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* Posts by Richard 12

1587 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Mysterious BEAM outside London Googleplex ZAPPED

Richard 12
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Devil

Re: Astral eddy. Known issue with current mystechnology.

You can't inkjet print blood runes, everybody knows that - the nozzles are too small, so you end up with a hemolytic mess.

Plotters are much better, but interns are cheaper and come with free ink.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: "beware: fibre optic cables"

Nope it's just a "DO NOT DIG HERE" sign laid in the ground a couple of inches above the fibre, in the vain hope that it'll reduce the chances of some muppet cutting the cable.

The better sign is "HIGH VOLTAGE CABLE", as JCB drivers tend to pay more attention to those due to the really loud bang that happens when they dig through those.

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'Snoopers' Charter IS DEAD', Lib Dems claim as party waves through IP address-matching

Richard 12
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Collective Responsibility?

Surely this should mean the members of the Cabinet are personally responsible for the inevitable fines DRIP and this new piece of illegal legislation will garner from the ECHR?

Maybe that would start to concentrate minds.

Only personal consequences work when dealing with such people.

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In a mall at the weekend? WORSE STILL, are you LOST?

Richard 12
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Re: Happy Happy Joy Joy

Nope, that phrase is the management saying "You're changing the ceiling lights on your own from now on, because your phone will now automatically call the ambulance to collect your cold, dead corpse before anyone important sees it if you fall, so it's now perfectly safe."

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UK's non-emergency police and NHS Vodafone systems go titsup NATIONWIDE

Richard 12
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Re: RAC too.

You're assuming his car has a real one, and not one of those stupid "space-saver" things - or indeed nothing at all.

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Two driverless cars stuffed with passengers are ABOUT TO CRASH - who should take the hit?

Richard 12
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Re: Okay...

Either way a collision at the 7m stopping distance speed is survivable by both sets of occupants.

However, the ethicists are simply utterly wrong here.

The only "ethical" solution is to avoid the situation in the first place.

The single track road is on the map, thus a collision is only possible if the cars do not communicate, yet the ethical dilemma only exists if the cars do communicate.

Therefore the situation is "bloody stupid" and has no need of an answer, simply engineer to ensure it cannot occur.

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Slapnav: Looking for KINKY dark matter? Switch on the GPS!

Richard 12
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That's a pretty video, but it's utter b*****ks

For a start, the planets orbit fairly close to the galactic plane.

Having started wrong it rapidly turns mystical and turns from "simplification based on erroneous data" to outright stupidity.

Very surprised to see it here.

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Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode

Richard 12
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Re: Seriously? Again? The Internet has Ruined... everything

One week? That's changed a lot then!

When I first bought Half-Life 2 I was working on a ship and happily played for a couple of months offline after burning several shore leaves getting the damned thing updated.

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You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes

Richard 12
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Don't forget the most effective AV

A good ad-blocker.

I do find it strange how little work the advertiser networks seem to do on preventing the virus-laden adverts, as if they don't they will die.

I generally give a site two strikes of an annoying advert, then Adblock goes back on.

- Also, Adblock is a great little tool for blocking other types of annoying content.

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THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS

Richard 12
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Re: A hypothetical solution

Wouldn't make any difference.

Rosetta is very small and quite far away.

This would be like getting someone stood at the top of the Shard to illuminate your newspaper using a spoon.

If the spoon was painted black.

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Jony Ive: Apple isn't here to make money. And students shouldn't use computers so much

Richard 12
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For a designer, he knows very little about its history.

Design has always gone in "fads, where a given style becomes predominant for a while.

After some time a new design fad takes over and the cycle begins again.

The truly masterful designers are the ones who manage to spot the next fad several times, not just once.

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BOFH: SOOO... You want to sell us some antivirus software?

Richard 12
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FAIL

Bloody useless, the lot of 'em

For example, Symantec blocks the installation of some of our software.

We've reported it several times, we've sent them the installers, we've sent them logs from our customers, and they refuse to acknowledge that there just might possibly be an issue with their software.

So we've simply had to advise those customers to drop Symantec. Which they have, because our software is genuinely useful while theirs is...

Saved them a lot of money as well.

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Got a STRAP-ON? Remember to TAKE IT OFF at WORK

Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Try looking at the real world ...

