* Posts by SkippyBing

727 posts • joined 21 May 2008

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Lights out for Space Vehicle Number 23: UK smacked when US sat threw GPS out of whack

SkippyBing

Re: 'precision docking of oil tankers, as well as navigation'

What's 'precision docking of oil tankers' if it isn't navigation?!

Okay technically it's pilotage but it's pretty much the same thing.

As an aside I've seen it used to synchronise frequency hopping radios and the operator was completly unaware the numbers on the display had anything to do with the geographic position. Still it was handy to know his phone number for when there was an exercise fire on the bridge and we had to navigate from the upper deck.

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Boeing's X-Wing 737 makes first flight

SkippyBing

Re: Less drag, not more lift

'Given that lift force is proportional to the volume of low pressure air above the wing'

Not according to NASA oddly enough https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/right2.html

Also the maths doesn’t work out if you calculate the force the pressure drop would produce.

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Why the Sun is setting on the Boeing 747

SkippyBing

Re: Really?

I've only looked at the 727, DC-10 and the L-1011 but I can only find one example where the centre engine failed and caused damage to the controls, the Sioux City crash. That's not to say there weren't others but they don't seem to be as common as I thought.

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SkippyBing

Re: Some dodgy facts in there

Although I think most cases of the tail engine failing and causing ‘difficulties’ were with the DC-10 the rather rapidly developed competitor to the L-1011 Tristar. It probably helped that the Tristar had 4 hydraulic systems versus the DC-10’s 3 as, in the only case I can find, of a Tristar having an uncontained engine failure it retained control with the one working system.

Having said that statistically the DC-10 was more likely to kill you by having the cargo door fail and the control runs being crushed in the subsequent explosive decompression, than due to an uncontained failure of the tail engine. Or from one of the engines falling off. Or from one of the other engines having an uncontained failure dislodging a window and the passenger being sucked out.

To be honest I think they were just badly designed rather than the three engine configuration being a bad idea…

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Five technologies you shouldn't bother looking out for in 2016

SkippyBing

@Will Godfrey

So if I spend the money to properly insulate my home, have radiator stats in all rooms and a new boiler, and then figure out how to sensibly set up a timer to accommodate my random-ish schedule I can leave it running all day with negligible increased costs. Or, I could buy a smart thermostat and have decreased running cost. Hmmm, it's hard to know what to go for...

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SkippyBing

Agreed, i probably don't go straight home from work about the third of the time on an unpredictable basis, so being able to stop the house from pointlessly heating itself up until I'm actually going to be there is saving me a nice chunk of my gas bill. It may even pay for itself in the first year of use.

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Four Boys' Own style World War Two heroes to fire your imagination

SkippyBing

Re: Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown

Vic, I suspect we have near identical book shelves...

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SkippyBing

Re: Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown

He's also done 'Wings of the Navy' featuring RN and USN aircraft and 'Wings of the Weird and Wonderful' which feature some of the more notable examples of his test flying career. I think he's done one on the Miles M.52 as well.

I've heard him talk twice and if you get the chance I'd highly recommend taking it.

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West Virginia mulls mother of all muni networks – effectively a state-wide, state-run ISP

SkippyBing

Re: "will be in direct competition"

Competition is a good thing, except where one of your competitors can ignore the rules they wrote and throw an effectively infinite pile of someone else's money at their business. That's not to say I don't think government supply of services is a bad thing, having seen the entirely average level of service my friends in the USA get from their ISP it's hard to see how the government could do a worse job.

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Boeing just about gives up on the 747

SkippyBing

Re: "They claimed that (...) there would be no demand for large aircraft like the A380"

I read in Flight about a year ago that the A380 had hit break even at something like 180 orders, over a third of which had gone to Emirates, but that they weren't really getting a lot more coming in.

Actually I've just looked, Emirates now have total orders for 140 out of a world total of 317 firm orders. They've had 69 of the 176 now delivered.

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SkippyBing

I think that's something to do with a USAF requirement for Air Force 1 to be able to depart with one engine broken (possibly by gunfire) lose another during the take-off roll and still fly away. It's very hard to get a twin engined aircraft to do that.

