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* Posts by Neil 44

48 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009

Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

Neil 44

Re: Farnell

I have a Digikey JACKET!! (from Thief River Falls in Minnesota).

Went there on business once and they gave me one of their staff jackets!

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Neil 44

Re: "In conjunction with Electronics Today International. "

>> "[Maplin] were a mail-order only outfit AFAICR"

No they DID have one shop - in London Road, Westcliffe-on-sea in the mid 1970s

My mother in law lived just round the corner from them :)

Also in the area were Scientific and Technical who sold all the tat that you didn't want by mail order ...

(Still waiting for a calm, dry day to try out my Christmas present : a radio controlled helicopter - from Maplin!!!)

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Got 4G? Wake up, grandad. We're doing 4.5G LTE-A in London - EE chief

Neil 44

2G will outlive 3G

Lots of "hidden" services (like electric meters) use the 2G network, so the phone companies will be prevailed on to keep it.

I left EE because their 3G coverage was rubbish wherever I went though I do see my Three service sometimes roaming to them nowadays in the few places where the Three network isn't.

Maybe I'll get a phone that supports 4G one day...

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Elon Musk ADMITS he met Apple: iCar 'great idea', keeps schtum on Tesla hookup

Neil 44

No thanks

If the fruity lot do get involved with Tesla, then that's a dream car off my list :(

No doubt they will start claiming to have invented all sorts of bits of cars that have been present since Benz's time!

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Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s

Neil 44

Sinclair Scientific

Haven't you got a picture of a Sinclair Scientific? RPN (which confused people who borrowed it!) and it was *almost* accurate :)

If you want a picture, I'll dig the one I built from a kit out and take a couple....

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BT warned: Speed up Openreach repairs or face PUNITIVE FINES

Neil 44

Took them 15 days to undo whatever had been done to our broadband service IN THE EXCHANGE (I think we'd been plugged into the wrong provider by persons unknown).

Allow other BB providers to have an enforceable SLA with Openreach - with a fixed, escalating compensation to the end customer

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TomTom GO 6000 satnav chews on smarties and tablets

Neil 44

Waze anyone|?

One of the big issues with any of the "mainstream" (I've used Tomtom and CoPilot) is that, whilst the maps are on the device, they are often out of date! (Like missing the Runcorn bridge...)

Waze is community supported (users report traffic jams, stopped cars, police(!), accidents - and more importantly can report **and fix** mapping and navigation errors)

It is supported on Android and I-things.

Yes, it needs a data connection when planning a route, but it doesn't use much data even on quite a long trip (which is done by a central server setup)...

(Happy Chrimbo, all!)

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Tube be or not tube be: Apple’s CYLINDRICAL Mac Pro is out tomorrow

Neil 44
Holmes

Fruity patent opportunity?

No doubt they will try to patent the tube / tower design - forgetting that the Cray 1 had that design (albeit somewhat larger!) back in 1976....

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Bill Gates: Yes, Ctrl-Alt-Del salute was a MISTAKE

Neil 44

Re: WAT

The Interdata 7/32 was a very early Unix platform (the first non-AT&T according to K&R Ed 1!)

It certainly had memory protection and used user and system level interrupts to process things. Processes were isolated from each other.

(admission time: there weren't any 7/32s around when I joined the company, but there were the slightly newer 8/32's!)

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Blighty's great digital radio switchover targets missed AGAIN

Neil 44

No Traffic Announcements on DAB - useless in cars

The fact there is no provision for a similar facility for RDS-style traffic announcements (switching to a local station for traffic announcements when they are broadcast from whatever else you were listening to) would make me resistant to using DAB in my car even if it had a receiver.

I do listen to "digital radio" from time to time (usually TMS on Radio 4 longwave!) using internet radio from my phone (which is then interrupted by TA announcements from the FM tuner as needed).

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Google chap reverse engineers Sinclair Scientific Calculator

Neil 44

Soldering exercise

I remember building mine - only way I could afford it!

