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* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1090 posts • joined 22 May 2007

Compulsory coding in schools: The new Nerd Tourism

Dr. Mouse
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Re: programming in schools is doomed by tick-box culture

Although I don't like it myself, what is wrong with this.

At the end of the day, this way of grading is about getting people to think rather than just do. So, if they have planned the project well, with good structure and style, but a couple of minor errors have stopped the programme from working, they should receive a good mark. In the real world the debugging would then begin.

With the woodworking example, they look to be teaching "measure twice cut once". Plan it well before hand. The planning and design is the real skill, implementation is just following this plan.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Teach thinking, not facts.

I both agree and disagree with you here.

In the workplace, it is often not necessary to hold all the information you require in your head at once. Some facts will be forgotten, and can be looked up. As an example, I often consult man pages and documentation while working to find an obscure syntax which I know exists, but I don't know exactly what it is. This is the same in every proffession and doesn't require the internet: an engineer can look up Laplace transforms in a book, for example.

The problem with this is that to work in this way, the person needs to know it in the first place, know that it exists. The best way to do this is to make those studying learn those facts. This embeds their use into the mindet of the person learning, allowing them to recall their existence year's later. If they have used them day-in day-out for 25 years, they will know them by heart. If they haven't touched them in 25 years, they will know they exist and be able to look up the facts in order to use them.

As for "the Professions become less and less relevant", pull the other one! "The Proffessions" are, in essence, people specialised in a particular field. We will always need this, and we will increasingly need such specialism as human knowledge grows. It doesn't matter that all the information is available at our fingertips: if we do not know it exists in the first place, how are we to find it when we need it?

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Dr. Mouse
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I agree... to a point.

The viewpoint in the article makes some excellent points, although it misses some too.

I believe that part of the reason our (UK) education system has been well regarded throughout the world is that it starts with a broad base but, through GCSE, A-Level and Degree becomes specialised very quickly.

IMHO, the way to introduce kids to programming is to start in primary school. Teach them all a very basic programming language to show them an introduction to coding. This just adds to the broad base of knowledge every kid is exposed to in primary education.

This can be expanded at the beginning of high school (probably as a small part of regular IT lessons). This will then allow those who are interested to take it further at GCSE level etc. This is how other subjects are taught, and it is a very good way to introduce subjects and encourage those with interest or skill in those areas.

Oh, and the courses need to distinguish between programming and ****ing HTML! That confusion winds me up no end!

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Lesser-spotted Raspberry Pi FINALLY dished up

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Pre-ordered boards

Same here with RS, however did the same with Farnell and have ordered one. Don't think it's going to be the first batch, though, but at least the order is placed.

Still trying to decide what to do with it though.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Its not just about programming

Yeah this is all true. Hopefully this will work and we'll end up with "IT" teachers who know something about computers (beyond how to use MS Word)

I remember being thrown out of a computer lesson once (this was using Archimedes, would be about 15-20 years ago). The teacher asked what a RAM disk was. I answered that it was a virtual disk emulated in the computer's RAM. Her reply?

"No, it's Random Access Memory."

When I argued, I was thrown out. From then I decided to keep my mouth shut, do the work, and learn the real stuff about computers on my own.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Learning about computing

I have to agree.

The thing is, with school PCs they need to thoroughly lock down the OS (beyond even what you would see in a corporate environment) to stop kids (especially the clever ones) cocking it all up. I should know, I was one of those kids 15 years ago, and I was the one poking holes in the system until the IT tech realised and asked me (and my friends) to help close the holes (in return for more privileges etc).

So to encourage kids to do real stuff with computers, buy some of these (cheap as chips, if you'll excuse the pun) and let them do as they wish. If they screw it up, swap the SD card for a fresh install and it's working again, unless they have trashed the hardware, in which case they've lost £30 instead of £hundreds.

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WD lets loose ferocious 1TB VelociRaptor

Dr. Mouse
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Re: I still don't get it

"I mean harddisks, particulary such small ones, are only used on initial program load. After that you'll have all the code you need in RAM... It's fairly cheap to have 16 gigs of RAM now."

