* Posts by ChrisC

326 posts • joined 2 Jul 2009

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Wi-Fi network named 'mobile detonation device' grounds plane

ChrisC

Re: Lolwut

"Also what was the guy that found this SSID doing with his phone turned on prior to take off.

Nawty, nawty."

Well, given that this flight was being operated by a Qantas plane featuring their new wi-fi based inflight entertainment service, and given that this service is advertised as being available "from the moment you board until you arrive at your destination" (see http://www.qantas.com./travel/airlines/wireless-inflight-entertainment/au/en#general), and given that the rules on switching stuff off completely have been significantly relaxed by many airlines in general, there really isn't anything naught naughty about it.

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Switch survives three hours of beer spray, fails after twelve

ChrisC

Re: A few splashes?

It's not unusual for the manufacturer of remotely monitored kit to pay at least as much attention (or, in some cases, significantly more) to the status information reported back by the kit as is paid to it by the customer who actually has the responsibility to monitor the kit and act on any alerts it generates.

If you can remotely access status info from customer kit without it affecting the ability of the customer themselves to access the kit, then every installation becomes a source of useful ongoing data to show how your kit performs out there in the real world, and so well worth keeping an eye on.

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ChrisC

Re: Sadly not beer

"How does one even get cooked spaghetti into a slot-loading drive?"

Cooked spaghetti is somewhat sticky and has a tendency to adhere quite nicely to pretty much anything it touches. It's therefore not entirely beyond the realms of belief to consider a scenario where some spaghetti ended up being spilled off the plate unnoticed (or, given the state of some student residences, simply ignored and forgotten about) and then at some later date a CD/DVD was chucked onto the table/floor/wherever said spaghetti was now residing, the spaghetti decided it fancied a change of scenery and so stuck itself to the underside of the disc, whereupon it then got transferred unnoticed into the drive...

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Germans stick traffic lights in pavements for addicts who can't take their eyes off phones

ChrisC

Re: useless for the colour blind, who use the layout of the lights

To be fair to the previous poster, they *may* be well-versed in the various different types of CVD, and were specifically thinking about the small percentage of CVD people who genuinely do have no colour vision at all, rather than the far larger percentage who merely suffer from some degree of deficiency.

Or, as is more likely the case, maybe they're simply part of that surprisingly large group of non-CVD people who really do believe that colour "blindness" is a binary condition rather than the far more complex spectrum it actually is.

Like you, I don't have any difficulty with things like traffic lights that some people automatically assume I'd struggle with as soon as they find out I'm red-green deficient. My favourite example of where I really do struggle comes courtesy of our Samsung fridge freezer, which has a built in water/ice dispenser and accompanying filter cartridge. On the door there's a small LCD to show the temperatures, dispenser settings etc., and also whether or not the filter needs replacing. Most of the LCD consists of blue on black characters/symbols, however when the filter has expired the symbol for the filter changes to red. Being merely red-green deficient as opposed to completely unable to see red, this isn't the problem.

What *is* the problem is that, in the weeks leading up to the expiry of the filter, the symbol first changes colour from blue to purple (I'm assuming here that Samsung decided not to splash out on a different backlight LED here, and are simply driving both the blue and red ones). However, the only reason I know it changes to purple is because my wife asked me one day what the purple light on the fridge meant - to my CVD-afflicted eyes there's no discernable difference in shade between this symbol when it switches between blue and purple, even though the shade of red used is, on its own, quite distinct.

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How to help a user who can't find the Start button or the keyboard?

ChrisC

Re: Fire!

Unless of course it's something iMac-esque with the display integrated into the main unit...

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Apple backs down from barring widow her dead husband's passwords

ChrisC

Re: so, did he backup his consciousness to the device?

Failing to give her the password before he died isn't proof that he didn't want her to have the password, particularly if (as the article suggests) he'd actually bequeathed the device to her in his will - a reasonable third party observer might then consider that, on balance of probabilities, the failure to supply the password along with the device was merely an oversight rather than a deliberate attempt to prevent access to whatever data was on said device.

