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* Posts by Richard 12

1563 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Look out, world - Mad Leo Apotheker's back!

Richard 12
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Re: The Kruger-Dunning Effect strikes again

I disagree, company management can easily cause a business to fail.

There are many examples of a CEO or management team destroying a previously successful business.

Success is rarely directly dependent on management. In some cases it happens because management gets out of the way, in others they genuinely lead. (The latter is usually only in SMEs)

This is probably because destruction is both easier and faster than construction.

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Windows 8 Release Preview open for download

Richard 12
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Re: Ask the consumer what they are expecting...

Sounds about right for the average man in the street.

I regularly see people trying to touch non-touchscreens and being surprised when it doesn't work.

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Sharp to show OLED 'retina' display for laptops

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: Should've gone to screensavers

1920x1080 is quite simply too small.

My previous laptop had 1200 vertical pixels, and I really notice the missing screen space in many applications.

Higher screen resolution also lets you make writing easier to read - compare this text drawn with 5x7 pixels to the text on your current monitor.

Now make the dots smaller while keeping the text the same physical size (using more dots) - again, it becomes nicer to read.

When we look at a 1080p movie, the upscaling of movie pixel to screen pixel again affords the possibility of nicer pixels - when in motion you can estimate what the 'missing' pixels would have been, increasing the effective resolution and making for a nicer movie experience.

Secondly, if the film is instead digitised at a higher resolution we'll get the real detail in the film - maybe even as high as the digital projectors used in the cinema.

Movie houses aren't going to sell those discs/licences until enough people have these 'above-HD' resolution screens for it to be worthwhile.

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I need to multitask, but Windows 8's Metro won't let me

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Metro is not aimed at us

So who is Metro aimed at on the desktop or laptop PC?

It's not us "Power Users", because we run multiple applications simultaneously.

It's not novice users because "hot corners" and "charms" are undiscoverable and nothing looks "clickable".

It's not the intermediate users because they are used to how things look now. They are confused by minor changes (like "Start" becoming a blue blob), and find major changes genuinely frightening.

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Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: Mousing over for progress?

What use is that?

Right now I can glance at the taskbar, or see it out of the corner of my eye and know that my video rendering task is less than half done.

Thus it can be safely ignored, I don't need to go there and can keep on writing this bitchy post.

If I had to move the mouse on top of it to see that same information, I've got to move my hand over to the mouse, move the mouse pointer, place it over the application's icon, wait for the popup and find that it's less than half done so doesn't matter yet, then move the mouse back to my actual bitching task and my hand back to the keyboard.

In the meantime I could have bitched about many different things on the internet, or even done some actual work.

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Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: @dogger

Woah, they threw away the taskbar completely?

Bloody hell, the sky HAS fallen. From a usability perspective, ITaskBarList2/3 is by far the most useful API in the whole of Windows 7.

The idea of being able to tell how far gone that massive download/upload/rendering task was and when it/they finished is simply beautiful.

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Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: [$application] is a Metro app.

WTF is it with you and this "multi-touch trackpad" malarkey? I'm really starting to think you don't actually know what a trackpad is!

TrackPADs are one of the worst pointing devices known to man, the primary limitation being that you cannot move the pointer very far before you have to pick up your hand, move back to the other side of the pad to move further.

Multitouch for a trackpad means that a few shortcuts can be built into the pad - eg right-click, scroll wheel - as it can tell the difference between one, two, many and lots of fingers and a limited number of gestures.

Metro is optimised for a touchSCREEN, and is possibly the worst interface ever developed for use with a trackPAD, multitouch or not.

That's because the Metro 'start menu' requires you to move the pointer further across the screen to get to the thing you wanted than the Windows XP/Vista/7 one, and is therefore considerably worse for trackpad users.

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New smart meter tells Brits exactly what they already know

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: phone chargers

I don't mean they are necessarily very significant, just that they're probably the biggest hidden consumption in an average family home.

What power consumption is there in a home?

Lighting, fridge/freezer, hob/oven/grill, kitchen appliances, white goods, computers, TV/STB/HiFi, chargers, heating/HVAC, garden appliances, CNC milling machine...

The average home will have more chargers than TVs/STBs, so if you assume they all consume the same quiescent power, the sheer numbers mean that they draw more in total.

