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* Posts by Neil Barnes

1867 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

That's PROFESSOR Woz to you from now on, young whippersnapper

Neil Barnes
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brickmakers and bricklayers, among other tradies

I think the reporter may have misspelt 'tragedies'.

There's a reason for straight lines.

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Watch live! NASA video streams Orionid meteor shower – or go outside and look yourself

Neil Barnes
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Re: I guess I'll step out and look

I'd have gone and looked, but there's a hurricane remnant in the way.

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No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer

Neil Barnes
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Re: Rumours are untrue

Definitely Moties. Pak come in sneaky and then kill you if you don't smell right; Moties are oh-so-friendly and then outbreed you.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Rumours are untrue

The Mote in God's Eye. Niven and Pournelle.

Fyunch(click).

(Also, I think I meant 0.7%C)

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Neil Barnes
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Rumours are untrue

that scientists have detected an anomalously bright object in the outer solar system, decelerating from 0.7C. It's also untrue that the object has the same spectrum as the sun, but blue-shifted...

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GP records soon wide open again: Just walk into a ‘safe haven’

Neil Barnes
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Re: No one should be allowed to opt out...

Perhaps I'm being the idiot.

I don't have a problem with system whereby data is anonymised and used by the medical profession. I do, however, have a massive problem with the ability to deanonymise the data - I hear that it includes a post code in the data, and I'm absolutely certain that there is no-one in my postcode with the same issues I have. I - and I have little doubt my neighbours - am uniquely and unequivocally identifiable from my medical record.

But there's a deeper objection. I object to people selling data about me, without asking me to whom I might permit that data to be sold (hint: at present, no-one). I particularly object when said data requires an opt-out rather than an opt-in in the first place .

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Neil Barnes
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No one should be allowed to opt out...

No - provided that the data is used - and *only* used - for medical research purposes.

But the minute that data is sold - anonymised or not - the kindly include me out. Insurers are the last people who should be allowed such data; for some reason, when they say 'we want to reduce your premiums' they never remember to say 'and increase somebody else's, unless that somebody else is you'. Insurance is supposed to spread the risk, not focus it on a particular person or group.

And as for advertisers getting it? 'Dear patient xxxxx, we notice you've been prescribed a lot of gliclazide lately. May we interest you in our new publication, 'Diabetes made easy'?'

Bah.

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'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts

Neil Barnes
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we do not need MORE laws

Upvoted for that line alone.

If it's already an offence, making a new offence to cover the same behaviour is nothing more than political dancing.

c.f. anything to do with terrorism.

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Want a more fuel efficient car? Then redesign it – here's how

Neil Barnes
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As I have a horrendously long commute

I amuse myself trying to reduce my consumption as much as reasonably practical... one thing I note is that modern turbo diesel is incredibly sensitive to both road surface and weather.

Even a damp road will drop the economy by a mile a gallon; a belting down soaker will drop it five. Obviously the pumpling action of the tyres shifting water, and the rolling resistance of the car, change when it's wet. I note also that it's sensitive to wind speed outside the car, again, driving into even a mild headwind does nothing good for the economy!

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Fuse wire

Beware Lucas, the prince of darkness...

With regard to Petur's comment regarding screening; yes, if one were to design something using canbus perhaps (though a twisted balanced drive would remove the need in most cases) but for a rewired old Jag, where you're more likely just to be replicating the existing 12vDC signal with a driver or relay at the far end, you're still looking at very low frequency 12v signals. I'd have *no* worries about using ribbon cable, given adequate cable support at the ends to prevent the cable suffering from vibration issues.

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SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links

Neil Barnes
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Re: Don't often find myself praising the BBC

@jonathonb

There's an interesting side-effect here. She is named because she was named in the broadcasts prior to the event, while she was a 'missing person' and considered at risk. Once it became clear that she had eloped with the teacher, she, as a minor, became protected by the court and it was no longer permissible to name her.

He has been subject to public record by a court; thus he is and should continue to be named. This is part of his record, even when his term is complete. He will have completed his sentence, paid his debt to society, but the fact of his action remains; he will not have miraculously undone his actions. So why should this be hidden by/from a search engine?

The young lady is unfortunately associated with a search for him from the pre-arrest times. Allowing a judge to require that all previous records to her be expunged would be foolish; if nothing else, it would provide the precedence that the judiciary can modify history. But that ignores the simple practical fact of locating every internet and written reference and removing them - an obvious impossibility.

