* Posts by Neil Barnes

2461 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

Ashley Madison: ‘Our site is full of women, and members are growing’

Neil Barnes
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Re: Stop right there!

Before I go any further do you love me?

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Google's Chrome to gag noisy tabs until you click on them

Neil Barnes
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Re: 100+ tabs open in firefox

Am I doing something wrong? It's rare I have more than half a dozen tabs open...

Sound, of course, is off by default. In this case, the tab should not even download it, waiting for focus before it's played: what's the sense in using up bandwidth for what is already accepted is unlikely to be the default case?

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Google tells iOS 9 app devs: Switch off HTTPS if you want that sweet sweet ad money from us

Neil Barnes
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"the website visitor’s experience is impacted"

By the absence of adverts. This is a problem for the visitor how?

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Vote now: Who can solve a problem like Ashley Madison?

Neil Barnes
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Aye, but there's a slight, subtle difference between 'take full advantage of' and 'fix'...

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Malware menaces poison ads as Google, Yahoo! look away

Neil Barnes
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Exactly.

There are half a dozen sites I'd cheerfully pay some small token value to use, and a hundred million I'd not miss if they never showed again. Twenty two billion in lost advertising revenue? My heart bleeds... I suppose they could always get a proper job?

As before: shouting at me doesn't make me want to buy your product. If I want something, I'll search for it.

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Verizon wants to smartify old cars

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Indeed. To know where the vehicle is with pinpoint accuracy, and to be able to call emergency services, is something at which a mobile phone is rather good, without any need of connection to anything. Hell, it'll even work on my pedal-powered bicycle.

Remind me: what's the USP on this thing?

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What Ashley Madison did and did NOT delete if you paid $19 – and why it may cost it $5m+

Neil Barnes
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But... do people *really*

wander around with the GPS on their mobile phone permanently on? Unless you are actively navigating, it has *zero* utility to the user (ok, plenty of utility to the advertisers) except as a battery tester.

In this case, the GPS location is pointless unless it's updated regularly, all the time. And that's even creepier than the whole thing already is.

(I'm assuming this is a mobile-only 'service' - it's rare to see GPS on a desktop)

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Neil Barnes
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Joke

Re: Chapter 11

quite a bit of cash in the bank given how high their fees are.

Yes, but will they have to pay to withdraw it?

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Amazon to trash Flash, as browsers walk away

Neil Barnes
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It's a good start

But until the porn sites transcode their media to HTML5, flash is going to stay.

It's *always* the sex industry that decides the route of technological change - ask yourself why, for example, we had VHS video players for so long, in the face of at least two superior technologies at much the same price?

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Spanish summer soother salmorejo

Neil Barnes
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Looks a good one that, Lester

But when oh when is Katerina going to be allowed at the beer? And what happened to the official pipe?

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DIGITAL DOPING might make you a Tour de Virtual cycling champion

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

GPS altitude is a joke. There's a reason why barometric altitude is the standard for aircraft.

Vertical precision is *much* less than horizontal; there is much discussion about this on fliers fora.

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IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

Neil Barnes
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A helpful error message from FigForth, many moons ago...

Error #5: an obscure error of the fifth kind has occurred.

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Apple tries to patent facial recognition

Neil Barnes
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One trusts it will at least be limited only to contacts

but somehow, I can't see it stopping there.

"Call the witness!"

"Ah, my lord, the witness is unable to be in court today."

"And why is that?"

"Well, my lord, it seems that in photographing the crime, the facial recognition software on his phone recognised one Basher Sluggs and automatically sent a copy of the image to him. Mr Sluggs has since been in contact with the witness, who is currently undergoing facial repair surgery..."

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Assange™ is 'upset' that he WON'T be prosecuted for rape, giggles lawyer

Neil Barnes
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Pint

Re: +1 for the DR & Quinch reference

And another...

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Repeatedly robocalling? That's a paddlin' – a record $3m paddlin'

Neil Barnes
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It's a wonderful world we live in...

Here's a hint, companies: if we haven't bought your product, it's most likely because we're not interested.

When we want something, whether it's a new phone or a slitting saw or a paraglider or an insurance policy, the vast majority of us will actively search and compare for it: we neither need nor want it shoving in our face. Whether it is online adverts - fortunately, easily blocked - or haranguing us in the streets, or the appallingly rude assumption that a private communications device is intended as an advertising channel for you, it is unwanted and unwelcome.

The reporting in the UK is that cold calling sells only to the vulnerable: the old, the easily confused, and people unable to make a decision for themselves. I don't see any reason to believe it would be any different in other countries. The mark of a civilised society is how it protects such people, and the ability of these bottom feeders still to exist pushing unwanted, unnecessary, and often sub-standard products suggests that we are not, as yet, civilised.

A curse on all their houses.

