* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1334 posts • joined 22 May 2007

IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

Dr. Mouse
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Re: My IT classes...

I had two experiences with IT at school.

The first was exemplified by a dispute between myself and the "IT teacher" (actually a French teacher they drafted in for the lessons). During one lesson, we were told we could earn extra marks by answering a question. If we knew the answer, we were to go to her desk when called and answer.

The question: "What is a RAM disk?"

I answered with words along the lines of "A virtual disk emulated in the computer's RAM". She replied, "No, it's Random Access Memory". A short debate (cough) occurred between us over definitions involved, ending with me being told I wasn't welcome in her class because I was not prepared to learn.

The second was much different. This was later, and all the computer labs had been upgraded to PCs. I grew bored with the endless stream of typing exercises and mind-numbing spreadsheet tasks asked of us. I therefore set about, erm, unlocking certain locked down features within the NT4 environment. I gained access to Explorer, messaging clients, games and several others which were (supposedly) unavailable. All very trivial, and I never did anything even remotely malicious, but it passed the time.

The IT teacher (actually a Physics teacher, but at least he had a basic grasp of computing) caught me, and took me to see the sysadmin. We chatted for a while and, instead of punishing me for "hacking", he did the sensible thing: Asked me for help. I proceeded to lock down everything I had discovered the correct way, and in return he allowed me an admin account (to help him in future, not to install and play games *cough*). We became friends, and still are to this day.

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Dr. Mouse
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I see this differently

Being able to use a computer has become just about as important as being able to read and write. However, in this context, the requirement is to be able to use a computer, not manage it.

What is needed, IMHO, is computer literacy in primary schools. After that, it should just become a part of other lessons, just as it has become an integral part of most jobs.

IT lessons could then focus on more advanced topics than using Word and Excel, just as English lessons so not stick with just how to read and write.

If we continue to teach word processing and spreadsheets as a separate subject, people will continue to see computing as separate, which is not how the world of work operates. A computer is just a tool (as are most users, FNAR FNAR), just like a pen and paper.

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Boffins grasp Big Knob, get ready to go ALL THE WAY at the LHC proton-punisher

Dr. Mouse
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Joke

people just moaned "we haven't tried enough ENERGY yet"

Always my favourite method: It didn't work when I hit it, so hit it HARDER!

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It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Yes, but,

If I can make a cheaper and better chocolate cake using ingredients sourced at retail cost, than a huge company, is it me who is ruining the economy or the company feeding excess profits into the directors off-shore HSBC account?

But how much time do you spend doing so? I assume you enjoy baking, so it is a recreational activity for you. However, if it was not you would be spending that time working. Googling, a simple cake takes about half an hour to make, or I can go to the supermarket and spend £5, which will get me a nice enough cake, finished and ready to eat.

I can do a better job, for less money, cleaning my car at home rather than taking it to one of those hand car wash places. But it will take me a lot longer to do so. For less than £5 I can get my car washed. For £15 I can get it cleaned inside and out. Alterrnatively I can spend a couple of hours doing it myself to get it perfect. Most of the time, I would rather take the first option, and waste only 10-15mins, during which I can relax and listen to the radio, then have more than an hour of extra time to do things I enjoy.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: What is a market anyway?

The point of this is not that money is everything.

We (or at least most of us) earn money spending time doing things we don't want to do. Therefore, money is just a representation of our time.

This means that, in my case, I give up 40 hours of my own time, doing something I don't want to do, in order to be able to do things I do want to do. My week's pay packet is 40 hours of my time. I then spend portions of that on other things I need, then the remainder on things I want to do.

Money is a generalised token system representing, mostly, your time (to a specific individual). Time is pretty much all we have. I, personally, would not spend that time growing veggies. I do, however, enjoy cooking, or fixing cars/motorbikes. I could pay someone else to do that (and frequently do if there is something else I would prefer to spend my time on), but the point is that I have time to do what I want to do. I have that by trading some of my time.