In reality, they have lower-quality PSUs than TVs and STBs, and draw a bit more. The various proper measurements I've found imply they are between 450mW and 900mW when not charging.

Thus assuming the chargers are idle for 20 hours a day (4 hours to charge the phone), that's between 3.3 and 6.6kWh wasted a year by each charger!

That's between one and two kettle-hours per charger.

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Richard 12
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Re: Switch it off..

You are aware that modern TVs draw under 0.5W in standby?

Considerably less than a smart meter, and probably less than a dumb one as well.

Standby is irrelevant these days.

The biggest 'hidden' consumer is probably phone chargers. They are built tiny and cheaply so have relatively high quiescent consumption, and are easy to forget about.

Some set-top boxes are pretty terrible though - some of the 'Top-up TV' ones draw a good 20W in standby, becuase they never actually power down.

None of these will be even visible on a smart meter display if course, as they will be hidden by the fridge or freezer, which draws small bursts whenever it warms up inside.

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Free Windows 8 desktop app development is dead

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: @Lockwood: XP/Fisher-Price, Win8/Metro

That worked in Windows XP, and you can do the same in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

However, you cannot turn Metro off in Windows 8.

Microsoft deliberately made that impossible - it was possible in the early developers preview, then the ability was removed and there's no sign that it's going to come back.

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Richard 12
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Qt Creator is pretty damn good

I've found it much nicer to use than Visual Studio 2010, notably it's much easier to bring up a program written on somebody else's computer and I've found its code modelling to be excellent.

It's free and open source.

The only annoying bit us that code panes are stuck in one window, once that is fixed it will be damn near perfect for C++ dev.

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Microsoft forbids class actions in new Windows licence

Richard 12
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Re: So your lawyer asks for costs, which includes time taken off work.

Equally, the other side has the same duty to avoid running up unreasonable costs.

Multiple delays are clearly running up avoidable costs.

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Richard 12
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Re: Collusion

So your lawyer asks for costs, which includes time taken off work.

Your lawyer should also have been pointing out that the repeated delays were unreasonable and could only be a deliberate stalling tactic aimed at increasing said costs, which should therefore be punitive.

Or did you have a useless lawyer?

There do seem to be a lot of those.

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Steve Jobs' death clears way for vibrating Apple tool

Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: camera on a stick etc.

These "Smart Pens" with "Smart Paper" have been around for so long that they are the common and accepted way of signing off important documents in some areas of industry.

Two years ago (so before this patent was filed) the shipyard I was at used them for signing off things like "yes, the engine in this ship does actually work" - the kind of thing where rectifying a mistake costs millions so you want to be very sure!

(I never signed with the pen, being a pleb for a subcontractor.)

They'd already been using them for a few years before I saw them - not least for "Yes, that's the right size engine for the ship you'll be building in two years time."

Thus the prior art goes back a very long way.

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Man's car warns of AIR RAID OVER LONDON

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Bullfights?

Reading an early draft of EN-ISO 14819-2, I found a few slightly odd ones:

627 - No Motor Vehicles Without Catalytic Converters (Why would that change?)

628/629 - No Motor Vehicles With Even/Odd-Numbered Registration Plates

28 - Road Closed Intermittently (Huh?)

709 - Blasting Work

37 - Restaurant reopened. (What, no pub?)

1479 - Gunfire on Roadway - Danger (You don't say?)

Possibly the strangest would be: 1477 - Police Checkpoint.

Why would they advertise that?

Of course, the actual standard requires monies to be paid, and I'm not bothered enough to find out what exacting changes happened in the end.

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Insect vision a template for computer ‘sight’

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Why this is a stupid idea

Why not?

The problem you've described is that they cannot see an invisible barrier, which makes perfect sense on account of it being, well, invisible.

Avoiding invisible barriers is clearly not a vision problem, it's a knowledge problem. You have to know that barriers like that could exist, and how to identify them.

Large, vertical sheets of transparent material are a very recent invention - so there aren't any structures in the bee brain that could acknowledge their existence.

There's a video doing the rounds of a dog that won't climb through a yet-to-be glazed glass door. The dog knows that things that shape normally have an invisible barrier, so assumes it cannot pass and waits for the door to be opened.