As an aside I don't think a twin airliner has ever been lost due to multiple engine failures from techinal causes. Running out of fuel or hitting geese yes but you wouldn't be any better off in a four engined plane for the former and the latter would probably be marginal just after take-off in a fully laden airliner.

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Thousands fled TalkTalk after gigantic hack, confirm researchers

SkippyBing

People Joined?!

I left the poorly enacted farce that is Talk Talk, the hacking being the straw that broke the camel's back, the pissing on the camel's carcass was them continuing to bill me. I can't believe people actually joined though, what were they thinking?!

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TalkTalk outage: Dial M for Major cockup

SkippyBing

Re: Gone but not forgotten

Oddly they're still taking my money too. I'm working up a suitably irritated tirade to email to Harding as I can't be bothered dealing with their call centre after the hour it took them to tell me the wifi on my router was broken, which was what I told them the problem was at the start...

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FAA introduces unworkable drone registration rules in time for Christmas

SkippyBing

500' Rule

I'm not 100% up to speed on FAA Regulations, but when I learnt to fly there over a decade ago I think you had to be more than 500' from any person, object or structure, not the ground.

A quick google came up with

FAR 91.119 - Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.

Which does raise the issue of drones being flown in sparsely populated areas.

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If it still works six months from now, count yourself lucky

SkippyBing

In defence of Windows based laptops my Toshiba Satellite purchased in 2007 is still going strong despite having circumnavigated the globe, going to Iraq and bouncing round various ships. I did once take it apart to vacuum out the sand from the deserts of the Middle East but even that failed to kill it off. To be fair it now runs Linux Mint but only because Win XP become obsolete and the Win 10 trial didn’t really indicate I’d get blinding performance from that…

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Roamers rejoice! Google Maps gets offline regional navigation

SkippyBing

Re: But then how will they track you

'unless they upload all the intervening Position Metadata when you reconnect to the Internet again?

'

Oh they do, I turned my phone's GPS on 5 or 6 times on a transatlantic flight to check if they did. After landing and getting to my friends I checked out my Google location history and sure enough rather than a great circle route from London to LA it joined the dots of where I'd had the GPS on.

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Cash injection fuels SABRE spaceplane engine

SkippyBing

Re: Someone's been watching

I'm sure I remember watching or reading something where the inventor of the engine said it was Thunderbirds that had got him in to the whole rocket scientist thing in the first place.

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British killer robot takes out two Britons in Syria strike

SkippyBing

Re: So when can we expect

Here's a hint, it's very hard to train someone to shoot-to-maim. You teach them to aim at the centre of mass, because it means they're most likely to actually hit the target. It also means they'll probably be dead because that's where the vital organs are.

Ironically if you could teach troops to shoot-to-maim you would because every injured troop requires another one to carry him off the battlefield. Dead ones can wait.

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SkippyBing

Re: The bravery of being out of range

Versus the stupidity of being in range.

Or to put it another way, 'Never get in a fair fight, there's a 50/50 chance you'll lose'

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SkippyBing

Re: where is the proof ?

'You mean the Syrian government?'

No he means the Iraqi government, maybe read a newspaper or something it's been going on for months.

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SkippyBing

Re: And it's convenient that those villains won't be able to present their case

Well if you're volunteering to go to Syria and 'scoop them up for some proper questioning' you crack on.

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Northrop wins $55bn contract for next-gen bomber – as America says bye-bye to B-52

SkippyBing

Re: "...packed with the latest technology..."

'You only put in the "redundant" (sic) wiring that any idiot can foresee will be required. You just put it in early to make your life easier down the road.'

The B-52 has been in service for over 50 years, if you can see that far into the future for wiring requirements could you tell me next year's grand national winner?

Incidentally the lift fan on the F-35 was a known compromise, the FUBAR is the data fusion on the sensors which has not gone to plan. The lag on the helmet's synthetic vision (lets you see through the floor) makes you wonder how Oculus Rift do it.

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SkippyBing

Re: "...packed with the latest technology..."

There are standards for avionics, shockingly, the issue is you don't want lots of redundant wiring in an aircraft if you can avoid it as it takes away from the available payload, be that fuel, passengers or weapons.