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Official: Single people need to LOWER their EXPECTATIONS

Dr. Mouse
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Why is there an xkcd for everything?

http://xkcd.com/310/

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'Camera-shy' Raspberry Pi 2 suffers strange 'XENON DEATH FLASH' glitch

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Makes sense

As mentioned elsewhere, it is the components which are made like that. Sounds to me like it's bad component choice for a board which is designed for hobbyists, or bad design (if those components are to be used, they need to add some covering to them).

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ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

Dr. Mouse
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Obligatory xkcd

http://xkcd.com/1377/

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Three to pleasure bumpkins with 800MHz

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Not so good if you've got a OnePlus One

As always, xda-developers is your friend.

I have actually made an official complaint about this. First off, it could actually be taken as defamatory telling the public (not just in the app, but on their blogs as well) that the OPO is rooted, and could put people off buying it. Also, there is no technical reason why the app won't work on the OPO.

Finally, as stated above there is a way to get it working. It is ironic: The way to get the app to believe the phone is not rooted is to root it! Ridiculous!

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Smartphones merge into homogeneous mass as 'flagship fatigue' bites

Dr. Mouse
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There's always a trade off

I have a friend who ensures that, when she buys a new PC, it is top of the range. She spends a hell of a lot of money, as much as she can afford, to get the latest everything.

However, she expects that machine to last her for at least the next 5 years. She makes that investment for a reasonable length of time. By the end of it's life, it is still a reasonable machine, but then she can get a new one and get the speed bump.

Myself, I go down another route. I upgrade often, a bit at a time, pretty much in a continuous cycle. But when I select my components, they are mid range at best. On average my machine is probably about as fast as hers: it will be slower at first after she's bought new, but will pass hers during it's life. But I avoid paying the premium for the top end.

With phones, most people are locked in to a 2 year upgrade cycle (even if they aren't on a contract). If you don't upgrade, you won't get the latest OS, apps will stop working as well, and generally the experience goes down hill. Factor in to that the ridiculous costs of flagship devices (or the contracts for them), and the fact that a mid-to-low range handset is more than adequate for most people, and you can see why this is happening.

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Microsoft 'showers gold' on anti-Google Cyanogen and its Android alternative

Dr. Mouse
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Re: 'take Android away from Google'

While I agree that the permission system needs an overhaul, the 4.3 "accident" was not the answer. It basically broke most apps to which it was applied.

CM has a privacy guard feature, which has worked much better from what I can see. I believe that, rather than just stopping the app from using those permissions, it fakes the responses somehow. The app believes it is accessing your files/camera etc. but it isn't.

To be honest, I think it was a mistake on Google's part from day one. The permission system should have been set up so that an app requested a permission, but the user had a right to deny it. The current system is that the app demands permission, and the only way to avoid it is not to install it.

Of course, if you deny an app permission for something it needs for core functionality, then it can flag that up, explaining why, and ask the user to give it back. For example, if you deny a web browser access to the internet, there's not much point. Another option would be to separate mandatory and optional permissions, and bring in a policy of only having permissions mandatory for core functionality.

I doubt this will get put in place. It would require a lot of reworking of both apps and OS. The alternative from CM seems to do the job well enough.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: ow!

That was my thought, too.

As long as MS is only investing, all is well and good. If they start sticking their oar in....

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IBM punts cryptotastic cloudy ID verification services

Dr. Mouse
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Re: I like the concept

The trick will be the trusted authority.

I agree that's always going to be the difficult part.

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Dr. Mouse
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I like the concept

I don't know about the implementation, and specifically the owner, but the concept is something I have discussed for a decade now: Have a trusted place with all your personal details, and share the absolute minimum from it as needed.

Personally, I believe there is no real need for this to be a "cloud" system. It would be better as a personal wallet, with encrypted data signed by a trusted authority. You can choose what to reveal from it, and when, and the third party can verify that data through it's signature. It's a little more complex, but way more secure.

All in all, I believe we need a system of this kind. Think of all the wasted time you spend filling in your details on different sites, often giving out way more information than necessary.

The area I think which could benefit the most from this is insurance. Getting a quote would become a hell of a lot easier! I don't understand why they haven't done this already, unless they want you to make a mistake on your application so they can refuse to pay out in the even of a claim.

