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* Posts by James Pickett

1270 posts • joined 23 Apr 2007

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

James Pickett

I find it hard to believe that replacing a copper wiring loom with an aluminium one will save enough weight to make a measurable difference to fuel economy. It's filthy stuff to make a good connection to, too - we have aluminium phone lines round here, thanks to a copper shortage in the 70's, and BT are forever re-making the connections in the local junction boxes, due to corrosion.

A much simpler way to improve economy is to add a small measure (0.2%) of acetone to the fuel. This reduces surface tension and improves atomisation, with a resultant smoother burn. I've used this in two cars and one motorbike, with an overall 8% improvement in economy. The bike, in particular (as it's a twin) runs more smoothly and is more tractable at low revs. I've been doing it for some years, with no ill effects or damaged seals. It works with petrol and diesel, but increasing the amount does not help - I use 20ml per 10litres.

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James Pickett

"the overengineering in the past meant that things were heavier"

Really? The original Ford Cortina (including propshaft and rear diff) weighed just over 800kg, a current Focus weighs at least 1270kg!

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James Pickett

"a heat exchanger that heats the engine oil"

Seems a bit unnecessary - the engine will warm up the oil directly, as the author later admits. Also, if the thermostat is working properly, water will not be circulating when cold and the pump will have relatively little to do. Centrifugal pumps are loaded by flow, so not inefficient.

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Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE

James Pickett
Coat

So that's where the aroma comes from.. :-)

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How much is Microsoft earning from its Android taxes again?

James Pickett

"$6.9m in interest"

Does MS own Wonga?

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Applelutely fappulous: Fashionistas bow down before the JESUS PHONE

James Pickett

The problem with winning a rat-race is that you are still a rat...

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iPhone owners EARN MORE THAN YOU, says mobile report

James Pickett

There's a saying about money and sense that temporarily eludes me...

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Spin doctors crack 'impossible' asteroid hurtling towards Earth

James Pickett

"a speed once thought impossible"

I expect it's also doing more than 30mph.

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James Pickett

This article seems to imply that there are no other asteroids heading our way before 2800, which I suspect is not the case. Is this really the most immediate threat they can find..?

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Chinese 'linkfarms' propel Microsoft to web server crown

James Pickett

So MS is the favourite with cyber-squatters? I look forward to reading their spin on it...

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Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees

James Pickett

Re: "One of the major problems with "climate science" is that there's no such thing."

"a world renown[ed] University laboratory that analyzes ice cores"

Would those be the ice cores that show CO2 as an effect of warming rather than the cause? I seem to recall Al Gore glossing over that one...

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China in MONOPOLY PROBE into Microsoft: Do not pass GO, do not collect 200 yuan

James Pickett

If there's a supplier monopoly, shouldn't they be chasing the pirates?

I remember a BBC journalist reporting from Beijing that he tried to buy a legitimate copy of Office, but it was really difficult, and the shrink-wrapped product he finally bought also turned out to be pirated.

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Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle

James Pickett

"courtroom war of attrition"

I don't suppose Apple's lawyers are familiar with 'Jarndyce vs Jarndyce'?

Now, that is prior art.

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BMW i8 plug-in hybrid: It's a supercar, Jim, but not as we know it

James Pickett

Re: Yep- Triples sound nice

Wot - no Rocket 3..?

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James Pickett

Re. 49gm/km

It is complete nonsense, of course, and relies on the electrical component representing zero, even though most of that will have come from the burning of fossil fuel. And how much of the calculation assumes electric power? It must be more than half, which is very unlikely to occur in practice.

As for cars under £95k that better 4.4s, try a Caterham Superlight R500, which costs less than half that and gets to 60 in under 3s. In fact, in 4.4s it could probably get to 60 and back again!

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James Pickett

Scotch is short for Scotch (i.e. Scottish) Whisky, surely? PG Wodehouse used to refer to 'Scotchmen' I think, although he may have been doing it deliberately to wind them up, which is never difficult, in my experience.. :-)

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BT: Whew, we've been cleared of major privacy breach. Oh SNAP, another webmail blunder

James Pickett

"We’d like to apologise.."

Somehow, I doubt it (unless followed by the words, "but we prefer not to").

