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* Posts by Daedalus

156 posts • joined 15 Oct 2009

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Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?

Daedalus

Not the programmers fault!!

Too many companies roll out software without dry runs and offline testing. It's Co-op's fault all the way!

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Raised £350bn in crowdsourced funding? Tell me about it (not)

Daedalus

Re: 沖縄国際映画祭 日本語 メールニュース

@Cynic: very nice. Now I know what "May-Ru Ni-Yu-Su" is a mangling of.

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Daedalus

Re: 沖縄国際映画祭 日本語 メールニュース

And indeed he is not. The first "word" is indeed to be found as the title of the Japanese Wikipedia article on said festival.

We will now contemplate the awesomeness of having readers of Reg, and Dabbsie in particular, who also read Japanese...

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Daedalus

Re: 沖縄国際映画祭 日本語 メールニュース

The second and third words are respectively "Ni hon go", meaning "Japanese language" and "Me-Ru-Ni-Yu-Su", meaning unknown. Just in case this guy is having us on....

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The plot to kill Google cloud: We'll rename Windows Azure to MICROSOFT Azure

Daedalus

Blue sky thinking

Only Microsoft would name a cloud product with a word usually used to describe a clear blue sky!

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Inmarsat: Doppler effect helped 'locate' MH370

Daedalus
Boffin

It's got a beat!

You make the mistake of thinking that a frequency shift of 8 parts per 10,000 is somehow difficult to detect. In fact it's easy because, when combined with the reference signal, you get a difference signal in the megahertz range. That's what makes good old British fine-you-for-1-mph-over radar work. The effect is exactly the same as the one that creates "beats" when two musical notes that are close in frequency sound together.

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GRAV WAVE TSUNAMI boffinry BONANZA – the aftershock of the universe's Big Bang

Daedalus
FAIL

Correction, Mr. T

Inflation doesn't explain why we have detected temperature differences. It explains why the temperature of the universe is uniform (that's "no differences") in all directions.

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Relief when urine trouble becomes latest capacity-sharing service

Daedalus

Lirpa loof strikes again.

Is it April already?

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SpaceX set to try HOVER LANDING for re-usable rockets on March ISS mission

Daedalus
FAIL

Chasing rainbows

Every tonne of fuel that the rocket expends in a soft landing will require 11 tonnes of fuel to get it into orbit, and then more fuel for de-orbit, just so that it can be used in the soft landing. Why waste fuel for nothing? That tonne of soft landing fuel could be a tonne of payload in orbit.

If these guys have any sense, they will design an air-braked system that has at worst subsonic velocity coming in to land, then does most of its late braking using parachutes followed by a last-second rocket firing, just like Soyuz.

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Boffins hose down fiery Li-ion batteries with industrial lubricant

Daedalus

Hardware bloat

Nobody in the process seems to have noticed that PFPE is over twice as dense as typical hydrocarbon polymers. There goes the weight advantage of Li-ion.

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Apple pushes back release date for 'dustbin chic' Mac Pro

Daedalus
Pint

And under his nightshirt could clearly be seen...

A brand new cylindrical MacPro machine!

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Trials of 'Iron Man' military exoskeleton due in June

Daedalus
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Re: power source will be a amassive problem for these

>>I would have thought ultra compact, high efficiency generators would be the way to go

Just one problem: they don't exist. Batteries are "efficient" but don't give much energy per kilogram compared to liquid fuels, and the better they get the more they are like incendiary bombs. Internal combustion engines are at most 50% efficient so for each useful kilowatt you get a kilowatt of heat that you have to deal with. Try wearing an electric bar heater on your back all the time. Fuel cells have the potential to be more efficient than engines, but they run hot just to work. Same problem.

I'm always amazed that Iron Man is thought to be a realistic example of technology. There isn't a single thing about that suit that is vaguely plausible, unless you count being mildly bulletproof. Thor is the most believable Avenger - he's a god. 'Nuff said.

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Tech giants CAN disclose US spooks' data demands - but with heavy restrictions

Daedalus
Megaphone

Accentuate the negative

They can always announce from time to time how many requests they did not get. Then if they go silent at some point, it's not like they are squealing - but we'll know.

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'You win, Kanye': Coinye creators throw in towel after rapper sues

Daedalus
Boffin

Re: Trademark?

Under US law if you don't actively protect your trademark you can lose the right to enforce it, just as if your neighbour maintains a piece of your property that you neglect, you can lose it under "adverse possession". Hence all the "cruel" lawsuits against nursery schools with Disney characters painted on the walls etc. It's just how the law has to work.

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Boffins claim battery BREAKTHROUGH – with rhubarb-like molecule

Daedalus
Happy

Quinones?