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BITE that APPLE if you want to escape the Android garden, Microsoft

Dr. Mouse
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To be honest, I see no point downloading this. For viewing and the minimal amount of editing I would do on a tablet, or phone, the Google Docs/Drive apps and Quickoffice work perfectly well.

I'm certainly not going to do anything complicated with them, as it would be too painful, but at a pinch they do the job and don't require a subscription.

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'YOUTUBE is EVIL': Somebody had a tape running, Google...

Dr. Mouse
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Re: @auburnman The new man

I think it comes down to catch 22.

Youtube was the main service, pretty much the only place to host video like this. So all the content was on there, and all the users go there.

Content creators will not (unless forced somehow) move away from that massive user base. The users will not move to another service with less content.

Google's new terms may be the tipping point, but there would need to be a huge leap by content creators away from Youtube, with the realisation that their viewership will be hurt in the short term. If this happens, the users will move too. But it's risky.

As for Google retaining ownership of the content, that's definitely evil. It is likely that it was in the T&Cs, but I would like to see it go to court. Sounds like an unfair term to me, which could be quashed.

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FCC will vote to cut off 41 million broadband users this Thursday*

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Seems they've forgotten what "broadband" actually means

But doesn't fiber has lower latency than copper?

In terms of the time taken for a raw signal to travel, over the distances we are talking about there is little-or-no difference.

However, DSL does a lot of work to handle error correction etc. which introduces a delay. This delay increases the worse the signal is. As FTTC will have the DSL equipment much closer to you, and the signal will be better, these delays are decreased. VDSL probably has a lower latency than ADSL, too.

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Nexus 6 would have had a fingerprint reader, but Apple RUINED IT ALL

Dr. Mouse
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Doesn't surprise me

This doesn't surprise me at all. Motorola released a phone in the past (the Atrix, had one and loved it) which included a fingerprint sensor, and AFAIK this was an AuthenTec sensor. If Apple had not bought them, Moto would likely have used the tech again.

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NSA gunning for Google, wants cop-spotting dropped from Waze app

Dr. Mouse
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Re: However...

Oh, and if you think that you just don't need to speed to avoid paying fines (I used to), In Victoria will be fined heavily for being a single kilometer over the speed limit (as measure by them, not you).

The vast majority of cars' speedos read faster than you are going. Therefore, if your speedo indicates that you are doing the speed limit, you will probably be safe. Best to check your own car, though, against GPS or similar.

Incidentally France recently brought in the same rule, and a motorcycle magazine published a large list of bikes and their speedo offsets. While the vast majority read fast, there were a few they flagged up as reading slow. People on these bikes in France would need to be very careful, as they do not accept the excuse of "my speedo said I was under".

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Grand Theft Auto 1997: 'Sick, deluded and beneath contempt'

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Voodoo 2/3DFX support!

I bought my Voodoo 2 for Quake 2. It was incredible!

EDIT: Actually, I bought Quake 2 for my Voodoo 2, now I think about it. I had read the card reviews, bought one, then bought Q2 while wandering around town to show it off. Glad I did, though. Q2 was ace, especially with the Action mod!

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Ross Ulbricht trial Day One: 'I DID invent Silk Road ... but I'm innocent'

Dr. Mouse
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I don't know

I don't know whether he is guilty or not. However, I have to say that his lawyer's defence seems plausible, at least. He sets up an online trading site. Criminals see the potential and take it over. When they see the cops closing in, they set him up to take the fall.

Let's see how it plays out. I suspect that he will go to jail.

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Google v Oracle: US Supreme Court turns to Obama in Java copyright war

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Imagine the worst outcome possible

Hell, I hope 2015 turns out better than the worst parts of my 2014.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Is Microsoft watching this case?

it is expressly legal to implement an API for the purposes of compatibility, which is exactly what Android does

I think this is stretching the definition to breaking point.