And what about that first load? Or cold boot? Or if you have more than 16GB of data you wish to deal with quickly.

IIRC it's about £60 for 16GB RAM. Yes, this is pretty cheap, but for around that you could get a 60GB SSD, allowing your OS & at least most programmes to be kept on it, improving both boot and initial programme load times.

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SATELLITE SMACKDOWN: Turnbull vs. Quigley

Dr. Mouse
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OK, stopped reading

when I got to the fourth paragraph and noticed the 2nd spelling mistake of one name.

Please, el'Reg, proof read your articles. If you can't be bothered to do this, I can't be bothered reading them (unless you are going to start paying me to report the mistakes!)

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Apple fights off ebook suit with anti-Amazon defence

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Apple needs a hammering

"Went to publishers and offered the Agency Model where the publisher could set any selling price in iTMS they desired on condition that Apple take 30% of sales and that no one else pays less than the remaining 70%."

AFAIK it was actually "noone else can sell at a lower price".

I may be wrong, but that's the gist I got from the Most Favoured Nation clause: Noone else is allowed to sell cheaper than Apple.

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US sues Apple, publishers over ebook pricing strategy

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Cos while people are daft enough to pay it

The problem, however, is exactly what the music and film industry have faced (although probably to a lesser degree): If people feel like they are getting ripped off, they will look for alternative methods of aquiring the content.

Films are now getting towards an acceptable model with Ultraviolet and physical-to-"digital" availability. I think we need this with books.

For myself, I have a fair collection of paperbacks which I read over and over again. Then I got a Kindle, and I am expected to purchase these books all over again, at a higher price, if I want them on my eReader. Now this is not going to happen.

I take a more moral than legal view on this. I own the book, and have paid for it. I therefore do not consider it wrong for me to find a torrent of this book and download it for my own use.

The problem is that this becomes a slippery slope. I started with this. Then, when I wanted a new book I found the paperback was cheaper than the Kindle version. So I bought the paperback and downloaded a torrent of the eBook. But then it gets you used to downloading the books for free, and I have had to use willpower to hold off just dling it all for free.

I really do think eBooks need to nip this in the bud now and start an ultraviolet-like system, with a paper-to-ebook sceme and automatic licenses, or else they will find everyone just pirates their content and they loose out.

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US ecosystems basically unaffected by global warming, studies show

Dr. Mouse
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Re: PNAS Review

"You choose not to accept that consensus because ... something vague and waffly about politics and bias for which you can give no material examples or specific explanation."

From http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/29/yamal_scandal/:

"From this we know that the Yamal data set uses just 12 trees from a larger set to produce its dramatic recent trend... In all there are 252 cores in the CRU Yamal data set, of which ten were alive 1990. All 12 cores selected show strong growth since the mid-19th century. The implication is clear: the dozen were cherry-picked."

OK, the Register is not a peer reviewed journal, but this is the sort of thing which puts doubts in people's heads (especially as this research was published in a peer reviewed journal, and many other researchers used it's results as a basis, which also made it through peer review). I have read about similar cherry picking in other research from both "sides" of the debate, and there have been other scandals too.

So, as an open-minded person, I have doubts as to the integrity of climate "scientists".

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Selectively picking through the data to create "evidence"

a) It is not random upper case, it was upper case used to emphasise certain words.

b) Politicians butting out was in reference to them commissioning research in such a way that one result is preferred, and will likely result in more research (and therefore money) for those involved if their preferred result is validated.

I agree, in science there is only one side: all scientists work towards finding the truth. However, in an issue such as this, there are 2 sides, as well as a large swathe in between the extreme views. Some supposed scientists and organisations do take a side and this distorts their results. I have seen evidence of both "sides" cherry-picking data to support their preferred results. If this is happenning, how can they be trusted? This applies equally to those denying or confirming man-made climate change.

I am not denying that man-made climate change is going on. I think it is obvious that man affects this planet in an enormous way, but this is not proof. What I would like is to be able to trust the people and organisations doing the research. What I would like is to be sure that those doing the research are scientists.

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Dr. Mouse
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Stop

Re: Selectively picking through the data to create "evidence"

BOTH SIDES work in this way. The argument is so political now that people doing REAL science are few and far between.