Let's be honest here, how many of us are now so conditioned into entering a password or some other form of access data every time we use one of our devices, that it becomes something we do without really giving it any further thought? Once the use of passwords etc. become so ingrained into our daily routines, I think it's then quite likely that a lot of people would simply overlook the need to let someone else know what those passwords are in order to allow them access to whatever it is.

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Dialog box shut: Now Microchip is set to gobble up Atmel

ChrisC

Re: Missing the point of Arduinos

Considering the first AVRs only escaped into the wild in '97, to have any amount of third-party support by the end of the 90's was no small achievement. I was first introduced to them at the end of '98 when starting my first job, and spent a shade over 6 years really getting to grips with a few of the family and the idiosyncracies of the available compilers. The IAR one wasn't too bad, apart from their forgetting to let us know about an upgrade we should have received as part of our service agreement until *after* I'd submitted a bug report, but the one we needed to use for Tiny15-based projects was so full of weirdness that it became second nature to read the asm output after each compile just to make sure the output code was going to do what you intended it to. ISTR ditching the C code for that project after it got allocated to me as part of a department reshuffle, and just doing the whole thing in asm...

Haven't spent nearly as much time working with PICs, though I can see why they've garnered so much support from both amateur and professional users alike. Going to be interesting to see what comes out of this takeover, and not just from the PIC vs AVR perspective.

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Today's Quiz Question: Are there more SIMs than people in the world?

ChrisC

Re: 2G Kinda Lingers

Indeed, we're scrambling around to get a suitable 3G solution in place for our Australian business, but as you say it's a bit of a pain given that we're so wedded to 2G over this side of the globe and all of our existing kit is firmly 2G-based. Add to that the rather low likelihood of European 3G kit already having approval for use in Australia and the fun that can then be had getting it approved, and it's all a bit of a spheroid-based pain just below the midsection.

And as if that wasn't enough, they go and start the NBN rollout at the same time, meaning all our landline stuff needs to be re-evaluated/tweaked as well...

So no, simple it most assuredly isn't, not in the world of embedded telecoms gear.

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Old tech, new battles: Inside F-Secure’s formidable Faraday cage

ChrisC

Re: Love the FC (Faraday Cage)!

Quite. One of the places I used to work had a mesh-based EMC test area that was put together in the days before the explosion in GSM/wifi/etc transmissions - it was still a useful resource to have when it came to doing precompliance emissions testing in the lower frequency bands (where most of our emissions were concentrated - the fastest clocks we had on any of our embedded kit were in the 30-80MHz region), but with each year that passed you'd see stronger spikes in the GHz+ region on the spectrum analyser.

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ChrisC

Re: Woop ! Woop ! BS Alert !

I wonder if this is a bit of confusion/misunderstanding over primary vs secondary radar systems - the former of which are more likely to be military, and which are also the ones you would need to worry about when setting up a RF shielded area?

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Google engineer names and shames dodgy USB Type-C cable makers

ChrisC

Even worse than the ones with fake approvals are the ones where the manufacturer has presented a fully populated "gold-standard" unit for testing in order to gain a genuine approval mark/number for the product, and then proceeds to strip out all the protection components for the units actually manufactured/shipped. Doing a search on the approvals body website will then appear to show the unit meets the required standards, giving even more of a false sense of security than if they'd just skipped the testing entirely and slapped a completely made up approval number (or copied one off a different product - 'ere Mike, the UL site seems to think this charger is actually a microwave oven, what's up with that?) on the unit.

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Yay, more 'STEM' grads! You're using your maths degree to do ... what?

ChrisC

Re: "Back of the envelope" calculation and systems administration...

Indeed. As at least one of my old maths teachers used to say, you should always have at least a rough idea of what the answer should be before picking up the calculator, so that you can sanity check the result it gives you. And in many cases, a ballpark figure is often good enough for you never to need to reach for the calculator in the first place.

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If you wanted Windows 10, it looks like you've already installed it

ChrisC

Of the 3 PCs that get regular use at home, one is the OH's Win8 laptop (I know, I know, but that's what it came preinstalled with and she seems to like it), one is my Win7 desktop and the last is the Win7 media centre. All eligible for the free update to 10, none updated to 10...

