3317 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009
Re: re. the observing video camera
It's the only sane way to get this kind of footage - no helicopter pilot is ever going to agree to fly that close to an operating rocket!
Well they should just man up! What a bunch of big-girls'-blouses!
There's always the tactic used when they made 'The Battle of Britain'. They had a B17 as their main camera plane, because it was about the same speed as the fighters, and had lots of places to stick cameras.
But obviously too dangerous for shots of fighters coming at the camera head-on, or the really close dog-fighting stuff. So their solution was to get a helicopter, and rig a cradle on a 300 foot wire. Then their looniest cameraman sat in that, with a camera rigged on some kind of gimbal mounting and let planes fly almost straight at him. Balls of steel. Not sure what it says for his brains though...
Re: So they verified the release was real...
It is pretty shocking.
My credit card firm like to phone me up, and pretend to be scammers. Or rather, They like to call with the opening gambit of "what's your address and date of birth for security?"
At least they no longer seem surprised when I tell them off for being stupid, and say I'll call back. But they do still persist in giving me a number to call back on, which would be just as untrustworthy as the original call...
As stand-up comedians now make jokes about this kind of idiocy, you'd have thought the idea would be widespread enough that journos working in market-sensitive stories could use the search tools on their PCs. It's not as if they aren't linked in to all the market data or anything, let alone Google...
Re: Is it just me
I'm sure it's precisely the point. However, he may have some justification on his side. After all, the whole point of the swirly-wirly design was to do away with the bags. Because the bags only work at peak efficiency for the first bit of sucking, until you've actually used them. At which point they start to reduce in efficiency and suction.
So his point is that his should be using a relatively stable amount of energy, whereas theirs will become more energy inefficient as they're used. So testing when brand spanking new does give them an advantage - and isn't really a good test of energy efficiency. Or anything really.
He may even have a point on consumables. In something like a fridge, which is turned on 24/7, energy efficiency is obviously key. However, a hoover is only turned on once a week, for a few minutes. So consumables are a much larger proportion of the energy budget. Also if the unit drops in efficiency for a large portion of its lifecycle, it may end up consuming more power, as it has to be turned on for longer to do the same job.
Being no hoover expert, it may be that he's just getting his complaint in first. But his points seem pretty reasonable to me so far.
His problem is that his rivals all suck. And cooperation just isn't their bag. Also untrustworthy, less than half of them being upright...
Hoovering every couple of days!?!?!? Did you say days?
You didn't mean years did you? My hoover is embarrassingly energy efficient then.
Re: Testing in a representative environment
Why should the EU test in a representative environment - it's not like they do this for anything else...
Aha! Now I understand it. That's why all the Eurozone banks passed the 3 sets of stress-tests they did, including all the Spanish and Cypriot ones. The Spanish ones were only bailed out 6 months after the third lot as well...
But don't worry, they're doing some more at the moment.
BTW, back on topic, how fast does a sheep travel in a vacuum cleaner?
If Apple can sell say 50m top-end iPhones a year and make $200-$250 profit on each, then they are talking $10b profit at least. To make the same $10bn more profit on a cheap phone, that say only makes a $50 margin, they'd have to sell 200m more. Which is a lot. And that's assuming that the sales of the cheaper one don't reduce the sales of their high profit one. After all, for each sale of a top-end phone they lose to a cheapie, they've got to sell another 3 or 4 cheapies to make up for the drop in profits.
I suppose the real threat is the lovely profits on the year old models. Where they only drop the price by about $150, and as components get cheaper it wouldn't surprise me if the margins don't actually go up. Certainly towards the end of year two.
On the other hand, they could decide that endless growth is a bloody stupid dream, of analysts and idiots who expect stocks to rise for ever and ever and richer and richer. And accept that the iPad and iPhone market are only a certain size. Then instead of spending management and research time chasing $50 a device, they could go into some other market and try to make huge margins at the top of that. Or just sit where they are, and try to keep themselves doing well in PCs, tablets, phones and iPods. Plus the even more profitable business of selling horrifically expensive cables and adaptors.
