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* Posts by SkippyBing

601 posts • joined 21 May 2008

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Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight

SkippyBing
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Re: Flight Route

I'd imagine it's because they don't want to take something that delicate through the inter tropical convergence zone (ITCZ). That's a more or less permanent line of thunderstorms around the equator, there's a degree of modification with time of year and land mass but either way the massive updrafts can push planes way above their operating limits, Flight of the Mew Gull by Alex Henshaw gives a vivid account of flying through it at night.

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5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

SkippyBing
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Re: Rolls-Royce monitoring system

I guess that can be turned off as well!? Yes, or at least the transmitter part can.

Just about every electrical component on an aircraft can be isolated, it's almost as if they're worried about fire. This is a requirement of the certification regulations which for a Boeing 777 is probably FAR part 25.

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

SkippyBing
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Re: A simple test…

'One problem though is that the satellite will presumably be in a different position'

That'd be an interesting geostationary satellite if it is...

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SkippyBing
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Re: Another interesting hypothesis

'More likely the plane would be hit when on the ground, due to time plane is on the ground vs. airborne.'

Due to the cost of parking at an international airport most in service airliners spend more time airborne than on the ground.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Spy satellite?

Re positive control, if you can figure out how to actively monitor the airspace more than ~200NM from land so they can do that then I suggest you patent it before going public. Once you're out of radar cover it's procedural reporting of the airliners position by the crew. To date this has proven remarkably reliable, in several decades they've only mislaid about 1 jet airliner.

Re spy satellites, oddly they tend not to monitor the open ocean on a regular basis because there's not a lot there to look at, the odd ship maybe but it's not an efficient way of doing it. You are effectively looking down a straw at the surface of the Earth, so you have to know where to look before you can make out the detail. Repositioning a satellite to scan the search area is an expensive task, although at the rate it's currently expanding that may change...

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SkippyBing
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Re: Ping

I don't see why, the only satellite that would have been listening for them is the INMARSAT over the Indian Ocean. Others may have been in a position to receive it, but unless they were listening out for it it's unlikely they'd even log it.

The other problem you'd have is that the INMARSAT knows when it transmitted the signal so has the round trip time to give a range, other satellites wouldn't have that information. You could possibly recreate something with timestamps but I doubt they're of the accuracy you'd need to get a decent fix, even half a second at the speed of light is a long way.

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SkippyBing
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Re: That arc seems a bit simplistic to me

I believe that's what they've done, which is why you see two arcs, starting an hours flying after the last known position, rather than a circle.

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SkippyBing
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As I understand it, the arcs are the 5 or 6 pings joined together.

Remember, they know where the plane started from so you're only interested in the bit of the first range ring that's within a sensible distance of that. I.e. draw the range ring on a map. then draw a ring representing the max distance the airliner could have gone since its last transmission and where they intersect is your first point. Repeat for the next 5 pings and you get a line, as you only have the range you can't tell whether it went north or south.

The line they've drawn is really a datum to search from, there could be quite a bit of deviation from it depending on the actual speed of the airliner, but if the range to the satellite is changing you have to assume the aircraft is moving.

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Malaysia Airlines mystery: Click here for the TRUTH

SkippyBing
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Re: So what is going on?

'What is its actual spatial resolution of genuine radar echoes?'

It depends on a variety of things, but mainly the ratio of the wavelength to the dish size, the bigger the dish the tighter the beam, and the pulse length i.e. the time the radar is transmitting for. The problem is the longer the range you want the worse these factors become as you need to pump enough energy into a pulse to get a detectable return after its travelled several hundred miles.

Even if your beam is 1/2 a degree in width by the time you've hit 120 miles it'll be a mile wide and probably half a mile or so in depth (this doesn't change with range).

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SkippyBing
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Re: So what is going on?

'Someone needs to urgently re-do the risk analysis here. Yes, there's a (tiny?) fire risk in having some active electronics on a plane that cannot be disabled by any volitional act in flight.'

Put it this way, you've heard of one aircraft disappearing which may have been helped by the transponder being turned off. What you don't hear about is the hundreds of times the crew have had to turn it off for whatever reason, e.g. fire, or in the kind of underpowered things I fly load-shedding so the battery will last longer when the generator fails.

I'd say the risk to life from not being able to selectively isolate every bit of electrical equipment is greater than that from someone using that ability for nefarious purposes.

