* Posts by Neil Barnes

2398 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

Planet killer: Ex-army officer's Welsh space-rock mission

Neil Barnes
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Alien

That's one to frighten the granddaughter with...

Thanks for the pointer, El Reg.

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Samsung, Oppo collared in smartphone bloatware probe

Neil Barnes
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It's not installing the bloatware that's the issue

It's not providing a simple and documented way of removing them, and in such a way that the basic functionality of the phone is not harmed.

After all, there's a possibility that one or two of them might have some benefit for the user, rather than for the maker.

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Kobo Glo HD vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: Which one's best?

Neil Barnes
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Re: Nook?

If it doesn't fit in the back pocket of a pair of jeans, the boss can see it when you disappear down the corridor to the little room with the porcelain chair to, er, consider a tricky software issue.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Interesting use of the Kobo

Indeed; I purchased a fourth kobo (a mini, sadly no longer available) for that very purpose.

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Reg hack survives world's longest commercial flight

Neil Barnes
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Re: Luton's Luggage Handlers

Heh. Once arrived at CDG expecting my luggage - an 8' by 6' television reflective backdrop which twisted into a 3 foot circle a few inches thick - to appear on the conveyor.

And waited. And waited. And waited. And eventually got bored and started chasing it. Turns out the bozos had decided to open the package, the backdrop had immediately sprung out to its full size, and they couldn't get it back in the bag...

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This box beams cafes' Wi-Fi over 4kms so you can surf in obscurity

Neil Barnes
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Re: Self destruct?

Fly Fishing, by J R Hartley.

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Apple Music: First three months for free? We lasted less than 3 hours

Neil Barnes
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Re: New music?

Come, sir! One or two, surely (though I struggle to recall their names).

Though my father, a child of the twenties, maintains that there has been no good music since Glenn Miller died.

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

Neil Barnes
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Black Helicopters

If you want to lose an afternoon... and then some...

http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/111797-did-you-fly-vulcan-merged.html

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Neil Barnes
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Pint

Will be seeing it at Eastbourne in August

So here's a pint to the lads and lasses that kept her flying so long.

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Q: What's black and white and read all over? A: E-reader displays

Neil Barnes
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Re: Could be a paradigm shift

Somehow, though, a colour coffee-table ebook doesn't sound like the sort of thing one would leave lying around to impress the casual visitor.

I may be a Luddite - hell, I *am* a Luddite - but to me these are different markets. The books in which *I* am interested contain text, not pictures; and text is an inherently linear monochrome flowed concept. There are some excellent books with non-linear text, and some excellent books containing almost no words, but an awful lot of pictures, and no end of technical books with large and detailed diagrams and other illustrations - but these are edge cases whose use is adequately covered by a robust, reliable, and mature technology: ink on paper, conveniently bound into a 'book'.

Let's not ruin the basic e-ink device by forcing uses other than these text reading functions on it.

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Hi-res audio folk to introduce new rules and weed out impure noises

Neil Barnes
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Re: "a brave person who said that HRA has no audible benefits"

You may misunderstand my context, 142... for a final output, surely, use all the bits you can (but be aware of the nastiness of compression-for-loudness).

When I say 18dB headroom, I would expect the nominal zero dB signal to be 18dB below 0dBFS - but I would expect that 18dB to be used by the signal.

In, say, a live studio environment you will find that live voice and music both have level extremes which are generally unrehearsed and, trust me, the last thing you want is digital clipping. In analogue systems the approach was to assume 12dB headroom since an analogue mixer is usually a bit kinder as the signal approaches clipping. However, even there, you are shoving a 775mV signal through amplifiers with at least +/-24 supplies.

In a music recording studio (as opposed to, say, a live concert) you would, I assume, have much greater control over individual levels. Nonetheless, you would generally want a sound mixer with at least 24 bit internal representation, even with a 16 bit input and output.