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Vulture 2 trigger triggers serious head-scratching

Richard 12
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Re: rate of change

Rate-of-change is far more accurate than absolute if you are using accelerometers.

Unfortunately MEMs accelerometers (basically the only kind you can afford) are incredibly noisy.

This does mean that an accelerometer may be too noisy to monitor a balloon launch, as the linear accelerations are very low post launch. It may be worth looking at this though.

- A lot of people consider trying to use MEMs accelerometers to determine altitude of a platform but double-integrating tends to amplify the noise beyond any sense of usefulness.

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Richard 12
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Aneroid capsule sounds a very good idea to me.

These are also easily available from old-school barometers, although I'd want to test one in a chamber to be sure it can survive to altitude as those might not be intended for such low pressures!

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Richard 12
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Re: Balloon radius

Interesting concept, the balloon should be fairly easy to identify, as it's a very different colour to the general sky.

However, vision is very bad at detecting size - even human vision is terrible at it - it's much better at determining shape and attitude.

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Watchdog tells Greenpeace to stop 'encouraging anti-social behaviour'

Richard 12
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FAIL

Casualities arising from renewable power are quite high

Just for wind power in the UK alone, the HSE said its figures showed three fatal accidents between 2007/08 and 2009/10 and a total of 53 major or dangerous incidents in the same time frame.

Wind turbines are inherently dangerous to work on or near - it's a lot of exposed work-at-height, in windy conditions.

There are over 100 deaths known to have been directly caused by wind turbines (most in the USA)

On top of that, they render large areas of the countryside or seabed uninhabitable and unusable because they often throw large pieces of ice long distances, and occasionally throw large bits of themselves as well.

Thus you cannot live or work near them, and to generate any sensible amount of electricity you need a lot of them over extremely large areas.

Sorry, but by doing any research you'd find that wind turbines are not safe.

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Boffins smash 3Gbps speed barrier with 542GHz T-Rays

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: If these wavelengths can hardly penetrate anything...

You mean like your TV remote?

Fast switching of LEDs is how TOSLINK optical and TV remotes work. The bandwidth is very low as it can only use brightness for data transfer, because the LEDs emit relatively wide band, unpolarised random phase radiation.

That also makes them extremely reliable in terrible conditions.

In proper fibre optics the bandwidth is much higher because the laser diodes are extremely narrow band and in phase - if not polarised as well. So much more possibility for data transfer.

Which of course means they need very tightly controlled conditions - the inside of a glass fibre.

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Why GM slammed the brakes on its $10m Facebook ads

Richard 12
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Re: Larry Kim is wrong.

However, if you annoy visitors enough one of two things happens:

1) They go away and never come back.

2) They install an ad blocker and never see another web advert.

Both of these are failures for the advertiser, and the latter is more serious.

Option 2 is more likely on a site that the user finds compelling because they want it despite the annoyance, and becomes almost certain if it has a social element that allows users to talk to each other.

Somebody will discover ad blockers, and then everyone will get one.

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75,000 Raspberry Pi baked before August

Richard 12
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Re: not really the same thing

They've got to get the GPU firmware into it somehow, I thought that was a pretty elegant solution that allows later updates to GPU firmware quite nicely.

- and keeps the price down as no need for any extra onboard Flash or seperate BIOS/bootloader silicon.

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SpaceX sets new blastoff date for Dragon: 19 May

Richard 12
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Re: Software tweaks?

They have had quite a long time to be doing and testing those tweaks, IIRC it was the final approach and dock.

Given that docking takes a few minutes, they can do a hell of a lot of cycles of hardware-in-the-loop tests, and even more sim-only tests in the time they've had.

My guess is they've been testing what to do if it's gone to hell in as many different ways as NASA can think of.

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UK milk wastage = 20,000 cars = actually completely unimportant

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Something missing from this analysis, surely?

The CAP is a truly insane little treaty, with a great many examples of this kind of stupid waste.

It really does need to be completely abandoned, as although there probably are some good parts, they're lost in the mire.

It's what happens when you put a load of politicians together and tell them to solve the problem of food production - they invent a bureaucracy and give it the most complex rules they can come up with, forcing farmers to game the system in order to make a living.

