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* Posts by BristolBachelor

1983 posts • joined 30 Jan 2009

UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones

BristolBachelor
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That may help in one regard, but how long between you leaving your phone on a table in a Starbucks, walking around a bit, realising that you've lost it and then being able to access said Google service to lock your phone to prevent someone reading it's contents?

I always have mine locked, and that's mainly to prevent opportunistic reading of its content.

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Snowden is FREE to ESCAPE FROM RUSSIA, say officials

BristolBachelor
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In US Gov and US TLA agencies' eyes, US law is international law "What is law?"

Fixed it for you.

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SCORE: Rosetta probe hits orbit of duck-shaped comet

BristolBachelor
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Re: Very impressive re. semantics

Unfortunately I bought all the sequels a couple of years ago before I found out they weren't actually written by Arthur C. Clarke. When I read that he gave storylines for the books, I read them anyway to see where the story went, but the writting style was depressingly different.

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NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

BristolBachelor
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Re: Captain Future's enemy had one of those.

The last time I thought about it, it seemed evident to me that the force towards the "front" would exactly equal the force towards the "back".
I guess that you come from flatland and can only thonk 1-dimensionly. If you think 3-dimensionly and use vectors, you realise that the conoical sides are supposed to generate a net difference in one direction compared to the other. I'm not saying it works, but hey, that would be a great thing, no?

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BristolBachelor
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Re: REPORTEDLY...

Bit of a pants vacuum chamber then. Ours have bulk-head patch panels that allow passthrough of cables, fibres or waveguides. Thec whole idea is to have a vacuum inside it but be able to connect your kit up to stuff outside to test it.

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BristolBachelor
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Re: @Paul Crawford

Nah, 2.5kW is in the class of reasonable (big) size imaging or science satellite. Big communication class is more like 15kW - 22kW. Of that maybe 1kW is used by the platform and the rest is for the payload.

As for solar panels, I'm not sure I believe 40%. For space you need GaAs, not silicon because of the radiation, especially as you move out of LEO orbit and out of the atmosphere. I think maybe 32-35% might be achievable at the cell level, but your panel isn't 100% cells - you have wiring, mechanism, other circuits, etc. Outside the atmosphere you get an average insolation of ~1370W/m², but as has been said, that drops to ~40% by Mars. Given that I don't have Mathcad on my mobile, I'll leave the calcs to someone else.

The Russians had quite a few satellites with thermal nuclear power plants that would go nicely with this tech for getting to/from the outer planets.

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Kiwi Rocket Lab to build SUPER-CHEAP sat launchers (anyone know 30 rocket scientists?)

BristolBachelor
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Please don't get me wrong. I wholeheartedly agree that this is needed, and I like the look of what they are proposing. I just think it a bit disingenuous to compare the launch costs of this and a geo telecoms sat. (Just like if I say that my bicycle is cheap because it costs less than a Rolls Royce)

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BristolBachelor
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Re: How many orbiting satellites can be put up there?

It depends. If you want to put something on the equitorial geo-stationary belt, then yes, there is slot allocation. However this rocket wouldn't even manage to get itself anywhere near on a trajectory in that directdion, let alone a payload.

In Low-Earth Orbit, there is a generally agreed rule that if you put something up there, you have to make sure it comes back safetly and doesn't just litter. The new Metop sats had a problem with this, and the redesign to carry enough fuel to de-orbit safetly was significant. However Metops are also significantly bigger than this rocket can fly.

That leaves the little micro / nano satellites etc. I think that the rules generally depend on the launching country, and are generally more relaxed. You generally have to ensure that it will de-orbit within a certain time-frame, which normally just means putting it into the correct orbit. However, for example the law in the UK says something like if you want to launch something into space, then you have to get it up there and back by chauffeured Rolls Royce and jump though a few hoops on the way, while wrapped in red-tape.

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BristolBachelor
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It's a bit of a bad comparison to say that it normally costs over $100m to launch a 5T satellite to geo-stationary orbit, and then say that this rocket will launch 0.1T to LEO for $5m.

It's a bit like asking why does a flight from the UK to New Zealand cost so much, when a Tuc Tuc ride in Tailand only costs £0.10.

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Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers

BristolBachelor
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Re: @ AC

It's very well saying that the intercept rate is meant to be over 95% - I have specifications for projects that say all sorts of things. You just issue a request for deviation, or a specification waver, and the nasty "meant to be" just goes away.