I am on neither side of the argument. I have seen evidence produced by both sides, but I am unable to trust the majority due to the political interference I see. What we need is for politicians, corporations and biased organisations to but out. We need real, unbiased research, utilising all available data (no cherry-picking, a technique used by BOTH sides) and analysing it in an open, honest way (open to scrutiny by all). That is science, and that is NOT what we have seen so far.

Well, I can dream. I think I will see a herd of swine migrating south first...

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Sky News admits two counts of computer hacking

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Just thinking

Well, that depends. I know several.

Maybe I should post this AC... Nah. Never have yet, if I don't want someone to know it's me posting, I don't post it.

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Dr. Mouse
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"dose that mean it's in the public interest for The Register to hack my adult hook-up website accounts to see who I'm banging?"

That depends. If you are banging a celeb or public figure, or are a celeb or public figure, the public would be interested. I wouldn't, but the "public" would be.

Personally, I don't think the public being interested is the same as "the public interest", but Sky News would probably agrue they mean the same.

By the way, which adult hook-up website? You've got me interested now. LOL

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Minecraft maker plots ultimate videogame for coders

Dr. Mouse
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Geektastic!!!

Can't wait!

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Ofcom calls for end to 0800 charges on mobiles

Dr. Mouse
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s/inside the company/inside the country/

I really should proof read before hitting "Submit"!

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Dr. Mouse
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"Why the reputable companies don't publish their geographic helpline number as well as the 08* non-geographic helpline number baffles me."

Doesn't baffle me: the companies get a share of revenue from 08 numbers. So essentially you are paying both the network and the company you are calling.

If you use the geo alternative they don't get paid. That's why they don't like you ringing their "international" number from inside the company.

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Google shows off Project Glass augmented reality specs

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Yes please!

"My wife thinks it's creepy but I'd seriously go whole hog and have "chipped" vision (c.f. Altered Carbon) with seamless audio and video integration to my perception."

Apple's next product: The eyePhone.

(NB: credit must be attributed to Futurama for this one)

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OCZ's new Vertex 4 SSD: Faster... and slower

Dr. Mouse
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Re: FFS

"Also, is it just me or is saying random IOPS redundant - aren't IOPS always assumed to be random where sequential is expressed in MBs?"

I know it is a minority of cases, but I have seen both measured in both units. i.e. I have seen random 4k reads measured in MB/s, and I am sure I have seen one where sequential performance has been measured in IOPS. I would prefer they continue to specify "random IOPS" (in fact my preference would be to include transfer size and queue depth), as this avoids the case where someone quotes 18 gazillion IOPS with "sequential 1bit reads" in the small print.

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SHOCK! FIFA 12 goalie does it doggy style with striker

Dr. Mouse
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Coat

Bit below the belt, if you ask me!

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Home Sec: Web snoop law will snare PAEDOS, TERRORISTS

Dr. Mouse
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"This would all seem to be deeply cynical and paranoid, except when you take into account history on various other laws ( RIPA, Terrorism Act, POCA etc etc...)"

Don't forget the extradition treaty changes with the US, which were brought in to streamline the extradition of terrorists, and is now used against anyone.

At the end of the day, this really does stink of 1984. Maybe Orwell was a prophet?

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Game of Thrones Blu-ray disc set

Dr. Mouse
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The best

I have to say that the books of A Song Of Ice And Fire are in my top 3 fantasy book series, the other 2 being Lord of the Rings and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. All three are excellent, although so different I cannot choose a favourite.

However, Game of Thrones is most definitely my favourite fantasy TV/Film. They have portrayed the world wonderfully, keeping in so much detail I haven't noticed anything missing yet (which is what spoiled the Lord of the Rings film for me), and yet it also hasn't spoiled my enjoyment of the books. Even better, my SWMBO likes it too, and has even started reading the books because of it!

I am seriously considerring buying a Blu Ray Player just for this. I can call it my Game of Thrones player, and it can sit in the corner until I want to revisit this fantastic Epic.

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What does the Titanic's sinking tell us about modern science?

Dr. Mouse
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Yes, the moral of the story of Titanic is:

"Don't hit an iceberg!"