As for a tech refresh in the last possible month in the design phase, they probably did, it can take a few years to fully assess the tenders once they're in on such a complex programme. You don't want to be too cutting edge or you'll end up with an F-35 style FUBAR.

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SkippyBing

Re: Just remember...

The cost was prohibitive because the development costs for a 100 aircraft programme became spread over 21 aircraft when some bright spark decided they needed to make cost savings. Once you've done the R&D you don't save much, if any, by cutting back on the production run. A lesson the bean counters on either side of the Atlantic seemingly refuse to learn.

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Job alert: Is this the toughest sysadmin role on Earth? And are you badass enough to do it?

SkippyBing

Re: If I were thirty years younger

'classified military operations'

I find it interesting you think only the military have secrets...

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US Navy grabs old-fashioned sextants amid hacker attack fears

SkippyBing

Re: Oh dear oh dear

I remember being taught Astro-Nav in the Navy* back at the start of the century. My abiding memory is of the instructor saying not to worry if we didn't remember too much of the lessons as if we had to use it for real there'd be plenty of time to read the instructions in the almanac while we waited to take the midday sighting, or for the stars to come out.

*The original one.

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Facebook's UK wing paid just £4k in corporation tax last year

SkippyBing

'On a company the size of facebook'

But then most of Facebook isn't in the UK so oddly enough it won't pay most of its tax here. In fact as we're currently in the EU I'm surprised they pay any here instead of in Luxembourg...

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American Airlines: TITSUP computers ground US flights

SkippyBing

Yup, although that wasn't IT related, the captain just failed to notice ETOPS wasn't written on any of the aircraft's paperwork. Or the aircraft. To be fair an easier mistake to make than you'd think.

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Sony's 4King with us now: Xperia Z5 mobe has UltraHD screen, cam

SkippyBing

Re: Unfortunately...

You did take the plastic film off the glass didn't you? I took it off mine after the first month or so and in two and a half years it's scratch free despite a couple of face plants on concrete (the phone not me).

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US Air Force: 'Loose tweets destroy fleets'

SkippyBing

Past... Probably not, the USAF really do have enough planes to do that. It's called an elephant walk and they do it because they can.

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MoD splashes £1.5bn on 10-year IT deal to 'keep pace with threats'

SkippyBing

Re: What baffles me is

You need access to the network to see your pay and administration workflow and send emails asking WTF is going on. To access the network you need to use a computer via a unique log-on. Ergo everyone needs a licence.

Although to be fair the Army didn't used to trust its junior ranks to even look at their pay and admin details online so there's probably a saving to be had there.

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Marshall wants to turn your phone UP TO ELEVEN

SkippyBing

Re: So it's not really a phone ?

And a removable battery, I'll wait for the reviews but it looks like it ticks a lot of boxes.

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Goodbye Vulcan: Blighty's nuclear bomber retires for the last time

SkippyBing

Re: Why is it painted green UNDERNEATH?

Initially they were painted white underneath, or some sort of sky colour, it was found during exercises in the US and Canada that when they banked at low level it rather gave the position away. So they gave it a wraparound camouflage. Yes they were flying that low, at altitude it’s all a bit irrelevant and grey is a better bet.

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Britain beats back Argies over Falklands online land grab

SkippyBing

Re: Argies are too late @Flocke Kroes

- No its not. I am old enough to have heard the same thing said about Northern Ireland.

That's the Northern Ireland that's still part of the UK right?

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Virgin Galactic will get into space 'within 18 months to two years'

SkippyBing

Re: Unless you go round at least once ...

As far as the FAI, and indeed NASA, care you just have to get above the Kármán line which is handily at 100km.

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Airbus confirms software brought down A400M transport plane

SkippyBing

Re: Is there any reason for the Spandsh to block the black bod data?

But, not releasing the black box data to the aviation accident investigation authority responsible is in contravention of international treaty (Annex 13 of the International Treaty on Civil Aviation, I think) for aviation accident investigation. Aviation accident investigation is purely to prevent reoccurence and not to accord blame. There is a slight question over whether this was a civil or military accident, however as it was being flown on a test by an Airbus crew I'd think it was civil at this stage as it hadn't been handed over to the Spanish Air Force.