My £10 Casio with fabric velcro strap (important*) has survived all the abuse I pounded upon it in the last ten to fifteen years (I forget exactly) - including smashing the face into the side of a yacht when a younger me slipped off the trapeze.

Nuke 'cos I think it would survive that as well.

Unfortunately the backlight went in January and the battery went for the second time a couple of months back, so I'll be replacing it soon with another similar one.

* My skin eats the rubberised plastic straps, destroying them and giving me eczema, so I can't use them.

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Trickle-down economics WORKS: SpaceShipTwo is a PRIME EXAMPLE

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Virgin Space helps, who?

Maybe it's just me, but I don't see the connection between a $200,000 motor car and how this helps the average working person who would need ten years to make that kind of money.

The only possible connection I can see might just be that 100 years later, almost everybody reading these words can now afford to buy a motor car of their very own.

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Pay-by-bonk 'glitch' means cards can go kaching-for-crims

Richard 12
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Re: surprised? anyone?

Nope, this has been "bloody obvious" from the start.

A rogue terminal can do whatever it wants.

So if they set it to £20, and just bonk everyone on the tube, they'll get quite a bit fairly fast and probably get away with it.

The entire security of this system relies on the bank's back-end fraud detection. Which is rubbish and slow.

I wouldn't mind so much on a credit card, because consumers have a legal gap to challenge it before payment.

However, on a debit card this can easily destroy someone - if you run close to the edge, a single denied payment can spiral fast!

Sooner or later this will happen.

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Virgin's SpaceShipTwo crashes in Mojave Desert during test flight

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Space Ship?

It was intended to go to space.

Just not stay there.

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Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Black Box

'Cos it's a test flight.

Test flights are filled to the gunnels with data recorders measuring and recording (and often transmitting in real-time) anything and everything that can be reasonably measured. They're more fragile (and a heck of a lot more expensive) than black boxes, but the storage media should survive.

They aren't going to speculate on the causes until they've recovered as much of it as possible and had time to analyse what happened.

Equally, there won't be any more test flights until they've done that and figured out how to reduce the probability of it happening again.

A "black box" records absolutely nothing in comparison.

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Richard 12
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To allow updates.

The firmware will contain bugs, and even if it didn't, the encryption scheme will need new keys and/or a new algorithm from time to time as they get lost, stolen or broken.

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UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw

Richard 12
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Re: Change the government's mind?

They did.

"Smart Meters" are an EU dictat.

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Samsung turns off lights on LEDs worldwide – except in South Korea

Richard 12
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Ledswinger's right.

LED is being fitted in places like school gyms and streetlamps to reduce the cost of the access needed to replace the lamps, and improve the quality of the light.

A school sports hall would previously have used high-bay halogens (3000 hours) or CDMs (5-10,000 hours).

The lamps cost very little, and the CDMs will have been more efficacious, but the access equipment physically needed to go up and change the lamps is very expensive!

If the LED luminaire saves them 5 to 7 lamp changes, that's a lot of very expensive "man up a picker" hours - and at least 10 years.

However, the people who made that LED luminaire are only ever going to sell one set of them to that school!

Heck, the lamps might even outlast the building itself...

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: much better light quality?

No, he's absolutely right that LEDs have too long a wavelength to excite a decent phosphor mix.

As somebody working the the field of LED illumination (at the middle to absolute top end), I see a lot of the details that most people never would.

Near-UV LEDs do exist, but they are fairly low efficacy and have short lifetimes. Far-UV is basically unknown outside the lab - the efficacy and lifetime are just too poor to be worth it (yet).

Almost every "White" LED you can buy is a Blue LED painted with a thin layer of yellow phosphor. The approx. colour temperature (CCT) is mostly decided by the thickness/density of the phosphor layer - thicker layers let less of the blue through - thus higher colour temps are more efficacious, but look worse.

This obviously makes it really hard to make the same White LED twice!

There have been some interesting experiments with LED lamps - Philips did a really nice "remote phosphor" lamp (it had external clip-on phosphor-impregnated panels), there was an excellent Red+White that red-shifted while dimming, and earlier in the year narrowband RGB mixes were being tried out, which are much more repeatable than "White" LED as you don't have to control the thickness of the phosphor layer.

Unfortunately I fear that innovation at the domestic end of the market may be over now that both Samsung and Philips have exited the market.

