Feeds

* Posts by Annihilator

2866 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Arctic freshening not due to ice melt after all, says NASA

Annihilator
Silver badge
WTF?

ODFO

Agendas aside (and I'd say el Reg is agnostic bordering on denialist in its agenda), the people who proved the "hippies" wrong were "boffins", both terms equal in being able to take as an insult or a complement. If anything, the word hippie was self-invented by hippies for hippies. Boffins, it's less clear of the etymology, but still applied affectionately or derogatively.

If you want news stories written about scientists and Greenpeace, with measurements in yards, feet & inches, would suggest not el Reg. If you want stories about boffins, hippies and measurements in brontosauri, buses and linguine, then you're in the right place.

5
2

Satnav mishap misery cure promised at confab

Annihilator
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Subtle change

I should start out saying I agree with all the comments above, namely people who get into danger with a satnav are just bad drivers, full stop.

I can understand the slight difference though, in that humans are generally inclined to "trust" a "human" who has earned it. In this case, the satnav is (to all intents) a human voice and has earned trust through hours of being correct, the natural human instinct is to trust the satnav's voice.

Although having said all that, even if someone was navigating with a map next to me and told me to turn left, I'd still notice if it was a no entry sign for example and explain I can't do that. I'd also be able to figure out if a road I was about to enter was too narrow for the vehicle I was driving, recognise a grass field followed by a cliff and notice a user-operated level crossing when I saw one.

I also don't see how updating map-makers data will get to my mother's satnav without me intervening, taking it out the car, plugging it into a PC, updating the maps, hopefully not buggering it up... Satnavs live in the car, and without OTA updates will seldom be updated.

2
0

iOS 5's iMessage chops carrier SMS routing traffic

Annihilator
Silver badge
Meh

"Free" mesages

I'm enjoying the delusion of many posters who think "I get free messages, so it doesn't matter". You most certainly DON'T get "free" messages from your telco. The mobile companies charge each other fractions of pennies to route between their networks and pass that cost on to you somewhere, probably in your monthly contract.

SMS is possibly the biggest rip-off on the planet - the average is about 4p these days I believe, for 1120bits of data, often unused. No wonder it was initially dismissed by telcos as a service no-one would want, they must have thought to themselves "surely we can't get away with this?"

Be sure that they are bricking it regarding their revenue streams in the same way they don't want Skype or Facetime on their networks. I'm amazed they let this, BBM and WhatsApp to exist too.

0
0

Sleep Cycle

Annihilator
Silver badge
Meh

Sensitivity

It's sensitive enough, there's a demo where it beeps when it's detecting movement (to calibrate it), but yeah, it's still snake-oil. As much as sleepyti.me is (free) snake-oil too - there isn't an "average" sleep cycle for people in general. For a specific person, yeah, but not people.

0
0
Annihilator
Silver badge
Boffin

Pretty much everything works as placebo if your believe it will

The suggestion isn't that it therefore "works", it needs to "work better than placebo" in order to be deemed worthwhile. By your standards, homoeopathy works

The science behind it is non-existent. The app infers that when you're not moving, you're in deep sleep and vice versa. It's been shown that this is largely flawed logic - there is no direct correlation. Sleep labs use these devices to measure rest-activity cycles, but have to rely on electrodes to measure EEG in order to determine "deepness" of sleep.

0
0

Dizzy: the Ultimate Cartoon Adventure

Annihilator
Silver badge
Go

Magic(land)

Awesome, been waiting for this! Favourite was Magicland, I imagine still to come in the "TBC" article. Bubble Dizzy was an interesting concept I seem to remember.

Share wholeheartedly the half-assed story lines that were invented under the same conditions that Magic Roundabout was conceived - it weirdly added to the charm, and as a child it seemed amusing and feasible!

Not to mention the new Yolkfolk: http://www.dizzygame.com/

0
0

Early Bell recordings live again (kind of)

Annihilator
Silver badge

@mootpoint

"stored the recordings" doesn't equal "made the recordings available to the great unwashed on their website".

