* Posts by Stoneshop

2649 posts • joined 8 Oct 2009

R2D2 delivery robots to scurry through the streets of San Francisco

Stoneshop
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Go

Once these appear in the wild

there will be a slew of Instructables on how to use them as the basis for a real R2D2 or a Dalek.

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Terry Jones has dementia

Stoneshop
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Re: Bugger

Indeed.

BURMA!

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If we can't fix this printer tonight, the bank's core app will stop working

Stoneshop
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Facepalm

Managers and telephones

There's some overnight conversion run, and a DBA and me (as sysadmin) are on call. A problem occurs, and at some point the DBA calls me for assistance. I tell him the things he needs to do (he has remote access, I don't), and after about an hour and a half of prodding the problem (whatever it was, can't recall) is sufficiently resolved that things start proceeding in an orderly manner again.

Monday morning I come in, to be roasted by a philosopher reschooled as IT twonk, and obviously ending up as a manager, for being unreachable while on call. Errr, what? I Being on the phone with the DBA for over an hour doesn't count as "unreachable" in my book. Apparently he was trying to reach me too, but there were no missed calls, no voice mails, no "someone's calling while you're on the phone" alerts, nothing. At all. He insists on having called the right number, and as I was clearly to blame for having an unright number, it meant end of contract. Well, good riddance anyway.

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Stoneshop
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Happy

Re: Some time ago...

You could also mention that new-fangled high-speed technology, "punched tape",

You really want the optical reader, and mylar tape. Fancy, eh?

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Stoneshop
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Megaphone

Line printers

BTW line printers were really awesome for doing charatcer based artwork on.. If you could handle the noise.

Now consider the guy servicing these beasts, and doing hammer flight time adjustment. You could not always rely on the service kit containing hearing protection.

I've worked (occasionally) on belt and drum printers, never seen a chain printer AFAICR. For really torturing them you had a text file that had the characters on a line arranged so that the hammers would fire all at once. This had a fair chance of blowing the fuses or even the power supply itself after a few pages.

As a student I found myself in the possession of a HP drum printer one day. The fact that the drum had rings of characters for only one in three character positions quite baffled me initially, until I figured out that the paper transport could move sideways. So, left, print, middle, print, right, print, line feed, print, middle, print, left, print, line feed, and so on. Apparently saving 88 hammers (now 44 instead of 132) and hammer drivers made up for the additional mechanics.

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Stoneshop
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Holmes

Keeping the damn printer is even more ridiculous, in this day and age.

For some reason "Once upon a very long time ago" doesn't quite mesh with the above comment.

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What says Internet of Things better than a Bluetooth-controlled smart candle?

Stoneshop
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Trollface

a bluetooth controlled smartphone you can control from your smartphone?

Yo Dawg, I herd you like bluetooth controlled smartphones so I put a bluetooth controlled smartphone in your bluetooth controlled smartphone so you can control your bluetooth smartphone while you control your bluetooth smartphone from your bluetooth smartphone.

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My God, I've got nothing on! Microsoft's $200m Wunderlist is down

Stoneshop
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Holmes

exterminating the competition?

Well, it's going to take an awful lot of effort to eradicate paper and pencils globally.

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Despite IANA storm, ICANN shows just why it shouldn't be allowed to take over internet's critical functions

Stoneshop
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Mushroom

Incorrigible

Just shoot the lot. Then run them over with a steamroller, chop them up, roast the bits over a large fire and dissolve them in strong acid.

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Lethal 4-hour-erection-causing spiders spill out of bunch of ASDA bananas

Stoneshop
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Your arse

every single piece of fruit is checked..."

Errrrrmm. Yes, I can see that.

But how about watermelon, or durian? Even pomegranates would be stretching it already...

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Asian hornets are HERE... those honey bee murdering BASTARDS

Stoneshop
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They'll just go away once article 50 is triggered.

That was said to block EU hornets, in particular East-European ones. And then you would actually strike deals with other countries, Asian among them, to make up the shortfall.