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IPv6 networking: Bad news for small biz

Dr. Mouse
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Re: The author hasn't really checked out IPv6.

"They wanted to push the 'end' of ipv6 so far out that we'd have other issues to worry about, like the heat death of the universe, or capturing all the solar output for power generation. And some time in the future that forward looking will save us untold billions/trillions in not having to upgrade every device on our planet again."

Plus, the nanobots will only have devoured half our planet.

http://3d.xkcd.com/865/

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Google planning to brand and sell Android tablets

Dr. Mouse
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Oppinions of UIs are very subjective. Personally, I love my Android UI (CM7 using LauncherPro) on my phone. My other half doesn't, and prefers her iPhone (we have both used both).

Price-wise, I completely agree. The way Android phones seemed to take off was the number of good-but-cheap models available. The drastically undercut Apple, increasing market share (Apple only have one price point, expensive, limitting their market). As market share increased, so did the quality of UI, hardware, and apps, helping increase market share even more.

This hasn't happened with tabs: Cheap ones are mostly terrible Chinese knockoffs, so bad reviews put people off buying 'droid tabs in general. High spec ones are great, but compete for the same market as Apple, and most of that market are already fanbois (plus, from what I have seen, the iPad is better as a tab than any droid-based offerrings).

What is needed is a killer low-priced reasonable-performance droid tab. The £150-£200 point is where I see the sweet spot, although look how well the ZTE Blade (Orange SanFransisco) did at £100. If Googorola can get something into the market at the £150 point, I think it will make a world of difference.

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Disappearing bees mystery: Boffins finger regicide pesticides

Dr. Mouse
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Re: "fuzzy flower-furtlers"

Yep, I loked this one too :)

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BOFH: Dawn raid on Fort BOFH

Dr. Mouse
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Re: I nominate

@Nigel 11

"A dead mouse (the sort with a ball. Less often, the sort with two)."

You mean the sort which *should* have a ball, but no longer does.

Pointing-device castration: just say no!

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Republicans shoot down proposed ban on Facebook login boss-snoop

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Well said...

@Gil Grissum

I agree with you completely. Point 2, the Facebook T&Cs state:

3.5: "You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else."

3.12: "You will not facilitate or encourage any violations of this Statement"

4.8: "You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account."

So, the user is breaking the T&Cs if they provide their login details to their employer. If the employer (or the person within the organisation asking for their info) is on Facebook, they are also breaking the T&Cs by soliciting the login details and encouraging them to violate the T&Cs.

However, I cannot fully support your post due to your use of "irregardless". One of my pet hates, it's "regardless of the lies".

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Bio student thrown in the clink for Muamba Twitter rant

Dr. Mouse
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Re: And the lesson of this is...

"Height and intelligence are just as important, yet no one gets jailed (yet) for mocking short or stupid people."

No, you just get jailed for being a stupid person, as this case demonstrates.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: shame

"As some one who knows him personally...."

Do you know if he is planning to appeal this massive knee-jerk overreaction by the judiciary?

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Dr. Mouse
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Eh?

'District judge John Charles told the third-year undergraduate... that his sentence had to "reflect public abhorrence"'

Why? This, in itself, sounds like a slippery slope.

Public oppinion should count for nothing in a court of law. The law is written, case law developes, this sets the framework (along with taking into account motivation, consequences and likelihood of reoffending). To "reflect public abhorrence" in a sentence makes the court far too political for my liking. Public oppinion changes so much (not long ago making racist comments would not have been seen as offensive by the majority, nor would homophobic or sexist comments) that it should not be used in a fair, unbiased judicial system.

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Everything Everywhere's 4G monopoly stalled by Ofcom

Dr. Mouse
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Simple solution

It may not be acceptable to everyone, but the simplest solution would be to allow EE to deploy 4G, but on the condition that it allowed it's competitors to use that network (at a regulated price point) until the others have the ability to deploy (with some overlap to allow them to catch up). This provides the best solution from the consumer's point of view.

Doubt it will happen, though. Common sense rarely wins.