Android doesn't implement the API for compatibility. They implement the API because it is easier than writing their own from scratch, and easier for developers (many of whom know Java in some form, so can pick it up easier). It is not done so that Android apps are compatible with existing JVMs (they aren't) or so that existing Java apps would be compatible with Android (again, they aren't).

EDIT: Just to be clear, I'm not siding with Oracle on this. I don't think APIs should be copyrightable.

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Oh not again

Making everyone sensible an outlaw means you will only have the halfwits and the dimwits left on your side

Seeing as one could classify a large proportion of the electorate in that group* I think he'd be fine with that.

* I don't actually think that they are "halfwits and... dimwits", but there is a large group, possibly even the majority of people, who won't notice the idiocy of this plan, won't listen to those who actually understand the problems, and will either just take the words of Dave as read, or will continue voting for "their party" as they always have done. I don't believe that the majority of voters study the policies of those they are voting for in detail or the real effects of them (sometimes because they just don't believe they'll do what they've said anyway, with good reason), and just take a punt based on their gut feeling.

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I don't think you're ready for this Jelly: Google pulls support for Android WebView

Dr. Mouse
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Re: non-event

"Just install another browser and done."

WebView is used in a lot of applications, too. Those won't use the alternative browser you have installed.

I have to say that Google need to put it in the license with manufacturers that they provide timely updates from release to at least 2 years after they discontinue it (so a consumer who buys on the last day gets at least 2 years updates, the normal length of a phone contract). At the very least this should be security updates, but should really be full OS updates.

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Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

But the reality after 6 months and 10k miles in a Model S is that it is genuinely *more convenient to fill with fuel than a conventional car*.

As long as you have somewhere to park, I would definitely agree that this would be the case.

Considering the majority of car usage at the moment could probably be covered by a 30 mile daily range, I think a lot of the range issues are in people's heads. Yes, I occasionally want to do a 200-300 mile journey. But mostly, I want to get to work and back, maybe nip to the shops, or pop out into the country side for a day. These use cases are covered by most electric cars.

A longer journey could be planned for (my brother's next door neighbour goes to Cambridge from Leeds fairly regularly in a Nissan Leaf, and just stops at service stations along the way, getting a free charge while he goes inside for a coffee), but when all is said and done you could probably hire a car for the journey, or get a plane/train and hire a car at the other end.

The main issue for me is price. I'd love an electric car, but they are all significantly out of my price range. However, this is more down to my own buying habits: I tend to buy second hand in the £1-2k bracket, so spending £20-25k (even on finance) is not going to happen. For the sort of person who buys a car on finance anyway, something like a Leaf would be ideal, as long as they had a driveway so they could fit a charging point.

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ALIEN fossils ON MARS: Curiosity snaps evidence of life

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Unconvincing hype @ ST

Your school experiment did not PROVE that sugar dissolves more quickly in warm water. Your school experiment was an empirical direct observation of a phenomenon.

True, that experiment did not prove it. However, it was a demonstration of part of the scientific process. Postulate a hypothesis, determine how to test it, test it, analyse results, repeat. This may involve adding more detail to the hypothesis until it turns into a theory (with details of why), and eventually you prove or disprove it.

Science is all of the above. Without one part, you will not get to the next. The author of this paper has followed the first 2 parts, the rest still needs completing, but it is still science.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Unconvincing hype

"Bumbling about spending billions justifying sending a craft to Mars by comparing pictures that confirm a bias is not science."

Again, that is not what is happening.

She has postulated a hypothesis. This is one, possible explanation.

What you are suggesting is saying "it was probably just erosion, so it's not worth looking". That is not science.

She has suggested her hypothesis and outlined how to test it. There is no bias in it. The tests can be run by the craft which is already there, which will provide data which could support or contradict her hypothesis. This is science.

Occam's razor is a good starting point, but is not the be-all-and-end-all. You cannot hear hoof beats and immediately say "it is definitely a horse". There is a possibility of a zebra, so looking at what is there is a good plan. If you see a horse, great. If you see a zebra, also great. You are no longer guessing.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Unconvincing hype @ ST

"In this particular case, merely asserting that something must be true because photographs of different things appear to indicate a similarity between them does not make it true, let alone a proven scientific fact."