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NASA aborts third attempt at finally settling man-made CO2 debate

James Pickett

@Crazy guy

"the climate-change deniers"

I don't know anyone who denies climate change. I do know a few who believe that it happens naturally, though. After all, it always has.

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James Pickett

It might save them a few bob if they first established whether CO2 is the cause or the effect of AGW. There is some evidence (e.g. Vostok ice cores) that CO2 lags warming by a few hundred years...

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How practical is an electric car in London?

James Pickett

Re: Driving in to central london

"205.3 MPGe"

How big is a gallon of electricity, then..?

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James Pickett

Re: Last mile...

"unplug your car without your consent"

Urban schoolboys will be taking note. Unfortunately.

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James Pickett

"Green thought processes"

Mostly for effect, but I'm glad it worked.. :-)

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James Pickett

"they closed a whole bunch of (perfectly good) nuclear power stations in Germany, because Japan's prone to earthquakes"

Nicely put! Also a useful illustration of Green thought processes, if that's not an oxymoron...

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James Pickett

"Fuck me, you really are anti electric."

Not really - I'm fairly neutral, but I can add up.

Most electric cars require more energy (kWh) to re-charge than the average household uses daily. The Tesla requires more than double (60kWh).

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James Pickett

Re: What happens when we reach "peak electric car"?

I believe this is already approaching in Norway, where there has been a greater uptake thanks to the generous subsidies, which are becoming unsustainable. Their government is now claiming that they didn't say it was permanent (although I suspect they didn't say it wasn't, either) and things will slowly revert to normal as the tax breaks disappear. I certainly wouldn't want to be stuck above the Arctic circle with a dead battery...

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James Pickett

I hope the Dept of Energy (and Climate Change!) has done its homework, as it seems to be encouraging us all to use electric vehicles while simultaneously closing power stations at the behest of the EU. Charging an EV at home will at least double your consumption (more if it needs frequent full charges), which is hard to reconcile with the present 2-3% capacity margin that has already resulted in this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-22845487

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James Pickett

Re: Electric cars work fine for me

"my daily commute is about 70 miles round trip"

Will it manage that on a cold winter day in a year or two, when the battery is no longer new, and you need the heater, lights and all ancillaries?

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James Pickett

Re: Dead end.

" none of the bits that tend to need checking and replacing on an ICE."

Apart from a large and expensive battery of indeterminate life, which you will probably want to change before it wears out because the range will have reduced so much.

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Tesla, Nissan, BMW mull all-for-plug, plug-for-all electrocar charger plan

James Pickett

Service stations are going to need their mains supplies upgraded if electric vehicles ever become popular (and vice-versa), especially when a 'fuel stop' may take a couple of hours for each EV. I know Tesla's 'supercharger' can do it in 30 mins, but how many 120kW outlets can you install without your own sub-station?

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British boffin tells Obama's science advisor: You're wrong on climate change

James Pickett

"we can expect as a result of global warming to see more of this pattern of extreme cold"

Global warming - is there anything it can't do..?

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CIA rendition jet was waiting in Europe to SNATCH SNOWDEN

James Pickett

Re: One jet or more?

"to get a 29-year-old hacker"

I thought he was a 29-year old government employee.

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James Pickett

"flying above the level at which air traffic control reporting is mandatory"

Surely it has to make contact on the way down and when landing? It must be an interesting conversation when it appears out of the blue...

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Android is a BURNING 'hellstew' of malware, cackles Apple's Cook

James Pickett

"Nearly half of Apple's customers in China during the past six months, he said, switched from Android phones to the iPhone."

What else would they switch from? And how many moved the other way..?

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WIN your FREE Nokia Lumia 630 smartphone HERE!

James Pickett

"Your personal details will be held securely by Microsoft"

That's the bit I have trouble with...

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100% driverless Wonka-wagon toy cars? Oh Google, you're having a laugh

James Pickett

"Let the machines do what they do better than humans."

Which, as the piece explains, is not driving. Driving in real-world conditions involves all kinds of skills that don't automate: the necessary eye-contact you make at crossroads or pedestrian crossings, the judgement required when negotiating a narrow road or deciding when a verge is safe to put your wheels over, driving past rows of parked vehicles, dealing with unexpected situations/roadworks/breakdowns etc.