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Latest F-35 bang seat* mods will stop them breaking pilots' necks, beams US

Stoneshop
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Re: minimum weight

fall with different accelerations in an atmosphere, due to drag.

Not very surprising, but I don't expect pilots to wear large billowing dresses very often.

The one with the 'Priscilla, Queen of the desert' DVD in the pocket, ta.

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2,000 year old man found dead near 2,000 year old computer

Stoneshop
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Found nearby

a fairly well-preserved antique telephone. Its connection was traced to a dank cellar underneath the Pharos lighthouse, in which a predecessor to the Revox A77 was found looping the message 'έχετε δοκιμάσει την απενεργοποίηση και ξανά?'

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Rise of the Machines at Sea: The British firm building robot boats

Stoneshop
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Pirate

"Robot" lifebuoy

A few days ago there was a news article (in Dutch) on a lifesaving device to be used from a beach. They refer to it as a robot, but from the article it appears to be more like a remote controlled floatation device with some kind of propulsion system, able to reach 35km/h.

One might hope it has some proximity sensors too, and not rely solely on the operator being able to avoid ramming Emily squarely into the already distressed swimmer.

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Italian scientists use fluorescent box to arouse sexually indifferent men

Stoneshop
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FAIL

Re: Wonder where they got the bulbs from

I wonder how they managed to do this given that Italy is in Europe and in Europe, we are only allowed the 100 Watt 53 Watt 28 Watt, 11 Watt energy saving bulbs these days

a) you don't want to use bulbs, but rather fluorescents, as the title already indicates, b) there's no limit to the number of lamps fitted in an armature, and c) there are exemptions for bulbs for specific purposes, like heating (not that you want those anyway; see a) )

and nobody can work out how much light that actually is compared to the Watts of last year.

Funny how all the bulbs I bought the last couple of years had both the output in lumens listed, as well as the equivalent incandescent bulb wattage.

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The Internet of Things isn't just for Bluetooth toothbrushes, y'know

Stoneshop
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Megaphone

or where noisy sales teams should be put so they don’t distract the rest of the company.

A soundproofed dungeon cellar, where else?

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Azure is on fire, your DNS is terrified

Stoneshop
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Whose timezone?

"According to a status update on Microsoft's site, the issues began around lunchtime, although there is no mention of when they are likely to be fixed."

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

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Delete Google Maps? Go ahead, says Google, we'll still track you

Stoneshop
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Big Brother

Re: eh?

Google can locate you extremely accurately

Oh no they can't.

Simply because I don't have an Android. And no iPhone or Winphone either. This has some downsides, but insofar as those are actual downsides for me they're mitigated by carrying a N900 (being used as a WiFi-connected browser only).

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The next Bond – Basildon or Bass-Ass? YOU decide

Stoneshop
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Re: Could be a nice earner for some (female) Olympians

If you want tough as nails, there's Vyvyan Basterd (Adrian Edmondson), though he might need to work on the 'suave and bored' attitude a bit.

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'Oi! El Reg! Stop pretending Microsoft has a BSOD monopoly!'

Stoneshop
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Re: Machine Operating System

(*)For non Acorn-fans, this was a common thing for Acorn's 6502 line. An unexpanded BBC Micro had physical space for (IIRC) four 16k "sideways ROMs" and OS support for up to 16. BASIC already occupied one of the slots, and if a disc drive was fitted the DFS occupied another, but expansion boards to allow the full range were commonly available.

Another option would have been the cartridge one could put next to a Beeb's keyboard, but that would require the speech option upgrade. The Master, M128 and Leccy (with one of the extender options) had them too, although AFAIK those were physically different* from the Beeb's. Pro: they can be easily swapped; con: they can be easily removed or dislodged.

* I have a few Master cartridges, but I can only guess at the form factor for the Beeb, never having seen one, only judging from the holes in its keyboard PCB. And those look like not matching the Master's cartridge edge connector, plus they would be uncomfortably tall.