So if one has the material existing, it is equally foolish to try and prevent its indexing, lest we return to the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

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Watersports-friendly e-reader: Kobo's Aura H2O is literary when wet

Neil Barnes
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Re: ereaders

Crap proofreading is there, I suspect, because even the main publishers, who you surely expect to be typesetting electronically, don't seem to be able to transfer these files to their ebook versions. You'd expect this to be not beyond the wit of man, but it's apparent that many commercial ebook versions I've seen - and indeed as indicated above - are laden with OCR errors... which rather suggests they're doing it the hard way. And proofreading is expensive. Just give to the trainee for a quick flick through.

I've done a *lot* of work looking at proofreading issues; it's a non-trivial task. It doesn't help when you get ridiculous CSS files which allocate a new, identical, style to each paragraph...

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Reading in the bath

I just read in the bath anyway - Kobo Glo. It doesn't seem to mind getting steamed up.

I also have a 'reserve' Kobo touch, and a Kobo Mini with XCSoar and a GPS module added for both aerial navigation and those unavoidable 'waiting for the wind to get right' moments.

I'd argue for the Kobo for one simple reason: it reads ePubs, and you can grow your own without being tied into shops and DRM. And of course Calibre for the book management.

Minor grumps: the desktop Kobo software refuses to accept anything that you haven't bought from the shop actually exists; and that even with the welcome addition of shelves, there still isn't an automatic 'would you like me to arrange all your books on shelves, in alphabetic order by author?'.

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On Nov 12, a human-made space lab will try to HARPOON a COMET and land on it

Neil Barnes
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Actually, I think you're right. It's a long time since I read it...

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Neil Barnes
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So... Ice cream sundae

is on a Wednesday this year?

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Martha Lane Fox: YEUCH! The Internet is MADE by MEN?!?

Neil Barnes
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Paris Hilton

And her point is?

She's obviously unaware of such luminaries as Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper - who while not directly responsible for the interwebs, certainly advanced its timing. Probably it's some phallocentric plot to keep her from knowing, since she's such an expert on the subject.

I'm not even going to comment on her thoughts on voting security. I have to buy my own keyboards and bile spilt all over them does them no good.

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A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers

Neil Barnes
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Re: Ignore the licence requirements

Note: the licence is only required for 'air work' - commercial work using an aircraft. The general model flier's insurance would cover normal use... provided that you're a member of the association and obey their rules. You don't need a licence to fly a quad; you do need to follow the rules.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: 400 feet rule

Nice to see I'm not the only one here with a wing, Stu.

Doesn't FPV require a second person to be with the pilot and in visual contact with the plane? Which would carry the same limits as CAP393 anyway.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Ignore the licence requirements

There's a reason steam gives way to sail, and it's nothing to do with the inability of the drivers thereof.

You *can not* stop a glider in mid-flight; you *can not* turn on a sixpence; and while I *can* land on a metre target most times, on a final glide you *can not* make unplanned changes in speed or direction without potentially unfortunate consequences.

Don't forget the paraglider is not just the pilot and the wing; there's a few hundred metres of finest line between the two in a ten metre fan.

(I have had exactly one mid-air collision - that was with a pheasant which came out of cover as I launched. It's about the size and weight of a small quad, I'd guess - I know it was bloody painful!)

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Ignore the licence requirements

@Phil W - I may have been intemperate in my opposition; you are quite correct that the journalist only suggested ignoring the licence. I'd like to acknowledge that the other suggestions are all mine - though they are not suggestions, merely a list of things people might also choose to ignore.

I'm a paraglider pilot.

I'm *terrified* of these things. Too many are driven by people who either don't realise the potentially fatal result of bumping into them - they'll cut the lines I depend on, or at best tangle them; either results in wing deformation and loss of control. They're invisible; daft as it sounds it can be difficult to see another paraglider in the wrong place, and they're ten metres across and usually in bright high-contrast colours. They're capable of flying at high altitude, autonomously, and out of sight of the pilot (er, launcher? Handler? I dunno). They can't see me and take avoiding action; even if they're visible from the ground by their pilot it is notoriously difficult to judge course and distance - and if I'm close to the ground then I have extremely limited options; I'm probably either about to land or have just launched; both are dangerous and unstable phases of flight.

Over the years, model aircraft flyers (usually RC) and paragliders/hang glider pilots have negotiated agreements whereby they keep out of each other's airspace to reduce the risk of accidents - though the still occur occasionally. RC aircraft flyers are well aware of the issues and their managing body includes insurance and operates a structured training regime. But for some reason, these things are - as you point out - not seen in the same class; perhaps because you can pick them off the shelf in the high street (though you can do the same with a ready-to-fly electric RC plane) or perhaps because there is no publicity about it.

One thing to remember - the ANO has to be obeyed by all pilots - from commercial to GA to gliders to models. The rules are there to save the lives of the pilots (and passengers) and of the people they fly over.