I'm not sure how 'premium' a brand Apple are, as they have become much more mass market than they used to be. But I think they do still have the reputation for the pretty shiny-shinies of above average quality, and so it would be a risk to their whole brand to do the cheaper phones. But maybe it would be worthwhile, if they can't find any other exciting markets to go into. It's hard to do any proper calculations, but I'd have thought it's more risk to their brand to do cheap phones, than to do nothing at all.
Re: Hideous people
Tee Hee. I like to make the statement that I've got more money than taste.
That's why my hair is bleached whiter than my teeth, which glow in ultra-violet light, my skin is dyed orange and I bought Saddam Hussein's stock of botulinum toxin off him cheap, so I'd never have a line on my face ever again!
Shallow? What me? How very dare you!
Re: A concierge button: genius!
Meanwhile my concierge will be fetching drinks, cigars, and a masseuse named Inga.
Surely yours will be the dressing gown with the sign on the back saying, "My other masseuse is
I persuaded my friend to get a Galaxy Note 2. The stylus is incredibly useful to him for sketching. But I had to set it up for him - and it took me nearly 2 hours. Because there are a lot of options on there. Admittedly it would have been quicker if I'd not had to ask him what he wanted, then explain what the options meant...
But my point is that Samsung do throw the kitchen sink at you. And it's too much for normal users to cope with. My mate could barely set up his previous iPhone...
BTW I'm sure I read somewhere that Samsung were selling a version of the S4 with stock Android. Presumably SIM free only though.
Re: Well, I'm not having one.
I know it's hard for you, but maybe if you got a job you'd be able to afford one, or even a Samsung as they will be on offer soon.
And the anonymous wanker award goes to...
Personally I think that more than £200 is too much for a phone, which is at high risk of damage or loss, and will be replaced quite quickly anyway. I'm currently on an iPhone 5, provided by work, but the last phone I paid for was a Nokia Lumia 710, at £130. For £200 you can get a nice mid-range Nokia Win Pho 8 - or get one of the previous year's top-end Androids. Or the Google Nexus 4. Obviously depending on what you prefer. But given those options, I think all the top-end phones are over-priced. Which is borne out by the huge profits that Samsung and Apple make on their flagship handsets.
In upgrading to the iPhone, I lost the best sat-nav, memory card access, address book and the better phone. Email clients are equally flawed, but in different ways, though I'd say Win Phone shades it. But gained a much better mobile computer, with better web-browsing and apps. At a cost of about £400 (not to me though). I could have the mobile computer bits by going Android with a Nexus 4 - and save a packet.
I might possibly make an exception for 2 top-end phones. The Lumia 1020 for the shiny camera. Assuming it really is all it's cracked up to be. And the Galaxy Note 3 (although the 2 is still really nice, and dropped in price). If you need a stylus, then it's worth the extra cash.
I think I've come to the same conclusion on tablets. I've got an iPad 3. For which I paid £550 odd. When I bought it, I thought it was still far better than the Android competition, and worth the money. I don't think that's true any more. I can give Samsung less money for a Note 10, get a stylus and a memory card slot, so I don't have to get ripped off by Apple for storage. Or save even more cash, and get a Nexus, or normal Samsung.
Apple's premium on laptops was probably worth it for a good long while, I've not looked at the high end recently, but maybe it still is. But their desktops are looking rather expensive nowadays. And so are their phones and tablets. When there's £100 difference and the competition are a bit worse, plus the resale value's high, then great. But when the competition are half your prices...
It's all opinion of course. Everyone's got their own.
Re: 5S and 5C impressive for different reasons
I haven't used a new iPhone, so the fingerprint thingymajig may be a load of rubbish. But I did have a laptop with one of the standard
pull/scan-my-finger type of sensors, and it was totally rubbish. You had to look at the scanner, precisely orient your finger in the correct way, and slowly slide it across the slot at an even speed. And your reward was that it worked about 1 time out of 3.
Whereas the Apple one is on a depression in the face of the phone, in a place your thumb naturally goes to to turn the thing on, and does the scanning in the gesture that you'd be using anyway. So it looks to me like a much better implementation - assuming it actually works.