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Stoneshop
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Go

BSOD

Blue, black, blank, beige, brown, burgundy, banana, butter, bordeaux, bronze, blurple*, berry, british racing green, and several tens more

* https://xkcd.com/color/rgb/

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Stoneshop
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Windows

Re: Rainbow Screen of Death

That's because your laptop is stupid and you're stupid for using a laptop that's not the same as Lennart's and you're stupid for reporting/not reporting this and you're stupid anyway.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Machine Operating System

so instead of booting from the ROM that it undoubtedly should have,

It IS booting from ROM, the MOS and DFS messages show so.

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Stoneshop
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Re: BBC Master

And it appears that it's actually the floppy drive that's gone to meet its maker; ISTR the Beeb just waiting at this point if you had DFS installed but no drive connected. That, or it's the floppy itself that's now devoid of most of its magnetic coating, but, ISTR again, that would result in some error message.

And no, despite being a non-UK reader, I did not have to consult Wackypedia for this. I can even recreate the screenshots; it's all there in boxes in the attic.

<insert "cobwebs.ico">

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Brexit makes life harder for an Internet of Things startup

Stoneshop
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Re: CE = Chinese Export

In the dodgy rip off, the circles would overlap because the letters C and E have been jammed up against one another.

So, keming, not kerning.

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Airbag bug forces GM to recall 4.3m vehicles – but eh, how about those self-driving cars, huh?

Stoneshop
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Devil

Re: Bah!

and it was more about testing the sensor and controller than testing the airbag itself.

As the actual airbag is some kind of electrically triggered explosive which you can test separately without any car parts around it, it's the sensors and controller software that matter.

Trouble is, hardware usually costs money, and software comes cheap these days (that's what manglement seem to think anyway).

A hardware solution costs umpteen microrupees extra per unit, so that adds to the cost for each car produced. Software costs umpteen-and-a-bit rupees up front, so you'll break even at a million-and-a-bit cars; beyond that it's Pure Profit!

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Stoneshop
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Pirate

Re: What about an OTA update??

Do any cars attempt to rely on wifi?

If that would mean "the car owner's residential WiFi", so that it can only apply patches, get the brakes applied remotely, etc., only when at rest in the owner's garage, I'm all for it.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Bah!

Ah, but if they were REAL smart cars

they would drive to a Mercedes dealer.

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Stoneshop
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Mushroom

Re: Process is far too slow

Nope grind them up and feed them to each other.

In the end there will be one C*O left (if you grind them all up there will be none to eat the stuff), and he will have been eating greedy C*O muck.

You need to think of a safe way to dispose of that one.

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Stoneshop
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Devil

Re: Voluntary

Last but not least I'm puzzled by the attempts to give this a self-driving spin. There's no material difference between the dynamics of an accident in either case.

The remark concerned the presence of similar bugs in any module of a self-driving car's software: some rare event X happens, then event Y happens which the car can't react to because event X hasn't been handled properly and has put the module into lalalacan'thearyou mode.

Nor will they mind waiting (well, whoever operates them might in the case of taxis).

Customer has just boarded a self-driving taxi and ordered it to proceed to the airport at speeds in excess of R17 because there's the only plane to Outer Elbonia for the next two weeks to catch. Then shortly into the trip the garage signals there's a free slot for the five-hour software and hardware update coming up in five minutes. The glitch has just happened and the car has erased all instructions by the passenger, and even that there's a passenger at all. Of course the doors are locked, as that's the default when anywhere else than the pickup and dropoff location.

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Petulant Facebook claims it can't tell the difference between child abuse and war photography

Stoneshop
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Mushroom

And by then, it may be too late.

Can't happen soon enough.

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Tesla driver dies after Model S hits tree

Stoneshop
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Re: UPS

But anyone understanding the basics could work around them safely. First Responders obviously need training and some basic protection gear. Boots, gloves. Easy.

That's just for the electrical side of the problem. EV batteries should also be considered packets of energy (because they are) that wants to go somewhere, and one of the options there is heat.