I also remember having a transformer in a box with a small PCB and a reused earphone lead that plugged into an additional socket to power it from mains.

People used to laugh at the "almost accurate" answers (2/2*2 didn't come back as 2 from what I remember)

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Do not adjust your eyes: This Kobo ten-incher has a 2560 x 1600 resolution

Neil 44

USBOTG?

Is this likely (I suspect it is...) to support USB on the go?

If so, your expansion is a set of flash drives and a cable

Problem solved, albeit not as neatly as having a memory card internal to the slab...

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Tablets? Check. Mobes? Check. What's next, Apple? Fondlable CARS

Neil 44

iTunes

Will the garage have to use iTunes to communicate with it?

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Vulcan? Not on our tiny balls. Pluto moons named Kerberos, Styx

Neil 44
Facepalm

Re: Happy doggies

Shouldn't they be chasing Styx?

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Mobile tech destroys the case for the HS2 £multi-beellion train set

Neil 44

Re: Where will video conferencing be by the time HS2 is actually working

The Chiltern (nee Great Central) line isn't too low:

"Unlike other railway lines in Britain, the line was built to an expanded continental loading gauge which meant it could accommodate larger sized continental trains, in anticipation of traffic to a future Channel Tunnel. There is, however, a popular myth that the GCR was built to the standard continental Berne loading gauge - impossible, since the Berne gauge convention was not held until 1912." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Central_Main_Line)

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Neil 44
Stop

Where will video conferencing be by the time HS2 is actually working

By 202x (might even be 203x!) where will video conferencing be?

Why would you NEED to travel across the country just for a meeting?

When I'm travelling around I've normally got a car-full of kit, so the train wouldn't be an option even if HS2 actually stopped in the county that I live in....

Then there's the route... Why doesn't it connect with our major hub airport at Heathrow?

A much simpler and cheaper solution would be to put a couple of carriages on each train (maybe double decker for the commuter stock) and extend the platforms accordingly...

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Tremble, operators: UK gets ACCURATE mobile coverage guide

Neil 44

BBC been there before

Isn't this like the BBC 3G survey from 2011?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14582499

Shame they're not still gathering data to fill in the gaps...

AND it covers more than just Hull!

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‘Pre-bionic’ eye implanted in blind patient

Neil 44
Holmes

Not new - done in Oxford

A similar trial is taking place in Oxford.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2138775/The-eye-borg-First-successful-implant-bionic-eye-restore-sight-blind.html

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Can YOU crack the Gauss uber-virus encryption?

Neil 44
Coat

Debugger time?

Don't they have a debugger that they can run the virus under until it has unencrypted itself - then they should be able to see what it is looking for (and satisfy its search so they can see what it does when it finds what it is looking for!)

Mine's the one with the assembler card in the pocket...

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Lords blast UK.gov's fixation on broadband speed over reach

Neil 44
Holmes

Sole provider

An awful lot (majority?) of the telephone exchanges round the country outside of the cities ONLY have BT-provided wholesale broadband - so it doesn't matter if you use BT, Sky, Virgin or any of the host of other ISP's: you're still using BT broadband as that's all there is....

Some of the ISP's (O2 springs to mind) simply say that if you live in one of these "market 1" exchanges, then you simply cannot have their service.

Whilst there's no competition in the exchange, a) broadband is more expensive and b) there's no incentive for BT to upgrade the kit in the exchange to provide better/faster equipment!

Comparing "download" speed on its own is also a little arbitrary: whilst a 7Mb/s DOWNLOAD speed might be adequate (or even quite good), being hamstrung to .5Mb/s UPLOAD speed is likely to be limiting to a business (and actually many domestic users too with the growing prevalence of "cloud based" applications!)

Personally, I'd do away with the ability to have an analogue phone line if I could have more bandwidth for broadband to the house itself - and simply use a VOIP phone when I need it (I've seen places in the US that use this arrangement).

