269 posts • joined Friday 8th September 2006 11:04 GMT
Am I the only one who finds the whole thing about "Motion" sensors in toilets a deeply disturbing concept?
How do they work? A covert camera in the pan, aimed at the sitter's posterior, continually monitoring for the required defecatory action and plunging you into Stygian darkness if the required turds do not manifest themselves in a timely fashion?
As to electricity, well - if there _are_ power-cuts in future I just happen to have a little 3.5Kw Diesel genset and 1000 litres of fuel on standby. Meantime, the annual dividends from my investment in electricity-companies a couple of decades back easily cover their charges, leaving enough over for the obligatory bottle or two of Château d'Yquem for New Year.
Re: I never saw the point of this concept.
That wouldn't have provided a copy of each person's tests for assessment by the various audiologists [at minimum the Coal Board's one and the Mineworker's union's one] back at base though, would it?
Re: I never saw the point of this concept.
"Hell, most people if you play their won speech back at the with a few milliseconds delay will find it near impossible to talk".
An ex-cow-orker was some years back paid quite a bit to develop a portable machine* which allowed just this delayed-playback effect; it was used to quantify whether people trying to claim compensation from the National Coal Board for noise-induced industrial deafness were faking it or not.
*This was in the late-1960s. Think open-reel tape-decks with calibrated, continuously variable capstan speeds.
I was always told that the world's hardest tongue-twister was in the Xhosa language, and when translated came out as "The Skunk rolled down and ruptured its larynx"
No doubt Private Eye will now be claiming prior-art rights to the hashtag #allegedly
Re: Evolve or Die.
"When big organizations are lost and have no real strategy you fire people while you're trying to figure out what to do. It usually isn't a great sign for the organization. Product offerings tend to be reduced in quantity and capabilities and become more expensive at the same time. They don't know what to do"
The smart "big organisation" that's circling the drain sells off its profitable bits/long-term-customer-contracts/intellectual-property and returns maximum value to shareholders by paying a couple of years of seriously fat dividends out of the proceeds of the sales.
Then the not-sold-off bits [which of course while essentially having zero or negative residual value still retain all the legacy-liabilities of the original business] declare bankruptcy.
Then your CEO's friendly one of the big-four accountancy-practicioners gets appointed to manage the parting-out of the toxic remains of the carcase.
Evolve or Die.
It always puzzles me why people get uptight when a company gets too-big-to-be-agile and then after a few years/decades begins a death-spiral. That's all part of the natural cycle of business-evolution and Schumpeterian "Creative destruction". A business doesn't have any inbuilt right to continue in business - sometimes the correct thing to do is to kill it and sell off the bits (because they're worth more separated than they are together) then move on and start something new.
Tough on the workers, but the smart ones will get out while the going's good rather than wait around for the end.
H-P today reminds me a lot of the "conglomerates" that were popular in the 1980s - Hanson, GEC/Marconi etc - which grew to a point where they had a number of fingers in so many pies they ended up not doing anything particularly well. Parting them out made economic and business sense.
Must admit though, I still like my trusty 1970s-era dual-trace oscilloscope.
I wonder who'll be the first to produce a portable version of Dr. Crow's "Unrotated Projectile" of WWII-vintage?
(Of which it was said by a high-ranking British official after witnessing an entire battery of them being test-fired "I don't know if it will scare the Luftwaffe but it certainly scares the willies out of me!")
Do you need a degree to...
Personally, I don't think you need a degree in CompSci to cut code any more than you need a degree in Architecture to lay bricks.
A CompSci graduate should _understand_ the concepts of programming [I hate the term 'coding' since it implies that the product is something quite arcane and probably unmaintainable] but understanding business-requirement definition, budgeting, systems-analysis, project- and system-lifecycle management as well as software QA are far more important skills for a graduate to have than a detailed understanding of HDLC bit-stuffing or how to wire up CTS/RTS lines on a RS232 serial-port.
The CompSci graduate specifies what is to be programmed, how he intends to test the programs, and then makes sure the results are delivered on-time/within-budget/to-quality.
The actual programming gets done by the equivalent of a team of brickies with appropriate NVQs.
Dell also claims to be improving accountability and transparency in its supplier tracking including a “red flag process that tracks suppliers with priority issues”.
A "Red Flag" process is rather appropriate in the context of Chinese manufacture, no?
The status of Engineers.
Methinks a great deal of the problem is the whole public perception of Engineering.
Too many people think that the guy who comes to fix your boiler is an Engineer, when "fitter" would be the kindest description.
We need to get back to a situation where "Engineer" is a recognised professional title only granted after a recognised period of study assessment and achievement (and followed by continuous professional development) - like Doctor or Brigadier or Professor, as it is in Germany etc.
"Herr Doktor Engineer" has some clout in the rest of the world; "Sanitary engineer" just makes the profession look incurably devalued.
Channeling the spirit of Donald Rumsfeld : there are unrecognised unsuccessful attacks, recognised unsuccessful attacks, unrecognised successful attacks and recognised successful attacks.