There's an analysis here: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-sabotage-most-common-factor-in-en-route-accidents-396830/ of the 46 jet airliner en-route fatal accidents, which I think puts this case into perspective in terms of numbers.

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SkippyBing
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Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

'And formidable, victorious, courageous, and majestic.'

Not to mention Implacable and Audacious...

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Elon Musk slams New Jersey governor over Tesla direct sales ban

SkippyBing
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Re: "Unless they are referring to the mafia version of 'protection'"

'Haven't we learned from bank bailouts, rate fixing and auto maker bailouts that free markets are a total joke'. At least two of those aren't examples of free markets. In a free market the banks would have been allowed to fail allowing the banks that weren't run by a colony of inept monkeys to take over their share of the market, ditto the auto makers. Unfortunately we don't have a free market because that wouldn't allow politicians to look like they're doing something.

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Frenchman eyes ocean domination with floating, mobile Bond villain lair

SkippyBing
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Bit League Division 2

I mean any self respecting evil genius would have a heli-pad on their aquatic lair. Certainly I'm not stumping up 40 Million Euro unless they add one.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Not ideal for supervillains

Yeah, but it's a big ass ocean to search.

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Fandroids get their very own PERVY SMUT browser

SkippyBing
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'The most effective form of control is one that people do themselves.'

If I had self control it wouldn't be a problem!

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Ofcom says yes to sat broadband on PLANES (and trains and ships)

SkippyBing
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I think there may be issues with atmospheric attenuation, there's a lot less air between a plane and a satellite than there is between two planes at any decent range. Plus on something like a trans-Atlantic flight you'd be out of line of sight of anything in vicinity of land for most of the time anyway, obviouly you could relay through multiple aircraft but that would probably require a level of cooperation between airlines that they're unlikely to go for.

I suspect it may be easier tracking a geostationary satellite than another aircraft as well, the latter is a lot less predictable.

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LOHAN develops amazing mind-reading powers

SkippyBing
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Masthead

I've just noticed what happens when you mouse over the mast head image. Very nice, more of this kind of thing!

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Google stabs Wikipedia in the front

SkippyBing
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In the Rolls-Royce case, currently only BMW can manufacture and sell cars under the RR name as they brought the licence from RR Aero, who own the rights to the name but have been a separate company since 1973 when the government separated them due to the costs of developing the RB211 (now Trent) turbofan.

Oddly you could have Googled this and got the information from Wikipedia...

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Pinterest who? EU rules social network CAN'T trademark its own name

SkippyBing
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Presumably people in their market have? Otherwise you're saying if a company isn't widely known because it works in a niche area it's trading name can be taken by one that is.

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What is the difference between a drone, a model and a light plane?

SkippyBing
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Re: Do it for real . . .

I got my fixed wing PPL in the states back in '97 for around £2000 + flights & food, the accommodation was included in the price of the licence. You can either get an FAA licence and then convert it to an EASA* one when you get back to the UK, or go to one of the places that has EASA licensed examiners and get an EASA licence which is what I did. If you can spare the three weeks or so off I'd definitely recommend it as you can do two or three flights in a day and really notice your progression. Plus flying down Daytona beach and past Kennedy Space Centre isn't something you'd get to do on your UK Nav flights!

*When I did it it was the CAA but it's the same difference.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Think they're against GA?

I don't think that'd be a major problem, for instance TCAS doesn't really care what the course of the other aircraft is, it just plots the bearing of the contact and its range, for an advisory it calculates the rate of closure to see if you're going to hit. For anything moving at a moderate speed a para-glider would be more or less a stationary contact. It should also reduce the ATC traffic reports where they can only tell you there's something near where you are, possibly, based on two faint radar returns and you spend the next few minutes being overly paranoid. Lots of returns in the same area shouldn't be a problem, although ATC may want to put a filter on that area if it gets too much.

Personally I'm in favour of anything that makes it more likely I won't hit the slow moving white thing against a background of slow moving white things, but apparantly glider pilots are less concerned about being hit because their planes blend in with the clouds.

Having said that I think it'll be another generation of transponders before there's one that's practical for use in unpowered air vehicles without having to carry a massive battery.

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Mosquitoes, Comets and Vampires: The de Havilland Museum

SkippyBing
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I understand that the wood may have been invisible to radar, but what about the engines, they seem to be mostly lumps of metal with lots of lovely corner reflectors to return a signal. Not to mention the various other metal fittings inside the beast.