These guy have some cojones!

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Naked Aussie gets wedged in washing machine

Daedalus
Happy

In a whirl

Is it true that washing machines spin in the opposite direction Down Under?

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BlackBerry nabs 'The Sims' to head up crucial Services unit

Daedalus

da da da dum da da da dum

So now he's the Master....

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On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns

Daedalus

Oh deer!!

In certain parts of the USA deer hunting is only allowed with shotguns firing "deer slugs". These were once single large ball-like slugs with limited accuracy, since the barrel is not rifled. However modern ammo features sabot rounds where the slug gets its spin from the detachable plastic housing that contains it as it proceeds down the barrel. These rounds are supposed to be almost as accurate as standard rifle rounds.

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BLUSHING asteroids lose their red space tan when they visit the Red Planet MARS

Daedalus
Facepalm

Re: Bah!

Yeah yeah yeah. I've heard about Forward and his anti-matter rocket. Guess what? It's no different in the end from NERVA, except that you heat the hydrogen by annihilating anti-hydrogen instead of running it through a nuclear reactor. You still wind up with a rocket that throws hot hydrogen out the back. You can get a lot out of a hot-hydrogen rocket. You can start in Earth orbit with 75% hydrogen fuel, 25% payload, visit Mars and an asteroid or two and come home. But you won't be doing it in hours or even days. You still have to use slow orbits not much different from the ones that the Mars probes use today.

Robert L. Forward was a highly respected engineer and writer. He could do the math and the physics. But he couldn't rewrite the laws thereof.

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Daedalus
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Re: Bah!

If you want "ships that get out there and back in reasonable time" you need to move to a different universe. Preferably the one inhabited by James T. Kirk.

Using the standard "throw stuff out the back to move forward" kind of space travel you can't even get good results from super-duper-unobtainium-fueled megarockets if you fire the rocket continuously. Example: your rocket exhaust travels so fast that its equivalent temperature is millions of degrees (modern rockets are a few thousand degrees). You try the old "accelerate at 1 gravity for some time, flip over and decelerate at 1 gravity", using up say 90% of your starting mass. That gets you about as far as the moon, maybe. It's the physics, folks.

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Daedalus
Boffin

Re: Bah!

There have been plenty of schemes for getting out there, most of them cheap (by cheap we mean costing less than the total annual beer consumption in the US). The NERVA nuclear powered rocket could have made it: the preliminary work was done and it only needed the will to continue, which Congress did not have. So don't blame the scientists and the engineers, blame the pols.

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Daedalus
Headmaster

Failure of astronomical proportions!

"Mars is quite close to the asteroid belt".

Sure, it's only farther from Ceres than Earth is from the Sun! The inner edge of the asteroid belt is about 45 million miles from Mars, about half the distance from the Earth to the Sun.

The boffins are clearly talking about "Mars crossing" asteroids, those that have strayed out of the main belt and come within, say, a few hundred thousand miles, just as there are "Earth crossing" asteroids that we hear so much about (Near Miss at 2 million miles!!).

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Autopilot guides Texan plane home from a dizzying 30,000m

Daedalus

Ah, Texas....

Gotta be nice to live somewhere where you can do this kind of thing without getting advance permission from ye powyrres above and without having the plods show up to nick you for breaking a rule they made up five minutes before...

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Behold, the MONSTER-CLAWED critter and its terrifying SPIDER BRAIN

Daedalus

Ooh scary

The beast was actually about 6 centimetres long. Most of the "great claw" species were, er, shrimps by comparison with even a small modern crab. Betcha all these photos are cropped to remove the size ruler.

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METEORITES, not MEN, are FROM MARS: NASA rover's shock discovery

Daedalus

And the answer to the Ultimate Question...

...turns out to be 4.2. You can't make this stuff up. Sorry Dougla, you were off by a factor of 10.

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US parents proclaim 811 'Messiahs'

Daedalus

Yawn....

There were about 3 million kids born in the US in 2012. So a few thousand have funny names...

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Investor lobs sueball at BlackBerry, says it 'misled' shareholders

Daedalus

S.O.B.

Lawsuits like this are routine. Some law firms will file suit A if the stock goes up, and suit B if it goes down. The object is to garner settlements, "get lost" money, and fees fees fees. Any shareholders actually involved can expect pennies in return.

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Oh, shoppin’ HELL: I’m in the supermarket of the DAMNED

Daedalus

Which is worse...

...using your engineering skills to navigate a buggy self-service till, or standing behind a woman buying 50 fiddly objects who finally realizes she actually has to pay for it all and proceeds to dig through a bag the size of a duvet for a purse containing dozens of cards that she carefully peruses to choose which part of her ballooning debt load will get added to?

