no reason that everything has to be a ".com", not everything is commercial.

maybe cambridge.council.uk

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El Reg keeps pushing Apple's buttons – its new Magic Keyboard

John Robson
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4/5 - maybe

Does the key marked "1" produce the number "4" when pressed - that's the only excuse I can see for this score...

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Playmobil cops broadside for 'racist' pirate slave

John Robson
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Re: The bigger problem:

I sometimes try to build one of the "official" designs of lego that we have, but it never lasts long... about 5-6 pieces is a good run (excluding when *I* get bought lego, in which case it gets completed at least once before being distributed into the kids lego box...

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John Robson
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The bigger problem:

"He was excited when he recieved it and *I* spent all weekend putting it together"

Surely that should be a "we" spent half an hour putting it together and the rest of the weekend playing with it?

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Tiny Robot Smartphone: Invasion Earth 2016 – prepare to be facially recognised humans

John Robson
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It looks really fun....

Completely impractical for a phone, and with the projector and all those motors I'm reckoning a 3 hour battery, but how much fun.

I'm not surprised they haven't decided on a sales channel yet - it looks like a proper "10% time project"

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HP won't squeeze itself into 3D printer consumer market

John Robson
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Buruea printing...

Where is it?

I've got a couple of things I'd like ot print off, I'd happily pay for a timeslice/materials at the local library, or a shop/stall in town.

But there doesn't seem to be the market?

Actually - I think I've answered my own question - there isn't a market - because I can only think of a couple of things I'd like to print...

My issue with the online versions is that postage is invariably multiple times the value of the item being printed - whereas I could go into a shop and be fairly happy to have a rough print after I'd finished my shopping/jobs in town.

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Apollo 15 commander's lunar timepiece goes under the hammer

John Robson
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@ Woodgie - now I have to raise a meelion dollars?

Easy - Kick Starter

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Terror in the Chernobyl dead zone: Life - of a wild kind - burgeons

John Robson
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Re: Nuclear Power Generating

@AC - Cars also kill birds and bats. Would you suggest taking up a bicycle as an alternative?

Why yes I would - although not because of the birds and bats - but because for the vast majority of car journeys in the UK a bike makes a more sustainable, and far healthier, form of transport - as well as reducing externalised risk and being significantly quicker, much cheaper, and alot more fun.

Yes I have a car - but I tend not to use it for short, single person journeys - which make up the majority of the journeys made by car.

I'd like to take the train to visit family 300 miles away - but it costs more than 5 times as much (and my car is NOT efficient), and takes longer - even if I ignore getting us to the station, parking whilst there and the same at the other end...

The car also gets used for most "multiple person" journeys of significant length (for a child), or journeys with significant load (a half tonne trailer load to the tip, or a full PA setup for a gig)

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John Robson
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Re: Nuclear Power Generating

No - but their construction and maintenance aren't exactly death toll free are they...

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Safe Harbour ruled INVALID: Facebook 'n' pals' data slurp at risk

John Robson
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Re: Monolithic global companies

Maye a touch premature - but I notice in the next ElReg article on the matter:

"No matter how much Brussels bureaucrats want their latest Safe Harbour fudge to work - the cat's out of the bag. US companies that export data are fundamentally illegal in Europe."

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John Robson
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Re: Monolithic global companies

@Vimes

No - they cannot, see Dr Mouse's respone.

US law directly contravenes EU law in this area - you cannot comply with both.

MS are in court at the moment for trying to comply...

What has the world come to - I'm supporting MS business practices?!

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John Robson
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Monolithic global companies

Simply can't deal with multiple sets of legislation...

When was that a surprise?

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GCHQ's exploding doughnut threatens to ooze into innocent field

John Robson
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Just insist that they all bike to work - far easier to fit in the bikes...

Motorbikes or pedal bikes...

Or more realistically - just insist that they do the multistorey car park at the same time

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If the Internet of Things scares you now: Cisco's CEO is bent on hooking up robots, everything

John Robson
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Because rushing a project

Always means that testing ans security get given as much time as they need... right...

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Rise of der Maschinen: Daimler trials ROBOT LORRY in Germany

John Robson
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He's there to fill the tank and drive between the depot and the motorway slip road. Then from the slip road to the destination...

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

John Robson
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Careful

Even the trees have ears in VR

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Rocketeers aim for the Moon with first-stage £600k tin-rattle

John Robson
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Re: Honesty?

Yes - but there is a serious chance they won't even launch (and I don't mean failure at aunch, I mean they won't get to the launchpad....

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John Robson
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Honesty?

"Chris added: "I said right at the start of this project, if we take other people's money to do this, it's probably OK if we fail, as long as we genuinely try to do it and show people that we're trying properly along the way and not just coming up with a lot of waffle.""

Crikey...

You also need to have said up front that there is a real chance of failure, which you just did I suppose...

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Asus ZenPad 10 Z300C: Cheap tab, dock combo you can turn up to 11

John Robson
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Transformer...

They had it so right - no physcial connection (and therefore no battery boost), no USB ports/SD cards in the keyboard? No touchpad?

Oh well, another device I won't buy.

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Boffins: We know what KILLED the DINOS – and it wasn't just an asteroid

John Robson
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Re: Carl Sagan.

Like the dolphins - So long and thanks for all the fish...

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Bezos battery-box bomb beef brouhaha begins as UK watchdog hauls Amazon to court

John Robson
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Re: Not being able to ship electonic devices conitaining batteries is a joke in 2015.

@MacGyver - Pressurise the cargo hold with an inert gas...

There is often live cargo in the hold, so this might not be a great plan...

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Intel doubles capacity and speed of PCIe flash card

John Robson
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You don't - you hotswap the server

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Elon Musk unmasks Tesla's Model X – the $132k anti-bioweapon SUV for the 1%

John Robson
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Re: When I heard about...

What door handles...

Well, it does have door handles, although given that the door just opens as you approach (how much of a pain might that be on a drive - "no I just wanted to walk to the corner shop") and the falcon doors appear to be touchscreen controlled, I'm not sure why they bother with handles at all...

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Verisign opens up its DNS

John Robson
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2620:74:1b::1:1 / 2620:74:1c::2:2

Hmm - this is another reason IPv6 is a PITA - configuring DNS servers in the first place...

At least the addresses are reasonably abbreviated, but 8.8.8.8 is far easier to remember, and type

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AF-FIR-MAT-IVE: Second suspension for robot-voice helldesker

John Robson
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Hello, Bank of England

Works well, I often answer the desk phone as such.

It's not a helpdesk phone though, and the number of people who call me on it is rather limited.

Unfortunately I have to credit it to the jokers who did all the glass blowing at university - I needed a couple of bespoke flasks for an experiment, and that response is really offputting - even when you know you dialled an internal number.

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