Is it innovation? Yes and no. Other people could have done it, but they didn't. They couldn't be arsed. Business laptops have had these piss-poor fingerprint readers on them for at least the last decade, and they've been shit for at least the last decade.
So do Apple deserve to be praised to the skies for their brilliance? No. Do they deserve credit for seeing that only half their users were password locking their phones, and making an effort to come up with a workable solution that's simple enough that it might actually get used? Yes.
Re: drifting OT, but legalised, or normalised
That reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) letter to the local newspaper:
I am concerned that my next door neighbour is growing cannabis in his greenhouse. He swears that it's just cabbage, but I'm still worried. What should I do?
And the answer came back.
Eat some. If, after a few minutes, you're still worried... Then it's cabbage.
Re: 106? Shurely Shome Mishtake
"For example I would put a large bid in just so I could burn them live on youtube"
I strongly suspect that would result in a mob of enranged Who fans burning *you* live on YouTube... :-O
Burned to death in a giant wicker Dalek...
I was talking about this the other day. My flat back in 2001 didn't (shock!) have internet (horror!) because it was too expensive to pay the Belgian telco, and I had it at work anyway. Even then I missed the ability to go online at home, which I'd had for year. Now I'd put the internet behind power, sewage and water - but well ahead of landline and TV in my list of services. So much so that the last time I moved, and had to wait a whole week for Broadband, I got a MiFi from 3 to tide me over.
The first symptom of being an internetaholic is denying that you're an internetaholic.
The second symptom of being an internetaholic is looking online for the symptoms of internetaholicism.
Re: Digital Nativeland
I like this comment.
Oh, hang on...
Yeh. Hey, El Reg! Where's me money! I've spent ages composing, typing and editing this post - distilling my wisdom into these few sage words - and adding value to your site. And I want paying! Where's me dosh?
And don't think you can fob people off with virtual badges, in order to keep all the money to yourselves either!
Ooh shiny! What was that I was saying?
Can they also add 'crimes against capitalisation of letters' to the charge sheets please?
fOr SOme reasOn, aLL THe mOSt annOyING people online seem to do this. Perhaps it's the damp in their Mums' basements, that causes the shift keys to go all sticky. Or possibly the eating, drinking and other things, that they do when operating their keyboards one-handedly...
They don't seem to be asking for enough money.
When Facebook went public they didn't need the money. They had plenty of cash on hand, and were turning a profit. So they only sold a bit, keeping total control for Zuckerberg, but making loadsamoney. Quite why there was such enthusiasm for the sale at so stupidly high a price is anyone's guess. But revenues keep growing, and who knows? Maybe they'll grow into the stupid valuation. Or fall over in a few years' time, due to arrogance and incompetence.
But Twitter do need the money. They're buying an ad-broker, making losses, and if they want to make more advertising sales overseas, they're going to need to get more staff to handle that. Plus R&D and (worryingly), needing to retain staff. Which rather sounds like, paying massive bonuses to retain people who can no longer be bribed with the thought of the upcoming IPO gravy-train. Even though those people aren't exactly pulling in the profits. So the difference with Facebook is that they need to sell more than a paltry 10% of the company - and that means letting the money men into bed (or at least, the boardroom).
Still, if Facebook is worth $100bn, Skype $7bn and Autonomy $10, then why shouldn't Twitter be worth another $10bn? On which note, I've an excellent bridge for sale, only one careful owner - and I'm willing to sell it for the amazing, knock-down price of $1bn...
To be fair to the FBI they got very pissed off with the CIA using torture in the early days of the War-on-Terror-thingy. I'm not sure if that's still the case, or whether they've joined in the fun as well now though.
"Pics or it didn't happen". It would almost be funny, if it weren't so unfunny.
I suppose at least it's a step up from doing a Playmobil reconstruction... At least we now know why Lester Haines developed his Playmobil expertise.
It is funny though. And deadly serious at the same time. Assuming the information the FBI have released is mostly accurate, the guy does seem to have thought he was operating in a bad cop show.