As for being offered Italian troops, I shall refer you to an Admiralty report on the Italian Navy prior to WW1 which essentially said, 'in the event of war we'd rather the Italian Navy was on our side, but on the whole it doesn't really matter'.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Not the whole story about DH

'Another design flaw - they were very very dangerous to land on deck'

No more than any other carrier aircraft of the time to be honest and some of the US ones were worse*. The bigger problem with the Vixen was getting out of it in an emergency, the Observers ejector seat had a tendency to get stuck which lead to quite a high fatality rate even where there was plenty of time to sort things out. It was improved with the later hatch which you could eject through rather than having to jettison, certainly worked for my old man.

It's also worth bearing in mind that the prototype Vixen that crashed at Farnborough was pushing the limits of what was possible at the time and the stresses on the airframe weren't fully understood by anyone. Mind you I still don't get putting square windows in the Comet.

*There seemed to be a much greater tolerance for fatalities in the '60s, most probably due to a number of personnel having served in the war and being slightly inured to it.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Mosquito

'the only jet to see squadron service during the war,'

Which does raise the question of what the RAF's 616 Squadron were flying from mid-44 onwards if it wasn't a jet fighter... <cough> Meteor </cough>

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SkippyBing
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No, it was actually a target, it may also be the origin of the term 'Drone' for an unmanned aircraft, because it was a bee...

Bear in mind at the time they probably cost less than a few few shells for a battle ship so the expense wasn't that great and they 'optionally manned' to use the current term so it's not as if you couldn't get some use out of them first.

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Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence

SkippyBing
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'“We think it would be great if the BBC made Radio 1 or Radio 2 DAB only!”, Paul Keenan, Bauer CEO told the Go Digital festival'

I think it'd be great if Paul Keenan gave me all his money while being forced to listen to a legion of babbling DAB radios. Isn't it fun making up things that'll never happen...

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Excise Xmas prezzie indecision MISERY with El Reg’s gift guide²

SkippyBing
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Re: Hard-learned lesson

" just bear in mind that as soon as you give someone any present that requires a plug or has an on/off function you are responsible for its correct operation forever"

And yet somehow it never occurs to them to call the f****ng support number until you mention it. Incidentally Asus tech support talked my Mum through fixing a problem with her Transformer over the phone so they get a big thumbs up from me.

Now I'm off to Google how to solve a problem with a software package I don't have on an operating system I don't own as apparently I'm still the best person to ask from 200 miles away...

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REVEALED: How YOU PAY extra for iPHONES - even if you DON'T HAVE ONE

SkippyBing
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This real world thing, how does posting anonymously on an internet forum fit in with that?

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SILENCE of the OWLS may mean real-life 'Whisper Mode' for Black Helicopters

SkippyBing
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Re: Cavitation.

Cavitation only really happens when you're pushing the blades through the water faster than they're designed to go. There's still plenty of noise from propller blades without cavitation happening which this could possibly address assuming the greater density of water doesn't preclude the techniques being applicable.

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Vulture 2 spaceplane STRIPPED to the bone

SkippyBing
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Re: Dihedral

I'd imagine the lack of dihedral is from a desire to keep the thrust line and centre of lift aligned to minimise any pitching moment when turning the rocket on and off.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Dihedral

To be fair the Bell X-1 didn't have dihedral and it was mostly a glider. In fact substitute a B-52 for a balloon and it's pretty much the same flight profile. Mostly...

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FLIGHTMARE! Inflight cell calling debuts, dealing heavy blow to quality of life

SkippyBing
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Re: Kneel

“I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things”

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Google Street View goes INSIDE a Royal Navy submarine

SkippyBing
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Re: Upholder class

I was talking to someone recently who was of the opinion that as we've failed to procure major military projects to time or cost since the days of Samuel Pepys* it might be an idea to accept this failing and allow for it at the start of the contract, rather than continuing to be astounded by a level of incompetence** that's been ongoing for several hundred years.

*It's apparently mentioned in his diaries.

**By all parties involved.

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SR-71 Blackbird follow-up: A new TERRIFYING Mach 6 spy-drone bomber

SkippyBing
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Re: SkippyBing Remember battlecrusiers?