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Stoneshop
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Re: @AndyS

I'm not sure if the Tesla uses LiFePo4, but they're likely using a variant which is similarly stable.

According to batteryuniversity.com, they're using NCA,

"Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide battery, or NCA, has been around since 1999 for special applications. It shares similarities with NMC by offering high specific energy, reasonably good specific power and a long life span. Less flattering are safety and cost. Figure 11 summarizes the six key characteristics. NCA is a further development of lithium nickel oxide; adding aluminum gives the chemistry greater stability.

Snapshot of NCA

High energy and power densities, as well as good life span, make NCA a candidate for EV powertrains. High cost and marginal safety are negatives."

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Stoneshop
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Re: go see the pictures @Stoneshop

It does indeed, but after opening this article I can view the picture full-size.

A Twitter link from there has a link to an article stating the case has been closed: Tesla found no technical problems leading to the crash, it's a one-sided accident with a single fatality so no liability to sort out.

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Stoneshop
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Re: go see the pictures

See pictures - Driver exceeding 100Km/h on a road that would better be termed a woodland foot path.

If that's hyperbole, it's seriously out of place. And if you took the path in the background in this photo to be the road he was on, you're utterly wrong; it's just a path leading into the wood from the road he was on (N415). Which is properly paved, marked, is as good as straight for nearly its entire length with two very minor bends, a set of traffic lights on that stretch, and has a speed limit of 80km/h. Which he exceeded, as per Tesla, by almost 100%.

Most stunning here is that on ElReg we see so many ill advised folks *debating* the situation.

I see very little of that, mostly with regard to battery chemistry, where it's you just guessing whether it's a LHD car. Which is easily verifiable information, and to save you the effort: all of continental Europe is LHD.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Bah!

Just require a cutoff switch before the non-standard input enters the house grid, like how a master breaker works.

PV installations tend to have one already, either separate or as part of the inverter. Problem is, that's not enough. A single decent panel can output 18V at 10A or more; a PV setup tends to have several panels in series ("strings"), with one or more strings feeding the inverter. If you interrupt the string(s) at the inverter (which may be deep inside the house, so there's another problem in actually finding and reaching it, especially when the house is on fire) there can still be 150 to 250V DC present between the leads of each string.

Breakers between every second or third panel and the next in a string might be a solution, but requires a lot of extra cabling to bring each of those points in the circuit down from the roof where the panels are to a point where the fire brigade can see and reach them.

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Stoneshop
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Re: A technology dilema

Particularly since there was a point when the driver couldn't be approached due to the fire?

It wasn't the car that was on fire, several batteries thrown clear of the car from the crash were.

The problem concerning the car itself were the batteries still inside, and the potential hazards they might pose.

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Stoneshop
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Pint

Re: own EV happens to have the exact same problem

I wonder if EV safety could be improved if they were to run off a bag of spuds in the boot.

You might get an electric vehicle to move if it's not much heavier than that sack of potatoes. Better to turn them into alcohol and use that as fuel for an IC engine.

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Stoneshop
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Boffin

Re: own EV happens to have the exact same problem

right, lithium being the second most chemically reactive substance in the known universe, and the most reactive of all of the metals.

It is not.

Reaction with water gets more violent with the periodic table row going up

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Stoneshop
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Re: @AndyS

Dunno. I personally think the actual recommendation should be to drive in a way that allows you to avoid perfectly stationary trees,

Given that Tesla now reports, via AP, that the driver was doing 155km/h* (nearly 100mph for youse non-metric types) prior to the crash he was either unaware (unlikely) of this recommendation, temporarily unable to heed this advice for any number of reasons, or he decided to throw it to the wind..

BTW, I do worry about trees next to the road, but rather in a way that makes that I'm aware of their presence and not having cause to meet them through other events.

* if correct, that's nearly twice the speed limit for that road.

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Stoneshop
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Re: @AndyS

I would have thought that not having a massive block of incompressible cast iron or aluminium in between you and the other object limits the amount of energy that can be absorbed by the crumple zones when compared to an empty void.