Philips were (and still are) absolutely terrible at the high-brightness end (the PL4 is just embarrassingly bad), but they made some really good domestic lamps.

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This Changes Everything? OH Naomi Klein, NO

Richard 12
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Re: The Register should write about what it knows, this article is a FAIL.

The electric car has been killed by Chemistry, nothing else.

No industry has had any notable dampening effect whatsoever.

People simply want to travel >50 miles many times a year.

They want to be able to do this without pre-booking, with minimum of delays and at a low price.

Therefore, they want a private car capable of doing this.

They also need a vehicle capable of doing their daily commute.

Electric cars simply cannot do both due to Chemistry, they can only do the commute and not the long distance.

A daily commute is better served by mass-transit like the Tube or a Metro system - both for minimising environmental damage and the overall economic cost.

It would be even better if the commute could be avoided by working from home.

So if anything, the Internet and the London Tube killed the electric car.

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Richard 12
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Re: This is an ideological post opposed to an ideological book.

Not really.

It's an explanatory article opposed to a stupid book.

The book is self-contradictory and cherry-picks parts of theories while ignoring the remainder of the theory.

That's like accepting that Gravity holds the Moon in orbit while also insisting that the Moon has no effect on Earthly tides.

(Feel free to steal that analogy)

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Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster

Richard 12
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Indeed, it's Windows 7 that sold those millions, used under the "downgrade" rights of the Windows 8 licence.

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Richard 12
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Re: Charm menu ... grrr ...

That's because you don't have a touchscreen, like you're supposed to have.

On a touchscreen, after somebody carefully shows you all of the gestures, you forget them and random stuff happens when you accidentally do one of the swipes or swirls or whatever.

This eventually results in you closing Modern and never using it again.

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Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar

Richard 12
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Nope, it's bent.

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Adobe spies on readers: EVERY DRM page turn leaked to base over SSL

Richard 12
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Holmes

Re: Rights restriction systems

Eventually they will realise that DRM is an expensive white elephant.

It is fundamentally impossible to prevent interception when Eve and Bob are the same entity.

So all they are doing is pissing money up the wall while simultaneously pissing off their paying customers.

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Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit

Richard 12
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Switching drivers under Windows 7 is easy.

Switching drivers under Windows 8.1 is harder if they aren't MS-signed, but not by much.

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Richard 12
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Re: Woolly thinking

I think they are well within their rights to refuse to support 3rd party devices with their driver.

However, they have decided to also actively damage those 3rd party devices, making them unusable without special tools.

That second action is the problem.

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Richard 12
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Re: Such a dick move.

So it would also be fine if it moved the contents of your Windows folder or wiped the boot sector of your hard disk so your computer could not boot?

Those are just settings, you can put them back.

Sorry, but this is on very legally dodgy ground, and there is certainly an argument that it may fall foul of the Computer Misuse Act.

Hope they have good lawyers, they are likely to need them.

Had they simply prevented their driver from working with 3rd party devices, that would be fine. The moment they decided to actively damage those 3rd party devices, that is when they crossed the line.

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

Richard 12
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Re: copper v ali

Overhead power lines don't vibrate at all unless there's a particularly nasty earthquake - they swing in the wind, but that's borne by the articulated hangers.

Aluminium wire (with steel core) is used as a cost-saving measure - it's cheaper per metre and lighter so fewer towers are needed.

The towers don't vibrate, the terminations are very few and done by well-trained experts so it is a good fit.

However, car engines vibrate continually, as does everything in a car, there are a lot of terminations and the guy doing them is an enthusiast, not an expert.

I don't think you've ever seen a high current aluminium connection, or the wire sizes needed for it - aluminium wire is pretty bulky, presenting some tricky problems if you care about long-term stability and safety.

For example, an efficient car starter motor draws about 80-100 Amps. (A cheap one could draw considerably more).

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Richard 12
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Flame

Re: Fuse wire

Aside from that, copper is considerably more ductile than aluminium, and much easier to properly terminate the ends - a simple crimp will easily cold-weld onto copper, but can shatter aluminium.

High-current aluminium terminations require careful preparation work (worse than MICC for $deity's sake) as you have to strip the insulating corrosion off, then terminate properly before it corrodes again.

Thus aluminium is a very, very bad choice for anything that vibrates a lot, or anything that needs a lot of high-current connections because those connections will fail over time, leading to further heating losses, failures, and in the worst cases, fires.