The laptop may end up going to 10 at some point just because that's the one PC where an OS change will have the least effect. The mediacentre will remain on 7 for the reasons mentioned by CLD above. And whilst I'm not in any hurry to switch my desktop away from 7, I did sign up for the update notification so I could get the download and try installing it on a VM. But as someone else mentioned further up the comments, my desktop had been stuck on the "we're validating your update" message for at least a month, so I finally gave up waiting and nuked the updater from my system.

Repeat this sort of thing across households worldwide, and it suggests the takeup rate of 10 could have been a lot better if only MS hadn't dropped the ball first by removing features that some home users find essential and then by using an update mechanism that seems a bit flakey.

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Blighty's Bloodhound 1,000mph rocket car unveiled ahead of record attempt

ChrisC

Re: "it's unlikely we'll see much return from all this"

Engineering jobs are there for the taking all over the UK. Manufacturing may have largely been outsourced, but a lot of the products pouring out of those offshore factories were designed here. And as wage demands continue to rise in traditional outsourcing locations such as China, bringing manufacturing back home is starting to look more attractive too.

I think the problem is that, whilst it was pretty obvious that we used to do a lot of engineering here back in the days when engineering and manufacturing were combined on the same sprawling industrial-looking site, these days your average R&D centre looks just like any other anonymous identikit office building on a commercial estate somewhere. So whilst there are still a hell of a lot of very talented people (not to forget the rest of us digging out quite comfortable careers in engineering :-) doing a hell of a lot of world-class engineering work here in the UK, we mostly just look like ordinary office workers heading off to ordinary looking offices each day, rather than proud pioneers of the brave new technological future we're helping to create for the good of humanity *fade-in inspirational orchestral theme*

As to why we're getting someone else to build our new atomic kettle, maybe it has something to do with it being close to 3 decades since we started building the last one in the UK, so unless we've been running a very hush-hush project to continue building nuclear power plants and maintain our national experience in that field, I'm not really sure who you think we should have asked to build this one?

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Dialog Semiconductor gobbles Atmel for $4.6bn, with 'synergies' on the way

ChrisC

Re: They didn't seem familar to me as a UK company

Arduino may be the most public-facing use of the AVR family, but there are thousands upon thousands of other companies out there using AVRs in their own commercial products, so I'd say the likelihood of this sale having the slightest effect on AVR end users is somewhere in the region of zero. Maybe Dialog will start phasing out the Atmel brand and start slapping their own logo on the chips and datasheets (just as Atmel themselves have done in the past), otherwise I imagine it being business as usual.

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Apple's iPad Pro: We're making a Surface Pro WITH A STYLUS over Steve Jobs' DEAD BODY

ChrisC

Re: Stylus is a bit understated

It's common, when discussing the Wacom-style of stylus implementation as used e.g. on the Samsung devices, to refer to a digitiser layer seperate from the capacitive touch layer, as it's this seperate layer which the system uses to detect the stylus.

However, as Nvidia showed with the stylus implementation on their digitiser-less tablets, it is possible to provide palm/touch rejection without needing that seperate layer, so if the new iPad is similarly digitiser-less, it suggests they've also come up with a way to use the capacitive layer for both stylus and touch inputs.

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ChrisC

Re: You can rest on the screen

Assuming you're correct about being able to touch the screen whilst using the stylus, and the other commenters above who've said this isn't possible got the wrong end of the stylus...err...stick, then no, it's really not an innovation, as that would imply no-one has done it before, which they have.

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Greater Manchester plod site targeted by nuisance DDoS attack

ChrisC

"I love how the police have decided that this is a “malicious attempt to disrupt services” despite admitting that “It isn’t a security breach, and it doesn’t affect our operational capability”."

It isn't a security breach, nor does it affect their operational capability, because it wasn't targetting their internal network. However, it clearly is a malicious attempt (not sure what, if anything, would qualify as a non-malicious DDoS attack...) to disrupt a GMP-provided service - namely their public-facing website. So those two statements seem quite reasonable to me.

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Rock reboot and the Welsh windy wonder: Centre for Alternative Technology

ChrisC

Re: I wentthere in the 1980's

I have some rather fuzzy memories of visiting in the 80's as well - I think it'd featured in one of the Blue Peter annuals around then.

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Why do driverless car makers have this insatiable need for speed?

