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* Posts by Ed 13

78 posts • joined 3 Aug 2009

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Bay of Tweets: US sought to disrupt Cuba with covert social network

Ed 13

Grantanamo

The site for the Naval base is rented from the Cubans, so every year the US Govt. have to write out a cheque to the Cuban Govt.

Rumour has it that all the cheques for the last 50 odd years are in a desk drawer in F. Castro's office!

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Inmarsat: Doppler effect helped 'locate' MH370

Ed 13

Re: 19th Century Physics Fail.

I have to agree.

The Doppler effect is 0.83ppm (not 830ppm) if the relative velocity is 250m/s.

From the article's link to the Malaysian Ministry of Transport report, there is a nice graph at the bottom of the measured shifts of the different pings. The maximum shift is 250Hz for the last ping. At 1GHz this is 0.25ppm indicating a relative velocity between the satellite and aircraft of 75m/s.

As the satellite isn't quite stationary relative to the earth, the Doppler effect going north would have been slightly different to that measured if it was going south. See the graph, again.

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USB cuts the cord, again, with WiGig-derived wireless spec

Ed 13
FAIL

Oh no, not again...

What exactly does this give us that WiFi and/or Bluetooth doesn't, both of which are established technologies, which can be implemented, with antenna, in about the area of a thumbnail?

On the plus side, perhaps someone will want the USB-UWB test gear I have here!

Obligatory xkcd cartoon: http://xkcd.com/927

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Shuttleworth: Firmware is the universal Trojan

Ed 13
FAIL

"Great, you give him an F because his solution is too complex to implement yet you cannot come up with a better one ..."

He was just pointing out that complexity == cost, which doesn't go down well in a capitalist free market economy, so people will go with proprietary as it cheaper.

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LOHAN chap brews up 18% ABV 'V2' rocket fuel

Ed 13

No Duty on Brewing

As Jim 48 said, there's no restriction on home brewing for personal consumption, which is in part the cause of these high alcohol yeasts that have been developed.

https://www.gov.uk/alcohol-duties

You do need a licence to run a still, which is in part a safety precaution as there is a significant risk of you taking the wrong fraction out of the process and giving yourself and your friends methanol poisoning.

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Spam, a lot of it: Bubble tea is the Seoul of wit

Ed 13

Next week, I’m going to the office in a pink-and-blue jumpsuit.

In a helicopter, I trust?

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THUNDERING GAS destroys disks during data centre incident

Ed 13
Thumb Up

Nice demonstration

It's an impressive video, but I am rather concerned he ought to have been wearing some ear protection in that sort of background noise level.

He did seem to have to shout quite loud just to be heard!

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NASA probe orbiting Moon sights ANOTHER SPACECRAFT

Ed 13

Quick fire shutter

I'm quite impressed at getting the shot at all, 1.35ms isn't very long at all to take a snap!

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Boffins demo re-usable paper and waterjet printers

Ed 13

Re: Drop in the ocean

Not the special water (although de-ionised water would be a good idea otherwise you print head might scale up!), but they'd just transfer the cost to the paper (which has to be specially preprepared) and they'd make sure that it was only their premium paper world work in their printer.

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Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors

Ed 13

Seen it many times before

It's a sad reflection on human nature, unfortunately.

I have seen it occur a number of times in different organisations where volunteer labour is used. Someone volunteering there is doing it because they like it, and think it's a worthwhile cause, so the usual relationship between the company and employee doesn't exist.

Combined with some peoples tendencies to let a little power go to their head, and suddenly they think they are running ICI.

I'm sure they'll work it out, but I suspect the path will be littered with further incidents like this, which will help no-one at all, which is a pity as it wastes effort and demoralises others.

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POWER SOURCE that might END humanity's PROBLEMS: A step forward

Ed 13
Joke

A Shoelace Antenna?

As opposed to the Ford Escort "Bent Coat Hanger Antenna"?

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Your kids' chances of becoming programmers? ZERO

Ed 13
Happy

Hatfield Poly's DEC10 and ASR-33 on a Token J line

We had a similar setup connected to Middlesex Poly's DEC 10, It was fantastic. We lost the connection in the mid 80's when the Poly updated their systems and didn't support 110baud any more. There was a suggestion of upgrading the line to a Token K (300baud - ohh!), but that required money and there didn't seem to be much of that in education in the mid 80's.