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Road deaths spark crackdown on jaywalking texter menace

Neil 44
Joke

Can be funny though

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPW8xmI4w6U

still makes me chuckle.

Using you phone in the shopping mall can be risky too...

(total immersion of your phone probably isn't good for it either... wonder how the insurance claim was worded :) )

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Look back in Ascii: Computing in the 1980s

Neil 44

Re: TRS80's

No, it was "tamper protection", not "copy protection". It meant you couldn't dissemble the executable from the disk image, change it and re-assemble it (easily!).

However, if there were Copywrite statements in the program, they were the first bit that got "patched" over as they were spare space - the longer the message the better :)

was it piracy as we owned the program (usually!) and were just making it do what we wanted...?

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Neil 44

Re: TRS80's

http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/comphist/objects/trs80.htm

Interesting that the Smithsonian's keyboard unit doesn't have the numeric keyboard which means it must be a "level 1" from what I remember...

Another memory was the "tamper protection" that quite a few people used: load the code into memory in one place then use the "block move" instruction to move it somewhere else to execute - made it somewhat harder to disassemble (and modify!)... Meant all the long jumps went to the wrong place if the code hadn't been moved correctly...

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Neil 44
Boffin

TRS80's

In the very early 80's my wife's PhD theses was written in Scripsit on a TRS80 model 1 (with expansion box).

The expensive bits were the floppy disks! 84kB (I seem to remember) a time - which subsequently got updated to double density through a US-sourced "doubler" board that had a different controller on it....

Relocating the RAM (on bigger, 64kb chips that weren't available when the machine was on the market) to the keyboard greatly improved reliability as like others of the era, your whole document was in memory!

Scripsit got hacked to make it do all sorts of things that more modern printers could support - like addressing individual pins which we used to print Greek letters!

After the thesis, it got used to produce - both analysing the data and writing up - what has become quite a seminal paper in its field that's still findable on the Web as a scanned image of the (new printer ribbon!) dot matrix printout produced by the TRS. Someone even wanted a copy of the (compiled Basic) program I used for the analysis which made me rather chuffed..

One of the things that set the TRS80 apart was the fact it had a decent Cherry keyboard - that taught me to touch-type although the keyboard unit needed a wrist rest as it was thick...

Happy memories - I think its still in the loft!

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Lytro light field camera

Neil 44
Big Brother

Shutter delay?

One thing you didn't comment on was the shutter delay...

I would assume as there is no focusing to do, it is lightening fast which could be an advantage for some applications

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Punters want BBC iPlayer in TVs, not 3D

Neil 44
Pint

Re: My perfect telly!

I'd like the satellite tuner (not just Freesat - so I can watch RTL1 for formula 1!) AND the DTV tuners to be used without reconfiguration of the tuner.

ALL channels' online players - not just iPlayer and capable of downloading programs to attached disk for repeated playback.

Online movie rental is quite nice too but I don't know how often I'll actually use it. Too many a month and I'll blow my broadband cap...

Better integration with home cinema / BlueRay boxes as the speakers on thin, flat screens are understandably dreadful.

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Dijit

Neil 44
Meh

NetTVs

An app shouldn't need an (expensive) Griffin box to talk to network-connected TV (Samsung et al)

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Orange 3G data network goes titsup

Neil 44

Newbury

3G on T'Mobile

GPRS on Orange

in Newbury

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iPhone 5 rumoured to be packed with pay-by-bonk tech

Neil 44
Facepalm

No doubt it'll be subtly different from the "standard" method of NFC payments and will only work with fruity terminals (that won't work with Droid phones, of course...)

How much will iPounds cost (or is it Pounds of Apples?) - probably more than a pound (£1.30?)?

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Spring launch for Apple OLED TV with Siri, says retail mole

Neil 44
Facepalm

Review programs on TV

I can just picture one of the technology review programs on the TV demonstrating "Siri : change to channel 27" at which point the TV hehttp://www.reghardware.com/Design/graphics/icons/comment/trollface_32.pngars its own output and changes to channel 27 :)

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FilmOn

Neil 44
Pint

F1?