I can see that it might ultimately be possible, in areas where there can be only that type of vehicle, but a mixture of robot and human drivers sounds pretty scary to me.

Three facts, quite easy

Should be known to all

Would-be arrivers

Who set out on wheels:

That roads are greasy

Safety margins small

And fellow drivers

Fellow imbeciles.

(Piet Hein)

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So you reckon Nokia-wielding Microsoft can't beat off Apple?

James Pickett

Re: Alternative future history

"management promises that never again will the company overcharge for technology"

That seems fabulously unlikely. The rest is plausible.

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James Pickett

WRT Beats phones, this is far more to do with branding than sound quality. I have some JVC 'flats' (small 'on-ear' phones) that sound as good as, and are vastly more comfortable than, the Koss ESP-9 electrostatics I bought 40 years ago, for what would now be over £2k (I was single then). The JVC's were £20 when I bought them, and since my son has now requested his own pair, I find they are available on Amazon for a fiver!

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James Pickett

"A few might ask if they have any without windows 8, most don't care, or don't think there is a choice."

There is? Where..?

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Dixons and Carphone Warehouse confirm £3.7bn MEGA-BORG

James Pickett

"couldn't show me a live broadcast on a TV they had for sale as the shop hadn't actually got a TV licence"

Brilliant!

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James Pickett

I thought a warehouse was someone who turned into a house at full moon...

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Symantec: Antivirus is 'DEAD' – no longer 'a moneymaker'

James Pickett

"We don't think of antivirus as a moneymaker"

Funny how AVG, Panda, Avira et al continue to make enough to be able to offer a free version for individuals. I don't suppose Symantec ever tried that...

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Microsoft: You know we said NO MORE XP PATCHES? Well ...

James Pickett

Re: Stick to your guns: Stop supporting XP

"they leave the MSE icon at a warning red even if it is up to date"

I thought so, too, but my son's XP machine (which spends most of it's time connected to Steam) has MSE and it is currently showing a green icon with tick, and says it's up-to-date and protected. I've no idea why, unless MS got tired of nagging everyone.

Have just read Mister Bee's message, so will try that the next time I get an opportunity - perhaps the Boy knows more than I thought!

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95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift

James Pickett

"a loaded mass of about a tonne" (said the chap with the Aygo)

Actually, the lift motor only has to cope with the weight of the occupants, thanks to a counterweight. Still a fair amount of grunt required, though, and I'm really not sure about the pressurisation, intended to prevent ear-popping. Won't that be much worse when the doors finally open and the people waiting to go down are blown backwards..?

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Who fancies a billion-quid bonanza? Just flog the Home Office some shiny walkie-talkies

James Pickett

"Whats wrong with tetra?"

Just about everything, IIRC. Although they may have got it working properly by now, which is obviously the precise moment to change it... :-)

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BEHOLD the HOLY GRAIL of TECH: The REVERSIBLE USB plug

James Pickett

What is wrong with a plug/socket that is obviously asymmetric, like, say, Firewire? Doesn't KISS apply any more?

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Win XP usage down but not out as support cutoff deadline looms

James Pickett

Even 10% (which seems a low estimate to me) of a very large number is still a large number. Come April 9th, when the sky hasn't fallen in, most XP users will just carry on as before, but without the nagware.

My 15-year old Toshiba laptop (upgraded from Win98 to 2k) was in use again last week, queuing up and playing sounds for a local theatre production, as it has done for a decade. I'll change it when it breaks.

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Microsoft: Let's be clear, WE won't read your email – but the cops will

James Pickett

"they don't offer Office 365 for Service Providers"

BT use it for their 'btconnect' email - is that not the same thing?

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QUIDOCALYPSE: Blighty braces for £100 MILLION cost of new £1 coin

James Pickett

Re: ROI

"the non-parasitic local government members of the BPA"

Who they?

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James Pickett

It hasn't occurred, then, to the BPA that coins might change from time to time, and to make provision for same? Careless, and their problem.

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BT caught in data gaffe drama: Whistleblower squeals over alleged email fail

James Pickett

"the company's CEO David Ratner"

Any relation to Gerald? It could explain a lot...

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