There was an interesting article published a while ago, and then a similar one more recently by the "Bulletin of Atomic Scientists". It covers how the Iron Dome interceptor works, and suggests a possible kill rate. It's interesting reading, but suggests that 95% may be the miss rate.

http://thebulletin.org/evidence-shows-iron-dome-not-working7318

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Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad

BristolBachelor
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I remember having all sorts of problems with a domestic appliance I was responsible for, because the the li-ion cells used inside the battery pack are nickel plated! There is no excuse these days for not knowing that nickel can cause sesitivity.

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That 'wiped' Android phone you bought is stuffed with NAKED SELFIES – possibly

BristolBachelor
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Re: BristolBachelor

"More on that story please!"
Well let's see. From where I was working at the time, it was sometime in the 90's. Some details are deliberately left out, like the country, airport, aircraft etc. As I understand it, I could use the investigation in general terms as an example when talking about investigations, failures or systems engineering, but certain details that aren't relevant to that use might make people blush. So here is an example of a system level failure and a small part about the investigation that is worth baring in mind when designing equipment that might be expected to undergo post mortem if something goes wrong.

Pilot flying a small regional jet came in to land and set the engines to idle (oops 1). During final approach, he decided he didn't like something, and decided to do a go-around, so he throttled the engines to 100%. The engines now being below nominal operating temp because of the time spent at idle, throttled up a bit, but not to 100% (if you go from 0% to 100% in a sudden jump, the turbine blades heat-up, expand quicker than the outer of the engine and things get really noisy really quickly).

Realising that he wasn't getting 100% thrust, the pilot decided that he was going to have to land anyway, so changed his mind in a hurry, and got the plane onto the runway. Sometime around now, with the engines up to nominal temp and with the throttle still at 100% (Oops 2), ramped up the trust to the max. Plane shot down the runway like a bat out of hell, overshot and went into a forest.

They scrambled a helicopter to locate the plane as it was a bit hard to follow the random path through the trees. The investigation could not interview the flight crew and reconstructed evens from the flight recorders, radar records, positions of controls, etc. We were asked to retrieve whatever we could from the built-in records in our unit. The unit does a built-in-test (BIT) every time at start-up, a fuller BIT when commanded, and some periodic on-going checking during normal use. Also any anomalies are recorded - all done to identify possible faults for maintenance.

The box was a bit of a mess as I said earlier. The E² (effectively flash that is erased byte at a time instead of page at a time) dies were taken to the manufacturer who had a nice test set-up that could probe directly on the bond-pads. Can't remember which manufacturer it was, but it's likely that they don't exist by that name anymore and have been bought and assimilated so many times it would be difficult to find out. Anyway, the data was read-out of the die, and for speed was copied into a new chip and plugged into an engineering unit to read-out the logs. Separately, a manual search was done through the raw data to confirm that nothing was missed by the log read-out.

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BristolBachelor
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Re: Factory Reset

Once worked on an unfortumate investigation after a plane overshot the runway, cut down a mile of forest, and eventually caught fire, minus the wings. Most survived, apart from the pilot, who actually had a lucky escape from questions about his actions.

Anyway, the aluminium box was crushed and melted. All the PCBs turned to ash and a pile of glass fibres. The flash memory chips were left as just the dies as the glass seal that glued the ceramic top and bottom of the dil package together melted...

However, it was possible to read all the logs off the dies to reconstruct what had happened.

And yes, we used long-nosed pliers :)

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Today's Facebook fury: Coppertone-like baby pic ban baffles US mom

BristolBachelor
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I think your case is a little exyreme, but obviously, anyone who has posted a photo on Facebook of a woman in which more than her eyes are visible should be banned, because in one corner of 1 state in the world, it's ilegal. Utter fcsking nonsence!

Mrs bachelor is a newborn photographer, and she has to deal with this sort of shit every week! She even has edited photos of babies like Barbie, that have no arse cracks or nipples!

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FAKE Google web SSL certificates tip-toe out from Indian authorities

BristolBachelor
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Windows

Are the Windows certs really updated on a daily basis, or just once a month on patch Tuesday/Wednesday/whatever?

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Teensy card skimmers found in gullets of ATMs

BristolBachelor
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Joke

Re: *dum de dum de da*

It goes:

BZZZZZZZZZT B'dong B'dong Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I know the sound well because I still have to rely on it sometimes :( The internet at 9600 or 2400 baud is not fun anymore

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S is for SMACKDOWN: Samsung takes Galaxy Tab slab war fruit-side

BristolBachelor
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Re: That... looks... nice...