However, it's some years since I left the BBC so while I have a lot of experience with good studio technique, practice may well have changed since I left. And of course, music recording is a different kettle of fish from live studio work.

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Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

Re: @John Geek "Khz Khz Khz"

Sorry Jeffy! Must try harder... I've only been getting it right for forty years :)

8Khz <-- too fast on the shift key, I reckon.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: "a brave person who said that HRA has no audible benefits"

@142 - 12dB because that's about the minimum you can get away with; 18dB is safer.

@nijam - the S/N ratio gets worse as the signal amplitude decreases because the quantisation noise is constant; 11dB was the average used in the BBC (might have changed since I left).

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Neil Barnes
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@John Geek - what makes you think that any sampled signal is recorded with frequencies up to the Nyquist limit? That's why there are brick-wall filters on the input and a reconstruction filter on the output (and no, let's not go into the mess that a poorly designed filter can cause...)

Oversampling at very high rates has one obvious advantage: it makes the necessary pre- and post-sampling filters much easier to design and build.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: CD "Quality"

Don't forget that tape is also compressed, as well as carrying a high-frequency bias signal to avoid the worst of the non-linearity of the magnetic medium.

But your point is valid - if you want a good copy, you get as close to the original as you can.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: "a brave person who said that HRA has no audible benefits"

"you're a bat"

Um, not necessarily. A 24-bit system has a much lower noise floor (or alternatively, a higher headroom) and therefore a greater dynamic range than a 16 bit signal.

As a rule of thumb, allow 6dB/bit for overall dynamic range. Then subtract (at the recording stage) 12dB for headroom an 11dB for quantisation noise - so a 16 bit system, irrespective of bit rate, will have a practical signal to noise ratio of 73dB and a dynamic range of the same order. That's not significantly improved over a 1980s broadcast tape machine, as it happens...

The extra eight bits in the 24-bit system allow an equivalent 48dB improvement in noise or headroom - easily audible provided (a) that your recording front end is both sensitive enough and quiet enough to be effective on close-to-silent signals, and (b) your listening equipment and environment is equally quiet and isolated enough to be able to hear very quiet signals. This is unlikely to be the case outside a professional recording studio.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: for dogs only

It's basic theory and practice, yes... but in spite of this, the human ear can only hear those products which fall in the 20-20kHz (or thereabouts, depending on age) frequency band.

If an inaudibly high frequency is heterodying with a lower frequency (whether the lower frequency is within the audible range or not) the only product which will be audible is the difference frequency - the sum will be even further out of the range of hearing.

And guess what - those products are all adequately represented within the basic 'CD quality' signal.

A suggestion: take your harmonics experiment, but set the sample rate as high as you can - 96 or 192ks/s, for example. Now compare a sine and a square wave at 440Hz, and, as you state, you will easily hear a difference since the square wave has a number of harmonics within the audible range.

Repeat the experiment at 4400Hz; you *should* still be able to hear the difference; there is still one harmonic in range, at 13200Hz. Now try it at 8Khz instead, and unless your hearing is exceptional, you will be unable to hear any difference - only the fundamental frequency is within your hearing range: the third harmonic is at 24kHz. And yet it's clearly present in the signal you're listening to.

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We forget NOTHING, the Beeb thunders at Europe

Neil Barnes
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Holmes

It's all right...

Googling 'list of delisted bbc pages' takes you straight to the hit, on the third link.

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SpaceX to blast Microsoft's HoloLens visors into SPAAAAACE

Neil Barnes
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Does hololens use positional information from the headset to change the viewpoint?

And if so, how does it get it? Inquiring minds want to know - I'm not at all sure how MEMS sensors will work in zero g (though an inertial system might work, if you can cope with the accumulated errors.)

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How to turn application spaghetti into tasty IT services

Neil Barnes
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It's nice to see

that someone considers my spaghetti tasty!