I must say, I do love the line, "I'm pissed that I had to kill him... Why can't more people have integrity!"
Re: Sad loss
Sean Connery's Russian accent in Red October was particularly awesome.
Re: Read that
I too was nervous that you recommended the book, because I've unfortunately seen the film. Co-incidentally I also saw a bit of Hellcats of the Navy at the weekend, as it was on some channel in deepest, darkest Sky. It didn't look terribly good, and I only flicked over to it for a bit. Their submarine seemed to have millions of torpedo tubes, I'm sure he said "Fire 10!" at one point. They seemed to be able to shoot a destroyer, sink it in about 5 seconds, dive to avoid its friend, then pop up and account for them - all in the space of about 60 seconds.
I know you have to compress time in films, or we'd all die of boredom. Yes I'm looking at you Peter Jackson! I've watched about 17 hours of The Hobbit already, and we've barely got anywhere yet! My legs will have fallen off by the time they get anything done. Sorry, digression alert.
I highly recommend Das Boot. Both the film, the full 6 hour mini-series and the book. Particularly as they recently digitally remastered it. This makes it all a bit nicer, but the big benefit is that they went back to the original cast and got the ones who hadn't done an English dub to do so. So you can listen to it in English, with the proper actors doing it, rather than some rubbish dubbing 'artistes' - or watch with subtitles. One word of German I definitely now know is, "Alaaaarrrrrmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!" Although there was still a review on Amazon complaining that when he watched it in English, the actors' lips didn't synch with their voices...
Oh, and one of the better DVD commentaries as well.
Re: Saw that
I'm not sure that's entirely fair. I gave up on his later stuff, but Red Storm Rising has some fun ideas. And like a commentard above, got me interested in Harpoon as well.
It also has plenty of bits of US navy kit not working and US forces screwing things up. Although I suppose at one point, when it's all gone horribly pear-shaped he sinks the French aircraft carrier and lets the American one get away with heavy damage. Not that I'm saying his books were full of political sophistication or anything. Also Red October does mostly have the US getting stuff right and things not going the Soviets' way - but then that's partly a necessary function of the plot.
Clancy was also the basis for a couple of very silly jokes in Headcrash, which was an odd book which had many very silly jokes, but was quite fun at the time. Sadly the internet hasn't morphed into a sort of virtual Doom, but on the upside, at least you don't have to stick anything up your bottom in order to get the full experience of Web 2.0...
Re: The Obvious Way to Decide
Specs? What are those?
Specs? They're the things you put on the end of your nose, in order to be able to read the technical blurb that the nice man is trying to avoid handing over to you at all costs...
Where's the El Reg grave stone icon?
I'm cancelling my subscription immediately! The exclamation marks in the headline of this article are vertical, rather than at the correct relaxed angle.
Re: Green apples
But cash earned on foreign operations in Ireland is not subject to Irish corporation tax. So a US company headquartered there, like say Google, MS or Apple don't pay any corporation tax on their European sales - except the tiny proportion actually made in Ireland. If they don't run their Irish sales out of some other country, just in order to take the piss properly...
There is however double-taxation, in that if you pay the cash as a dividend, then it's subject to both corporation tax, and income tax to the shareholders receiving it. In which case they could just buy some shares back - thus paying corp tax, but raising the value of the remaining shares. Apple are in fact doing this, but weirdly have borrowed $20 billion in the US in order to do so, while keeping the cash in Ireland.
In the end though, they've got to do something with the bloody stuff. There's absolutely no sane reason for Apple and MS between them to hold a total of $200 billion in reserves. It may require some sort of combined government action on the subject, or the US to cut their corp tax to around 20%. But you've got to wonder if the companies would still refuse to pay this... I'm wary of these increasingly large distortions in the global market. China and Germany are both running huge trade surpluses, forcing them to lend money to their customer countries in order to keep thing sustainable - which was one of the main causes of the last crash, and helps to inflate bubbles in the net importing countries (see Eurozone disaster for details) - while the US is even odder in that there's now over $1 trillion of corporate cash sloshing about doing not much of anything productive. Some efforts have been made to sort out banking, but the global trade and savings imbalances have barely been touched. And it's going to cause more trouble.