I have used a shock horror Microsoft Bluetooth mouse on a Galaxy Note, and it works very well. You get a pointer, pop-ups work, so you can read the idea behind a xkcd sketch. All in all, surprising good (a pity that apps don't support right-click context menus though)

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HP starts a memristor-based space program to launch ... THE MACHINE

BristolBachelor
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Joke

Real reason for the Delay

You only have to look at the unique selling points to release why there's been a delay. 160PB per rack, huge datasets, massive processing power...

All the first units are being shipped to the NSA as we speak. Once NSA have enough to collect and monitor all the RAM/disc of every single PC/Mobile on the planet in real-time, they will slowly be available on general release (about 2018 onwards).

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NASA beams vid from space via laser

BristolBachelor
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Joke

I think that the performance improvement is oversold. It seems to me that the reception of this video over RF in the UK would've taken 10 minutes, whereas the reception of light from space, passing through the atmosphere would've taken from 2 days to 2 weeks, depending on your luck with the weather.

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Fed-up bloke takes email spammers to court – and WINS PILE of CASH

BristolBachelor
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voluntarily ???

"Mr Mansfield voluntarily gave us his email address..."

Bollocks. You forced him to do it, just so he could find out if he could have a home delivery. In addition, you probably forced him to do it, just so that you could harvest his email address to illegally spam him.

It is a shame that the judge award "unspecified damages". I'd suggest 1 week chained to railings in public, with a rule that "anything goes". "unspecified damages" probably isn't a sufficient deterrant, whereas boiling tar over the testicles might be.

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MH370 'pings' dismissed as false positives

BristolBachelor
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Joke

Re: Someone playing a game of blindmans bluff

Oh, oh it's on the tip of me tongue..... Wassis name..... You know, the one with the fluffy white cat.....

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BristolBachelor
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Re: Easier than doing real journalism

I thought that CNN was busy telling everyone that global warming doesn't matter because we're all going to be killed by the largest asteroid ever seen, and it's coming straight to Earth.

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Tesla's TOP SECRET gigafactories: Lithium to power world's vehicles? Let's do the sums

BristolBachelor
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Re: you have to heat it quite a lot before it starts to work

But aren'f Lithium Air cells primary cells (non rechargable?)

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Urinating teen polluted 57 Olympic-sized swimming pools - cops

BristolBachelor
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Joke

Well if it takes 38 million gallons to flush away a piss (for my tpilet it's 4 litres), then only 50 gallons for a shower sounds utterly reasonable.

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Hey, operators... 'member our edge-of-SPAAACE interwebs balloons? Help! - Google

BristolBachelor
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The fact that normal base-stations don't transmit upwards is just to save wasted transmitter power. If Google wants to put something up there that transmits downwards, then that's fine. I think that most mobile terminals (*) actually transmit in every direction, so they don't really care where the "base station" is.

As for frequency re-use, that is another issue. Normally the telcos size each cell to avoid overlaps using the same channels. So if you want to stick something else in the same space, the normal base stations will have to stop using certain channels to allow Google to use them (even worse to completely re-plan their spectrum usage on the fly.) This would reduce the total bandwidth available to the telco's basestations (although if they get the bw from Google, they could compensate).

I would have though that in congested areas, they wouldn't really want to do that. The only thing that I think would work would be if the telco reduced the cell sizes in the area where the balloon points it's antenna to effectively get an extra base-station in the middle, that wanders through their network as it moves overhead. In that case it would need very good pointing accuracy to ensure that it didn't bleed into ajoining cells using the same channels.

Another issue is that the stratosphere is a lot further away than your normal base-station, so mobiles will have to use more power, and timing will become more of an issue.

(*) There are rumours of a handset that only transmitted in varying directions if you were holding it wrongly.

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Spain clamps down on drones

BristolBachelor
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Re: Off topic but relevant to UK IT

Meanwhile I've just been told by Telefonica that I cannot even have a line, let alone ADSL or 30mb in the house I'm renovating, even though the line's already there. Thankfully I have some contacts in the Sat business, but Satellite internet is not ideal. My other option is to start a Ltd. company with CIF number and order dedicated fibre, but it's only for ltd companies; just paying 300€ month being self employed is not enough.

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Cold War spy aircraft CRASHED Los Angeles' air traffic control

BristolBachelor
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I read a report on this elsewhere, and that seemed to suggest that the "spooks" did file an accurate flight plan. It suggested that the problem was that the ATC system "forgot"hat airspace is 3D and that the plane woukd therefore overfly everything, with no need to re-route anything.

