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* Posts by brakepad

20 posts • joined 24 Aug 2009

Empire of The 'B’s: The Mad Movie World of Charles Band

brakepad
Headmaster

"On the set of Eliminators, back in the day when an android wasn't a mobile phone"

Mandroid, surely?

Watched many of these on video as a child and never really realised at the time how 'B' they really were. Robot Jox is definitely up there with the B-movie greats though. Crash & Burn! (although the film Crash & Burn was pretty dire if I remember correctly, despite also featuring a big robot).

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The ten SEXIEST computers of ALL TIME

brakepad

Psion Series 3

Definitely should be in the list. The Series 3 was beautifully constructed with a sligthly dappled & tactile textured exterior & clearly lots of thought put into the ergonomics.

The Series 5 had the more impressive slide-out keyboard but was substantially bigger, more plasticky and felt like one too many designers had had their input.

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Sky to open net telly channels to all

brakepad

F1 pay-per-view

If they decide to offer online PPV of their 10 exclusive F1 races next year at, say, £5 a time, that's £50 they'd get from me that they won't otherwise see a penny of, as I've no intention of spending £30 a month on a Sky HD subscription just to get the F1, along with another STB and remote control that I don't want.

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Netflix vs Lovefilm

brakepad
FAIL

Uninspiring

I was going to look into one of these services, but it seems that they fall hopelessly short on two main factors; content, which should be the same as what you can get from a rental store, and quality, which, and this sounds familiar, should be the same as what you can get from a rental store.

I have no idea why the content isn't the same online as instore/disc delivery - if the argument is anything to do with piracy then it doesn't make sense as pirated copies will be available at least as soon as the disc are.

Regarding quality, it would be infinitely better if these offered an optional download like the iPlayer rather than just streaming. Even if it's time-limited & DRM'd to the hilt, it's still more flexible than a stream, no less flexible than sending discs by snail mail, and would allow BluRay quality films over slower connections. It also gives people like me the choice to download it in my off-peak period, and there would be no buffering, which I wouldn't tolerate in a cinema or on TV so why would I tolerate it during a film?

If they offered this for £6 a month I'd bite their hand off, and I suspect a lot of other people would too.

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Online Christmas orders from retailers go titsup

brakepad

Unexpected

"It sounds like this system was unable to cope with an unexpected surge in Christmas orders."

If only there were some way of knowing when the surge in Christmas orders was likely to occur...

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Microsoft and Samsung uncloak slimmer Surface

brakepad

Make pretty, people will buy

@John Halewood: Pixel size is way less than 4mm. Not done a precise calc but it's closer to 0.5mm.

I'm not a fanboi, my only Apple kit is a mk2 ipod that now lives in a drawer, but if Apple made this it would be 20mm thick with tapered edges, have a beautiful mix of glass and aluminium, and look like a piece of designer furniture. It would have a catchy name and a relentless advertising campaign to convince people that it was wonderful and that they needed one, and it would probably sell millions.

I've no doubt that MS could market it equally well if they really wanted to, they have sold 1 or 2 games consoles in their time, but sadly Joe Public has been somewhat brainwashed into believing that if Apple didn't do it/make it popular first then it can't be any good.

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Security by obscurity not so bad after all, argues prof

brakepad
Trollface

@NomNomNom

Trolling, or seriously just completely misunderstanding the concept of Game Theory?

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Samsung signals HD smartphones with supersize screens

brakepad
Paris Hilton

Resolution <> size

Why is it that when resolution increases people immediately assume that it will be unreadable? Print resolutions can be upwards of 1000dpi but it doesn't mean that all text is written with a single dot thickness. Increased resolution on screens is almost always a plus point IMHO: text becomes sharper, colours appear more solid, AND smaller text becomes more legible.

Paris because she looks better in HD.

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Twitter discovers MMS for photo tweeting

brakepad

Aren't picture messages / MMS messages generally charged at a significantly higher rate by most operators (regardless of content) , and often not included in "free" message allowances? For this reason alone I have hardly ever sent an MMS rather than a text message.

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Online car-buying firm agrees to more transparent pricing

brakepad

Worked for me

A couple of years ago I sold a Civic Hybrid (don't flame me, I'm a petrol head really!) on wewillbuyyourcar.com for a very fair price, and around £500 more than I was asking for it on Autotrader at the end of a 2 week advertising period with not a single enquiry.

The price quoted on their website was exactly what was paid and the chap that came to value it commented that I'd been pretty honest about the condition (odd scratches here & there were declared up front). It would not surprise me if a lot of people just tick the "excellent condition" box and have never actually done a panel-by-panel inspection for damage, which is what the valuer will do.

I think in this case I benefitted from a relatively high book price despite there not actually being that much real demand for this particular car, but my experience of wwbyc.com was pretty good on the whole and free of hassle. As for webuyanycar, I can't comment on them, except to say that the price they were offering for the Civic was less than wewillbuyyourcar.

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Fukushima update: No chance cooling fuel can breach vessels

brakepad

000s

Something doesn't seem quite right with the units being quoted, with the BBC suggesting radiation levels about 100 times greater than El Reg.

From the BBC website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12740843:

"After Tuesday's blast, radiation dosages of up to 400 millisieverts per hour were recorded at the site.

A single dose of 1,000 millisieverts causes temporary radiation sickness such as nausea and vomiting."

vs this article:

"Following the apparent release from inside the suppression chamber, radiation levels at the site briefly rose to 8217 microsieverts per hour "

& from Wikipedia Background Radiation article:

"The worldwide average background dose for a human being is about 2.4 millisievert (mSv) per year."

Is there a milli/micro mistake somewhere, or am I missing something?