ChrisC

Re: It won't be the car companies

The act of negotiating controlled airspace might be trivial compared with the act of negotiating un/partially controlled roadspace, but the act of keeping an airliner airborne is ever so slightly more difficult than the act of keeping a car on the road, and the consequences of getting it wrong are in another league entirely. So I'm not sure the cost or complexity of driverless vehicle software will be any greater than that of airliner software, it'll more be a case that the complexity occurs in different areas of the software.

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ChrisC
Coat

Re: The end of any driving pleasure

Would a chard module be for those people who think electric propulsion isn't quite green enough, and demand a vehicle that is actually powered by greens...

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ChrisC

Re: WTF?

Conventional cars can, however, be driven better via a combination of realtime observation of the current road conditions *plus* prior knowledge of the route ahead. I don't think Google et al are intending to produce driverless cars that rely solely on driving to a historical snapshot of the road ahead, but the mapping data they're producing/importing could be very useful as part of the overall driverless ecosystem.

Consider also that, even if their driverless cars do rely solely on what their onboard sensors are able to detect in realtime, training those sensors to detect things like road signs and markings would benefit from the real world footage collected by programmes such as StreetView.

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Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines

ChrisC

Re: Ah, spirit copiers.

That was one of them, and there was also a bigger desktop version you used like a bandsaw.

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ChrisC

Re: Ah, spirit copiers.

My mum was a teacher and consequently a sizeable amount of my childhood consisted of getting to play with all the neat stuff teachers had access to but which pupils normally never got to go anywhere near, or at best only under close supervision and for limited periods of time. Not only did this mean having ready access to the BBC Micro and Archimedes, it also meant being able to mess around with things like those hotwire polystyrene cutters and the Banda copier system. Oh yes, there's a smell to conjur up many happy memories of a simpler age...

She also used to be in charge of typing up and duplicating the church magazine, so at home we had an utterly gorgeous Imperial typewriter (looking through Google Images, the Model 58 looks very familiar) on which I entirely failed to learn how to touch type but did gain an appreciation of mechanical engineering. With the stencils prepared we'd then relocate to the church itself where the sacred Gestetner machine was housed. Prise open the stencil clamp, line up the locating pegs with the appropriate cutouts at the top of the stencil (I seem to recall it being a rather psychedelic pattern of holes seemingly designed to work with about a million different peg layouts), pop the clamp back down, make sure the stencil is smoothed out over the ink transfer band, top up the ink tank from the squeezy tube of evil smelling thick black goop, load up the paper feed tray with a fresh ream of A4, run a handful of copies through by hand to check everything's OK, then dial in the number required, flick the switch and sit back to be serenaded by the wonderful click-clack-thwooosh noises it made as it ran off copies at a seemingly blistering pace (though by todays standards it was probably quite pedestrian).

Given how calming I now find the sound of a laser printer running at full chat, I wonder if this is down to my subconscious remembering these similar sounds from my childhood...

Anyhoo, thanks Peter for reminding me about Bandas, and thanks also to The Reg for yet another article encouraging me to reminisce about the good old days :-)

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Safe as houses: CCTV for the masses

ChrisC

Syntax Error, as someone who used to share a similar opinion of home CCTV to yours, all it takes is for a change in the nature of your neighbourhood to give you serious cause to reconsider those opinions. If you've never been placed in a situation where having a CCTV system could have discouraged something unpleasant from happening in the first place, or at least captured the evidence required to get the police interested in pursuing the matter further, then consider yourself very fortunate and pray your good fortune continues.

However please refrain from describing those of us who have been in such situations as being "a bit mental". Most of us are just ordinary people who'd love nothing more than to be left alone to get on with our lives in peace, and who'd never have considered installing CCTV had our home environments remained as they were.

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Are smart safes secure? Not after we've USB'd them, say infosec bods

ChrisC

Re: Windows

Did someone at Brinks see a copy of XP being booted into safe mode and get the wrong end of the stick...

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'The server broke and so did my back on the flight to fix it'

ChrisC

Re: That is a really idiotic design choice.

Who said anything about *watching* the satnav? Or are Garmins unique in the world of satnavs in not having a voice guidance ability?

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UK safety app keeping lorries on the right side of cyclists

ChrisC
WTF?