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Did cosmic radiation nuke $25 satellite swarm? 100 snoozing Sprites face fiery death

BristolBachelor
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Re: Hmm, radiation increases as you

"Sometimes your budget only allows you to plan for 20% of the foreseeable issues."
That would've been a fine excuse in 1960. Since then, we've sent up sats with detectors on, and even dedicated sats. We know what the environment up there is like, and it's not even amongst the "secret" data. Radiation is more than foreseeable.

Their orbit seems to be extremely low (which makes things easier as the atmosphere will shield them a lot better), but for example in one of my recent projects we were seeing a radiation triggered glitch in a simple op-amp at least once a day. You then analyse the effects of those glitches and design the system to ignore or cope with them. Resetting a 16 day timer on a mission with a lifetime of less than a month does not sound sensible.

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HALF of London has outdated Wi-Fi security, says roving World of War, er, BIKER

BristolBachelor
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I was wondering that too. Considering that all the Starbucks or BTopenzone and the like have no protection, then it's no surprise.

What this guy should be saying is that the WiFi standards group are still completely crap if they cannot implement a standard that allows anyone to connect without needing a password, and then for the two devices to negotiate a secure connection between them.

The current standards either have no protection, or the requirement to enter a 140 bit key on an on-screen keyboard the size of a postage stamp, and no way to know what that key is unless people stick post-it notes up on every lamp-post.

As for honeypots; aren't they one of the reasons for VPN?

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SpaceX touts latest gear: new module, rocket demo

BristolBachelor
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Trollface

Re: Space Elevators

On a similar line, we should stop building cars; obviously a dead-end technology. Everyone knows that matter transport is the way to go, and there have been a few theoretical papers and at least 1 photon demonstation that it is possible!

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BristolBachelor
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Re: There are 2 interesting claims about this.

Another big difference is that Dragon 2 will have to be "life-boat" capable, which means surviving 7 months attached, and able to depart by itself at the drop of a hat. As far as I am aware, the current Dragon can only survive for a few weeks, maybe a month tops.

To be able to depart at the drop of a hat, the Dragon 2 would need at least manually controllable manoeuvring thrusters, like the Soyuz, and even a fully automatic system shouldn't be too hard to qualify; there is a precedent in the Euro ATV.

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Google forges a Silver bullet for Android, aims it at Samsung's heart

BristolBachelor
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Re: Absolutely

To be honest the Sammy stuff in my Note is ok. The bugs I see are in the stock Google mail app, and are still there in the latest, latest version. Also the newest, newest version of Android doesn't get me anything new that I want. On the contrary, it's the forced updates to Play services that you cannot deny or roll-back that are FKing over my phone and also killing the battery. Perhaps a pure Sammy Tizen phone would suit me better?

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Boffins build billion-synapse, three-watt 'brain'

BristolBachelor
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Re: As a matter of interest ....

The 1st answer in Google says:

"The average power consumption of a typical adult is about 100 W." 20 W ... "The human brain is only 2% of the weight of the body, but it consumes about 20% of ..."

I can't see any more than that from here. I'd have to go to a more civilised place that has unfettered internet access. Also the URL for the page that Google pulls up falls foul of El Reg's parser :/

This value as 20-40W is also quoted in Wikipedia

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BristolBachelor
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Facepalm

Re: “you have to know how the brain works to program one of these”.

How many people program brains daily? Except for a few films where the villian may be stroking a white cat, living in a volcano, I've not seen any evidence of people programming brains.

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Japan plans SEVEN satellite launches to supercharge GPS

BristolBachelor
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Re: Is this just WAAS?

I don't think so. I think that it's more about the fact that in Tokyo, and most cities in Japan, the horizon is about 15 degrees instead of 180 degrees in the countryside or 90 degrees in other cities. It's almost impossible to see 4 GPS satellites at the same time, let alone more.

This is more about putting satellites into very eliptical orbits (or geo), so that they are above the local horizon for longer, so you can still see enough of them to get a lock, or enough of them to have reasonable accuracy. At the same time, yes it makes sense to add differentials.

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BristolBachelor
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Re: Compatible with existing GPS systems?

In theory it there is no reason why not. The new satellites just need to transmit a datastream in the same band, with satellite position data that represents the position of the satellite. It doesn't matter if the satellite is in a different orbit.

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Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics

BristolBachelor
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Re: A blue LED indicates the light is on

However, since the "switch" is only connected by 2-wires, it is in series with the bulb. If the bulb is dead, there will be no circuit, and therefore the switch will also be dead with no LEDs.