Of course, you only ever have any kind of metrics for  and . whereas it's really  and  you need to concern yourself the most about.
The last Indian one of these who called me got a fruitily expletive-laden earful about why the curry I ordered on the computer half an hour ago hadn't been delivered yet and whether their call was about fixing this.
Not being the sort of person who wears a watch, I find the whole idea of a "Smartwatch" about as exciting as that busted-flush of a couple of years back, 3D-TV.
I don't see the problem.
99% of the time, the supermarket self-scan checkouts work fine for me. At least using these means you don't feel obliged to engage in vacuous smalltalk with the droid - and you also get to choose the order you scan things in so you can then put squishy stuff like eggs, bread and peaches in one bag, heavy stuff [Tonic-water, sugar, Toilet-Duck] in another.
Only thing they seem to have issues with is when you buy something that's been marked-down and the barcode on the yellow "REDUCED" sticker won't scan. This problem's not unique to the self-scan checkouts though: a crappily-printed and smudged-when-stuck-on "REDUCED" barcode has on occasions even baffled the checkout-droids.
[At least they've wised up and have stopped using heat-sensitive "REDUCED" labels on the too-hot-to-touch spit-roast chickens now].
The self-scan checkouts in B&Q, OTOH, seem to have been programmed by a team of decerebrate sloths and 'voiced' by a woman who lives in a fantasy-world and believes herself to be Rosa Klebb.
£30,000 and it's still only a 4-cylinder?
Forget the connected-ness nonsense: I just don't get the idea of selling a 4-pot engine into the bottom end of the executive-car segment.
There is a saying something to the effect that "A true Gentleman will not be seen driving a car unless its engine has more cylinders than the car has wheels, and it has more wheels than it has seats".
All the balance-shafts and dual-mass-flywheels in the world can't mask the boom and rattle of a 4-cylinder engine when compared to a straight-six or a V8.
What about the IRS?
One hopes that the Infernal Revenue Service are also suspended for the duration of this regulatory hiatus.
Journal of Cosmology?
Having a paper "published in the Journal of Cosmology" doesn't mean it is actually science, any more than having a reader's letter published in the Witley Scrotum Herald means you're a journalist.
If they brought out a version which fitted that sort of pixel-density into something with, say, a 25-inch diagonal - and it gave decent colour-balance - it'd be great for those of us whose main interest is in editing still digital images.
Just Do It Yourself...
Me and a friend have a neat "private cloud" approach using a pair of single-board computers (think pre-Raspberry-pi) 8-port USB hubs, and a handful of cheap 32Gb USB memory-sticks.
The two setups replicate their contents via cron-jobs and scp because it's simple. We each have rights to half the space on our own system and let the other person use the other half.
One of the systems is in Australia, the other in the UK.
Profit-centre for You!
Surely this Farcebook/Zoidberg policy of wanting phone-numbers segues nicely with the guy reported yesterday who set up a premium-rate number for cold-callers to call?
This sounds good, specially for those of us who spend a lot of time reading scientific papers published in two-column format with formulae and graphs and so need decent resolution to fit a whole A4 page on-screen at once.
Trying to understand a Smith Chart when you have to enlarge everything to a point where you can only see a quarter of the chart in order to read the associated annotations is not fun.
Part of me once wondered out loud if Ferrero Rocher could be copyrighted - then someone else muttered something about prior-art in the form of squirrel turds.
Re: Illegal in the UK
I'd be most interested in a proper legal cite of anyone who's been found guilty of "absorbing RF for lighting/power purposes".
Strapping a long fluorescent tube to a VHF antenna and shoving some RF up it is a very good way of demonstrating the concept of voltage-maxima. You can do the same to demonstrate standing-waves on open wire feeders.
Similarly, when at uni I lived near to the Blaenplwyf TV/radio transmitter, and a torch-bulb connected across the feedpoint of a dipole cut to Radio 2 FM would glow dimly when you got the polarisation right.
There used to be a car-park adjacent to a certain London airport which had a rotating radar-antenna perched on the roof. When operated at full power the fluorescent tubes on the floor below would glow as the antenna rotated.
Oh, the fun you can have with RF.
The Bible, being a book rather full of smiteing and begetting, should no doubt be covered by a "censored for sex and violence" rule...
It Rained. It's 472Kbit/second for you!
I live somewhere relatively-remote and my SDSL is delivered via a couple of miles of overhead phone-line: I get about 2Mbit/sec in each direction - when the weather's good.
Alas with the recent thunderstorms the router's been disconnecting rather regularly so the path is currently retraining itself s-l-o-w-l-y back towards 2Mbit/sec which it'll probably reach by the weekend.
In winter or when it's windy, it's trees bringing the overhead line down.
[Paradoxically, I also have BT fibre-to-the-premises: each night I park my car on top of a dirty great concrete-manhole with several inch-thick trunks running through it.. I'm sure if I offered them a kidney or two BT could dig a 30-foot-long trench to run some fibre up to the house then provide me with a whole slew of MPLS services over a 40Gbit/sec circuit...]