Matt, I'll try and ignore the ad hominem attacks in my response.

Did the UK have the best air defence network in the world at the start of the BoB? Yes, however my point was that their plan for the use of the fighter once the intercept was coordinated was poor, i.e. having a section of fighters take it in turns to line up behind the enemy bomber and engage it while the tail gunner had a perfect shot. Never mind the original concept of use for the turret fighter. My point was that they had to rapidly relearn the basics such as operating as a number of two ships rather than having a whole squadron try and manoeuvre its way around the sky in formation.

Similarly in Vietnam the aircraft that performed best in air to air combat were the older ones as they'd been taught it, whereas it had been assumed the Phantom would never need to under the new concept of operations. Hence the response of setting up Top Gun et al as a response to the poor performance of the F-4 in the air to air arena, or are you saying it was set up for different reasons? It's a particularly literal reading of my post to assume I meant the entire USAF had forgotten about dog fighting. My point was they'd had to do something to address the lack of ACM training for a large part of their fleet as they'd thought it was no longer relevant to the next generation of aircraft.

I'm not sure how you prove I'm very wrong to say " it's the speed and range that's increased, including the detection range" and then go on to say how the range of various sensors and weapons has increased, like I said it had.

Regarding kill ratios there are various ways of reading the results in South East Asia, and it's hard to know the true story. For instance after the engagement where Cunningham and Driscoll became the USN's only F-4 aces they had to eject due to damage sustained in combat. The US don't count that as a kill for the NVAF as it happened after the encounter, whereas they'd be quite happy to count a NVAF aircraft that crashed on landing as a kill for anyone who'd fired shots at it.

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SkippyBing
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Re: SkippyBing Remember battlecrusiers?

"the turning dogfight of WW1 evolved into the vertical fighting of WW2"

I was thinking more of the basic employment of the fighter, which the RAF had to relearn during the Battle of Britain having come up with a range of frankly barking tactics during the 20s and 30s.

" Their training and equipment was designed for shooting down Russian nuke bombers over Europe or Alaska."

So yes, they had to relearn basic fighter manoeuvre , hence Top Gun and the USAF Aggressor program.

" but even this is different nowadays as the "seeing" is often done by long-range radar, IR sensors or long-range TV."

Thanks I did wonder what all that equipment hanging of the front of my helicopter was for, who knew it was for long range "seeing". As I said, the basics are the same it's the speed and range that's increased, including the detection range.

Going back to the US kills in Vietnam, they may have claimed ~200 kills but they did lose almost 10 times that, whereas the Israelis have lost 18 aircraft in air to air combat since 1948.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Remember battlecrusiers?

"More importantly, most genuine experianced air to air combat pilots, even Israeli will have retired from front line service since they were last needed"

It doesn't stop the basic maxims of combat being true though, who do you think writes the manuals?

Nothing's really changed since WW1 apart from the speed and range of the combatants. Something the US had to relearn during Vietnam, although I grant you they may have more kills than the Israelis. At the same time in terms of relative numbers I'd argue the Israelis have more experience, which comes from the majority of neighbouring countries wanting your destruction. Apparently even this century they've been busy bombing Syrian reactors and shooting down various drones.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Remember battlecrusiers?

Well, since 1947 they've destroyed ~600 enemy aircraft in air to air combat, and been in 5 major wars/conflicts i.e. the War of Independence, Sinai Conflict, Six Day War, the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War. Not to mention the Entebbe hostage rescue and taking out Iraq's nuclear programme in an air raid.

I'm unaware of another air force that's been as busy since WW2.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Remember battlecrusiers?

'Speed is Life' - The Israeli Air Force, who have more combat experience than most.

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Snowden: Oh, PLEASE let me come to Germany and help Merkel with her phone

SkippyBing
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Re: @AC

"their security services are, thinking they have the right to spy on everyone else"

That's kind of what security services do, especially the spying ones. If I was funding the NSA and they weren't spying on everyone they could I'd be pretty pissed off.

Obviously no spy agency thinks they have the right to do these things, otherwise they wouldn't try so hard not to get caught.

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'Tablet' no longer means 'iPad': Apple share PLUMMETS below 30%

SkippyBing
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"For that you need a sustainable hardware business model, a healthy ecosystem for developers, and happy end users"

I don't know Microsoft managed years without the last one of those...