Then as soon as they do that, the rules are changed to stop that particular way of gaming it, some farmers go bust and the rest have to find another way.

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Richard 12
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Coat

Re: So...

MuckyD's is where you go if you want to eat more of the cow.

All that lovely mechanically-reclaimed "beef product"....

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Antitrust probe looms over Windows RT 'browser ban'

Richard 12
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@ShelLuser - Not sure what you're trying to say there.

At the time of posting, a Blackberry sits at number 8 and the LG Xpression feature phone at number 16, followed by Nokia Lumia 900 at 17 and 18.

Everything else in the top 20 is an Android - most are Samsung, and there's a couple of Motorolas and HTCs.

The real question is whether they're actually making any money.

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Freecom Hard Drive Sq 2TB

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: The drive needs to be re-formatted?

It's usually EXT2 or EXT3 as almost all STBs and Smart TVs run on some form of Linux.

FAT32 doesn't allow big enough file sizes for most HD recordings and quite a few SD recordings.

- Though on a Sony TV it's probably something completely proprietary that is impossible to mount on anything else (including other Sony TVs) by design intent. Or have they learned that lesson yet?

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Grab your L-plates, flying cars of sci-fi dreams have landed

Richard 12
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Re: his engineers have found batteries that could power a flight for 100km (62 miles).

More to the point, they never said how big the flying thing was.

Perhaps a 60 mile range TacoCopter?

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Mozilla and Google blast IE-only Windows on ARM

Richard 12
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Re: An operating system is what it's creators want it to be

It's not a God-given right, it's a law-given right.

Monopolies are universally known to be bad for the consumer in the medium to long run, for exactly the same reasons that they are good for the monopoly holder.

Namely that you can sell rubbish at very high margin, refuse to improve the product and still the consumer is forced to buy it.

Thus there are laws to limit monopoly powers.

You may disagree with the extent of these laws, but they do exist and must be followed. At least until the lobbying arm gets them changed, anyway.

Microsoft are hoping that Apple and Android save them from charges of abuse of monopoly, whether that will work is yet to be seen, but the more they lock it down the more likely that is to get tested in court.

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Richard 12
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Re: hmm

WinRT (WoA) does not have a classic desktop, it's Metro only, and locked to the hardware that uses technical measures to ensure you cannot run anything else.

Thus if it actually takes off, we're back where IE6 came from - unpublished APIs that only MS code can access, preventing 3rd parties from making competing apps.

That can only be bad.

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British 4G mobile data rollout 'will mean NO TELLY for 2m homes'

Richard 12
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Re: Adjacent?

It would, except that almost everywhere now has or still needs wideband antenna and amps.

Originally because of Channel 5, later due to the various Freeview shuffling stages as even if the final result was a given band, the muxes went through others to get there.

Most of greater london has no need of amps anyway, it's once again people in the countryside (notably Scotland and Wales) that will get hit the worst.

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Google's self-driving car snags first-ever license in Nevada

Richard 12
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Re: @Filippo

That last part implies a computer driver would be safer, because it would not drive off the cliff.

It might still hit the deer, but it should be better at braking and steering accurately than an average driver so is more likely to avoid an obstacle as long as it can detect it.

Probably not Stig quality, but most drivers are not that good.

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Pirate island attracts more than 100 startup tenants

Richard 12
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Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

Modern lifeboats take quite a lot of people.

100-man boats are easily available, so that's a possible 1800 lifeboat capacity - before you even start to consider the liferafts.

Of course, you've forgotten to include the crew. There are probably going to be 1000 crew members to run the vessel - it's not just serviced apartments attached to office premises.

They have to generate their electricity, maintain the propulsion (you can't just anchor that far out), plus all the general maintenance of a steel vessel in an ocean and the sailing.

I think there are two real killers of this project though. Latency and fuel.

Latency of satellite internet links can easily top 500ms. Laser is only viable in good visibility and within sight of shore, so any laser link is going to fail much of the time.

Then there's the fuel - they are going to have to bunker a lot of fuel simply to run the ship.

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Microsoft's dumpster-diver partner strategy is rubbish

Richard 12
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Re: Droves.

If you count Windows Mobile, then yes.