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Braben sticks knife into secondhand games market

Dr. Mouse
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Flame

"the idea of a game selling out used to be a good thing, but nowadays, those people who buy it on day one may well finish it and return it."

Then make games which take longer to finish!

If a game takes 3 days to complete, they player is well within his rights to sell it on, and that means the person going to buy it 3 days after release can buy second hand.

If a game takes 3 months to complete, the people buying in the first 3 months have to buy new.

The game industry (and other media industies) trying to stop second-hand sales is disgusting. If you have finished with something you have bought, why the hell shouldn't you sell it on again?

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Big Media drags 142,000 through UK's courts IN A YEAR

Dr. Mouse
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I like the BBC. I enjoy their programming. I like the fact that it has no adverts.

However, I would completely agree that the TV license is regressive. TV has become a large part of everyday life for most of the population. In fact, you could argue that it is more important for the poorer sections of society as the richer end of the scale have much more entertainment options open to them.

There are only 2 ways to address this:

1) Spin the BBC off into a commercial broadcaster, removing all restrictions and the TV license (and, I think, destroying the BBC in the process), or

2) Get rid of the license fee and roll the amount generated by it into income-based taxation.

I actually believe 2) should be done with most taxes. Take the current total tax income gathered by the govt and roll it all into an income-based tax increase. The books balance, but it is completely progressive.

It won't happen, though. The government prefers having lots of complicated taxes so people can't see how an increase will hit them till it's too late.

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UK Home Secretary approves TVShack's O'Dwyer extradition

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Couple of questions

"based on the location of the web server"

I am fairly sure I read that all services were hosted in the UK.

Even if they weren't, the site was developed in the UK, so some part was done in the UK.

I wish a lawyer would come on and explain this. May have to try to convince OutLaw to do a write up...

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Couple of questions

@Androgynous Cupboard

IANAL, but looking at what you quoted there, he is not elligible. Looking at both statements, they say "but no part of it in the UK". He was in the UK, and so were his servers, hence part of it was in the UK. Whether or not the rest applies, surely it must hold that part of the "offence" occured in the UK.

As a side note, from now on I am making any sites I run inaccessible from the US. I don't know US law, can't afford to hire a US lawyer and do not wish to be subject to US law, so I shall block all US IP addresses. Simples.

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Dr. Mouse
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WTF?

I have 2 main gripes

1) The treaty IS unballanced, and this should be redressed. I am unsure what good this would do in the cases publicised so far, but it needs sorting.

2) As many pointed out here, he did all this in the UK, AFAIK hosted on UK servers. To extradite him to the US when all his actions were in the UK is rediculous! There is something to the extradition of McKinnon (as he "hacked" US computers), although I still think he acted in the UK so should be dealt with here. When it gets to the point where someone can act soley in the UK and be extradited to the US, we really do have "Team America - World Police". We all need to learn about US law as that applies here thanks to a spineless UK government and a US govt which thinks it's entitled to police the world.

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PhD pimp's mobe lock screen outwits Feds - Google told to help

Dr. Mouse
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WTF?

I am currently working on securing a phone against this, and finding it is much more difficult than I at first thought (to secure, not to break into, that's easy).

The only possible reason I can see for doing this is procudure, whereby the evidence may be seen as being tampered with. But getting data from an Android device when you physically have access to it, "secured" or not, is fairly trivial, and in the case of the FBI direct access to the flash chip, as a final resort, should be feasible.

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iPlayer repeat fees threaten BBC earthquake

Dr. Mouse
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Implementation details are key

This is a very good idea... IF it is implemented properly.

BBC Worldwide already sell DVDs of popular series, but it is not worthwhile them doing so if not many people will buy them. This changes with online distribution, so those series which would never have made it to DVD could be made available for download, a win for the consumer.

Also, will the media be made available to "buy" (i.e. keep and own forever), "rent" (view once), or both at different price points? I hope the third option. There are many "old" BBC shows which never made it to DVD which I would be willing to pay a decent amount for to buy, but would not pay to rent, yet there are some I just want to catch up on, so view once, and wouldn't pay "buy" prices for them.