I think you have that the wrong way round. With that massive block of incompressible cast iron or aluminium, an impact that displaces the front of the engine will displace the back by more or less the same amount (give or take the deformability of mostly bolted on stuff). With a bonnet holding separate bits of gear such as boxes of electronics and the ventilation/aircon system for the passenger compartment, you can design the front crumple zone for optimum energy absorbtion; any incompressibility of the bits in it is way less relevant.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Toss a Fluke DVOM in the rescue truck

And a thermometer: you want to know whether any of the battery cells has developed internal problems, and is now near the point of thermal runaway.

Never mind that for this you need to poke around in whatever inaccessible place (design, and/or state of wreck) the batteries are.

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Stoneshop
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Re: UPS

"A car battery - which is what a UPS is, tied to an inverter - is 12v 400A or more. I guarantee you that you don't want that discharging through you in any way."

No. A car battery is 12V & 400AH. Amp-Hours is the unit. That means it is theoretically rated to supply 400amps for 1 hour or 200 for 2 hours etc.

400Ah is a honking big car battery; most are 40 to 70Ah for family cars, and up to 100Ah for the average van. I read it as 400A current capability, or in car battery parlance, Cold Cranking Amps, the current it can deliver to your start motor on a frosty morning with your engine's content resembling molasses.

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Self-stocking internet fridge faces a delivery come down

Stoneshop
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kick from a cow

Perhaps we should start breeding cows that want to be milked, then proceeding to a breed not only having the desire to be eaten, but being capable of saying so quite clearly and distinctly.

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Stoneshop
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Facepalm

Re: Test for success

Reminds me of being drafted in to a development department for a comms processor.

A real software tester* I knew always started his test run by whacking both hands, flat, on the keyboard. In an (un)surprising number of cases, this was enough to bugger up the software being tested.

* I can personally attest to this species having existed, but they have, alas, seem to have gone extinct.

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Stoneshop
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Headmaster

Re: Burglar Alarm Fix

a different PIN number

Ah, those personal PIN numbers usually associated with automatic ATM machines.

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Stoneshop
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Holmes

Drone delivery

"The last thing I want is one hackable device talking to another hackable device on my doorstep while my futuristic local burglar of 2020, who has just hacked into my fridge to make it think I’ve run out of milk, patiently waits at my front porch for the imminent drone delivery to save him the trouble of bringing a crowbar."

Of course, the well-prepared futuristic burglar of 2020 will have a one-click purchase link on his phone, for a crowbar*, for immediate drone delivery to said front porch.

To prevent leaving electronic traces, it will be ordered through the targeted house owner's account.

* I prefer the somewhat more versatile Stanley FuBar, especially the XXL, for stuff that needs to be separated sans regard for the aesthetics afterwards.

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Stoneshop
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Garmin

I installed a nice female English voice onto it, which for some reason I find comforting. (That's "English" as in "from England".) I derive endless amusement from her calling the on- or off-ramp a "slip road", and other English phrasings.

Ours is set to Afrikaans. It's far more different from Dutch than English is from American, in grammar, vocabulary as well as pronunciation, but for us it's perfectly comprehensible in general, and driving instructions are a very limited set of sentences anyway.

For maps I've changed to Openstreetmap.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Test for success

Luckily, the Marketing Department have a solution. They ship loads of crappy products as free samples to dishonest and greedy "reviewers" who then write glowing "independent" reports about how wonderful the thing is. And we all believe them and assume that if stuff (as described above) doesn't work, it's our fault or failure.

"it is very easy to be blinded to the essential uselessness of them by the sense of achievement you get from getting them to work at all. In other words – and this is the rock-solid principle on which the whole of the Corporation's Galaxywide success is founded – their fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws."

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World eats its 10 millionth Raspberry Pi

Stoneshop
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Windows

Re: Oh no, they've gone all Apple

The first one would be going all Microsoft.

Microsoft? You mean HP, don't you, and only if there was just one single Pi on that pallet.

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