I also recall seeing a computer science teacher get a near hernia from carrying the ASR-33 up the stairs!

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Double-click? Oh how conventional of you, darling!

Ed 13
Happy

Citroen Suspension

I recall a review of a Citroen that enthused about the ride and road holding, with the caveat "... as long as you don't mind the noise and smell of children throwing up in back"!

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Boffins debate killing leap seconds to help sysadmins

Ed 13
FAIL

Keep them

I'm all for keeping leap seconds, and doing so until a significant fraction of the population aren't living on this planet. No matter how you define time, most people prefer to synchronise their day by the rising and setting of the sun.

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Meet the world's one-of-a-kind ENORMO barge-bowling bridge of Falkirk

Ed 13
Go

Re: It *looks* like the Victorians *should* have been capable of doing this

They probably could, but it would have involved a lot of small children inside the the structure, holding the 'dolly' as someone outside riveted it with a steam hammer. "Loud" would not begin to describe the noise!

See also the films of building a riveted ship, where they throw the red hot rivet from one to another.

Look also at the Foxton Inclined Plane.

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NASA: Full details on our manned ASTEROID SNATCH mission

Ed 13

What happens to the asteroid afterwards?

The impression from the film was what it was left in lunar orbit?

What's with the dreadful film score music? Some ballet music would have been better, given the process involved in celestial mechanics of large masses and small forces. Dance of the Sugar Plumb Fairy perhaps?

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Total cost of that axed NHS IT FIASCO to taxpayers: £10.1bn

Ed 13
FAIL

Re: Want it done well?

I didn't mention the quality of the train service they provide or the value for money of off peak tickets, both of which I will take you word for it are fantastic.

I was referring to the annual subsidies paid to Virgin for running the train service, and the complete fiasco that was the WCML upgrade that they negotiated and was part of the incentive for them to take the contract.

The upgrade was meant to cost £2billion and give us a 140MPH railway. Instead we spent £9billion and ended up with a railway that you could only do 125MPH, in parts and 110MPH on the rest.

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Ed 13
FAIL

Re: Want it done well?

Oh yes, as Virgin Trains, along with the West Coast Main Line Upgrade, was such value for money for the UK taxpayer.

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Four ways the Guardian could have protected Snowden – by THE NSA

Ed 13
Thumb Up

Re: The spooks use

Lincolnshire Poacher, anyone?

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Oh noes! New 'CRISIS DISASTER' at Fukushima! Oh wait, it's nothing. Again

Ed 13

It's a bund

The "backup dam which had been built around the tanks" is generally called a bund. You'll find them around oil tanks and the like to catch the leak rather than letting it just soak in to the ground.

The bund is often open, which helps you see if there's anything in it, but this also means that they accumulate rainwater, which has to be drained off.

As an aside, I seem to recall that The Register you to sell little beta sources. Those glowing key fob things, which held phosphor coated vial of tritium.

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AREA 51 - THE TRUTH by the CIA: Official dossier blows lid off US secrets

Ed 13
Thumb Up

Re: English Electric Lightning ????

Yes. Some NATO exercise in Europe in the mid eighties. I recall reading it on the EE Lighting stand at Duxford IWM.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Electric_Lightning

"In 1984, during a major NATO exercise, Flt Lt Mike Hale intercepted a U-2 at a height which they had previously considered safe from interception (thought to be 66,000 feet). Records show that Hale also climbed to 88,000 ft (26,800 m) in his Lightning F.3"

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Elon Musk unveils Hyperloop – the subsonic tube of tomorrow

Ed 13
FAIL

Re: "The SF to LA route alone would cost only $6bn to build"

Also, when did "massive novel civil engineering project" and "on-budget" come in the same sentence?

It one of the more silly ideas I have come across recently.

File under:

Mono-Rails (the Simpsons episode says it all)

Maglevs (Yes, i do know there are some in use, but they are just status symbols, whose function could be replaced much more cheaply, at only slightly lower performance, with conventional HSR)

Goerge Bennie's Rail-plane

etc.

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Boffins, Tunnel Tigers and Scotland's world-first power mountain

Ed 13

Ffestiniog and Dinorwig

The pump storage at Ffestiniog pre-dated this slightly (commissioned 1963), but it uses separate pumps and turbines. It was built to compliment the nuclear power at Trawsfynydd.