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Washington Post officially sold to Amazon's Bezos for quarter of a Tumblr

Daedalus

Some deal

Bezos paid something between $250 and $500 per reader. You'd think that a nationally famous newspaper would sell millions of copies but you'd be wrong. The post sells less than 1 million at best.

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WHY didn't Microsoft buy RIM? Us business blokes would have queued for THAT phone

Daedalus

Forget the iPhone

The iPhone was designed to milk money from the great unwashed. It's a super simple device for super simple people who like to chatter inanely, text incomprehensibly and post pictures in flagrante. For business users you need something outside the fenced-in iPhone application environment, so it's going to happen on Android or WinPhone, probably Android because MS are such tossers.

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Blighty's great digital radio switchover targets missed AGAIN

Daedalus

Nearly there....

Hey, if more than 51% of the country has DAB sets, then OfCom can order the termination of analogue broadcasting and claim that a majority of the population will be unaffected.

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Tracking the history of magnetic tape: A game of noughts and crosses

Daedalus

Re: Sound-On-Sound

>> Bing Crosby gave Les Paul an early production model and the musician went on to invent sound-on-sound recording.

>Les Paul did his first sound on-sound-recording using a pair of disc cutting lathes he'd built himself before Bing Crosby ever gave him the tape machine.

Exactly right. The lathes were based on flywheels from Cadillacs. Les went on to "invent" the "Les Paulverizer" which he claimed could multiply anything or anybody, allowing him to play many parts at once (and, in typical 50's humour, allowing his wife to vacuum all the rooms in the house at once). Later still he made the Les Paulverizer part of his stage act, using some offstage wizardry to let him record what we now call "loops" and stack them up. A great individual, a real American one-off. Sorely missed.

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DRAMA at 75,000 FEET: Our Playmonaut's TERROR PLUNGE from EDGE of SPACE

Daedalus

For a few dollars more....

Next time do the hike in ponchos, jeans and cowboy boots. Six guns are optional.

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First rigid airship since the Hindenburg cleared for outdoor flight trials

Daedalus

There's a misunderstanding here.

Flotation is all about your mass versus the mass of the air you displace. If the air mass is greater, you float. If not, not.

Now the point of all the jiggery-pokery is not to lose any mass at all from the airship. it follows that you can compress, decompress or dance the conga, it won't change your flotation unless you displace more or less air in the process. So COSH must either change the displacement (by inflating or deflating bags) or the total mass (by taking on or releasing something, probably air).

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400 million Chinese people can't speak Chinese: Official

Daedalus

And if you think imposing Mandarin is weird....

The whole nation of China is on Beijing time. I think the country actually spans about 5 time zones, but east or west you set your clock to the same time.

I guess the westerners just live from noon to 4 a.m.

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Daedalus

Not all Chinese are Chinese

The finding is like saying that many Soviets didn't speak Russian. The Soviet Union covered many regions with their own languages, that are now separate nations. Likewise China includes Uighurs, Cantonese etc. who never spoke the language of Beijing.

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Smartwatch craze is all just ONE OFF THE WRIST

Daedalus

Put one on each wrist and go jogging

In 1978 or so HP announced a gold calculator wristwatch. It had a keyboard that required a fiddly gold stylus, which conveniently stored in a groove in the case.

The whole assemblage cost the obligatory bras et jambe, and weighed 8 oz. (grams hadn't been invented yet).

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Reelin' in the years: Tracking the history of magnetic tape

Daedalus

Open sore

A sound engineer at the Open University once told me he always ordered cases of blank TDK cassettes, not just because of quality, but because they contained a consistent amount of tape. Cheaper cassettes tended to come up short, a problem when you have to distribute audio lessons to hundreds of students.

Needless to say he had a constant battle with our good friend Purchasing who would want to substitute whatever brand fell of the back of a lorry lately....

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Japan's unwanted IT workers dumped in 'forcing-out rooms'

Daedalus

To get back to the topic....

Japanese employers have been doing this, or something like it, for decades. It used to be the "staring out the window desk" for anybody who became useless or otherwise fell foul of the complex Japanese office mores. Not only was firing somebody hard legally, it was likely to cause the fired person to "lose face" and possible reflect on the employer. Eventually the isolated person left honorably for "better opportunities", although this could be seen as an insult to the employer.

Another popular Japanese trick during the heady days of Full Employment was to employ people, especially women, as part-timers with the expectation that they would put in full-time hours. Sound familiar?

Like much of Japanese life, their claims of full employment and full education (not to mention full literacy) turned out to be a carefully constructed paper (smoke doesn't seem right) screen.