Which is exactly what she is NOT doing.

In the scientific method, you come up with a hypothesis, design some method of testing the hypothesis, do said test, and analyse the results to see if it matches. Here, she has done the first 2.

Let's take a simple one I remember from an early school experiment. The teacher suggested the hypothesis, showing anecdotal evidence (very often the basis for any hypothesis), that sugar dissolves more quickly in warmer water. We designed an experiment, involving heating water to different temperatures, adding equal amounts of sugar, and seeing how long it took to dissolve. We then analysed the results, and concluded that they supported the original hypothesis: Sugar does disolve more quickly in warmer water.

In this case, she has suggested a hypothesis (microbial life existed on Mars) based on anecdotal evidence (the pictures look remarkably similar to pictures of earth structures created by microbial life). She has suggested methods to test this hypothesis. Now, NASA need to carry out those experiments to determine whether they support her hypothesis.

Sounds like science to me.

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Saudi Arabia to flog man 1,000 times for insulting religion on Facebook

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Je suis Charlie...

I agree, this is exactly what I was trying to point out.

The law should be fair and just, whereas human beings (and by extension groups of human beings, including companies) have to weigh up risks in a completely different manner. They can be emotional and irrational.

Taking this theoretical next door neighbour, let's say he committed murder. He completed his sentence many years ago, but is still a large, strong guy. People will be afraid of him. He has killed in the past, so what would stop him doing it again? It doesn't matter that he has not done so since he was released, or that he has dedicated his life to good works since (volunteer work etc.), or even the circumstances surrounding his crime, he will forever be tainted by that.

Now let us say he works hard and gets a good job, but his criminal history is leaked, and this starts affecting the companies business. Clients and/or customers start boycotting the firm. A good employer may try to defend him at first, but if things continue they will be forced to let him go. His career is wrecked by a mistake in his distant past, one which he has paid for under the law, but he will never be able to escape from.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Je suis Charlie...

that this man is a public figure who can influence

Many people in public positions can loose their jobs, and even careers, for something completely unrelated to their job.

Even had he been found not guilty, there would still be a chance the club would ask him to resign or pay him out to get rid of him. A company/club etc. has to look at their image. Anything which would bring the entity into disrepute has to be viewed seriously. A CEO of a large multinational can loose his job over the most trivial of things if they reflect badly on the company. In the end, our actions can reflect (for good or bad) on our employer, and the employer must take into account those reflections.

While I agree that, under the law, once a sentence is served that should be the end of it, this does not extend into the public conciousness. If you know your next door neighbour was convicted of rape/murder/child abuse, the fact he has paid for his crime will not be much reassurance.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: "right to freedom of expression"

A right, granted by the government, can be taken away by the government, and it is thus, not a right, it is a privilege.

While I do agree very strongly with the "right" to free speech, and many others, they are very new concepts, and I would guess that the majority of the populations are not legally or physically entitled to them. To most of the world, these are privileges, ideals to wish for, or pipe-dreams, if they are thought of at all.

We see them in "the West" as rights, but this is only because of the last few hundred years they have become enshrined as such. In fact, these are not rights. Go to a war torn country in Africa, or to China, or to North Korea and you will see this. Hell, we do not even truly have the right to free speech in the UK: Even without looking at the laws on terrorism and religious hatred, look at the laws on slander etc. (and many other areas) and you will see that the "right" is limited.

Many of the "human rights" we hold so dear are privileges granted by our governments, society and moral code. I believe they should be universal rights, but they are not for all but the privileged few in "Western Democracies"(TM).

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Lollipop licked: KitKat still king in Android land

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Android upgrades

Maybe so, but it would allow an upgrade to pure android without the manufacturer even being involved.

In addition, Google could also have specified that any "skin" also use a standard API, which would be maintained between versions and, hence, not break.

I'm not saying I have all the answers, but it would have been possible. The whole "OS" would become a set of clearly defined layers, starting at the HAL, through the base Android system, through to the manufacturer skin and third party apps.

but that's typical engineer thinking, concentrating only on the technical aspect of the problem

I take that as a complement. I am an engineer. I acknowledge that political problems exist, but I'm not the person to solve them.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Android upgrades

I have to agree.