A lot of corporate "emailphones" used to be either Blackberry or Windows Mobile - don't have figures for the split, but pretty sure WM was a clear second place due to the Exchange server integration.

WM is now properly dead and being buried (even the app store is closed) so corporates are forced to leave WM, and the WP7 marketing position appears to be "Don't want the corporate market", so WP7 won't even get considered..

My next company phone looks practically certain to be either an iPhone 4S or Samsung Galaxy S II/III.

So the 'droves' is fairly accurate as all the corporate contracts vanish - probably mostly to iPhone

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Ten... alternatives to Samsung's Galaxy S III

Richard 12
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Unhappy

@Manu T - Nokia/Symbian no longer exists.

What you forget is that Nokia's CEO publicly stated that Symbian was rubbish and dead.

This is a terrible shame, because neither of those were actually true when he said it - though the former had been fairly accurate about a year prior.

Now the latter is true, because nobody in their right minds buys an operating system that the manufacturer has publicly declared dead.

Face it, Elop personally killed Symbian. It's all over bar the lawsuits, and unfortunately lawsuits take so long that they can only find blame and never correct stupidity. It's also fairly unlikely that he'll ever be held properly responsible for the destruction of shareholder value he has caused. All we can hope is that he won't be given the opportunity to kill any other companies.

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Microsoft ejects DVD playback from Windows 8

Richard 12
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Unhappy

@A J Stiles

Except in the United States of America, where the DMCA specifically makes doing that illegal.

So far that isn't the case in the rest of the world, though several parties are clearly pushing for it.

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Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: This still costs real money?

Actually, MPEG-2 is expensive!

H.264 is much cheaper as well as being a better codec.

That said, given that MS are part of the MPEG-LA in the first place, I would have thought their cost was zero (even if it's an out-and-back) while an OEM's cost is high.

I suspect this may actually be an attack on MPEG-LA. I wonder why.

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US, Euro e-car makers back 'standard' AC/DC jack

Richard 12
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Ceeform?

What exactly was wrong with CEEFORM?

Was it simply that it's already a standard for all the voltages and currents used, colour-coded, tested and has pilot pins available to ensure a good connection is made before applying power and to unpower during disconnection?

I see no pilot pins on the plug shown, so this thing is really going to arc.

It looks like it has all the disadvantages of CEEform and none of the advantages.

No covers over the pins on either side, so kids can stick spoons in them.

Send the designers home, they have no clue.

Bring back the people who designed the UK plug.

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UK Border Agency servers go titsup, thousands grounded

Richard 12
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Re: Being a civil serpent means you can mess with people

The difference is when the customers can leave and cause the place to close.

Your supermarket is slow and awful? Change it.

ISP? Change that one... Oh, some people can't and oddly they are the ones who get the worst service.

It's all about being able to deprive the organisation of revenue, and for that lack of revenue to be able to close the organisation.

When the organisation cannot fail, it will rapidily become terrible.

The civil service is a classic example of a set of organisations that cannot fail no matter what they do. The management are never held personally responsible for anything and that makes it even worse.

Who is going to eat the consequences of this latest failure? An underling, a manager or nobody at all?

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Why embossed credit cards are here to stay

Richard 12
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Re: Never use credit cards.

Exactly right!

In the UK simply using a credit card gives you the protection of the consumer credit act and a big bank that wants to keep its reputation and business.

Reversing a fraudulent credit card transaction is easy, and you won't be out of pocket during the process.

With debit card transactions it takes a while to get the money back, and you may end up overdrawn or worse before discovering the fraud.

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Phone-hack saga: Murdoch 'not fit' to run News Corp, blast MPs

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: "tories still support him"....

Don't think the Tories support him, they just agree with you that they have no clue whatsoever what it takes to run a company so can't make such a pronouncement. Seems that the other parties hold no such compunctions.

They are also right that the committee did not have the scope or power to state that Murdoch is unfit in any meaningful way and so should not have done so - that's the job of OFCOM and/or Companies House (depending on the reason - both are plausible in this case).

However, they could still recommend to Parliament that he be locked up for contempt for a few years.

It concerns me that the only 'punishment' Parliament seem to be considering is simply telling him that he was a very naughty boy and really shouldn't do it again.

That makes Parliament look weaker than the ASA for $deity's sake.