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Only 1 in 5 Americans believe in pure evolution – and that's an upswing

Daedalus

Slight confusion here

The question deals with the origin of humans. It's a sensitive subject. Consider the various Native American groups. Most have a mythical origin story. Now we know damn well they're from Asia originally, but many if asked will insist they came up from some other world, sometimes through a straw.

The non-human evidence for evolution is hard and fast. We can even see it happening in real time if the species reproduces quickly enough. On the other hand the evidence for our origins was famously described as a collection of bones that would barely fill a room, or a closet, if you count only the important ones. You and I may take it as scientific fact that we came from ape-like ancestors, but by any measure the evidence you can hold in your hand is less than compelling. Now take that and try it on the great unwashed and see how far you get.

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Knocking China with shocking phones and mocking tones

Daedalus
Holmes

Amateur hour

Compared to the East Asians, we're rank amateurs in the racism business. I mean, people actually have to look and sound different from us before we start to think about discriminating against them! Nope, the Japanese are the real masters, with their second-class citizenship for people of Korean ancestry and their endless obsessions about not having peasants in your ancestry. No doubt China has similar distinctions that only the Chinese are even capable of noticing.

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Jiggy Pennsylvania couple busted by 25 bike cops

Daedalus
Thumb Down

Limeys!!

It's spelled D-A-R-B-Y. A derby is a hat.

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

Daedalus

Re: worth 1.7p?

Ee aye, when I were a lad you could get three penn'orth of chips. And with scraps too! Then it were four penn'orth, then five, and six, and it's never been t'same since!

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

Daedalus
Headmaster

It's all about the numbers

Speaking as someone close to ground zero, so to speak, I can say that the question was never about what Kodak could do instead of making and selling film. Kodak can and has done many things, some very well (though they tended to sell those bits off). The problem has been replacing tens of billions of dollars of film business (at 50% gross profit margin) with something else. All the digital waffle has tended to ignore the fact that the company would be going up against established rivals like HP and Canon that were several times larger even when Kodak was doing nearly $20 bn a year. Now that it is a comparative minnow you have to wonder why they would bother competing at all in the digital market. Their very good technology in the area of sensors etc. can't support even a medium sized company. They may or may not still have the horrendous horde of bungling middle managers who did so much for them in the past.

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Google gobbles HALF of world's mobile ad cash

Daedalus
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Innumeracy lives !

In the world at large, $8.8bn is chump change. For instance HP is worth about $60bn. So Google are not the big boogey man affecting the world economy. Get a grip. And don't trust reports from self-styled authorities.

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Ad-slingers! Punting peeps' pics into promos? You must read THIS

Daedalus
Stop

Stop before it's too late

One day you guys are going to wake up and find that the bureaucrats have sat on everything that made life worthwhile. All these OfCom, OfPut and OfToss entities are just people sitting on high looking down and deciding what they will allow. Soon they will be thinking about who to harass.

Advertisers may not quote people without permission, nor use their images without permission. Anything else is outside the reach of the law, except for libel.

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How NSA spooks spaffed my DAD'S DATA ALL OVER THE WEB

Daedalus
Happy

A right Royal screwiup

Hey, this guy is the Queen's cousin (look it up!). Maybe we can get the offending droid beheaded.

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Life on Mars means subsisting on grim diet of turd-garden spinach

Daedalus
Headmaster

Sod it!

Shit-kickers are cattle ranchers. If you grow crops you are a sod-buster.

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Movie review: Star Trek Into Darkness

Daedalus
Childcatcher

YOU try it !

Let's suppose you were asked to write a James Bond movie. Problem: the original series has descended into self-parody, and the main features of the genre have been done much much better recently in other series. What do you write that will a) satisfy the remaining fans that this is a Bond movie and not just a rebranded version of one of the others, b) surpass the high standard laid down in series like Bourne, and c) make pots of money ?

Now look at Star Trek: it started when the genre had already set a high bar, flirted with self-parody in Star Trek V, and went bland with the TNG series. Essentially the same problems. Abrams threw out the old model and restarted the series with both new and old ingredients, including exotic dancers with green skin. Sure lots of people won't be happy. But no way are these movies a re-branding of other genre movies. The only real ding is that ST doesn't do well internationally no matter what Reg hacks think of the mythology, so they had to broaden it out a bit and maybe marginalize some of the icons. That dilutes the brand, but firms up the bottom line, ensuring that there will be more episodes.

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Daedalus
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Pegged out...

Simon Pegg needs accent lessons? To do what? Reproduce a fake Scottish accent as performed by a Canadian? Being raised in Gloucs. may not be the best place to start as a fake Scot, but he did OK in the first movie. The whole concept of a 25th century Scottish accent is weird anyway.

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