The one at Dinorwig (which uses reversible pump/tubines like Cruachan) is just huge though, and has some impressive stats: 0 to 1.3GW in 12seconds flat. Also It can also be used to "Black Start" the grid.

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Human error blamed for toxic Russian rocket explosion

Ed 13

Ariane 5

That's all I have to say.

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Euro GPS Galileo gets ready for nuclear missile use

Ed 13
Mushroom

Jitter

For a long time the civilian GPS signals has a deliberate jitter which reduced the accuracy even further. This was turned off in the mid 90's, I think. Apparently the latest satellites don't have this feature in them.

As for hacking the Military signals (even by a Nation) is very difficult, as despite all their flaws, they do have some clever Boffins who are very good a crypto.

(Icon chosen for it's relevance to the application of GPS.)

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REVEALED: Google's GINORMOUS £650m London Choc Factory

Ed 13

Mind where you put that drill

Given the number of train tunnels in the area, I hope the builders are more careful than the ones building near Old Street:

http://www.raib.gov.uk/publications/current_investigations_register/130308_old_street_station.cfm

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Ofcom set to release interesting spectrum chunk for unlicenced use

Ed 13
FAIL

Can't use U.S. Equipment

Please don't think this will men you can use US "915 Band" equipment in the UK.

The FCC and IC 915 Band stretches from 902 to 928MHz, so is much wider than this new allocation.

The band is squashed in around the GSM900 Frequencies. Uplinks (phone to base station) are 876 to 915 and downlinks are 921 to 960, which is one of the reasons that the US use GSM850 instead.

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Live or let dial - phones ain’t what they used to be

Ed 13
Go

Re: Fetching 1970s colours

Fantastic! A proper "Hot Line" phone phone.

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How Alan Turing wanted to base EDSAC's memory on BOOZE

Ed 13
Go

Memories are made of this

There was a lot of research in to mechanisms for storing data, because it was a previously untackled problem before. Telephone and telegraph systems didn't store data, just transmitted it onwards to the next part of the system.

For fast access you need a pure electronic bistable circuit to record a binary state, but these use several valves each, and so you only used them on the internal registers of the CPU itself.

Another, a bit later, was to use a CRT with long persistence phosphor. You mounted a 2D array of photodiodes across the screen and implemented a refresh cycle circuit.

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Ex-inmate at Chinese prison: We made airline headsets

Ed 13
Go

Canal restoration

I seem to recall that some of the Canal Restoration projects in the UK have used inmates from HMPs.

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The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype

Ed 13

Frame rates

The flicker at silent film rate of 18fps is just as likely to trigger photosensitive epilepsy, as at 24fps. The general sensitive range is 16 to 25Hz.

I'm still slightly unsure about the enthusiasm for higher def projection (tv or cinema). Cinemas are getting smaller and my TV is about the same size as it's always been. I put up with VHS for over twenty years!

It's not the picture itself that counts but what's in the picture.

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Stay away from the light, Kodak! Look, here's $406m to keep you alive

Ed 13

Re: Film Isn't Dead

Also, don't forget cinemas too.

Whilst there is more and more digital projection, there are still a very large number of theatres out there that only have equipment to project standard 35mm print.

At 90ft per minute a two hour feature print in 35mm is about 2 miles long. That's a lot of stock for all those prints.

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Intel's extreme ultraviolet dream still somewhere over the rainbow

Ed 13
FAIL

Re: "Wouldn't ultraviolet be under the rainbow?"

"No, that would be infrared"

No, they were right. A rainbow has red on the outside of the curve (longest wavelength, so most refracted) and violet (shortest wavelength, so least refracted) in the inside.

So UV would appear inside that, and thus as the original A.C. said, under the rainbow.

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Eric Schmidt: 'Google IS a capitalist country... er, company'

Ed 13
FAIL

"Virtually all American companies operate like this."

Well, all *International* American companies do.

I rather suspect that, for example, a small chain of grocery stores in an American city pays more to the Tax Man (as a percentage) than Google do.

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Brit horologist hammers out ‘first’ ATOMIC-POWERED watch

Ed 13

Re: Cold start time setting?

You have to set the time yourself through the modules serial interface (It's not RS232, it's TTL level serial </pedant>).

I would imagine that Hoptroff have designed some mechanism to do that with the classic winder that you have on pocket watches.

All you are getting with the Cs source is a very stable time reading, not an absolute measurement of time.