I would also say they should restrict the "free" iPlayer to those with a TV license, but allow non-license-holders access to the content for a fee. It's not really fair to license holders that those who don't pay can use iPlayer top view the programmes a few hours later.

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Speedy 3D printer creates 285µm Formula-1 speedster

Dr. Mouse
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: (click to enlarge)

See icon, I will accept cash, cheque, PayPal or bank transfer. Please contact me at iam@joking.com :)

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Flying Spaghetti Monster's works spotted in space

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Proof is in the skies

@LaeMing: That's just another of his noodley appendages. It may look like a middle finger, but if you look closer it's 2 meatballs and a noodle...

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US Justice Department threatens Apple and publishers with court battle

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Why..

Because that would be in violation of their agreement with Apple. As they want their books to be available on Apple devices, they need to keep Apple happy, and Apple don't want anyone to be allowed to charge less than they do.

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Yet another iPhone patent lawsuit

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Things have taken an even more dangerous turn in recent years.

"That's right, because nothing was invented before the 14th Century AD."

OK, sorry, I get your point.

What I meant was that it provides an extra incentive to advance. Obviously people will still invent, but there is a greater encouragement to invent AND share the knowledge if you have protection from others copying it.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: How does FRAND work for a 3rd party

Interesting question.

I would guess it is part of the standards process, like the FRAND requirement, that FRAND transfers on sale, but I don't know for certain. It would seem bonkers that such a clause wasn't there.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Things have taken an even more dangerous turn in recent years.

@a_been:

"Of course we must remember that the original reason for patent law... was to limit trade to the detriment of the people within the nation that the patent was granted."

AFAIK, this was not the original purpose.

From what I have read, the reason for patents was to encourage the disclosure of new ideas while protecting the person who came up with the idea.

In order to get a patent, the idea must be published with detailed descriptions of how it works. The knowledge is therefore spread, while the patent holder is able to monetise their idea through the protection of the patent. Anyone can then use the idea in the patent to develop it further, or encorporate it in another idea, hence advancing human knowledge, but they must negotiate with the original patent holder to actually use it.

In a world without patents, any new idea would be produced as a black box, or would be copied as soon as it was released. Human advancement would be held back because either knowledge would not be spread or many people would not bother to develop as they would not be able to make money from it.

The bad part in patents, IMHO, is that companies can own them and trade them. Also people do not have to use them. I believe all patents should have to be held by the individual who had the idea, they should not be traded (licensing is fine), and there should be an invalidation on non-use within a certain timeframe.

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UK.gov holds summit to stop satnav-driven smash-ups

Dr. Mouse
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Minor correction...

"Last month, Confused.com said that satnavs had caused more than £203m worth of damage to drivers on UK roads in the last year, with 83 per cent of 2,000 survey respondents admitting to the site that they'd been misled by their soothingly voiced machines."

Should read:

"Last month, Confused.com said that stupid drivers had caused more than £203m worth of damage on UK roads in the last year, with 83 per cent of 2,000 survey respondents admitting to the site that they were too stupid to apply any common sense to the instructions from their soothingly voiced machines."

I use a sat nav all the time. It is a guide only, and I look up directions first to make sure I have a rought idea of where I am going. If it tells me to go the wrong way down a one way road (or similar) I ignore it. If the instructions don't match what I remember from looking it up myself, I pull over and make sure. A little common sense goes a long way. I am often told I have no common sense, but I have more than these numpties!

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iOnRoad Augmented Driving

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Safe driving distance

As far as I am aware, the 2 seconds is the length of time it takes for you to stop. I.e. if he stopped instantly, you would stop in time.

I am not certain of this, so correct me if I'm wrong.

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Robot NIGHTMARE sets new leggy-bot speed record

Dr. Mouse
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Re: How far / fast will it go...

I would guess 0mph, 0 miles (after it has fallen over of course).

The reason it is run like that is because it doesn't (in it's current form) have onboard power. Hence it will fall over and not move.

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Audi shows off OLED-illuminated concept R8

Dr. Mouse
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Joke

Re: the blue strips are

"There's no bad publicity, so why didn't they stick something long and and glowing pink into its rear?"

It's an Audi. If it ever reaches the road, it will already have a dick inside it.

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