Re: WTF!

So are you suggesting that if someone develops navigation software which has access only to map data containing verified width/height/weight/etc restrictions, and which is programmed to generate routes accordingly based on the vehicle parameters entered into it, it'd rebel against its creators and still send truckers off down inappropriate side roads just because it happens to be running on a phone rather than on a dedicated unit?

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Microsoft discontinues Media Center with Windows 10

ChrisC

Re: take up was also poor due to...

Never had any difficulties in shifting recordings from the mediacentre (originally XP, currently 7) onto other devices and still have them play, although I've only ever used the tuner side of WMC with FTA channels, so maybe things are a bit different (as you might reasonably expect them to be) with paid-for channels.

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Atmel stoops to an 'all-time low' in Internet of Things battle

ChrisC

Re: Decades?

Being able to run for decades from whatever battery Atmel had in mind when working out that it could run for decades from it is just one way of looking at things. Another way is to realise that the lower your power consumption gets, the smaller your power source needs to be to maintain the same runtime, which may open the door to power sources other than a battery...

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ChrisC

"the SAM-L21 is not particularly powerful"

That all depends on what you're using as a comparison benchmark...

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BBC: We'll give FREE subpar-Raspberry-Pis to a million Brit schoolkids

ChrisC

Re: bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

As someone who spent the first 6 years of his embedded systems development career pushing various members of the AVR family to their limits (and occasionally beyond... oh dear, there goes the magic smoke again), I feel sufficiently clued-up on the capabilities of Atmel's little wonder to say quite categorically that you have no idea what you're on about. One of the great things about the AVR is that it's really very easy to write code for, even down at the assembler level. Indeed, your mentioning the 68000 is quite apt here, as one of the things I loved about the AVR was that writing asm code for it felt a lot like writing asm code for the 68000, to the point where I'd often end up writing chunks of asm code simply because it was as easy as writing the equivalent in C. Try doing that with an ARM-based system and see how far you get...

Also, whilst ARM (rightly) grabs much media attention for all of their design wins in the mobile sector, and is undeniably a UK success story we should all be proud of, don't think that ARM is the be all and end all of the embedded processor story. I'd hazard a guess that for every ARM-powered device out there, there are probably 10x as many devices powered by other types of embedded processor - AVRs, PICs, 8051's etc. So even leaving aside the argument that it's better to ease youngsters into embedded coding using a simpler, easier to understand processor core than the sprawling beast that is the typical ARM-cored device, it's also no bad idea to introduce the next generation of embedded system developers to a core which, in itself, represents a not insignificant number of embedded devices out there right now, and also, as a representative of lower-powered narrower bit-width devices in general, is also a damn good introduction to what the majority of embedded systems development is all about, and still will be by the time they leave academia and take their first tentative steps into the world of employment.

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NXP snaps up Freescale to form new chipzilla

ChrisC

Re: Can they bring back 68k's

"The 68k architecture was abandoned by Motorola over 20 years ago now."

Did someone forget to tell the Coldfire dev team?

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Watt the CHIP!? ARM pops out THE most powerful 64-bit Cortex for mobes'n'slabs

ChrisC

Re: Change of venue

"The company's presentation of the blueprints to industry analysts and press this morning in Budleigh Salterton"

And heeeeeeeeeeeeeeres your host, Giles Wemmbley-Hogg...

...no, on second thoughts, hosting it in San Francisco is probably safer.

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ZX81 BEATEN at last as dev claims smallest Chess code crown

ChrisC

Re: Very nice exercise in minimalist programming

Indeed, embedded development is an area where old-school programmers can thrive, particularly if you stay within the lower-spec end of the business and avoid any contact with embedded systems which, based on their hardware spec and runtime environments, could easily be mistaken for a full-blown PC. I've spent my entire career so far in this area, working on systems varying from the positively luxurious (72MHz Cortex M3 with 128KB of flash and 20KB of SRAM) down to the wonderfully insane (1MHz Tiny AVR core with 1KB of flash and no SRAM whatsoever), and every time I get really stuck into a bit of embedded coding I end up having flashbacks to my formative years bashing out code on a Spectrum.