Personally, with hindsight, I believe the design of Android is a little out. What should have been done is have a pure HAL, with a forward compatible API, which the manufacturer makes for the phone, and the OS sits on top of that, compatible back to a certain version of the HAL API. When a new version of Android is released, it can be (almost) immediately installed on any phone with at least a minimum version of that API (albeit possible missing some features due to level of HAL).

This would allow the following process:

* Google releases a new update to Android

* Manufacturers run a set of tests against their current HALs which are compatible

* Manufacturer releases OTA

* If required (e.g. for newer models, or older ones they still wish to support) manufacturer develops and releases upgraded HAL.

This would also engineer in a point of obsolescence. The manufacturer will likely only upgrade the HALs for newish devices, just as they currently only develop OTAs for the newish devices. Therefore, Android would eventually move beyond that HAL version, at which point no upgrades can be performed. However, it would push that date out into the future (as long as Android was maintained with as much backwards compatibility as possible).

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BAN email footers – they WASTE my INK, wails Ctrl+P MP

Dr. Mouse
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While I agree that the legal boilerplate can get annoying at times:

"Enough is enough, Mr Speaker. Never again do we want email chains that say in one line 'Fancy lunch, mate?' and then immediately the one line is followed by 20 undeletable lines of legal officiousness."

Why, in $DEITY's name, are you printing an email which says "Fancy lunch, mate?"?!?! That in itself is a complete waste of paper.

I honestly cannot remember the last time I printed an email. When I have, it has been a long, complicated one containing discussions of specs for a project, which I need to digest and annotate, but it is incredibly rare. It sounds like he is using his email as more of a fax machine, printing everything off and only reading it on paper.

This is a user issue (PEBKAC). He needs to be taught not to print emails.

"It is high time, therefore, that we put a stop to these meaningless politicians that clog up our political system, deplete our printer cartridges of precious ink and cut down forests’ worth of paper. The footer and the header can survive, but let us now condemn the needless idiots to the dustbin of internet history. I commend the bill to the House.”

FTFY

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Toyota to Tesla: we can play the free patent game as well

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Could be useful

The battery powered car can however have more efficient batteries fitted as the technology improves

But it is still specific to the individual vehicle.

The only real option we currently have for quickly "refuelling" a battery-powered vehicle is battery swap technology. However, for this to work with current designs, the "fuel station" needs to have a multitude of different packs available, and would probably need different equipment to change them for each different model.

To implement this effectively, we need a standard battery pack and swap technology for every vehicle, or at least a standard with only a small number of variants. However, this would lead to sub-optimal battery designs, not best suited to the vehicles involved.

Without that, or disruptive new battery technology, the best we can achieve is incremental improvements on the current 20 minute quick charge to c.80%. This is not quick, buy hydrocarbon-powered vehicle standards, and puts off many potential purchasers.

Incidentally, I know of someone who uses his Leaf for journeys from Leeds down to Cambridge. As many service stations have free quick charge points now, he just runs from service station to service station, plugging in and having a coffee. He finds it much more relaxing than just driving, although it does take longer. It also costs him very little.

For the vast majority of people in the UK, I'm certain that current electric cars would cover the vast majority of their use. However, the down sides (having to charge overnight, lack of range if they decide to do a longer trip, image, cost etc.) put most of them off.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Could be useful

no advantage over batteries

I would beg to differ, on this point alone.

The one major advantage is that you can use a large tank for longer range, without it costing the world. Just as with hybrids. Add to that the speed of refuelling vs recharging, and the advantages are clear. I know battery swap tech would mitigate this, but it needs standardising to work across a range of vehicles, which is not at all easy given the different shapes/sizes/specifications of the vehicles.

I do, however, agree with you on all the downsides. Hydrogen is a very impractical fuel. We would be better off developing hydrocarbon fuel cells, particularly ones which would run on a variety of fuels. At some point, that would allow an easy switch from oil-based fuels to synthetic fuels.