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Neil Barnes
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Ignore the licence requirements

Ignore the air Navigation Order.

Ignore the fact that you're the pilot in command.

Ignore the rules.

Ignore insurance.

Who needs them?

That would be the people on the ground and the people in the sky.

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Ancient Brits 'set wealthy man's FANCY CHARIOT on FIRE' – boffins

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

When archeologists aren't quite sure

It's always 'a ritual object'...

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This isn't a sci-fi movie: It's a human-made probe snapping a comet selfie

Neil Barnes
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Pint

Re: I have to say...

Indeed. A shot like that is not only a marker for the abilities of man, but a cracking photo in and of itself.

Kudos to the folks that planned it, designed it, built it, and flew it.

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Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says

Neil Barnes
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Re: Kitkats and Jelly Beans are not desserts

Liqourice Allsorts would seem to fit the bill. Can't wait to see Bertie Bassett on the first page...

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Beers all round as Vulture 2 lands in Blighty

Neil Barnes
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Coat

Oh, c'mon. Give 'em a break.

They had to get rid of the stuff somehow.

My flying suit now has a mission patch --->

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NSA Sentry Eagle placed spies in private companies

Neil Barnes
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I don't think I want to play with the Americans any more.

They don't play fair.

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Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20

Neil Barnes
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Happy

The days of my (almost) youth...

Win3.1 and Trumpet Winsock over a 14.4kb/s dialup.

At the time I recall writing 486 assembly code to fade between 16-colour full-screen images by creating new palettes on the fly...

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Something ate Google's 8.8.8.8 at about eight in Asia's evening

Neil Barnes
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Re: Yeah...

My ISP, too - mistype a url and watch your request get punted to the ISP's search engine... bah.

Don't want alternate searches and did-you-means, want chance to correct type. Bah again.

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Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express

Neil Barnes
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My wife really liked Clara's dress

So did mine - and immediately complained I never take her anywhere she could wear such a dress.

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Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE

Neil Barnes
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Perhaps it's a new El Reg currency unit

the millimacbook?

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Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors

Neil Barnes
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One wonders

if Frau Widmer eats beef, pork, or chicken? Or indeed, has declined to breed?

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WIN a CHANCE to RECORD your WORLD in 3D

Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

Victorian pioneers never dreamed of <was> colour... or moving images

The first colour pictures (as opposed to those coloured post facto) were available at least as early as the 1860s (photography is generally considered to have begun in the 1840s). Moving images were available before the end of the century; in the 1890s. Stereoscopic images were available from the 1840s and common by the 1890s; the first porn photos were also 1840s.

Quite advanced, those Victorians...

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Trolls have DARK TETRAD of personality defects, say trickcyclists

Neil Barnes
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narcissism, sadism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy

Ah, if only she still loved me!

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Intel 'underestimates error bounds by 1.3 QUINTILLION'

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Ulp!

Planes don't fall out of the sky - but you might miss Mars...

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Hey, non-US websites – FBI don't have to show you any stinkin' warrant

Neil Barnes
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FAIL

Oh noes

I have a compiler. Virus writers use compilers. Therefore I am a virus writer...

I am an animal. Hamsters are animals. Therefore I am a hamster.

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Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your 'privacy is important'

Neil Barnes
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Re: DRM-Free Library

Books in my e-reader - with one exception that I bought just to see how it worked - are *all* scans of paper books I also own.

EPUB and Kobo. One of my Kobo readers is also about to do double duty as a navigation aid - XCSoar http://www.xcsoar.org/hardware/ - can you do that with the Adobe reader?

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Siri ... why is this semi headed RIGHT AT ME? Phone apps distracting as ever – new study

Neil Barnes
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Voice controlled climate control?

What planet are we living on? Why do we keep changing technologies that work and are simple to operate (e.g. a knob with a scale painted blue at one end and red at the other) for overcomplicated systems that require multiple processors and complex electronics?

(I may have ranted about this on the general subject of internet of things, too; same reason - overcomplication.)

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Fiat 500S: So pleasingly sporty we didn't want to give it back

Neil Barnes
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Re: Fiat, do they make cars that last?

@Andy 97 - Coupe Fiat, from new, twenty years coming up, 170k miles. I know of some with almost double that mileage. Plus a kit car powered by a coupe engine, which is completely manic! And a diesel Bravo six years old that I've put a hundred thousand on in the last three years.

'Dubious build quality' applies to so many cars these days; in reality they're *all* an order of magnitude better put together than the cars I knew as a kid... how often do you have to decoke the engine these days, or take the plugs out and stick them under the grill before the car would start in winter? How many are a pile of rust on the drive in three years?