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New iPad mini gobbles Retina display, 64-bit brain, puts on little weight

SkippyBing
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Innovation

So just to confirm, putting a faster processor and higher resolution screen in something is now 'innovation'? Well I suppose they've devalued the word 'genius' as far as they could, may as well start on another one.

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Leaky security could scuttle global ship-tracking system

SkippyBing
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Re: GPS spoofing

'If you wanted to cause a ship to alter course, wouldn't it be easier to spoof local GPS signals?'

Depends on what your goal was. If you want to create an alteration of course in a limited geographic area it's probably a better bet to inject a ghost ship into AIS as the ship's reaction is fairly predictable, it'll turn right*. GPS would work if you wanted it to end up somewhere different at the end of its voyage, i.e. it'd be quite noticeable if you made such a large shift that it made a 10 degree alteration of course within a few miles. Depending on your target vessel of course, you'de have to have fairly unobservant crew to not notice a tanker avoiding a non-existent ship.

*Slightly simplified but this is the general solution for all give way vessels in the international regulations for avoiding collision at sea. Give way vessels are the ones that have to give way to the stand on vessel and to make things easy, if you can see the other boats red navigation lights you're the give way vessel.

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Leveson: My Whingers' Charter™ is PERFECT, you impudent MPs

SkippyBing
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'That you think the whole phone-hacking thing can be prevented in the future by just saying sorry?'

Or the Police doing their actual job of arresting criminals rather than accepting bribes from them...

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Apple's new non-feline Mac operating system, OS X Mavericks, ready to go

SkippyBing
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Ahh Compton. I've been there once, in a helicopter, it actually has an airfield which threw me somewhat. The 'I've heard it all before' tone in the voice of the air traffic controller as I reported I was 'straight out of Compton' did tarnish the experience somewhat.

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Massively leaked iFail 5S POUNDS pundits, EXCITES chavs

SkippyBing
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Re: No need for revolution

Which I agree with, the problem is Apple make such a song and dance about the release of a modest update. If they'd just put out a press release or mentioned it along with some other stuff that would be fine but having a massive presentation that can be summed up as 'buy a faster one or a hideous plastic one' and youopen yourself up to ridicule, or at least mildly biting sarcasm.

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Headmaster calls cops, tries to dash pupil's uni dreams - over a BLOG

SkippyBing
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Re: Truth or consequences

'If I'd behaved like this towards my previous employer I'd expect them to tell any future employer.'

The difference being your school doesn't employ you and given the vast sums of money you have to pay a university to go there it's more like they're your employee.

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Smartwatch craze is all just ONE OFF THE WRIST

SkippyBing
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Re: 007 watch!

Me too, although I hate to think how fast I stuffed packets of crisps down my face to be able to send off for it the same day I saw the offer!

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Happy 50th birthday, Compact Cassette: How it struck a chord for millions

SkippyBing
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Happy

Re: The amazing walkman

I know what you mean, I've still got a Walkman WM-EX5 which I refuse to throw away despite having about two actual cassettes I could play in it! Mostly because the engineering still astounds me today, barely the size of the box the tape comes in and a slimline battery that would last for something like 36 hours of playback. Plus the mirror like cover appeals to my magpie like tendencies.

Happy memories of listening to music on it exploring whichever part of the globe my unplanned career moves took me to. Still always carry a biro on me even today...

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Loads of mis-sold PPI, but WHO will claim? This man's paid to find out

SkippyBing
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Re: How long the data is held.

@SP, there's what I should do and then there's the reality of moving several years worth of credit card statements with a balance of £0 on them. So I took the easy route.

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SkippyBing
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Re: How long the data is held.

As I understand it, as someone who briefly processed PPI claims for a big bank, they only have to keep the data back a certain number of years (six I think off the top of my head), however they may have kept it back longer. The policy where I worked was that they'd use the data back as far as they had it and then for any gap assume a linear growth rate from 0 when the account was opened to whatever the first record showed. Additionally if the customer had statements they'd accept those for the calculation, which would imply some people are a lot more rententive than I am.

To answer an earlier point, where I worked they were intitially dealing with PPI claims for people who applied, which were coming in faster than they could be processed, however there was the aspiration to subsequently deal with everyone else. I've no idea if this happened as I left after two months to work in flight safety. Although not before I'd sucessfully made my own claim against the bank, which I almost ended up processing...

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