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Fried-egg sarnies kick off Reg man's quid-a-day nosh challenge

Ed 13
Go

Good luck

I commend your resolve, but pity your family after you've been on a diet of chickpeas and rice for a week!

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Flexible flywheel offers cheap energy storage

Ed 13

Interesting

but I'm still not clear what's novel. Why is comparing a Trent900 (10,000rpm and >70,000lb thrust) with a rope (0hp) useful?

Other flywheels I know of:

The JET project has two 9m dia. 775 tonne energy storage flywheels: www.jet.efda.org/wp-content/uploads/Focus_on.pdf

On a rather smaller scale, firms like Parry People Movers have been using them to even out load in a mass transit situation. http://www.parrypeoplemovers.com/

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Boffin road trip! The Reg presents Geek's Guide to Britain

Ed 13
Thumb Up

Re: Steamy.

Not only does it still work (201 years old now), they even kept the Kennet and Avon Canal's summit level topped up (the job they were installed there for) when the electric pumps failed the other summer. When they are steam at weekends, the electric pumps are turned off too.

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Architect pitches builder-bothering 'Print your own house' plan

Ed 13
FAIL

Building Houses

So how much does the "printing" machine cost?

Quite how much 18mm ply would a three bed detached house use?

There will need to be a fair amount of foundations, insulation and roofing material that you won't make out of 18mm ply.

Also there are the complications that electricity and gas installations need to be signed off by a suitably qualified person.

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First, servers were DEEP-FRIED... now, boffins bring you WET ones

Ed 13

Re: Seem to remember...

I thought someone would get there before me!

The Cray-2 used a 3M Fluorinert liquid for cooling. It's a fantastic liquid for the job, but being a CFC it's use was phased out. Although the 3M website doesn't seem to explicitly state it, it looks as if the Novec is a replacement. Look up "3M Novec Engineering Fluids".

The biggest issue is that you have to make the server cases liquid tight, and all the associated plumbing. A leak means the liquid gets out, the air gets in and your servers fry.

Also these liquids are not at all cheap, which is why people still work with water/glycerol (anti-freeze)

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Elon Musk: 'Fudged' NYT article cost Tesla $100m

Ed 13
Megaphone

Publicity

I do wonder how much would this many column inches would cost if you had to pay for the publicity? Quite a lot in the NYT I would imagine, never mind all the other places this slanging match has been reported.

There's no such thing as bad publicity. Having a shouty CEO is part of the publicity machine.

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Tesla's Elon Musk v The New York Times, Round 2

Ed 13
Facepalm

Keeping it in the public eye

"There's no such thing as bad publicity"

This "argument" (a full five days, not the original 5mins) has significantly raised the profile of the car. Having a shouty CEO is part of that process.

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El Reg contemplates the ultimate cuppa

Ed 13
Joke

Why do marxists drink only herbal tea?

Because property is theft! :-)

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Shiny, shiny! The window's behind me...

Ed 13

Spectacles

You probably do have an anti-reflection coating on the lenses of your specs. It's a requirement on most lens types, except the lowest refractive index type.

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Entire Reg readership would fill 205 Olympic-sized swimming pools

Ed 13
Joke

If all the fish caught in one year...

... were laid end to end across the dessert, the smell would be appalling!

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Yahoo! Mail! offers! HTTPS! amid! account! hijack! spree!

Ed 13
FAIL

Re: Not on BT Yahoo accounts

I'm glad I was being blind. I couldn't see it either.

Looked in Classic and New modes too...

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'Leccy-starved Reg hack: 'How I survive on 1.5kW'

Ed 13

Re: Solar Water Heating

My dishwasher worked just fine off the hot water supply for a number of years.

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Ed 13
Happy

Solar Water Heating

I'm impressed by your resourcefulness.

Solar Heated hot water can work quite well, and cheap versions can be knocked up with domestic radiators. Then a washing machine that has a hot fill could be used in the evenings (they may be more readily available in E. than they are now in the UK, where heating with 'lecy is seen as more efficient).

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Toy train company bids for West Coast Mainline

Ed 13
FAIL

Whilst it is amusing, I am left wondering that if only the Civil Service applied a proportional amount of effort to processing the original WCML bids we might not be in this SNAFU.

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Graphene plus molybdenum oxides yields faster electronics

Ed 13

Re: What do you do with it afterward?

You're assuming it'll all go for incineration?

Terry was worrying about the effects of dumping it in land fill.

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