Re: What am I missing?
To be a touch more accurate, financial companies tend to have lots of cash, i.e. other people's money. Now of course they lend or invest lots of that (to pay the interest and profits), but nonetheless, they still have to keep a large percentage of their total deposits in cash or readily convertible instruments. Somewhere around 10% is the norm at the moment in the UK I think.
So their holdings of assets is less meaningful in terms of the health/profitability of the financial sector, they often increase their cash-like assets as profits drop, as that's when they're usually panicking about covering bad loans. Whereas non-financial corporations are mostly holding retained profits as cash. Which is useful to know.
The tech sector are particularly poor at this bit of corporate willy-waving. Holdings the size of Apple's and Microsoft's are utterly ludicrous. In terms of economic efficiency it's stupid. The shareholders should have that money, as they're more likely to invest it better - rather than just hold it in low-yield bonds. Clearly the corporations have no need for it. Sure, Apple used about $10bn of corporate cash to increase their profits on the iPhone and iPad. As well as potentially barring others from the tablet market for a year, by buying up all the 10" touchscreens in advance. That's good use, as is having a decent reserve - and cash for any acquisitions. But more than that is just inefficient. I guess some of it is this hope that the US will give them another foreign corporation tax holiday - but I suspect that the more childish CEOs like to wave their wads at each other too. The other thing it can encourage is the board to go on stupid buying sprees. Microsoft and Skype springs to mind. Nokia may at least be a sensible purchase, at a reasonable price. How Skype, with virtually no assets and no history of making profits can be worth more than Nokia's phone division is a mystery. In general mergers destroy value, but make directors and merchant bankers happy.
Re: Green apples
No. Apple isn't worth more than the entire pharmaceutical/medical industry. It's simply hoarding more cash than them. Historically pharmaceutical firms have paid out dividends, which is something Apple only did occasionally, until recently.
Also the pharma companies have to pay out massive amounts in R&D and testing. It can cost up to $1 billion to bring a major drug to market, with research and lots, and lots, and lots of testing and regulatory fun-and-games. Whereas Apple have never invested heavily in research. I think they don't do much of the basic, high-risk stuff, but spend most of their time on refining existing technologies.
Re: Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear...
Ah, but I thought that Stephen Hawking had demonstrated that no coherent information could ever return across the CEO Ego Event Horizon.
Or was that recently disproved...
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear...
Co-CEO Mike Laziridis and other directors were apparently concerned that a possible China deal would distract the firm from the launch of its BlackBerry 10 device.
So if 2 and a half years late is what it took to get BB10 on sale when they weren't distracted, how long would it have taken to get to market if they had been? Would we need to get Stephen Hawking in come up with some new theory of time dilation in order to find out...
I guess this answers the question about how good an idea joint CEOs is. I can remember reading many articles, when they'd gone to that system, and were still riding high on past glory. Saying what a great idea it was, and how it lead to better leadership. Perhaps I won't be reading many of those types of stories for a while. Or of course it could be your standard post-crisis public arse covering.
Remember how many of Blair and Brown's ministers privately opposed some of their more disastrous decisions. But after heroic resistance behind closed doors, followed by intense private agony over whether to resign and carry on the fight in public - they were all sadly defeated. Oh, you don't remember that either? Funny, one might almost think they weren't recalling events 100% accurately...
Re: internal feuding in the company ? ? ?
That's right! And don't you forget it peasant!
Talking of which, what are you doing posting on here worker resource unit 453986A? Report to management/punishment unit 101 for correction immediately!
Re: Where's the disabled access?
They don't need a lift to get into the building.
And why would anyone want to leave the loving, warm, appley embrace of a Jesus-Store anyway? Either that or they'll be instantly cured, as soon as they've made their sacrifice to the deity of the shrine...