Does it carry any of the (non-UK) channels that will be showing ALL the F1 races?

That would be a HUGE attraction!

(Wonder if they'll do a version for "Smart" IPTVs - that would also be good...)

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HD JuiceBox HDMI over Powerline kit

Neil 44

Could and RCD block it?

As there are current measuring sensors in RCDs (to detect inbalance in live and return), which have some of the characteristics of a choke, could they block the PLC signal?

If so it'll have problems in "modern" wired houses that have different sets of socket mains on different RCDs.

I don't know if this is what they mean by "can't get past a fuse box" but it could be....

If it isn't, you're likely to have interference from the people 3 doors down who are on the same mains phase - even if they've just got another PLC networking product....

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SEVENTY-FIVE wirelessly charged devices will demo at CES

Neil 44
Holmes

Toothbush style?

Electric toothbrushes have been doing contactless charging for years - bathrooms are damp places that corrode contacts and all other exposed bits of metal, so being able to seal the toothbrush was a no-brainer.

Wonder how long before the fruity lot try to claim the iCharge was their idea?

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Navy pays 2x purchase price to keep warship docked for 5 years

Neil 44
Headmaster

Lost veteran ship

Having been at the National Maritime Museum at the weekend I heard about HMS Implacable.

Another ship that fought at Trafalgar (albeit on the French side from where she was captured at the battle of of Cape Ortegal), wasn't finally sunk (deliberately) by the Navy until 1949 because there wasn't the money to preserve her!

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Windows 8 fondleslabs: Microsoft tip-toes through PC-makers' disaster

Neil 44
Holmes

CPU monogamy

"Windows 8 also ends Microsoft’s decades-old history of x86 monogamy by going with ARM"

"Windows NT 3.1 was released for Intel x86 PC compatible, DEC Alpha, and ARC-compliant MIPS platforms. Windows NT 3.51 added support for the PowerPC processor in 1995, specifically PReP-compliant systems such as the IBM Power Series desktops/laptops and Motorola PowerStack series..." (Windows NT Wikipedia page)

Windows NT 4.0 ran on DEC Alpha as well as Intel.

Various people also ported NT to Sparc and Clipper though these weren't released.

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Inside the BBC's R&D Labs

Neil 44
FAIL

Shame they didn't do more on DAB

Then we wouldn't have been stuck with something that doesn't even do the equivalent of their own RDS service!

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CableJive DockBoss Plus

Neil 44
FAIL

iThing to bluetooth?

The smart way to have done this would have been to adapt the fruit connector to bluetooth and just have a uUsb power plug to power the phone/slab/....

That way you could use BT to get your sound and control the media player on the Droid - rather like the Parrot mki9200 that I have in my car does!

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Greens threaten to sue over solar 'leccy cash slash

Neil 44

Housing Associations / Councils fitting PV

Quite a number of Housing Associations / Councils are fitting them to their rental properties.

The HA/Council take the FiT, which helps their funding after the kit has been paid for, but the tenants (who are often in the "fuel poor" classification) get free electricity.

The problem the HA/Council have is how they are seen to be fair between those houses that have suitable roofs and those who don't....

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Renault Wind Gordini roadster

Neil 44

Underpowered with the engine at the wrong end

If they'd done it properly, they'd have put the engine at the back and turned the drivetrain round (like was done in the MGF) to separate power from steering.

However the lack of power for an all metal lump makes it a tepid hatch at best. Only 100bhp from a 1.2? A 700cc Smart Roadster manages >101bhp (before remapping to get it towards 120!) and can do 0-60 in sub 8 seconds (post remap) despite its terrible gearchange!

Not sure about 17" wheels with low profile tyres either: on British, potholed roads the tyres don't absorb the bumps and you end up buckling the alloys!