Or building nuclear cars.

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Ford recalls SUVs … to fix the UI

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Push-button gear change? Really?

Now try to join into traffic from a 15 degree gradient side street uphill. With someone behind you and minimal visibilty

I agree, this is a less than practical system in such a situation. I certainly prefer a manual hand brake (especially as part of the reason behind a hand brake is for emergency use, when all else fails you have a simple mechanical method of getting some braking).

In this situation, I think I would be introducing a lot of wear on my clutch by balancing it, so I was ready as soon as a gap appeared, although this would depend on the precise circumstances. It would certainly be easier with a manual handbrake.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Push-button gear change? Really?

a button activated handbrake on manual which will work only if you put your foot on the footbrake so you can no longer "start off handbrake uphill"

I drove for Audi for a while after leaving university. Some of their models featured this. However, they also included a hill-start setup whereby you could just use the throttle (and clutch if manual) to set off. Once the car realise you were setting off (putting enough torque down to the wheels) the handbrake released.

Seemed like a brilliant idea. It seemed well designed. Most of the ones I drove were manual, and so you needed the car to be in gear, have high enough revs, and slip the clutch for it to work. I can't remember how it worked on autos.

I can see, though, that it could end up being dangerous in automatics. Left in drive with handbrake on, reach over to get something from the glove box and accidentally press the throttle enough for it to disengage, and you end up either shooting forward or rolling back.

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UKIP website TAKES A KIP, but for why?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: They arent a serious party..

Importing heaps of people who have no realistic chance of getting a job and who will indeed end up being provided for by the welfare system strikes me as a recipe for disaster.

Actually, all the statistics I have seen on the matter show that those who come to this country want to and do work. They find jobs, doing whatever they can for whatever money they can, work hard and provide for themselves and their families.

The problem caused by this is lower employment opportunities and wage deflation for existing workers, particularly at the lower end of the skills range. I still don't believe it is as massive a problem as the 'kippers say. Europe and Immigration are being used as a scapegoat.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: They arent a serious party..

And I suppose you think 60% of voters in clacton are racists/homophones/whatever?

Or just maybe there is a problem with massive immigration onto a small island with already overstretched resources and thats reflected in the rise of a party that a large proportion of the population feels reflects their views.

I do not say that all UKIP voters are racist (although I do believe a significant number are, just like my father-in-law and my wife's grandfather, although they kid themselves that they are not). But I believe the party, itself, to be such.

There is a problem with mass migration, although I do not believe it is as big a problem as some make out.

But then anyone with a brain knows that the london metro liberal view is no longer an intellectual viewpoint but more of a religion nowadays that must not be questioned, and anyone who thinks differently must be lambasted, vilified and generally treated as a pariah for going against the holy texts of The Guardian and Independent.

My views are my own, and quite open to change given a persuasive argument. I do not read any newspapers. To put it succinctly, I do believe mass migration is causing a problem, but I do not agree with UKIP's solution, policies, agenda, or principals. And I think there is plenty of evidence that UKIP, the political party, and many of it's members are bigoted, in one way or another.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: They arent a serious party..

FYI Ukip is currently the only party to ban former BNP members from joining.

This is to present a friendly front. They are BNP-lite. They know how unpopular the BNP are, so want to copy them without the bits which upset people, but as seen in "slip-ups" from members, they hold the same views. They just keep them hidden.

I (unfortunately) know of several former BNP members who now vote UKIP, and they want to join the party. UKIP know that their views appeal to the BNP crowd, because they are practically the same, but need to put distance between them to avoid alienating voters.

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Call from the register?

Dr. Mouse
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Call from the register?

I just had an odd phone call. The quality was very low, so I am unsure whether I correctly heard, and the call cut off before I could get any more details, but they seemed to be claiming to be calling from el'Reg.

I'm just wondering if this is something which would happen. Do you guys make cold calls? I don't even remember filling in my mobile number here.

It's not a problem, really, but I am wary. I have never received a phone call from el'Reg before, and it came from a private number (which I always find untrustworthy). So some confirmation and/or explanation would be helpful.