I can see many uses when the price drops
A friend of mine designs hand made furniture, kitchens and the like. Most normal people simply can't read drawings, and so can't visualise what he's trying to do - so he doesn't usually use CAD, but instead does them watercolours of what the new room will look like. I got him to do me some stuff recently and was rather impressed that he can do 3D sketches upside down while explaining his ideas to you. When this becomes just a little bit cheaper, I can see him doing his designs in CAD (you need a decent drawing to make the stuff anyway), then giving people a 3D model of their new kitchen.
It would also be lovely to have some sort of scanner, so when a little fitting breaks, you can fabricate another. Things like the little plastic feet on laptops - or the bigger ones on tables and chairs. They don't tent to break, but rather to disappear. Although I don't know at what point that creates IP issues, if you're directly copying someone else's design. Surely not on a laptop foot, but almost certainly on someone's designer kitchen plastic gewgaw.
A few years ago, we had a prototype valve design 3D printed. It died after a couple of days testing - but it was bloody impressive that it worked at all. And it certainly proved the design a lot more cheaply than custom manufacturing one.
Perhaps when they make Terminator 3*, the new baddie will just be an ordinary terminator, with a printer for all the guns, sunglasses, stabbing weapons and whatnot that he needs. Surely the maintenance requirements for the T1000 models must be appalling...
*Yes, I'm aware that someone made Terminator 3 and 4 already. In fact I even
paid wasted good money to see them. For which I apologise to other cinema-goers, as all that did was to encourage them. But I don't see why, with all the remakes Hollywood now does, we can't introduce a system where unloved sequels/prequels can be struck from the record and remade competently. It's probably going too far for them to allow us to just airbrush them from history (they like their money too much). But then we could wave goodbye to the Phantom Morass, Terminator Judgement Day and I suppose the extra Matrices. Not that I was a massive fan of the Matrix, but it was fun, and it's sequels mostly weren't. Oh, we can also really annoy Hollywood by printing our own action figures. You can just see the new messages on DVDs now. Piracy 3D Printing is theft and funds terrorism.
Yahoo Bug Report
I have found a major bug in your website, which has caused your exclamation mark to fall over. Don't thank me, please just send my £12.50 care of The Register. Thanks.
Re: A tenner is worse than nothing at all
I think you'll find it's actually second prize in a beauty contest...
Are you sure you shouldn't be hitting the anonymous button for this post?
Yes, OK, I admit it! My RAZR V3i was in metallic purple...
Did they do any of that model in nice colours? The previous V3 were a perfectly fine black or brushed steel.
Re: Used space-faring female T-shirt scraps...
So what you're saying is, it's not so much dinosaur as dino-phwoarrrr...
[note to self: Learn from the example of the above commentard, and remember to post anonymously to preserve remaining shreds of reputation.]
The brightest, most lurid, yellow you can get please! I guess we should probably call it Windows Phone Yellow...
Although, as a couple of people have noted above, a nice blue to match the Fireflash from Thunderbirds would be fun. But I guess that's not exactly going to help with visibility in the sky. But we could stick to the 50s/60s futuristic theme by going for a nice shiny silver paint job. The 50s jet fighter look would be further enhanced by the addition of cannon, for dealing with rival space-plane-ballocket ventures (especially the ones using hydrogen) - or even for bursting your own balloon prettily. But perhaps that's still a bit too advanced for 3d printing...
As I recall, those Fireflashes were always exploding, falling into the sea, being shot down, and generally keeping International Rescue busier than a one-armed paper-hanger. So here's hoping El Reg have got Thunderbird 5 on speed-dial, just in case...
Have they got a new Traffic Control module built into the ISS now? Given that there's been quite a lot of congestion up there recently. What with the Cygnus test-capsule, a Soyuz popping in and The Register sending their playmonaut to join the staff. Although as there was nearly a space-drowning just outside the ISS, The Special Projects Bureau ought to be very careful, as the only space agency we know of to have actually drowned one of their 'nauts.
Solar is a pretty poor idea for single dwellings. The use time and generation time mostly don't match up, and the infrastructure costs are high. Retrofitting is even worse. But blocks of flats or commercial buildings are great. Mixed-use buildings are even better, as you've got a good expectation of someone wanting power at any time.