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Ten... over-ear headphones

brakepad

Sound quality

Presumably it's only a matter of time before the filesize / quality compromise starts to drift back towards quality again? Over the course of a decade we've had a 1000-fold increase in the capacity of solid state media players, and once you can fit your entire music collection on a single device then why would you not then start to use the extra capacity to bump the quality back up?

There are obviously signs of this with FLAC & other lossless codecs gaining favour, and maybe the portable media market will always favour the extra compression in the same way that digicams still use jpegs. On the flip side, there has been a trend for CD volume levels to increase over the years at a corresponding reduction in dynamic range, but on the whole I would expect to see an improvement in the standard of 'popular' sound quality in the next 10 years - although it would probably necessesitate a move away from MP3 as a format.

Nonetheless, there will always be a market for top end audio stuff, and everyone has a limit that they're willing to go to or would admit being able to spot the difference on. Personally I'd spend money on speakers and / or headphones any day over an improved amp or snakeoil speaker cable. And Grado's, yes, absolutely superb, and very revealing of poor audio sources even more so than many popular "hifi" speakers.

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Job application scam fleeces company of $150,000

brakepad
FAIL

Hacker laziness

It always bugs me that these scams are so shoddily finished off. The idea is sound: use the advertised job appication to find a legitimate way to send someone an attachment, but why is the covering email a) so generic and b) so poorly written? There must be countless sample covering letters available on tinterweb, just leaving the need to autofill the relevant job position and making up a name.

It strikes me as the equivalent of going to the trouble of obtaining genuine bank note paper with all the security features, and then painting on the design by hand.

@ttuk:

"While its disguised with a word icon, the file name is still clearly, MyResume.exe"

Indeed, but since Windows 95 "hide file extensions for known file types" is turned on by default. Maybe other OS's do this too, I personally can't stand it but obviously the masses aren't deemed capable of discerning between different types of files.

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World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

brakepad
WTF?

Seriously, WTF?

I'm with the anonymous cowards. How much of this review makes no sense whatsoever to someone who's not played WoW?

"Failing dismally as an arena player, but enjoying PvP as much as the next cow, I’m really looking forward to Battle for Gilneas, which seems to be the new Arathi basin and Twin Peaks, which is the new Warsong Gulch."

Eh?

"Cheap at the price, and a welcome change from previous mount capability gouging!"

Come again?

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Donkey Kong Country Returns

brakepad

95%?

I'm not disputing that it may be a great game, but how can it possibly justify a score of 95% when any part of it can be described as "tedious"?

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Sharp Aquos LC-46LE821E 46in quad-pixel TV

brakepad

Sound

Couldn't agree more with JWS. If there's one thing that's gone backwards with the move away from CRT to 'thin' sets, it's the quality of the inbuilt sound - not that I ever heard a CRT that sounded particuarly good - but the laws of physics are difficult to cheat.

Shouldn't there also be some kind of law to stop speakers that are less than about 8" in diameter being described as "sub-woofers" :-)

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Bishop Hill: Gonzo science and the Hockey Stick

brakepad
Happy

Chewbacca defence

"If I constructed a jelly leg and somehow added it to the Eiffel Tower, the tower wouldn't collapse when someone removed the jelly leg."

That's genius. I'm going to use that at work next time I need to convince someone of something.

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West Midlands cops to roll out Mitsubishi EVs

brakepad
Coat

Marketing ploy?

Maybe they thought they were getting a really good deal on Mitsubishi EVOs.

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Kettle car breaks speed record

brakepad
Thumb Up

Just needs a longer run up

It's always easy to criticise on this sort of thing, but the speeds & times quoted suggest that acceleration rates & available track length are both significant issues if the design stats and quoted figures are to be believed.

Considering only aerodynamic drag, the power increase required to boost max speed from the old record of 127 to 139mph is 'only' around 30%, but the quoted theoretical max speed of 170mph would suggest the car should be capable of producing around 2.5 times as much power as the Stanley Steamer (and anyway 268kW of power should be sufficient to power a low drag vehicle to these kind of speeds without difficulty).

This would suggest either a big shortfall in power (by around 80%, which seems unlikely) from that predicted, or a large calculation error in another area (e.g. drag coefficient, again unlikely), or simply that the car does not accelerate quickly enough to get close to its theoretical Vmax in the time/distance/fuel/water/whatever available.

If it takes 2.5miles to get up to speed (presume he means 140mph), then the *average* acceleration rate is a fairly unexciting 0.5m/s^2, and if that accel rate could be maintained (optimistic) it would need another 2km to get up to 170mph. Assuming it can carry enough fuel for a longer run then the simplest solution would be to go somewhere bigger, hence salt flats are a popular venue, but running on salt can bring further issues with stabilty, rolling resistance etc.

Other than that, the fundamental options remaining would be to a) reduce drag - although we should assume that it's at least 90% optimised, b) reduce weight, although again a 10% improvement would probably be good going, or c) add more power, which would probably come at the expense of adding more weight, not least from the water required.

Apologies for the gratuitous mixing of units!

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Channel 4 to go 3D

brakepad
Boffin

Does anyone remember Magic Carpet?

Never seen it before or since, but Magic Carpet on the PC had a 'dynamic' Magic Eye 3D mode where you could (try to) play the game by staring cross-eyed at a mass of moving swirly patterns.

The 3D effect worked about as well as any static Magic Eye pic, but made playing the game absolutely impossible and was entertaining for about 4 seconds. It also had a coloured lenses 3D mode but my PC wasn't fast enough to run that....

The BBC also did a 3D week, maybe 20 years ago now, where the glasses simply used one clear lens and one tinted one. The effect only worked on shots panning in one direction, and was something to do with dark images taking slightly longer for the brain to process hence the parallax in the footage led to a mild 3D effect.

I can see a future where there'll be 4 different sets of 3D specs technology lined up next to all the remote controls.

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