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Amazon solves wait-at-home-for-deliveries problem

Neil 44
Stop

@AC Delivery at work

Technically, they shouldn't send stuff to work if your credit card is registered at home - they should only dispatch stuff to the card's registered address so as to prevent me ordering stuff on your card and having it shipped somewhere of my choosing!

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Don't buy your iPad in a McDonald's car park

Neil 44
Trollface

Display quality

... is probably a bit grainy...

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Galaxy Tab still legal in the Netherlands

Neil 44
Facepalm

Luckily...

an etch-a-sketch has two knobs on it to distinguish an iPad from it....

http://www.prezzybox.com/data/media/12695.jpg

Is the 80% that are being iQuoted the same as the 80% of statistics that are made up?

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Murdoch muscles BBC out of Formula One driving seat

Neil 44
Thumb Down

Highlights?

Will the BBC's view of F1 highlights correspond to mine - from the 5 red lights going out until the chequered flag? I doubt it.

Like the many, I won't be shelling out for MurdockTV Sports....

Now... If the Olympics were made exclusive to Sky, would the money the BBC save pay for proper F1 coverage - and maybe even a bit of live test cricket?

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New York Times tucks skirt behind stilted paywall

Neil 44
Jobs Horns

Allowed to charge more for iPad?

Presumably of the $20/month 30% goes to Apple, so they only get $14...

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Sophos debuts freebie anti-virus scanner for Macs

Neil 44
Welcome

A list of Mac malware

If you query the Sophos site, you can see about 80 specific mac malware that they've done a (brief) write-up on, and they don't write up everything explicitly - particularly when there are multiple, similar variants of the same thing:

http://www.sophos.com/security/analyses/viruses-and-spyware/search-results/?search=mac%2F&action=search&page=0&advanced=

Them, of course, there are the various vulnerabilities of "common platform" applications as others have pointed out...

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Group Test: smartphone satnav apps

Neil 44
Alert

CoPilot

I am using CoPilot on Android (Froyo) and whilst it works pretty well it does have some issues:

- They don't seem to be using the keyboard driver correctly so you can't input numbers by the push and hold mechanism that is the standard way of doing it - you have to go into the alternate number keyboard (really useful for entering postcodes!)

- When you have entered a postcode and go back to it from history it doesn't seem to go back to the full postcode location correctly

- There's no ability to paste into the address field (maybe down to non-standard keyboard handling again?)

- You can't move what is a comparatively large application onto the SDCard to free up phone memory

- ALK are saying they have no map updates coming for Europe on their support channels - its soon going to go out of date. They claim this is down to their provider - I suspect they just didn't get the right agreement with their map provider...

It might be best of breed, but its a long way from perfect

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Ten Essential... iPad Apps

Neil 44

Knives

Kitchen knives as demonstrated on Jonathan Ross a couple of weeks ago....

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That Digital Britain report in full

Neil 44
Stop

DAB is no replacement for FM+RDS

There's one glaring omission from the standard: no equivalent of RDS.

That means no Traffic Announcements from the local station when in cars, no automatic (and almost instantaneous) switching to an alternate transmitter when you are driving.

Thus it just doesn't work for receivers in cars!

Its not simply a matter of the UK not implementing it, it simply isn't in the standard...

DAB being on Band III whereas FM is on Band II is going to be an issue. Band III being higher frequency has poorer coverage than Band II (it bends round objects less well) - thus the broadcasters will need more transmitters to achieve the same level of coverage (for the old 405 line TV transmissions you typically had a simple X aerial for the BBC on Band I and a multi-element part for ITV on Band III)

That's beside the fact that only the UK and Denmark are still using DAB to any extent (according to El Reg http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/28/germany_switches_dab_off/ ). I can't see mainstream, global suppliers either of cars or radios wanting to spend much on development for what is globally a small market.

So why are we bothering?

Keep It Simple, Stupid - as the saying goes.

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