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What a shower: METEORS will BLAZE a FIERY TRAIL across our skies

Neil Barnes
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Alien

Re: Weather

Well, even here in sunny Hemel we've managed the last couple of nights with ten or so an hour between eleven and one in the morning. Looks the usual cloud-fest for tonight, though :)

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Perhaps middle-aged blokes SHOULDN'T try 34-hour-long road trips

Neil Barnes
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Re: one question

Couldn't agree more - though I was thinking more of gout in the toe than tiredness :)

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Neil Barnes
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Re: The rise

Yesterday's SMBC seems apposite: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=3823

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Neil Barnes
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Re: one question

If only there were a market for a cruise control. I'm sure there would be people queueing up to build them.

Oh, wait...

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Lane merging

Joining a motorway isn't really an example; it's more a case of 'give way' that people don't understand.

But there is a classic slow->fast merge at the top of a slow uphill section of the M1 southbound near Watford; a left hand lane appears for lorries and then disappears. Meanwhile a similar section on the M6 disappears the outside lane.

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Introducing the Asus VivoMini UN42 – a pint-sized PC, literally

Neil Barnes
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Re: Linux?

But is this a 'barebones' system? It's got the storage, video output etc and all in a nice inconspicuous box; given a usable OS and no desire for a system that blows smoke out of its ears, this is a nice package. Sure, I'd like it with the full 16GB RAM - given how much software these days is memory bound - but that's a niggle.

This is not a box for Windows; it's a box that should come with Mint.

I paid a few quid more than that for this Chromebook, on which I'm using Ubuntu as a chrooted OS (I haven't worked a clean Mint install yet) and the only practical difference is that this has only 4GB RAM and 16GB flash - for *two* OSes, and of course, it comes with a screen. And yet, for most of my minor needs, it suffices. Mind you, I'd hate to hit it with an OCR job of three or four hundred pages at the same time...

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Apple, Google should give FBI every last drop of user information, says ex-HP CEO and wannabe US prez Carly Fiorina

Neil Barnes
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Holmes

Re: Fair is fair...

No, not even that.

We are the ones who pay the governments; they are in place for our benefit, and not us for theirs. We should know what they do, but there is neither reason nor logic in them knowing what we do.

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Testing Motorola's Moto G third-gen mobe: Is it still king of the hill?

Neil Barnes
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The nice thing about my older G

is that it came without all the add-ons and other crap; just the bare Google applications. I don't use most of those, and have only added one application: Navigator maps.

The missus is looking for a phone and I think she will want something similar, so this is a possibility (neither of us do much with a phone beyond, well, using it as a phone: phone and texts. No social media stuff, no browsing or 'meedja consumption'. Certainly no money transactions.).

[As an aside, when I turn on location services, it politely asks me every time whether I would like google to know all my movements. It also includes a tickbox for 'remember this answer'. Trouble is, whenever (every time) I tell it 'no' the tick box disappears...]

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Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

Neil Barnes
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WTF?

Dangling from a light fixture is no place for a loudspeaker

But what do I know? I was only an audio engineer for thirty years, so perhaps things have moved on.

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Sick of politicians robo-calling you? Bin your landline, says the FCC

Neil Barnes
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Re: It's a New Zealand phone

Thank you Gerry; I learn something new every day!

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Neil Barnes
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WTF?

Why are the numbers on that dial in the wrong order?

Just askin'...

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OFFICIAL SCIENCE: Men are freezing women out of the workplace

Neil Barnes
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Re: re: I blame the fact that they are the marketing department.

Yabbut... in many cases the air conditioning doesn't condition the air; it just heats or cools what is already there (with some lesser or greater admixture of real air). Often an 'open window' breeze even if hotter than the nominal requirement is more comfortable than the managed air systems.

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Obsolescence of food is complete: Soylent now comes in bottles

Neil Barnes
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Re: It's not that bad...

$2.50 wouldn't even pass muster for the annual 'quid a day' eating orgy.

Unless the pound rises to heights unseen since the sixties, of course.

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Neil Barnes
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Holmes

Re: Sneer at this if you want...

I think there's a difference between being hostile to an idea and considering the idea utterly laughable.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: "Unlike crispy bacon, Soylent 2.0 is available on a subscription basis"

Bacon-flavoured soylent is already available in Norway... http://bgo.mve.no/media/catalog/product/cache/7/small_image/258x245/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/s/t/stabburet_grov.jpg

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If you installed Windows 10 and like privacy, you checked the defaults, right? Oh dear

Neil Barnes
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Re: 'Cheap' in terms of food, now means selling your privacy too.

@cornz1 - if you buy a TV, the store is required to log your address for the licence; not their fault and so I guess not the same thing.

"Can't stand ANPR car parks, want to charge for parking then put up a bloody barrier and ticket machine."