Thanks in advance

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Sony-blasting Lizard Squad suspects quizzed by UK and Finnish cops

Dr. Mouse
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Re: I always find it horrifying

So, let's stop pretending to be horrified by the justice system and look at prison rape as part of the deterrence

First, I'm not pretending. Second, it's not the justice system, it's the disgusting crime that occurs in prison. And third, if you sanction rape and murder as "part of the deterrent" you may as well be committing it yourself. Hell, while we are at it, let's torture prisoners too. After all, they deserve it.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: assuming he's in it up to his scrawny neck, by now...

I always find it horrifying that people laugh and joke about being raped in prison, seemingly with the attitude that they deserve it. While I get the gallows humour, I don't see how it's really any different to laughing about rapes in general, or excusing them. It's a problem, and a crime, and something which we should be working to put a stop to (like murders in prison), not something to laugh about or threaten people with. Granted, it's a difficult task. Prisons are filled with the scum of the earth, who think they can do whatever they want.

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1,000mph ROCKET CAR project dogged by beancounters

Dr. Mouse
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Bloodhound originally used a Cosworth Formula 1 engine as a fuel pump but with the new sponsorship from Jaguar Land Rover, a 550hp Jaguar engine has been pressed into service.

I may be wrong, but I had heard the reason they are not using a Cosworth F1 engine is because there are no Cosworth F1 engines anymore. They are no longer being produced, due to the change in engine regulations.

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El Reg tests portable breathalyzers: Getting drunk so you don't have to

Dr. Mouse
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Re: UK

Lol, no I'm not really a doctor. I'd love to get a PhD someday to make it true, but I'm just a lowly BEng.

What I put is just my own opinion, and the guidelines I follow. In my younger days, I took the guidelines on face value and had a pint after work, driving home immediately. I am slim build and, looking back, I was unfit to drive. I would also go on heavy nights out, stopping at a friends house and driving home the next day. On several occasions I was unfit to drive then, too, although I never thought so at the time.

Now I stick to soft drinks when I have to drive, and am careful about how much I drink if I have to drive the next day. I'm just glad that I did no harm back when I wasn't so careful.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Drink and drive, a simple rule:

I think you should be done for a minimum of involuntary manslaughter if you hit someone - you made that choice when you got into the car.

I would agree with this, in fact I would go a step further. I think it should be looked at in the same way as "felony murder" in the US: You made the decision to drive drunk, which is a crime. All consequences of that crime should be considered intentional. So if you kill someone, it should be murder. If you crash into another car, it should be treated the same as if you had set out and planned to ram your car into theirs.

It could be taken a stage further than that, even, although I think this one probably goes too far. The fact you have driven drunk means you are accepting the possibility of killing someone, so it could be seen as attempted murder even if you are just pulled over by the cops.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: UK

I've always been advised roughly 1 hour per unit consumed after you finish drinking. However, I did come across an (I think) Excel spreadsheet which calculated it all for you, given details about your drinks, timing, and your weight etc. It was very interesting, but I've not been able to find it again.

I would not trust it, though. I would not normally drink heavily if I know I have to drive the next day, and have used a taxi to get to work before now when "a couple" turns into "stumble in at 2am with a kebab".

Assuming you set off for work at 7am and finish drinking around midnight, I would stick to 2-3 pints at most. On 8 pints, finishing at 2am, you shouldn't expect to be fit to drive till the next evening. You may be fine sooner, but I wouldn't count on it.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: cheap fun BAC readers too inaccurate

Cheaper might be time release alcohol-filled nanoparticles.

I think the point would be that you actually get drunk at the pub, then activate the nanobots when you need to drive. They sober you up, you drive home, then can release the alcohol and get instantly drunk again.

To be honest, I think taxis are a better idea. Drink what you want, and someone else drives you home. One very good idea, though, would be something you could ingest before you go to bed, which aids in clearing the alcohol from your system somehow. This could be by speeding up the bodies own systems to break it down, or some other method. I have no idea how (or if) this could be done...

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