Sadly the trend in the UK seems to be about providing the minimum central services possible. Even where it's cheaper, most clients I talk to don't even want communal water services in any block where it's feasible to give each flat their own water main, even if this means having several smaller pumps on the ground floor to feed flats higher up. That way they don't have to work out all the billing, or have the hassle of having maintenance - and they get to pay me several times as much money as doing it the more efficient way.
What could be done now, in any decently sized building at construction time, for very little money is amazing.
1. You've got to have piles (stop that laughing at the back!), otherwise your tall building falls over. Stick a couple of pipes on each, as you drive it in, and you've got a free ground-source heat pump infrastructure. It costs almost nothing extra, a couple of the pipes will fail in the driving process, so you just pressure-test, then don't connect those ones to the manifold. Heat pumps are very efficient, reliable and cheap.
2. Solar. If you're building at the same time as the roof the panels cost comparatively little. I don't know what the state of combined PV and hot water are, but that's surely the way of the future. With solar hot water, and decent sized, well-insulated hot water storage vessels - you're set up for a lovely district hot water scheme. So no nasty boilers for each flat, saves money, maintenance and gas or leccy - and even better if all flats have underfloor heating. Then the 40° C water you can pretty much guarantee from solar is all you need for heating. Then it's heat pumps, excess heat from solar you'll get whenever the sun shines, and a nice single set of efficient backup gas boilers for the hot water you need at 70°C.
3. Rain-water harvesting is marginally useful. Grey water isn't worth it in my opinion. The filters cost a fortune, you need 2 sets of pumps to make it work, so you use lots of energy. And the large tanks take up loads of space. The filters are complex and expensive, and need about 20% of the reclaimed water to backflush them. But take the water out of your gutters, stick it through a relatively course filter to get out the leaves and dead birds, and you've got something to water the garden or wash down the bins and paths. If you want to flush your toilets then you need slightly better filters and UV sterilisation, but it's still pretty good. However the relative lack of water against the demand makes this better suited to places with high irrigation needs, or large roof areas. The cost of an entirely separate set of pipes, makes it expensive for toilets. Toilet flushing also tends to aerosolise water, which makes me queasy in terms of legionnella.
3. Solar leccy is the area I know least about. But as I understand it the grid isn't designed to take exports of power at the local level - so you may be better off using your own. In a block that's tall, and has solar in the day, but leccy demand at night, there are 2 very simple methods of storing your energy. You're already pumping loads of water up the building, so why not just have a bigger tank at the top, and use solar to power those pumps - rather than bothering with weights. Although it only takes something like a 10kW motor to bung 1,000 litres of water 50m upwards in an hour. The other possibility is heat. Leccy is less efficient than gas, but insulation on hot water vessels is very good nowadays. So you heat your water by solar-leccy in the day, and use that at night and the next morning. However that conflicts with using the more sensible heat pumps and solar-thermal, though solar-electric is a very good fit with air-conditioning.
Although it would be rather more fun, Thurnderbirds style, to have nuclear powered trains, aeroplanes and buildings. There's also some nice developments on photo-voltaic glass cladding for buildings. And of course there's still loads of efficiencies to be gained from having proper controls on the systems we already have. Far too many large buildings are way too hot, or too cold (when the air-con comes on). I still remember the physical shock from walking into a shopping centre in Dubai. That drop from 40°C and high humidity to 18°C and dryness was like walking into ice. You have to carry a coat in Dubai, for when you go inside... And when you leave again, it's like walking into a baking hot, but wet, brick wall.
Mir was old, and I think the extra modules weren't plumbed in all too well. I think it was the Spektr module that took the hit. The power and data cables were just clipped to the side of the airtight hatch, so you couldn't close it without removing them first. Not exactly going to pass a health and safety inspection, but then how the hell's the inspector going to get up there with his clipboard...