My registration plate includes easily-confused-by-OCR characters including K, M, W, X, and 8 - it's rare I get out of a prebooked airport park without having to have a discussion.

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Stop forcing benefits down my throat and give me hard cash, dammit

Neil Barnes
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While this looks fine at first sight

it seems to me that many people would prefer to have some mandated stability in their employment. This is probably dependent on a person's risk aversity, of course - but what seems to be happening in the contract market is that companies are increasingly employing contractors at rates not significantly different from employee rates, while giving them none of the employee benefits. It's wonderful for the employer, but I would argue that for many employees it's not the way they would choose to work.

I know this is probably heresy for Tim, but a point which could be made that a company has responsibilities to the society in which it operates, rather than just to its shareholders... I suspect the breaking point occurred when 'personnel' departments - which at least maintained the illusion of some sort of interest in the employees - mutated into 'human resources': the nightmare where the employees are just plug-in replaceable parts.

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Petrol cars are dead in the water, says Tesla CTO waving numbers on the back of an envelope

Neil Barnes
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Re: Is it really cheaper?

@Weapon - not sure I agree with your 1kWh/mile figure:at motorway speeds (70mph here) a car needs around 30bhp - call it 20kW for a BOTE calculation to maintain its speed. That equates to around 300Wh/mile; and I would suspect no more than double that for urban stop-start (without turning the engine off every time you stop).

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ATTACK of the ZOMBIE SATELLITE: Run radio hams, run!

Neil Barnes
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Re: 'kin typical

I damn well hope so - my aunt (thoroughly European) is married to a full-blood Navajo in Arizona...

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Think beyond the Beeb: Gov consultation is crucial for free telly

Neil Barnes
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Teletext, NICAM, RDS, DVB-T2 and much more have come out of the BBC's labs

That 'much more' includes pretty much *everything* used in television, from the very earliest days - including all the bits that you see but never think about, like the 'grammar' of the way the video is shot; how to build studios that work; how to design a sound stage, what colour the camera filters and display systems should be, how big the signals should be...

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Neil Barnes
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Re: 4k

But bear in mind that whoever and however 4K is implemented, it will require *significant* internal investment at the broadcaster, from 4k capable studios, through 4k capable internal routers, to 4k presentation areas and transmission systems; an upgrade of the entire broadcasting chain while still maintaining the existing HD and probably SD capability.

Not cheap.

A 4k *test* on the other hand, needs only a 4k source and a small amount of hardware, possibly even rented or sponsored. Cheap. But not sustainable.

I haven't looked at 4k systems - but SD digital requires 270Mb/s; HD requires around 3Gb/s, and 4k will require four times that - 12Gb/s just for internal transport. Remember that reputable broadcasters *do not* encode until the latest possible point; you can't put back what has been compressed out.

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Unlock and start General Motors cars with a $100 box of tricks – hacker

Neil Barnes
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FAIL

How many bloody times?

It's easy: don't put these sort of systems in places they don't belong.

The vast majority of car journeys contain only the driver, who has exactly no need of a wireless internet within the car. Of the rare occasions where passengers are carried, how often will said passengers require the use of a device which does not of itself have internet connectivity?

Start making cars which are transport devices and not mobile hotspots. And start that by restricting the essential operational and security functions to their own private wired networks.

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Microsoft Edge web browser: A well-presented mea culpa

Neil Barnes
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Re: HTML5 performance

How many features?

< h1 - 6 >

< p >

< i >

< b >

< a >

< img >

I think that's about it...

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UK.gov wants to stop teenagers looking at tits online. No, really

Neil Barnes
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You have to remember

Each and every one of us is the direct genetic result of someone who looked at tits...

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Don't want pranksters 'bricking' your Android? Just stop using the internet, duh – Google

Neil Barnes
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"not browse untrusted websites"

As the only time I'm ever likely to find an 'untrusted website' is via the good agency of google search, it seems my policy of never browsing on my phone is looking better every day.

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Bloke cuffed for blowing low-flying camera drone to bits with shotgun

Neil Barnes
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And the drone owners?

Were they charged with FAA flying offences? I don't know about the States, but I'm sure they have something in their regulations essentially similar to 'must be higher than 500ft above built-up areas' and I feel sure that 500ft vertical is well out of shotgun range.

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Hurrah! Uber does work (in the broadest sense of the word) after all

Neil Barnes
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Re: Potential topic for Worstal...

The problem is that medallion holders are able to lease out their medallions...

And that's it, exactly. If you can't resell your medallion, it has *no* value except to certify *you*. It should be inexpensive to obtain (over and above any necessary training). It should be carried by the driver, not a parent company, and should provide only approval of the driver, not the company for which he may work. A similar but perhaps simpler system may be required for the vehicle itself, to cope with vehicle sharing - but there is absolutely no reason for, and no benefit to the taxi user from, the million dollar medallion.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Potential topic for Worstal...