Learning how to work within the limitations of the hardware (and, if you're also involved in designing the hardware environment itself, how to reduce the number of limitations without increasing the BOM cost or PCB size), knowing how to eke out a few extra bytes of memory, or shave a few cycles off a particularly time-sensitive bit of code, and then seeing the end result working nicely in a device which might be expected to run unattended for years on end without being reset, is a particularly rewarding experience.

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Seagate's spinning rust most likely to crash, claims backup biz

ChrisC

I gave up on sending knackered drives back for warranty replacement several years ago, after realising that the cost to send the drive back to the warranty centre somewhere in mainland Europe was, by the time the drive had failed a year or so after purchase, not far short of the cost to buy a replacement drive of the same capacity. And since, in this particular instance, I had to buy a replacement drive there and then anyway in order to continue whatever project I was working on at the time, I decided from that point on not to bother.

So now when I'm looking for a new drive, I tend to wait for some deals to come up on external enclosures and pull the bare drives out of those. Even paying the high street premium to pick up the enclosures from a bricks and mortar supplier, it still usually works out cheaper than ordering the same capacity drive as a bare unit online, and every now and again you end up with a nice surprise when you crack open the case - e.g. opening up a WD Elements enclosure to find a Caviar Black inside, at a time when the online price for a bare Black of that capacity was significantly higher than the high street price I'd paid for the enclosure... Being able to add to my collection of spare USB cables and DC adapters is a bonus too.

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ChrisC

Re: Seagate 3TB

Seagate might not have the best reputation, but we can't blame them for *every* drive fubar ever perpetrated... IBM were the ones responsible for giving people something other than large spherical orbital weapons platforms to think about whenever they heard the name "Death Star".

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Ford recalls SUVs … to fix the UI

ChrisC

Re: Push-button gear change? Really?

"The other issue with button (or electronic) handbrakes are that they fail."

As do ye olde fashioned ratchety lever type.

IMO the real issue of your story is that the other car owner was a muppet - if you're driving a car with a known issue in the parking brake system, then you really ought to be taking additional steps (e.g. leaving it in gear or chocking the wheels) to mitigate against any failures in that system, especially if you've experienced such failures on several occasions and know the cause still hasn't been identified, let alone resolved.

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You'll go APE for our new Gorilla Glass 4, Corning reckons

ChrisC

Re: Was plastic really so bad?

Plastic was fine in the days before touchscreens, but as soon as you start requiring the user to touch, tap, swipe etc. the screen pretty much every time they want to do something with the phone then the higher resilience to scratching you get with glass becomes a very welcome property to have.

It's also worth remembering that back in the days of plastic, the underlying LCD still had a glass front panel, and it was only the protective lens/resistive touch digitiser in front of the LCD that was plastic. So although it was damn near impossible to break the plastic by dropping a handset, the same could sadly not be said of the LCD glass - the *only* phone I've broken was one of my older touchscreen devices, where the plastic resistive touchscreen remained intact after the drop that caused the LCD glass to crack quite impressively.

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Ordnance Survey intern plonks houses, trees, rivers and roads on GB Minecraft map

ChrisC

Re: Hmmmm

The VectorMap District data mentioned in the article is freely available as part of the OS OpenData collection of goodies.

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Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London

ChrisC

Re: Checking in and out with Oyster

"Previously at unfamiliar small tube stations it is genuinely difficult to find an Oyster machine to check out at"

Unless you're interchanging to another mode of transport without passing through the station gateline, or have found a rare station (not even sure if there are any left now, there were precious few around in the years just prior to Oyster being introduced) which still allows exit to the street without passing through a gateline, then you don't need to find the Oyster validator (the ones with the pink reader pads) to touch out, you just touch out as normal on the yellow reader when you leave the station via the gateline, even if the gates are already open.

"How about a better system like in most capitals of the world - prepaid zonal tickets!"

You mean like a Travelcard?

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ChrisC

Re: ???

It's almost correct - the standard TfL fare for a single bus journey of any distance is now £1.45 (certain concessionary discounts aside).

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Sony can't wait to flash you its enormous disc ... a 1TB Blu-ray spinner

ChrisC

Re: Must be a cruel twist of fate!