Once burning, aluminium is effectively impossible to extinguish - adding water will cause a hydrogen explosion, you can only use halon-type or CO2, and once extinguished you must cool the metal very quickly or it will re-ignite.

In industrial electrics aluminium is specifically prohibited by many insurers and equipment manufacturers.

In the home, many insurers charge a high premium if you have aluminium wiring due to the increased fire risk.

There is a reason why car manufacturers still use the more expensive copper.

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Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM

Richard 12
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Megaphone

Re: Small company similar issue

I demand a refund!

There, is that better?

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Virgin Media DOUBLE-PUNCHED by BSkyB AND BT over ad fibs

Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: up-to: the scurge of advertisement.

Still utter bollocks - I don't live at the exchange, and neither does anybody else.

They know the exact bandwidth their existing customers are getting, so should be forced to state the range of speeds one should expect to get, and not the theoretical maximum you might possibly manage to get if you happened to plug your modem directly into the DSLAM.

(After all, if you were that close you wouldn't be using a modem anyway)

BEfore I left due to them being acquired by scum, my previous ISP used to publish the 'speed' any given customer could expect to get the moment you put in your postcode, and they even offered to cancel your subscription with no charges if you didn't get it.

Why exactly won't every ISP do that?

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

Richard 12
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Joke

Re: I have to say...

It's not in bloody colour!

How dare they take photos in non-visible spectrum, just because it makes for better science!

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It's a TAB-tastrophe – 83 million fewer units to ship in 2014

Richard 12
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Holmes

Re: Doesn't seem too much interest from manufacturers

500 is nothing at all, so of course the manufacturers don't care. These are mass-market products, the resellers buy that many in a week if not less.

You'd need to be asking for closer to 10,000 to get them interested.

The only way they notice small numbers like 500 is if you're a high-profile event like the Olympics or perhaps Commonwealth Games, where they can justify it as a direct marketing expense.

Also, the Android and Windows tablets have pretty tight margins, so discounts are very hard to get generally. (Apple have better margins but also have less reason to give a toss about such small numbers of devices.)

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White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?

Richard 12
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Re: @Scatter - look at the numbers, not the technology

The vast majority of domestic LED retrofits give no published figures whatsoever, and many are nameless making them impossible to check.

In testing a lot of domestic are also worse than halogen - there are even capacitor-resistor dropper LED lamps out there!

Aside from that there is the problem of optics - most are tight spotlights so even those that do provide significantly more lumens/Watt often don't actually light the room.

Oddly CRI scores seem to be rarely given - odd, as these are usually well publicised for florry tubes.

The latest approach at the higher end of the quality range is RGB - this is more efficacious and repeatable than Blue + Phosphor, however CRI is misleading for narrowband emitters (it's easy to get a really high or low score despite being mediocre) and CQS is not a ratified standard yet making it very hard to compare.

UV + Phosphor is basically never done, because UV LEDs are low efficacy and rip themselves to pieces in a few thousand hours. (Philips did a near-UV + External phosphor for a while, but it's been discontinued for ages. Shame as it was quite a nice lamp)

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: @Scatter - look at the numbers, not the technology

Seeing as you insist - two 230V products you can buy now:

Coemar LEDko @ 26deg: under 9 lumens/Watt. (Source: LSI, ignoring power factor losses.)

ETC Source Four (750W Halogen) @ 26deg: 13 lumens/Watt. (The 375W lamp is about 11 lumens/Watt.)

- In reality the LEDko is worse due to power factor which again acts in the halogen's favour.

There are several worse LED fixtures, this is simply the first one I found with published figures that you can check. I've seen LED fixtures that barely reach 5 lumens/watt due to poor optics, diode overheating and (especially) power supply efficiency.

They're generally easy to spot - if it doesn't give both input power and field/beam lumens, it's probably terrible. (Converting lux to to lumens will overestimate as datasheets give peak lux, not average)

Quite a few domestic ones are really terrible, primarily due to cutting too many corners in the LED driver/power supply design. Aside from that, the optics need to match the purpose - I've seen a lot where the optics are so narrow that you can't even use it as a reading light, yet it's sold as room lighting.

That's before you even start considering the quality of the light - the CRI and CQS of most domestic LED are painfully low, even worse than cheap florry.

They can be good, but most aren't and some are truly terrible.