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Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run

BristolBachelor
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Joke

Re: Say what?

"How the hell did they develop a helium leak in the first stage?"
My guess would be that the last test technician didn't fully close the valve after taking a lungful to do the squeeky countdown from 10. I believe that the guys here always make sure that they close the valve afterwards. (Bootnote: filling a Guiness inflatable chair with helium doesn't make it float)

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Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper

BristolBachelor
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Re: The perils of having Panasonic as a partner???

Sony also make Li-Ion cells, but tend to be the cylindrical cell type more than coffee pack (although I believe that they do make coffee pack style). The standard commercial cells that they make are also used to make batteries for satellites (not Tosh laptops!).

It was testing those cells that lead to the discovery many years ago that a machine on one production line was dropping small particles of zinc into the cells leading them to fail early, which in turn lead to a major recall.

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OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts

BristolBachelor
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Black Helicopters

You meant yo say that the Google engineer who found it teported it to the people who could fix it.

However, the NSA hack who found it added it to their exploit list.

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BristolBachelor
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Re: "Google's Android 4.1.1 is vulnerable"

The keep alive may be sent from the client to the server, or from the server to the client.

Are you saying that Android does not make SSL connections?

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Anatomy of OpenSSL's Heartbleed: Just four bytes trigger horror bug

BristolBachelor
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Trollface

Re: Sloppiness or malice?

So the RFC iasued in 2012 tells you how to do it. And the code submitted in 2011 does it a different way? I suppose that is possible in a causal universe, where you can't tell the future; it's Einstein's fault.

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British Gas applies to wind up UK colo outfit Alphadex

BristolBachelor
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"Pulling the plug" isn't so easy at the moment. ISTR that you have to send a bod to their premises with a court order to get inside and do the dirty (or a slick talking "I'm here to check the phalanges on your meter" guy).

Of course once you've got one of the new digital meters, it's a different matter. Then the person cold-calling you to change your insurance to BG will turn off your electricity out of spite because you were rude and hung up on them.

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Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed

BristolBachelor
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Facepalm

Re: Your observation is flawed

"But for other devices, including the webservers at companies"
But wasn't the first post about home routers and access points? How many companies use a home router for their webserver? :-/ (Judging by the speed of some of them more than one!)

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Apple execs: 'Consumers want what we don't have'

BristolBachelor
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I see Samsung's slides as being important on their high-end ranges (Galaxy S and Note) where Apple was their major compoetitor. Presumably they were watching the others too, but thought that they weren't a problem.

On the other hand, Apple's slides seem to be suggesting that they are refusing to deliver what their potential customers want to own, or their potential sales channels want to offer.

I don't see the slides as equal at all. Samsung is at worse a bit paranoid (but with some reason). Apple seems to be realising that they are close to the thin end of the extinct wedge unless they change. The question is: are Apple willing to change to compete with what people want (to own or supply), or do they just want to bog down the competition so they don't have to?

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Furious MyCloud users descend on WD website as borkage continues

BristolBachelor
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I also read that the NEST smoke alarm can be silanced by waving your arms at it (a selling point if you regularly burn toast). However Google has decided that it might mis-interpret movement and disable itself by accident, and therefore might not be working when you thought it was. So their solution? remotely disable all of them (WTF!?)

I'm starting to think that I may not connect my automated home to the net after all.

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VAT's all folks: Telecoms and services tax to be set at consumer's homeland rate

BristolBachelor
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Re: Administration knightmare

When you say a table of 27 entries, you mean a table with 27 countries. But then each country has a set of VAT rates (e.g. utilities, childrens clothes, cultural items....). Note that the VAT rate per category may vary by country; printed books are 0% rated in UK, but 21% rated in Spain. Theatre tickets 8% in Spain, but not in UK.

Also B2B may be VAT free or not, depending on the country you are supplying to, and how the company is registered (including what categories it is registered for).

It is true; for a small company VAT is a nightmare.

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HTC One M8: Reg man takes spin in Alfa Romeo of smartphone world

BristolBachelor
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Re: Double-tap to wake

With the Note 3 sitting on the desk, you just wave your hand over it to get the time and any missed notifications. Touch the phone? Why'd you wannt do that?

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BristolBachelor
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Joke

Re: IR

"The amount my wife looses remotes !!!!"
So does that mean that she'd just lose the phone instead?

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Chinese patent app tries to own Wine on ARM

BristolBachelor
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Coat

Re: Don't you have to INVENT something?

Sadly, no.

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