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Over 1,200 dot-word bids flood ICANN at $180k a pop

Richard 12
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Re: Oh Crap

The fun part is that it doesn't matter.

Nobody will actually use these gTLDs, and the only people who may be affected are browsers who might get asked to alter the heuristics for the autocomplete.

If they don't bother, no end user will give a damn if they never see a .marketing domain.

The weird part is really that marketers think they are valuable. The most valuable part of a URL is clearly the first few characters, becuase that is what a user types first. If your site comes up top of autocomplete...

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MIT boffins play BUILDING-SIZED Tetris

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: re. Performance

The data requirements for this are minute -153 x 3 bytes per frame, 459 bytes. 24fps is plenty, so the necessary data rate is less then 90kbps.

This prank is almost trivially easy to design and can be built quite cheaply.

It'll cost you a £40 LED parcan or LED strip with driver per window, and for a building this size with openable windows, a drum of Cat5 cable and a £10 USB DMX adapter. (This is less than one DMX universe.)

Then you just need a suitable version of the game application, and the basic Tetris is pretty trivial.

The reason it's not done more often is politics - it's hard to get permission to do this kind of thing to office buildings that are big enough for it to be any fun, and unlike projection, you can't tear down fast enough to escape if you try it without permission.

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Samsung overtakes Nokia, Apple in mobile handset race

Richard 12
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Unhappy

Re: Agreed

>> Nokia destroyed themselves by focusing on Symbian.

> No. Nokia destroyed themselves by focusing on Windows.

No, Nokia killed themselves by changing their minds every few months.

Symbian is the future, develop this, no that, no the other way!

Meamo/Meego is the future, develop with Qt!

Symbian and Meamo/Meego are the future, develop both with Qt! (sigh of relief)

Actually, no, **** you all. Windows Phone is the future, develop with Silverlight.

Now bend over again, the next version of Windows Phone will need WinRT! (If you're lucky it'll still run your Silverlight but you won't have access to anything new.)

Telling their third party developers to throw away their codebases every few months is what killed Nokia, and part of the reason Windows Phone is flatlined.

No third party developers want to waste paid man hours on Windows Phone. Tiny userbase and they already know that it's all getting thrown away - so the only things worth doing are "coffeeshop fart apps", and things Microsoft or Nokia have paid you directly to write.

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Killers laugh in face of death penalty threat, say US experts

Richard 12
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Re: Since when were sentences supposed to be a deterrent?

Killing someone doesn't really manage much in the way of rehabilitation, so it can only be a deterrent or revenge.

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Richard 12
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Re: Mind numbingly simple

Ninjas, that's not a valid comparison.

The contractual relationship between you and HMRC is essentially you paying the Government to supply you with the various useful stuff of a nation - education, healthcare, law and order, defence etc.

If you don't want to accept that contract then you do technically have the option to leave the country and move somewhere where some or all of the above is not provided and therefore doesn't need paying for.

You probably don't want to do that though.

Most states do sanction killing in self-defence, however I fail to see how killing someone who's already locked up can ever be considered that.

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Stray SMS leads to aborted landing

Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Go arounds

They aren't.

I offer the evidence that "The Day Britain Stopped" is a drama based on the premise of a disaster occuring, and therefore contains a similar amount of truth as "The Day After Tomorrow" and "The Day Of the Triffids".

If they did their research and found that the disaster they based the programme or film on was either impossible or extremely improbable, they'd have no entertainment. Thus either no research is done, or the research is ignored when inconvenient.

In this case I'd guess the former, given the statement from NATS.

"This programme presents itself as dramatised documentary. However, it is not only based on a highly unlikely scenario, but deliberately ignores - or misrepresents - almost every standard safety system or procedure currently in use."

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Ten... smartphone survival accessories

Richard 12
Silver badge

iPod chargers were weird.

They used to actually communicate with the charger to determine the charge rate, presumably so Apple could charge more for their chargers.

They now follow the standard - shorted data pins means no data, so eat as much power as you want.

That multi cable looks great - captive adapters are a great idea, usually the tip you need gets lost.

A Tumi is a Peruvian knife used for human sacrifices, so it might put ideas into peoples' heads when stuck in the back of beyond...

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