<cough> Food for a Tenner a Week <cough>

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This whopping 16-bit computer processor is being built by hand, transistor by transistor

Neil Barnes
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Re: Kudos and beer

End of life or what? Looks like LittleDiode's rip-off prices for the UK... thanks, guys. Time to replace the huge proms that emulate an ALU.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Kudos and beer

Yah. But it only appears to be still available in the hot'n'hungry 'LS181 version. :(

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Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Kudos and beer

That's most impressive. I designed and built a sort-of hybrid 8080/6502 from discrete TTL, so just eight bits, and even that took four Eurocards (and several months of simulation beforehand).

Now if only one of the chip makers had got around to doing a 74HC ALU chip...

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What is this river nonsense? Give .amazon to Bezos, says US Congress

Neil Barnes
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Holmes

Re: Pedantic Grammar Nazi Compromise?

Well, obviously, if amazon.com is good, amazon.amazon is twice as good...

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Amazon enrages authors as it switches to 'pay-per-page' model

Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

Amazon have seen Apple's recent publicity

and decided to try the same with books.

Curiously, I don't stream books the same way I don't stream music: if I have an ebook it's either been scanned by me from a copy I own, or it's a public domain book from Gutenberg or similar, or it's a naughty scan of a book I own but have not personally scanned. Note that I have discussed this with published authors and they are quite happy for this approach, though they would of course prefer that free copies are not generally available (I don't publish the books I scan).

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Mum fails to nuke killer spider nest from orbit

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

The canonical discussion on the Brazillian Wandering Spider

is the Oatmeal's... http://theoatmeal.com/blog/jibbers_crabst

Watch the signing translator.

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Even Apple doesn’t mess with Taylor Swift

Neil Barnes
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Re: It appears you forgot the <sarcasm> <sarcasm/>

CDs locally ripped for me, every time. I don't even consider buying streamed music. That said, my life doesn't revolve around music; you could probably put my entire collection in a quarter terabyte.

Which is not to say that for others it may be something that works, but it's not for me.

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Police robot duo storm Colorado house, end four-day siege

Neil Barnes
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We had to destroy the house in order to save it.

More pepperoni, Sarge?

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Buy with your head, drive with your heart: Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe

Neil Barnes
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Re: Saw my first one yesterday

Followed one around the Mercedes test track at Brooklands a couple of months ago; they do make a nice noise from outside.

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Say 'cheese'! Cassini probe ZOOMS IN on Saturn's craggy Dione moon

Neil Barnes
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Alien

Re: Astonishing feats of celestial navigation

It's possible that the bright spots on Ceres are, in fact, the Clanger's Hobnob mines. Which is good news for planetary travelling, if true.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Nasi goreng pattaya

Neil Barnes
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In the absence of Katerina

Could you not perhaps of borrowed มาลัย (which means Garland of Flowers in Thai) from Steve Bong?

I'm sure she'd have loved the change of pace.

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Sun like it hot: Philae comet probe wakes up, phones home again

Neil Barnes
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Pint

Re: Good news

Woo. And likewise, Hoo!

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Sprint: Net neutrality means we can't stamp out download hogs

Neil Barnes
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Holmes

Re: Pure BS

Unlimited, eh?

Oh noes, I emptied the interwebs!

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Feature-rich work in progress: Windows Mobile 10 build 10136

Neil Barnes
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Re: Appily

Nine on my front page; everything else is Google's base install (as indeed are half of the front page).

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Fess up: which one of you Galaxies made all that gas?

Neil Barnes
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Mushroom

A gas cloud with the mass of a hundred billion suns...

I think you've had enough beans, boys!

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Version 0.1 super-stars built the universe – and they lived all the way over there, boffins point

Neil Barnes
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Coat

Re: Question

What was the stuff that went bang made of?

BIG!

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Philae warms up nicely, sends home second burst of data

Neil Barnes
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Re: Over engineered?

" that exact 1,000,000 to one chance "

To be fair, they do pop up nine times out of ten.