Of course it's an interesting move by Airbus to confirm the cause of the crash without the data from the black boxes as that may reveal other information.

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RAF Eurofighter gets a Battle of Britain makeover

SkippyBing

'*both* pilots looking at the camera as well...'

Probably both looking at the aircraft the camera is on so they can maintain formation with it...

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SkippyBing

'Interesting that the leading edges / nose are left grey... #iwonderwhy'

The nose cone at least needs to have a radar transparent paint on otherwise the returning wigglies might not got back to the antenna. Presumably they don't stock one in an appropriate colour so it stayed grey.

The leading edges may also be coated in some sort of special paint that affects radar wigglies...

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Airbus warns of software bug in A400M transport planes

SkippyBing

Re: Fail Safe?

'but wouldn't "just stay as you are" be better than "all stop"'

Not if you're on fire.

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Use your Apple gizmos only for good, says Tim Cook

SkippyBing

Re: cook meeting wallace

'According to internet' and the Drive-By Truckers on the album Southern Rock Opera. Who I trust more than the internet. I mean it's not a ringing endorsement, but he did recant.

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Feds: Bloke 'HACKED PLANE controls' – from his PASSENGER seat

SkippyBing

Re: Not total madness, just 90%.

I suspect the position information is at least from a separate GPS antenna, at least judging by the BA flight I was on to Jordan where the position on the map would go 10 miles forwards and then jump back to the current position every five seconds.

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SkippyBing

Seconded, if you increase power to one engine you'll initiate a turn but it's not going to go sideways.

It sounds like whoever wrote the Feds press release should be working for the Daily Mail...

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Facebook echo chamber: Or, the British media and the election

SkippyBing

Re: @AC (the fucking idiot) @fruitoftheloon

"The one which left us with a 30 % budget deficit which was reduced to 15 % in two years under Labour."

By sticking to Conservative spending plans.

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Easy ... easy ... Aw CRAP! SpaceX rocket ALMOST lands on ocean hoverbase

SkippyBing

Re: Just a thought:

Thanks for that! Interesting choice as I would have thought a barge would be the worst thing for the open ocean!! I'll have to do some reading to see what modifications they've done to it.

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SkippyBing

Re: Just a thought:

I suspect the barge is a SWATH (Small Water Area Twin Hull) style design. Imagine it as a platform sat on two submarines. The buoyancy is provided by the submerged bodies, the pillars connecting them to the platform are narrow in cross section, think of an aerofoil, this means as the waves pass along the vessel there's very little change in the submerged volume, hence little change in buoyancy or vertical movement of the platform. Without anchoring it to the seabed that's about as stable as you'll get.

It will still move with the swell but that's actually fairly predictable and normally quite a long time period unless you're in the sort of sea states where frankly you'd be better of crashing the rocket into the sea.

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UK spaceport, phase two: Now where do we PUT the bleeding thing?

SkippyBing

Re: Gibraltar?

Or you could use the actual runway, it's a bit better suited for that sort of thing...

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Tim Cook chills the spines of swingers worldwide

SkippyBing

Once a day?!

My car fob recharges itself when it's in the car, it's completely independent from my watches one of which is automatic and needs servicing once a decade and the other two about once every three years. They don't nag me either.

And yet I fear this is a case of build a worse mouse trap and people will still beat a path to your door because it's shiny.

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Don't pay for the BBC? Then no Doctor Who for you, I'm afraid

SkippyBing

Re: handing the future to Murdoch

"print media.. or TV media... one or the other but you cant own both".

So you agree the BBC should stop printing magazines or broadcasting?

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Marconi: The West of England's very own Italian wireless pioneer

SkippyBing

Re: Lizard is the southwestern most point of Britain…

The Lizard Point is the most southerly point of the mainland UK not the most south westerly.

Land's End is the most westerly point of mainland England which seems a much lesser achievement.

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For pity's sake, you FOOL! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it WORSE

SkippyBing

Re: This story just goes to prove...

"[...] AZERTY keyboards for no other apparent reason [...]"

My first job post Uni was working in tech support for BP France. Obviously most of their keyboards were AZERTY, I touch type in QWERTY. So I just used the option in Windows to use it as a UK keyboard. This went down less well with my two finger typing colleagues...

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