Buying blank media from the usual online sources, I'm now finding that a spindle of good quality blank BD-Rs is slightly cheaper per GB than a spindle of comparable quality DVD media. Even in the days when the cost/GB was in favour of DVDs, there were other benefits of backing up to BD-R - being able to back up files >4.7GB without needing to split them across multiple discs, and the significant reduction in physical space required to store the discs.

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Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?

ChrisC

Re: Drifting OT ... one thing I recall

At one of the schools where my mum used to teach, they'd bought a few Quinkeys for their BBC micros. Other than my mum, who ended up being a complete speed demon typing merrily away on the infernal contraption, I don't think anyone else in the school bothered using them - I dabbled with it from time to time during school holidays when she brought the contents of her classroom IT corner home with her (happy days those - the house was full of 80's computing goodness with my Spectrum and Amiga competing for attention with the school BBC model B and Archimedes...) but never progressed much further than being able, veeeeeeeery slooooooooowly, to type out the lowercase alphabet.

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HTC One grabs BEST SMARTPHONE gong

ChrisC

Re: You think that I was saying that this was just good for Apple?

"Before the iPhone they were shipping heavily customised, ugly (both in the case and UI) phones with only the features they wanted you to have."

I started using Windows Mobile-based smartphones several years before the iPhone was launched, and whilst they might not have set new standards in design or ease of use, they were also more tweakable by the end user than the iPhone ever has been, and the heavy customisation you mention was generally nothing more than a network-specific bootscreen and smattering of preinstalled apps. Even in the pre-smartphone days, I don't recall there being much of a difference between the same handsets supplied by different networks.

So to suggest that it took the iPhone to break the network stranglehold over what we could do with our phones is a bit wide of the mark. Also somewhat ironic, given how much control Apple themselves exert (or certainly used to in the earlier days - I'll admit things have improved somewhat in the last couple of years) over the iPhone - it doesn't really matter if the walls around your garden are erected by the network operator or the phone manufacturer, it's still a walled garden...

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Ex-2e2 staffers STILL waiting for wages owed

ChrisC

Re: Give it up as a lost cause

Quite. My previous employer went belly-up in January 2010, and the administration process only started to wind up last summer. Whilst there was a reasonable amount of cash remaining in the business at the time it entered administration (enough to give every creditor more than just a token gesture repayment), after 3 and a half years of the administrators sucking the coffers dry to pay their own fees (because, of course, THEY can't be expected to lose out financially, can they...) the last report they sent out indicated that they were not expecting to make any payments to any creditors.

So as the AC says, whack in your claim to the government as soon as you can, and forget about receiving anything from your former employer. If, by some miracle of miracles, cash remains in the coffers and you do eventually receive some return on what you're still owed, then treat it as you would a large lottery win - bloody nice if it happens, but not something you should be relying on.

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Micron: Our STACKED SILICON BEAUTY solves the DRAM problem

ChrisC

TSV dimensions

"as the length of a TSV to link base and layer 3 is not that much different from one linking the base to layer 4..."

Whilst I don't imagine that nice artistic impression of the device is entirely accurate, one point of interest about it is that it shows all of the TSVs as stretching from base layer right through to the top layer. And if controlling the TSV length really is that big a challenge with the current manufacturing processes, then that's exactly how I'd plan to build these devices (no different to designing multilayer PCBs taking into account the capabilities of your preferred board manufacturers to deal with blind/buried vias). Forget about trying to save silicon area on the higher layers by using partial-height TSVs up to the lower layers, just whack them all through all the layers on the device and reduce the risk of having to junk the entire device.

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Google preps Chrome password-blab bug fix

ChrisC

This is considered a bug? Given that Firefox behaves in the same way when asked to show stored passwords, I'd just assumed it was the intended behaviour in Chrome too...

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Boffins demo new holo storage using graphene oxide

ChrisC

Re: April Fools?

No, because CO/CO2 molecules consists of a single carbon atom plus one or two oxygen atoms, whereas graphene oxide molecules are somewhat larger than that...

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Brit music body BPI lobbies hard for 'UK file-sharers database'

ChrisC

Re: Should music be free?

How many programmers actually do get per-sale royalties, and how many are simply paid a fixed salary or hourly contract rate regardless of how many copies of their code get distributed?

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