Re: Chill's not dead
Alas, Chill went away on the local mux a couple of years back... sio why's it still being listed in the EPG?
These days I do most of my casual listening to the likes of di.fm: their "vocal trance" stream's just right as background for some serious zonefile-manipulation.
The free-radio movement would love there to be a "digital switchover" to DAB from FM - because it would then free up so much more FM bandwidth in which they can pump out their bangin' choons !
As to DAB, well recently I dug out my old DAB radio and did a "full rescan": I was surprised to see that the only COM Mux it was able to receive was still advertising a number of stations ('Chill', for example) which closed down years ago.
Prof. Quatermass was always one of my heroes: who can forget the way he triumphed over that little bit of local nastiness down at Hobbs End tube station?
Re: Market Value
Aren't they already doing all this with that equally-fictitious thing called "Carbon Credits" ?? They're surely a "Sin of Emission".
Ownershipof the gas.
One of the major disincentives to developing a shale-gas industry in the UK compared to the US is that in the US it's generally the landowner who owns mineral-resources beneath his/her property whereas in the UK such subterranean resources are considered the property of the State.
An Englishman's home is his Castle, but he doesn't own the water/gas/coal under it.
I wonder if this equine-DNA-discovery could explain the pack of Tesco "Value" Bison-burgers I found recently at the back of the fridge with "Best before: End of Pleistocene epoch" on it.
Re: Be careful around psychic types...
Was he laughing? If so, well, you know you should always strike a happy medium.
Re: Oh dear...
I think you need to do some study of issues like "Velocity Factor" and "Dielectric" before you assert such things.
[I've got rather a lot of experience of this sort of thing and if you can actually get a signal to propagate down a piece of copper wire at the speed of light I can arrange you a cushy job in the phased-array-antenna design department of my current gig].
"Now it's limited by the speed of light through copper wire."
For light to have a speed in copper they must be using tubes rather than wires.
I wonder how many of these "PDP11s" are actually MINC-11s or other instrumentation systems based on the LS!11-series processors?
In a previous role I was responsible for a number of MINC-11s that were interfaced to various things-nuclear, as well as using LSI11/23 processors to control CAMAC crates that again had things-nuclear on the other end.
There's actually a lot of old hardware still out there in embedded industrial applications - someone I know in the 'states still runs a wind-tunnel that has instrumentation systems controlled by a number of 1960s-era Honeywell H-516 minis (Honeywell's equivalent of the PDP-11) and there's still a paper-mill whose process-maagement depends on an IBM Series/1 or three.
Forget the hacking issue: some of us want to know what is going to happen to all the culled Badgers!
I checked over on the "River Cottage" website and there are no Badger recipes - yet.
[I'd suggest Pâté as suitable for one's first exploratrions of the realm of Badger-cuisine].
Ah but we *have* got extra bands since the lifetime licence came in - the recent NoV for opening up the 60-metre slots to anyone-with-a-licence-who-can-fill-in-a-webform being IMHO a brilliant move. My little PRC320 and end-fed half-wave works brilliantly on 60.
Truth is, the number of competing formats has if anything decreased over the years - which should make things easier as time goes on.
[I was once given the task of recovering data from a set of magtapes, with no information at all as to what system they came from, how they had been written, or how they had 'happened' to come into the particular organisation's possession. Even the brand-name of tape manufacturer had been expunged from the spools. After doing a physical block-dump to disk and a week or so of frobbing-about I determined the format to be an Eastern-European-ICL-1900-series-clone native binary. There was much ensuing happiness. Tapes apparently from the same source would arrive intermittently and unpredictably. If I told you anything more I'd probably still have to kill you].
I'm reminded of a decade or so back when some part of the Vast Military/Industrial Complex invented a laser-weapon which was intended to blind enemy combatants.
Various of the usual suspects [peace groups, United Nations, 'development' charities etc] kicked up a big fuss about how deeply ghastly and truly 'inhumane' such a weapon would be.
"OK" said the representatives of the Vast Military/Industrial Complex, "In that case we'll just continue to use lead and blow the enemy's brains out in the traditional fashion".
Re: Appeals process a sham, sherlock
I generally reply to such unsolicited denamdds-for-money-with-menaces with a brief letter referring them to the reply given in "Arkell vs Pressdram".
They also never seem to factor in the "opportunity-cost" of these big projects:
That is, "If we didn't do thing X, what other things Y, Z, A, B could we spend the money and would that give a better return?"
Or - in this case given the UK's current fiscal situation it should better be expressed as "if we didn't borrow £35Bn to blow on HS2 how much less-in-debt would the country be?".
Do not try this at home...
An impoverished physics-student friend who wanted to save gas when rehydrating/cooking chickpeas came up with the 'brilliant' idea of putting them in a Thermos-flask and filling said flask with boiling water, screwing on the lid then leaving it overnight, the idea being that the peas would stay hotter for longer and without the need for continuous low-level heating.
Alas, he forgot about the hydrational expansion-coefficient of pulses and so needed a new vacuum-flask the following morning.
I have a cunning plan. It involves selling UV floodlights to the local wolves.
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