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If I get hit by a bus, Linux will go on just fine says Linus Torvalds

Neil Barnes
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But that's the good thing about Open Source - he has the choice...

Now if it were Clippy:

"I see you're trying to die. Would you like to be hit by a bus, eat a poisoned apple..."

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Raspberry Pi guys want you to go topless in the heat

Neil Barnes
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Coat

Can't help feeling

it should have a little concertina fabric roof, like a 1960s Dormobile...

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Cinnamon 2.6 – a Linux desktop for Windows XP refugees

Neil Barnes
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Re: Cinnamon and XFCE

Kate can of course be installed on a Cinnamon system, but Geany does everything for me that Kate used to and saves half a gig of download (Kate wants an awful lot of the KDE infrastructure).

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British banks consider emoji as password replacement

Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

All hail the illiterati!

So teeneagers have as *many* as forty-four discrete communications symbols? Who'd have thought it?

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Intel inside: Six of the best affordable PC laptops

Neil Barnes
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Is it me or is it 2008?

It certainly seems so - none of these laptops bar the Tosh offer anything better than 768 vertical pixels? Why is *anything* at any price range offering less than HD in this day and age?

And I agree with Stuart - these are not 'budget' devices. Budget is Chromebook prices - two to three hundred quid.

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'Right to be forgotten' applies WORLDWIDE, thunders Parisian court

Neil Barnes
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Black Helicopters

Is this the same France

that recently pushed for new legislation to allow its security services to slurp data wholesale?

Just asking...

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Sun's out, guns out: Plucky Philae probot WAKES UP ... hits 'snooze'

Neil Barnes
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Its exact landing spot has remained a mystery

Pinging Philae - do us all a favour and blink your nav lights, if you'd be so kind?

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Boffins, feeling around in dark for Philae, lit up by bright spot on Comet 67/P

Neil Barnes
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Re: Oh so?

@Mark - I thought it was happily transmitting until its batteries gave up? And is expected to wake up again, once it sees a bit more light? That sounds like a walk-away landing.

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How much info did hackers steal on US spies? Try all of it

Neil Barnes
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Re: Dear US of A

@Bri - you're right, it probably wasn't on anything directly visible - but my point is that information like that should have been locked as tightly, and as accessibly, as if it were individual paper copies in a filing cabinet.

Access should have been restricted to a small set of people able to access *one file at a time* and ideally physically separated - airgapped - from generic access; that is, access permissions are physical, not electronic. This is not the sort of information for which there is *ever* a need for one person to see all of it, and a huge risk - as demonstrated - if they do. But some genius has been sold the idea that it would be much easier to deal with if it were all in one virtual database...

Which is not to say that it is only the USA government that can commit such idiocies, nor even that a one-file-at-a-time access mechanism would necessarily stop people trying, and perhaps succeeding in, gaining access illicitly - it's such a juicy target. It's not the only one - think of insurance companies, health agencies, tax agencies, benefit systems, banks... they're all in the same boat and if they're not thinking about this now, no matter how good they think their systems are, then they should be.

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Neil Barnes
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Dear US of A

When hole is deep enough, stop digging...

What imbecile placed this data on an external-facing network?

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The Martian: Matt Damon sciences the sh*t out of the red planet

Neil Barnes
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Re: Movie adaptations

As I recall, there was something of a science handwave in the final chapter, regarding matching orbits... looking forward to the film, though.

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Indie review of UK surveillance laws: As you were, GCHQ

Neil Barnes
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Mushroom

Re: Yeah, but...

@Zog... no problem, I cook my rice in the microwave.

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Microsoft to Linux users: Explain yourself

Neil Barnes
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Re: Data, not information

It's MBA syndrome.

MBA qualifications seem to emphasise the mistaken theory that if you know the numbers, you understand them; hence, SLAs and checkpoints and monitoring and measurement with absolutely no idea what the results mean.

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