It's a logical extension of the medieval guild system, wherein one had to be a member of the guild to perform the actions covered by that guild.

If you're a medieval robber-baron guild master, that is...

But at least in the case of the guilds, they *did* try and maintain a standard, such that one knew that a guild member (a) was a guild member and (b) would work to the standards/ethics of the guild - on pain of, well, pain if one represented oneself otherwise.

These days, that membership is generally replaced by either a trade body - e.g. the BMA, the BCA, or the IEEE or similar - or by a standards test administered by a local council, e.g. most taxi licensing in the UK.

To be honest, I couldn't care two hoots whether a taxi function is carried out by a Uber-employed driver, a licensed minicab, or a Hackney Carriage - provided that in *any* case when I use a taxi, said taxi and driver are guaranteed by *someone* to be mechanically safe, insured, competent, and without a relevant criminal conviction.

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Italy: Human rights are so old hat. The future's in internet rights

Neil Barnes
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This would be so wonderful

if only there were such a thing as a manifest right.

All rights are illusory, temporary, and only applicable in as far as relevant local authorities choose to grant them. Even the much-lauded Human Rights, in its various incarnations, is useful only as a stick to beat authorities with when the authority has an appeal mode which allows it (and indeed is widely used to trump local legislation).

Why this internet 'right' should be any different is hard to see. Better to say, perhaps, that it is an internet 'opportunity'?

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Today's smart home devices are too dumb to succeed

Neil Barnes
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Stop

Re: Simples

If I care about the colour temperature of a lamp I buy a lamp in that desired colour. The switch on the wall (or sometimes the light fitting) turns it on, and if necessary at some later time, off. A dimmer is an optional, but for me unused, option.

I for one am utterly pissed off peeved by the current philosophy that lamps are used for nothing more than decorative elements; 'accents' instead of things designed to let me see what the hell I'm doing. IOT lightbulbs pander to this onanistic dream of interior decorator and architects.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Southern biscuits and gravy

Neil Barnes
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WTF?

Now if you look in our 'quid a day' survival guide

- and I *know* you have a copy, Lester, you reviewed it! - you'll find a perfectly good recipe for *sweet* scones. Just get some butter and jam in the middle of them, and away with this cat vomit nonsense!

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Jeep breach: Scared? You should be, it could be you next

Neil Barnes
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Holmes

Re: Brakes

At least in the UK, and I would suspect (but can't confirm) in the States, there are two systems which *must* have a mechanical connection that works in all circumstances: the brakes and the steering.

That usually comes out as a direct shaft all the way from the steering wheel to the steering rack, and a hydraulic circuit from the pedal's master cylinder directly to the brake callipers - in fact, two independent circuits are mandated.

Steering is easy, although most people are surprised about just how much muscular effort is required to turn the wheel at low speeds with no power assistance in most front-engined cars, but I have a certain distaste for the idea of, for example, self-parking systems: that implies a servo system that's significantly more powerful and could have nasty consequences if the electronics decided to do something you didn't expect - they're a step away from a basic feedback-controlled system.

Brakes, on the other hand... an ABS system works by interrupting the pressure lines feeding the brake cylinders. An active traction system both interrupts and applies brake pressure independently of direct driver input. This is something with which I am not happy and I would much prefer to avoid driving a car so equipped - I've worked in electronics for far too long to expect things to work as designed forever.

The problem is that both systems are, for different reasons and for different people, necessary. The steering assistance is required for financial reasons: front wheel drive cars are cheaper to build but make the front of the car heavy; many people would find driving, and particularly low speed manoeuvring difficult without it (though I prefer a much heavier control feel than is generally available these days). Auto parking? Why? What happened to learned skills?

And the same really applies to skid/slip control systems: they're now on pretty much everything... and yet, a competent driver will never find himself in a position where either is required... so they're excess weight and excess cost and excess complexity, and encourage poor driving skills - because the brakes are like, magic, aren't they?

And yet... these critical systems are designed so they can be updated (good design) without a direct electrical connection (stupid beyond measure) even though there is a mandated electrical connection directly to them.

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2015 Fiat 500 fashionista, complete with facelift

Neil Barnes
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"We couldn't drive on the (Lingotto) roof"

Don't worry about it. I've done it, and it's nothing exciting except for the location (if you see what I mean).

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New Horizons: We've got a pretty pic of Pluto. Now let's get our SCIENCE on

Neil Barnes
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Pint

Beer

That's all. Except for the large helping of kudos on the side.

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Blighty's BONKERS BANKING BONKING BONANZA: Apple Pay arrives

Neil Barnes
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Stop

Gone are the days of searching for your wallet

If I'm searching for my wallet, I already have bigger problems than angsting over pay-by-bonk.

Idiots.

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