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Neil Barnes
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@Getriebe

The last time I hired a Mustang in the States, the electric window fell out. A Japanese rental - I don't even recall the make now - in the same state... the fabric roof fell off, at speed. In both cases the automatic boxes weren't talking to engine management unit and would drop a couple of gears and boot like crazy for a 5mph speed increase on cruise control. There's probably a reason why all the bends in the road in the States seem to have 25mph limits.

Meanwhile, my twenty-year-old Coupe Fiat still tackles Stelvio con brio!

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Neil Barnes
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Electric steering

I have this on a Bravo and the thing that's most annoying about out - apart from being ridiculously over-servoed compared to my nicely weighted 1995 Coupe Fiat - is that the damn thing coggles the motor. Leave the weight of your hand on the wheel when stationary and the wheel slowly moves under you in a series of tiny jumps. Most disconcerting.

I hate to think what it's like in 'city' mode.

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CONSUMERISM IS PAST ITS SELL-BY DATE: Die now, pay later

Neil Barnes
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Re: Sub-Components consumer ?? try a REAL parts jobber...

Well, yes... this is the basic lie about capitalism.

We are told that 'market forces' will bring prices down to a minimum, that choice will remain since once a capitalist sees a gap in the market for an existiing product to be made cheaper or for a similar new product he will make it. This is not true; it never has been; it never will be.

Capitalism acts to raise prices for *everything* as high as the market will bear.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: The history of civilisation

What is real wealth?

When you come right down to it, each and every penny you spend and earn is a measure of your ability to command energy.

Whether that energy is the energy contained in the petrol that gets you to work, or the energy that heats and lights your house, or the energy used to grow, harvest, process, package, and deliver your food you are always paying in energy.

If you can afford first class across the Atlantic, you're commanding more energy than me in the seat at the back - though not in a necessarily linear manner; that's all part of the game!

We're all in a Red Queen's race, running faster and faster to stay in the same place. When we buy 'newest' and 'fastest' and incidentally 'most expensive' we're doing nothing more or less than a potlatch of conspicious consumption: I have so much energy I can afford to throw it away.

We should insist in being paid for our work, and paying for our needs, in gigajoules. Apart from anything else, energy falls on each and every one of us, out of the sky, every day. There would at least be an incentive to harvest it beyond pointless and unsustainable government subsidies.

(Did the sums on an electric car the other day: my six year old diesel does my (horrendous) commute for twelve quid a day. If the electric car cost *nothing* to run, with an expected battery life of eight years, it would need to cost under twenty grand to leave me in the same position I already am... Currently the only electric car with the range I need - the Tesla S 60 - costs fifty grand. Once again, it's all very nice, but you're buying an electric to say 'I can afford to'.)

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No, Big Data firm, the UK isn't teeming with UBER-FRISKY GIGOLOS

Neil Barnes
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Re: It all makes work...

For your listening delectation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyeMFSzPgGc

Apropos of nothing much at all: one of the performers is the father of Stephanie Flanders, who was the BBC's economics editor for five years. I wonder if the two facts are related?

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We're not Mr Brightside: Asda Car Insurance broker hacked

Neil Barnes
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Re: ...which you are or have been a valued customer of.

Yes, I *should* have said 'manage the grammatical constructs of' but I changed my mind half way and forgot to change it.

I think there's a rule about that, when you make a grammar post!

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Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

...which you are or have been a valued customer of.

If they can't manage the grammar of English, should we trust their code?

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Take THAT, hated food! It's OVER, tedious chewing! Soylent strikes back with version 1.1

Neil Barnes
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choosing to customize the flavor profile

i.e. they don't like the taste, so they slap some ketchup on? Or some Lee and Perrins, or some sweet chilli, or *anything* to make it taste better?

Does it cost less than a quid a day? Lester!

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One Windows? How does that work... and WTF is a Universal App?

Neil Barnes
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"The OS should be as minimalistic, safe, secure and private as possible"

Exactly.

Coincidentally, this would make it *much* smaller, both in download and in-use footprints. The first isn't a major hassle, but the second? Don't give me 'memory is cheap' - I want that memory for my applications' data.

Cloudiness? Pah.

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DVLA website GOES TITSUP on day paper car tax discs retire

Neil Barnes
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Re: Why wait?

Dunno about everyone else, but they invariably send me a reminder three weeks in advance of the old ticket expiring. Has that broken too now?

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Proprietary OS source code LEAKED to web – from 40 years ago

Neil Barnes
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Re: "From 40 years ago"????

Yeah, happened to me too. Damn.

Have a thumb for correct use of subjunctive mood.

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Neil Barnes
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I'm using it to develop z80 code for embedded robotic applications... but I run it in an emulator on a 686 machine until the code actually hits the metal!

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