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Richard 12
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WTF?

@Scatter - look at the numbers, not the technology

We'll just have to wait and see what the Commission does regarding a halogen lighting phase out. My money is on them going for it (it's a no-brainer now with halogen replacements now being at the right quality and price point) so my money's on the Gone Green trend for lighting.

And if they do that then they are the most stupid idiots in the history of bloody fools, and the entire lighting industry will fight them to the death.

Just because something is LED does not mean it's efficacious. Lots of them are utter shite, consuming more electricity to make less light than a halogen.

The last round of proposals set a Lumens/Watt minimum and said nothing whatsoever about the technology. This is the only sane thing to do - defining a particular technology is the act of a moron.

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Richard 12
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Re: We're already seeing savings

And we're also seeing plenty of snake oil - "It's LED therefore it's green".

There are several LED luminaires that are actually considerably less efficacious than the 'equivalent' tungsten-halogen luminaire - in some cases less than a basic tungsten!

One LED fixture I've recently seen is only 9-10 lm/W - while the 'similar' tungsten-halogen is 13 lm/W

Won't name names but they're easy to spot - if the fixture spec only says how many watts of LEDs it has and doesn't give both the input power and beam lumens, you can be pretty sure it's better at heating than lighting.

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Dairy Queen cuts the waffle, says bank cards creamed in 395 eateries

Richard 12
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Pint

Re: List not complete

I do this pretty often. Ok, I don't tend to buy ice cream very often but the same scale of transaction.

When travelling to forn parts it's usually cheaper to buy everything on plastic rather than cash as my card gets a better rate than over-the-counter foreign exchange, and I don't end up with a pile of small change that I can't use.

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Revealed: Malware that forces weak ATMs to spit out 'ALL THE CASH'

Richard 12
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Re: Maybe the entire ATM universe needs a refit!

They'd just swap the SD card.

The OS and hardware isn't the problem, it's the physical access.

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Woman says narco-cops used her PICS to snare drug lords on Facebook

Richard 12
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Re: Perspective people.

That's all completely irrelevant.

The allegation is that they used her private images for an illegal and unauthorised purpose, namely one that had no bearing on the case she was arrested for.

Futhermore, this put her in danger of reprisals.

Under US copyright law alone the unauthorised use carries millions in civil penalties, before considering anything else.

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Renault Twingo: Small, sporty(ish), safe ... and it's a BACK-ENDER

Richard 12
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WTF?

Nobody will buy the smaller engine

Less efficacious, less power, less torque, and a low top speed that will probably be scary on a UK motorway and outright terrifying on a German Autobahn as there can't be much acceleration left by the time you're doing 65-70mph.

The only group where it might make sense are young drivers, and you don't buy a brand-new car for a teenager unless you've more money than sense, in which case you'd buy the bigger one anyway and to hell with the higher premiums.

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Cut-off North Sea island: Oh crap, ferry's been and gone. Need milk. SUMMON THE DRONE

Richard 12
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Black Helicopters

460 km is a bit further than 12km

Given that you probably need one of these to get there in a manned whirlybird, assuming you want to go there and all the way back.

(The hover at Rockall will burn a fair bit of fuel)

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Buying memory in an iPhone 6: Like wiping your bottom with dollar bills

Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: "A little eBay shopping and you can find 128GB Micro SD cards for under a tenner"

Go on then downvoters and Pierre - tell us what interface Apple have used!

If you are so utterly certain of your superior knowledge, enlighten us!

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Richard 12
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Re: "A little eBay shopping and you can find 128GB Micro SD cards for under a tenner"

CF is IDE (PATA). It's actually pretty slow by modern standards!

There are other parallel-interface flash chips, but they are rarely used these days.

See iFixit for details - the chip name even starts "SD"!

Looks like a SanDisk iNAND family chip, which has an eSD interface. I leave it to the reader to figure out what the "e" stands for!

Almost every Arm device with decent amounts of Flash uses an SD interface. The silicon is cheap, fast, reliable and well documented.

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Richard 12
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Re: "A little eBay shopping and you can find 128GB Micro SD cards for under a tenner"

Yes, it is.

Mostly because it's the same chip with the same interface.

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SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis

Richard 12
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Re: SpaceX's cheaper Dragon capsule has room for seven

The computer drives it.

I'm assured that it has the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission, and wants to help.

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