Besides, they're now in 44Kbit PCM wavs

0
0
Annihilator
Silver badge
Boffin

Shape

The discs will most probably be in the same state they are now, it's not like they'll get dusty or rusty in outer space.

The instructions for playing them are engraved on the discs as far as I'm aware, plus a stylus to demonstrate the tech.

In the massively unlikely scenario they're found, it should be fairly trivial to decode.

1
0

Wi-Fi desk rodents break free from oppressive cabling

Annihilator
Silver badge
Thumb Up

@Steve Knox

Indeed - I think it's damn near impossible not to have a pair of AA batteries knocking around the house, even if you borrow them out of a lesser-used device as a short-term solution. AAs are ubiquitous around this house anyway.

0
0
Annihilator
Silver badge
Boffin

And those off-brand wireless mice...

all require a fugly USB dongle poking out the side.

0
0

Pluto's blushing complexion riddle solved by boffins

Annihilator
Silver badge
Boffin

re: COSTAR

You know COSTAR was made redundant, right? The original cameras and spectrographs have long since been replaced with new ones that corrected for the misaligned mirror. They're all sitting in various museums around the States.

The real question is why COSTAR was left in there for 7 years doing sweet FA - may as well have taken it out in 2002 when they took the last original camera out.

0
0

Ofcom maps out what 'psychics' are allowed to do on TV

Annihilator
Silver badge
Coat

Cainer is real??

I assumed he was a character like Ask Elvis or Barry from Watford - who knew??

0
0

Christmas cosmonauts set out safely for ISS

Annihilator
Silver badge
Go

Lisa

"How doth the hero, strong and brave, a celestial path to the heavens paved...

Go Dad, go."

2
0

Software bug fingered as cause of Aussie A330 plunge

Annihilator
Silver badge
Boffin

@Will

The general advice when flying is to keep your seatbelt loosely fastened - precisely for this reason. The pilot will even say this in his pre-amble, along the lines of "later I'll switch off the fasten-seatbelts sign so you can move around the aircraft, but we recommend keeping them loosely fastened for your safety and comfort".

Two reasons I do this personally. 1) unexpected turbulence is a b1tch on the best days, 2) when I'm sleeping after three bottles of wine, I don't want to be disturbed if they decide to switch the signs back on.

7
0

Three more 'nauts prepare for space station housewarming

Annihilator
Silver badge
Alert

Scary

I know that there's an impressive record with Soyuz, but man that picture doesn't inspire confidence! Looks more like it was knocked together with some rusty scrapped scaffolding...

1
0

Samsung hauls Apple into court over emoticon patent :-(

Annihilator
Silver badge

Doubt it's actual emoticons

I'm guessing that it's not the display of ":-)" that is the target, more the parsing of text messages that contain ":-)" and substituting it for an image of a smiley face.

2
0

Comet Lovejoy survives brush with fiery solar death

Annihilator
Silver badge
Boffin

the surprise

Because it's a "dirty snowball" that's constantly shrinking due to it's tail. If it's got a tail, it's losing mass and stability, and the prevailing opinion was that this one had shrunk so small as to not survive going so close to the sun *this* time. No assumptions were made on it being a first time pass (a hyperbolic comet - very rare) and how well it survived any previous times has little to do with how well it survives this or the next time.

There's only three fates for comets - extinction (nothing left in them, but stable enough that they're just a lump of rock - effectively an asteroid), break-up/disintegration (what was expected here) or hitting something else like a planet, like the one that we got a cracking view of hitting Jupiter back in the 90s.

0
0
Annihilator
Silver badge
Go

May fortune favour the foolish

Warp speed Mr Sulu

0
0

Homeland Sec., RIAA Torrent lists published

Annihilator
Silver badge
FAIL

Offensive?

Get over yourself. To use your technique of "basically saying", your post is along the lines of "I'm a pious person who doesn't torrent so went to that site to feel smug about it and missed a joke and decided to get all upset"

Although it also strikes me that you've completely missed the point of what the site is trying to achieve, and also that it's not owned by the RIAA or any similar company - it's an enterprising tech demonstrating that torrents are a country mile away from being anonymous.

1
1

Regulator reckons telly advert caps are just peachy

Annihilator
Silver badge
Meh

Crap

No limit on how much adverts for other programming can be crammed in then? Have just done a quick random check, most programmes coming from the US are only 22-23 minutes long, crammed into 30 minutes. So Channel 4 showing an episode of Friends (not that they do anymore) has to fill 7-8 minutes per *half* hour. They fill the gap with "later this week, another episode of what you're currently watching"...

With crap like X-Factor, or Come Dine, or Cash In The Attic (or whatever else I'm forced to watch) there is also a missing 2 minutes per ad break made up of "coming up after the break" followed by "welcome back, here's a reminder of what you just watched.

In all, it's about 10 minutes of "entertainment" crammed into an hour.

0
0

Strictly Come Dancing in 3D: the facts

Annihilator
Silver badge
Pint

Press the red button now

No, not that red button, the one top-right on your remote control. It's probably got a circle with a vertical line down the middle.

It's a doddle to avoid it. In my case though, I find leaving the room while my g/f watches it helps a lot.

2
0

Jimbo Wales ponders Wikipedia blackout

Annihilator
Silver badge
Meh

Good luck

I recall a similar Digital Economy Act getting rammed through our parliament on a fast track...

I don't think turning Wikipedia off for a day is going to make much of a difference. You're not going to change any minds with that action: those supporting the act will think "tch, free-loving hippies" and strengthen their resolve, those against it will think "yeah, stick it to 'em Jimbo" but still be mildly irritated at the outage.

The rest of the population with no strong opinion will probably sway to the "free-loving hippies" response due to their annoyance.

Doesn't seem to be any winning outcome, except for the scientific/education community who will rejoice as their students will have to do research the hard way...

2
0

RIM execs chewed through restraints after in-flight fracas

Annihilator
Silver badge
Happy

@Amazon Wageslave

Furry muff, thanks for pointing out my obvious mistake :-)

0
0
Annihilator
Silver badge

In fairness

Unless RIM were paying for the flight, it's not really any of their business... If they were, then fair enough, but there's not enough in it to judge from the article.

2
17

RED MOON to GO DARK tonight in Pacific eclipse

Annihilator
Silver badge
WTF?

@Notas Badoff

Thanks for that, I can read the article too. But nowhere does it say it will/won't be in the UK - my entire point. It only tells me where in the US you can see it, and where the "best views" will be, not whether it's completely invisible here.

As I say, if we're lucky we can catch a glimpse of a partial eclipse at moonrise.

0
0
Annihilator
Silver badge
Thumb Down

.co.uk

Would it kill you to even at least mention whether anything is visible from the UK? Even half a sentence would have been a nice thought.

As far as I can figure out, moonrise tomorrow will be the only slim chance, the further south you live in the UK, the better. Probably around 16:00 GMT.

1
0

Next Dr Who game to leave Xboxers in the cold

Annihilator
Silver badge
Meh

Except

The ridiculous thunderclaps they've inserted into the Matt Smith series, I now spin through the credits when watching it on catch-up.

0
0

Ofcom sets out ambitious plans for 2012/13

Annihilator
Silver badge
Coat

Spectrum auctions

I've got a ZX81 in the loft they can have...

1
0

Alec Baldwin kicked off plane for playing with his phone

Annihilator
Silver badge
Happy

Problem

Other than 30 Rock, I don't think I've seen him in anything. Though does Team America count?...

0
0
Annihilator
Silver badge

Douche

That is all.

Anyone else refusing to turn off electronic devices "when the engines are running on the ground, during approach, take-off and landing" would receive the same treatment. You can argue whether it's a reasonable request, whether it can realistically interfere with critical systems or not, but we all know it's there and comply with it equally.

13
3

SSDs choked by crummy disk interfaces

Annihilator
Silver badge
Go

Decade or two?

Have you been hiding under a rock? SCSI never died, and has been king in servers ever since. It's now effectively evolved into SAS as the defacto server standard.

iSCSI is still very much in vogue too.

1
0

Secrets of the asteroid belt: Vesta actually more like a planet

Annihilator
Silver badge
Boffin

Size

"Or to put it another way, to find out why one of these bodies become an asteroid and the other a dwarf planet?"

Given size is about the only thing that separates Vesta and Ceres (Ceres *is* still an asteroid, just a bloody big one), then it's of no great surprise. It would be stranger if all planets were of uniform size.

The only reason Vesta is an "asteroid" and Ceres is a "dwarf planet" is because we bloody defined them as such.

2
1

NASA probe now closer than ANY OTHER spacecraft to Pluto

Annihilator
Silver badge
Coat

Cool

"The New Horizons probe is expected to pass through the Pluto system in mid-2015, by which time the team expects to see features as small as a football field."

They're going to look a little silly if it turns out that Pluto doesn't have any football fields on it... Plus presumably all the Plutonian tennis courts will lay undiscovered.

0
0

OWC 6G Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD

Annihilator
Silver badge
Go

Whole hearted pedantry

Never apologise for pedantry! You're 100% correct, and the reason they're used is touched on in the article - they're designed to not slip (unlike Phillips) in order to achieve consistent torque (where the name comes from?). Presumably one of the reasons the car industry loves them too.

They're an ISO standard these days.

1
0

Rainbow Islands

Annihilator
Silver badge
Holmes

Snob

"or as close as you can get with just 4096 colors"

4096 colours?? You don't know you're born... (where's the "when I were a lad icon..", close enough)

1
0
Annihilator
Silver badge
Go

100%

But you're still a swine, the theme tune for the C64 version is now stuck in my head:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gggp9JkY1Pk

0
0

Apple Thunderbolt Display 27in monitor

Annihilator
Silver badge
FAIL

re: Hazro

So... you can get a completely different monitor for a different price, the only thing in common being the screen size?

The whole point of the monitor is the Thunderbolt expansion. Criticise if you think it's too expensive for that, but to compare it to something completely different is disingenuous at best.

0
0

Happy birthday, Apple QuickTime

Annihilator
Silver badge
Thumb Up

No alternatives

Agreed, it wasn't brilliant, but it was born in the days when the only alternatives were Microsoft's proprietary formats, "Real" Media's abomination or accepting humungous file sizes in the more basic formats. Quicktime and the format it spawned (MPEG4) have for some years now offered one of the best balances between file size, picture quality and processing requirements. www.apple.com/trailers used to be the benchmark in finding quality video files.

As a Windows user, I'd argue that this is one of the things Apple has actually given the industry.

1
0
Annihilator
Silver badge
Stop

re: Small problem

Swing and a miss again. The file in question as created by the iPhone uses the 3GP container.

1
0
Annihilator
Silver badge
WTF?

Really??

I'm not a fan of Quicktime by a real stretch, but are you just inventing stuff? iPhone users may send me a video, but it's recorded in H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, the sound is MPEG4-AAC. It's an ISO standard, and has been for around 10 years now. Bear in mind that in the video world, there has never really been a video codec standard, just a mish-mash. Theora is the open source best example, and is aiming to ape MPEG-4.

I've also never seen iTunes installed on anyone's machine unless they meant to do it, I'm not aware of any installer that sneakily puts it onto a machine.

Agendas? Apple-hating and assuming everything is bad, yup, I see the agenda.

8
2

Take this survey: Win an iPad 2

Annihilator
Silver badge
Holmes

Correction

They want opinions on Business Continuity from the sort of people who want the value of an iPad once eBay have taken their cut...

Although given the biggest complaint seems to be "it's too expensive!", many people may be happy with a free one. Jailbreak it and complaint number 2 disappears (walled garden).

FWIW, my parents won an iPad and use it as an internet tablet and nothing else, mainly because they can't figure out how to buy any Apps for it...

0
0

Toshiba Regza 32UL863 32in LED TV

Annihilator
Silver badge
Meh

Except

I don't think I've had such a bad experience of when I turned on the variable backlights (so as to locally dim some of the screen). It is just awful, with lag being a common problem (screen turns to black, half a second later the backlight of that section noticeably dims) and the density of the backlights not being high enough to give an even effect (part of a section turns black, backlight dims across the section giving an uneven contrast).

Top tip on any backlit screen - turn off the "variable contrast" or whatever they call it.

0
0
Annihilator
Silver badge

No alternatives

If there were true LED TVs on the market, then fair enough, but they haven't progressed past prototypes yet, with size being the limiting factor.

Generally when you see an "LED TV" in a store, it's just to differentiate against CCFL-lit LCDs, indicating it'll be thinner and more energy efficient.

But then, I'm just pissed off that I'll never see an SED flatscreen that I was promised many moons ago :-(

1
0

Baby-kissers battle over what to do with White Spaces

Annihilator
Silver badge

re: "more efficient"

"Wrong. TV Broadcasting is up to 10,000 more efficient than Internet solutions."

So? It's also infinitely more efficient than a two-tins-and-string solution, who's comparing it? Besides it depends on how you're measuring efficiency.

"Wrong. It's only mostly empty. It's stupid simplistic analysis like this that is leading to the fantasy of "white space""

All frequencies are "mostly empty", there's no such thing as completely empty, but for the sake of simplicity it's acceptable to call it "empty" where a strong enough signal can reduce whatever else is there to background noise. The point is that in the "empty" space, a low powered transmitter can overcome the noise, while not being powerful enough to encroach into the primary coverage area (or rather, just become noise there within the snr)

0
0

Insanely great PCIe 4.0 bit rate locked in

Annihilator
Silver badge
Boffin

re: Laptops

Again, varies, but they have them. Or at least every Centrino since 2006 has them (the wifi cards usually connect via PCIe, and PCIe generally replaced the Northbridge)

1
0

Hands on with Star Wars: The Old Republic

Annihilator
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Obligatory whenever I see "Old Republic"

"For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the old Republic, before the dark times, before the Empire. A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights."

0
0

James Bond savages the Kardashians

Annihilator
Silver badge
Happy

Love it

Not only DC's comments, but the descriptive phrase of "the highly talented and decorative Kardashian clan"

On a side-note, didn't realise he was with Rachel Weisz. Lucky barsteward. I'm sure there are many who think lucky bee-hatch on her behalf too. And those that think neither.

7
0

eBuyer £1 sale fail: Customers vent fury... on Facebook

Annihilator
Silver badge
Pint

@Bassey

Yup, we live in the age of outrage, where everyone is owed everything.

Try this fun game at home that I often like to play. Take any news article, particularly in the Mail, Express or Sun and try reversing the angle on how they presented the case.

As an example, take this very article: "Online retailer reports record customers eager to get hands on bargains, lucky few very happy" followed by a vox pop of a Dave Widdlesworth from Ipswich saying "I struggled to get into the site as it was very busy, but was delighted with product x I got for only £1!"

Try it, you can do it with just about every story, you can even add outrage to a fun/happy story if you're that way inclined, although taking the easy "think of the children!" route is cheating.

4
0

NASA wants space washing machine for ISS, Mars bases

Annihilator
Silver badge
Happy

In my head

Just imagined a washing line hanging outside the ISS with a man in a spacesuit hanging up his nice clean undies. Made me chortle to myself anyway

5
0

Best Buy fires parting shot at Dixons with closing down sale

Annihilator
Silver badge

@Grease Monkey

"The sales weasel told me that this was because the printer didn't come with full cartridges."

It was previously the case, certainly on HP printers, that they gave you "starter" cartridges, but I believe that's fallen by the wayside of late. Was true in the late 90's, the box even said as much

I still remember being appalled when my first USB printer didn't come with a USB cable! In the good old parallel printer days, you always got one - that was another sneaky "peripheral cha-ching" trick for them...

Having said that, the XL HP ink packs are going really cheap in Best Buy... managed to grab about 6 before a gentleman came in and bought the entire stock, presumably for his own shop.

0
0