I saw a documentary on this, and it claimed that the
British born definitely American astronaut Michael Foale panicked and started yanking out cables, whereas the Russians were trying to power down the main computer first (or possibly get it emergency power first), then unplug power and data, then re-start so that they didn't lose the solar panel lock on the sun. I'm pretty sure the lack of power had them on emergency oxygen generators at several points, before all was up-and-running again. Getting the panels aligned and main pooter all tickety-boo and reliably working, took several weeks, from memory.
On the other hand, that might be a Russian smoke-screen to cover the fact that they had a piss-poor and unsafe space station that nearly killed everyone on it. I'd have though airtight doors ought to really remain closed, or at least be able to automatically close in case of a major leak. After all, meteoroid damage is quite a likely incident, and if the hole is big enough, you need to have that compartment seal itself off from the rest of the station.
It probably didn't also help that everyone seems to have reverted to their native language under the stress of listening to their air leak out of the station, while the only airtight door that could save them couldn't be shut. I believe it takes a loooong time to put a spacesuit on, you can't just step into them - unless they have emergency (lightweight) ones kicking around in case of this sort of problem.
When the Russians tried to operate the automatic Progress capsules without their expensive docking radars, they made a small hole in Mir, trying to dock it manually. Apparently they'd given the Cosmonaut who was docking it manually very little in the way of instruments.
In the confusion of trying to close the airtight doors to the module with the slow leak (the crew could hear the hiss of their breathing air escaping), they killed the power, lost the main computer, which lost the lock from the solar panels to the sun, which lost them power, which meant they had to operate on emergency power for ages, and it took a lot of work to get the station even vaguely working again. I don't think Mir ever fully recovered from that, and they nearly had to abandon Mir.
Had the thing hit a bit harder, and punctured the hull in a big way, then I guess some poor sod might end up going for an unscheduled spacewalk - minus suit. I'm sure there are parts of the ISS that can't be fixed if broken in that way, especially as we don't have shuttles any more.
Maybe SpaceX have better PR? But also they managed to do it first. And they're using an all-new shiny system of their own, whereas aren't Cygnus using a bunch of off-the-shelf components? Not that I'm saying rocket surgery is easy or anything.
So you get more headlines out of SpaceX. What with aiming to get their system man-rated, talking about going to Mars, and sending CHEESE INTO SPAAAAAAAACE...
Also having a boss with a perfect Bond Villain name has to help. You know that at some point Elon Musk's going to buy a volcano, then US and Russian rockets will start disappearing, and it's underground monorails, private armies and self-destruct buttons all over again. I've seen that documentary on the History Channel, You Only Live Twice I think it was called.
Re: to be fair
That's not it at all. The ISS sent an SQL injection attack disguised as routine docking guidance info. Either to test the incoming craft's software, or so they could take remote control of it, and steal all the payload without paying.
Once they've got control of the craft, they can turn off the downlink, quickly nick all the goodies, then de-orbit it. Who'd know?
Every self respecting system has space pirates. Now we've got ours. Yarrr! Did this "docking" attempt take place on the 19th by any chance?
Re: Now we know...
Now we know...
the real reason why Microsoft is buying Nokia...
Oh do tell. Please enlighten the rest of the class, oh master of business strategy.
These patents belong to Nokia now. When/if MS buy the handset business off them, these patents will still be owned by Nokia. Who are giving MS a ten year license on them as part of the sale, as was mentioned in the article. Nokia are keeping the patents, and the name (which MS can only use for a brief period on certain handsets. What MS get is the phone division, minus patents. What Nokia keep are the 2 profitable bits of the business, the Networking side and the software side (mapping etc.).
So Microsoft have nothing to do with this case whatsoever. They're just another phone company who've bought a license from Nokia for these patents.
Re: A mean bowl of cornflakes with only three main ingredients?
- Top Gear Tigers and Bingo Boilers: Farewell then, Phones4U
- Analysis iPhone 6: The final straw for Android makers eaten alive by the data parasite?
- Stephen Pie iPhone 6: Most exquisite MOBILE? No. It is the Most Exquisite THING. EVER
- First Crack Bloke buys iPHONE 6 and DROPS IT to SMASH on PURPOSE
- Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM