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* Posts by David_H

96 posts • joined 30 Apr 2010

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New voting rules leave innocent Brits at risk of SPAM TSUNAMI

David_H
Big Brother

Not all can opt out

As a Parish Councillor my details have to appear on the Open Register, and I guess that it's the same for anyone else in public office. Up until now, I've not been bothered with too much junk mail (I am signed up to both the Mail Preference Service and the Royal Mail door-to-door opt out), but this has me slightly concerned that I'll suddenly be inundated. If there's too much junk mail as a result of this, I'll just stop being a public minded individual and stop being a Parish Councillor so that I can come off the Open Register.

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Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart

David_H

Re: They have to dump power in Europe

Hawaii has such a problem with this that they are refusing to connect up any more houses with solar panels

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10Gbps over crumbling COPPER: Boffins cram bits down telco wire

David_H
Happy

Re: not round here

If BT won't provide super fast broadband, then you have the option of rolling your own with a willing commercial friend. We are looking at 1Gbps FTTP for our cluster of rural villages, with the digging (hopefully) starting in the autumn and all finished before Christmas.

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Satellite 'net hype ignores realpolitik

David_H
Boffin

Or you can roll your own!

At least in the UK; when BT have decided it might cost them a bit of their own money to connect you - so they won't - then you can get together and pay a company to do it.

We've gone with a respectable small company, who can install all the fibre (yes FTTP!) much cheaper than any alternative, and connect up our group of small rural parishes.

We will be able to get 50Mbps for a similar price to similar BT and Virgin offerings, but can go anywhere up to 1000Mbps (1Gbps) for private residences and 10Gbps for businesses. (The £4 1Gbps for the weekend deal will definitely be used every time we have anyone to stay!)

I've had to do a lot of running around the parishes to get people on board, but it's going to be worth it! The main objection I've heard is to the solution being a monopoly, whereas BT have to share (nicely?).

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Potato in SPAAAAACE: LOHAN chap cooks up stratospud with Heston Blumenthal

David_H

Julie / Heston

In the photograph he appears to be unzipping her top - is this where the 'Red Top' papers would start their story?

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Bill Gates-backed SOLAR POO RAYGUN COMMODE unveiled

David_H
Mushroom

Nothing new - move on

Most parts of the world have in the past, or still are, using "cow cakes" for cooking. It's certainly not uncommon for them to be 'cut' with other sorts of 'cake'.

Yet another case of more money than sense.

Sorry, but I couldn't resist the urge to use the "eat this" icon!

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Mathematicians spark debate with 13 GB proof for Erdős problem

David_H

Proof

Err... "random sequence of 1 and -1 must have an offset" is the laymans simplification.

Emperical evidence is looking at a badly wired Ethernet link (i.e. one that is truly floating). Here the +1 and -1 charges should cancel if they are equal in number. (A day of general Ethernet traffic could be considered as a random sequence.) But you will find that the charge will float in one direction or the other over time, indicating a bias for +1 or -1 in the signal.

Or is this just too much of an over simplification?

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Volunteers slam plans to turn Bletchley Park into 'geeky Disneyland'

David_H
Boffin

We are the only people that care because ...

The readers of The Register are the only people who can actually understand how the Bombe works.

The management just walk in an say "Ah, that looks pretty!"

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David_H
Megaphone

Re: A gap between policy and delivery

Disclaimer: I am trustee of a number of charities.

Trustees do not need to spend vast sums of money on consultants, they just need to have the conviction of their investigations, experience and gut feelings, and go for it. But that does require them to actually know about the organisation they are trustees for!

What we are seeing here are trustees who don't understand what is so special about the site, the museum collections, the human history, and the insight the volunteer's bring. Because they don't understand it they have no conviction of feeling, so they outsource that to consultants as an expensive insurance (if it goes tits-up, they can blame the consultants and escape Scott-free.)

Trustees have to ensure that a charity is run in the best interests of the charity (follow its mission statement if you will). That doesn't mean making lots of money, or hiving it all off to a few fat-cat employees - in fact by definition a charity shouldn't make a profit! And a charity can't just change its mission statement; for instance a dog's home suddenly changing to become a cat's home, or a site dedicated to the preservation of an important part of national history changing to become a theme park.

I often hear the term "professional management team". To me this just equates to people who have never worked on the shop floor, but instead went to the right school and have made a living lurching from disaster to disaster just before they are found out. They should never be allowed near any position of responsibility and certainly never near a charity! In one national charity that I’ve been involved in for over 30 years, (but I am not a trustee for), the CEO’s wage accounts for 1/8 of all spending and the head office staffing over 55% and yet the mission statement says “run by the members for the members”!

</rant>

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Google gobbles Wi-Fi thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 BEEELLION IN CASH

David_H
WTF?

Innovation?

We had an automated office, with everything from voice controlled flourescent lighting, to DECT based control, to local radio networks linking lights, heating, curtains, music, video cameras, etc. all in the mid 1990's. Although in those days remote access was via IP or text messages on your phone. If you can find it on a way-back machine the company was CPSL (Creative Products and Systems Ltd, in Lutterworth UK) and the product range DSS (Distributed Smart System). The graphical user interface had all the knobs, LED's etc. that you would expect and was based on the earlier Signal Centre product (a fore runner of Lab View)

Who can claim any of this is new and patentable?

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Boffins: On my command, unleash REMOTE CONTROL BULL SPERM

David_H
Coat

Hmm...

There seems to be an element of bull in this .....

Also worth mentioning that they are designed to swim a lot further than the human variety.

My coat's the one with a Young Farmers Mag in the pocket!

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Inside IBM's vomit-inducing, noise-free future chip lab

David_H
Black Helicopters

At least they won't fall asleep at work!

My personal experience from trying to sleep in caves is that absolute silence makes sleeping impossible. There are mud lined passages where you can't even hear your own breathing at rest. It is very disconcerting and disorienting.

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'MacGyver' geezer makes 'SHOTGUN, GRENADE' from airport shop tat

David_H
Happy

Re: @Don Jefe

And many farmers have degrees anyway! (Agricultural degrees and others)

Young Farmer's rallies often have competitions such a trebuchet construction and accuracy in use (in large fields!) Or pumped water, or pumped air, or catapault launch systems! Or making fighting vehicles al la "Scrap Heap Challenge"

It's a good job they are the salt of the earth!

"Get orf my land" takes on a whole new threat level when you know about this.

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The micro YOU used in school: The story of the Research Machines 380Z

David_H

Great article

380Z was the second computer at school (a South West Technical Projects box preceeded it) and I still continued to use it when the BBC's came along. I preferred Z80 to 6502 assembler in class, and it was a 'proper' computer to use when I ran the computer room (aged 12-18) and I let in others to play Chuckie Egg on the BBC's.

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400 million Chinese people can't speak Chinese: Official

David_H

Hungarian!

Enough said - or more usually not!

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Space-walker nearly OPENED HELMET to avoid DROWNING

David_H

Re: Drowned in space...

There was a case of a Cave Rescue Voulenteer drowning part way up the big pitch in Rowten Pot Yorkshire whilst on a rescue.

RIP Dave Anderson

And many apologies if I've misremembered any of this.

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How do you drive a supercomputer round a Formula 1 track?

David_H
Boffin

Re: 15 to 16 Mb per lap

I did the first in car telemetry for Arrows (that ages it and me quite a bit!) in the days of Warwick and Cheever!

At 1200baud we could get 3 complete packets of data as the car passed on the old Silverstone pit straight - essentially the same data as the driver saw.

We also did timing beams and timing computers (Acteltime) and very naughtily used Yagi antenna’s to transmit remote speed trap data to the pits, but as the previous person mentioned trees and hills made it a little tricky (for Spa there was no point in taking any remote transmission, but just rely on end-of-day dumps of the data when the remote computers came in.)

[I took a proper IT course, digital and analogue electronics, assembler and high-level software, and telecommunications (nearly all analogue including antenna design!]

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Love in an elevator.... testing mast: The National Lift Tower

David_H

Great view

I was lucky enough to get a tour when it was still in use, but that meant climbing the stairs!

Until the advent of satelite imaging on the web, it was the best view of Northampton you could get from the ground.

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Badger bloodbath brouhaha brings 'bodge' bumpkin bank burgle bluster

David_H
Alert

Taste and other thing

What does badger taste like?

Rank, and that's if you can get over the smell !

They are a bloody menace on the roads - they wait in the hedge bottom until the last moment, apparently hypnotised by the lights, before running into your car. If you're not driving something with plenty of ground/bumper clearance it's always costly - and most of the time they shake their heads and run off to do it again later! Imagine hitting a medium sized pig, but with attitude!

On the science front, all the well done studies are indicative of a positive effect on bovine TB in areas of culls, but as in Eire there are nearly always other factors involved; better biosecurity and annual tests of cattle, for instance. IIRC in the past 30 years ROI bovine TB has dropped hugely whereas in the UK, with no similar controls, it has increased to similar levels from almost nothing.

From someone with a finger on the farming pulse, and a scientist I would want to see this current trial continue without hindrance from the protestors so that we can get good result from which proper conclusions can be taken - I fear this will not happen, as in all the other publicised trials – ruin the trial and the badgers will be culled without us getting useful data, either way. But, I would also like to see other trials taking place with better biosecurity for one, and secondly, annual TB testing in herds and testing before shipping. Yes, the second two will be more costly in monetary value, but will have a better publicity value – something that is important with farmers’ milk customers. A combination of the results of three trials like this will show how much each of them actually plays in the studies from Eire etc. where they have been combined into one study.

And for those of you who just blame farmers for bringing this on themselves through cost-cutting measures and general sloppiness, I can assure you that we have one of the most regulated farming industries in the world, with top welfare standards, unlike much of the cheap imports that fill the supermarket shelves. UK farmers have always known that contented, well fed animals produce the best meat or milk. (Different milking herds even have differing preferences over which radio station is playing in the milking parlour!) As with everything else, you have to pay a little more to get the quality product produced in the best way, and if you can’t find British on your supermarket shelf, please support your local butcher or shop.

Young Farmers Clubs (open to anyone aged 10-26 and with an interest in the future of the countryside, be that farming, conservation or communities) often debate such topics and ensure that both sides of any topic are well known to all members. Having well informed young people from a mix of town and country backgrounds has helped to provide a good framework for the evolution of the countryside for over 80 years. This type of background means that most farmers have a very good understanding of rural matters from all sides. Please don’t castigate them as gun toting eco terrorist; find out all that they really do to keep the countryside in as good health as people expect. Respect that they have to keep a balance between nature and nurture. Engage with them and allow them to continue evolving based on the results of well-run trials without ruining them.

It is not incongruous that I can work at the forefront of aerospace electronics and computing design, and still be Deputy President of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs. I am part of the future of the countryside, just the same as everyone else, and through Young Farmers we give young people from all backgrounds a voice in that future. Everyone has a voice, make it well informed, and let them have a choice.

This was my personal rant, and not necessarily representative of anyone else.

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Airbus imagines suitcases that find themselves

David_H
FAIL

I thought that they did this?

18 years and 2 weeks ago I took my wife to Switzerland for a last holiday before children.

We flew with Swiss Air from the UK, and had a train and taxi journey to the hotel once in Switzerland, purchased as a whole from the airline. We left our baggage at check-in in the in the UK and it was in our hotel room when we arrived. When we left it was collected from the hotel and was on the baggage carrousel when we arrived back in the UK. Having not travelled by air for pleasure since, I had just assumed that this was the normal state of affairs. Obviously not!

Why do we need RFID, when the bags all have barcodes?

Why does end-to-end baggage transport not work?

The airline industry has not improved as a customer experience over the past 18 years!

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UK.gov blows a fuse at smart meter stall, sets new 2020 deadline

David_H
Thumb Up

Didn't get one

I recently had to have my meter replaced as the old one was genuinely faulty.

The engineer had to find an old style meter from the depths of his van to replace it with as we have no 2G telephone coverage in our area - result!

And as we have just had a new meter, I expect us to be last in the line for an 'upgrade' to a snooping/remote kill one. Hopefully they will be a little more secure by then.

I have a real-time usage monitor and report my meter reading every month to the supplier. What positive will a smart meter give me?

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Thousands rally behind teen girl cuffed, expelled in harmless 'explosion'

David_H
Happy

Simple evolution

Crow scarer up the exhaust of an amorous couple - check

Contact explosives on the floor of the showers in the girls dorm at college - check

Fertiliser and diesel – check

Talking to from plod. “Show us how to do it. Wow! Now stop!” - check

Make things that go into space - check

It's simple evolution - but then most North American's don't believe in that either

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COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO: NASA rovers scrawl giant willy on Mars

David_H
Joke

Top Gear

How many times do people need to be told not to let Top Gear drive their cars?

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MI5 test for Mandarin-speaking snoops 'just too easy'

David_H
Mushroom

"Rice in" very funny!

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Nexus 1 put in orbit to prove 'in space, no one can hear you scream'

David_H
FAIL

Scream

No-one in space, but what about all the tax payers, who have to fund this drivel!

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Oklahoma cops rake ashes of 'spontaneous combustion' victim

David_H
Joke

The death is easy to explain

What this poor person had done to receive the wrath of the BOFH is harder to find out!

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AMD: Star Trek holodecks within reach

David_H
Happy

Re: Holodecks aren't just about processing power

There are various military simulators where the floor is essentially made of roller balls that returns you to the centre of the simulation area as you walk around. Obviously doesn't work for multiple people walking to/from each other though.

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Wind-up bloke Baylis winds up broke, turns to UK gov for help

David_H

Re: Sympathy for him but

The WW2 hand cranked generator/radio was my inspiration for a small, transistorised version as part of my early 1980's Craft, Design and Technology O Level. Power storage (really not more than smoothing of the cranking) was from a large capacitor, the rest of the circuit gleaned from wireless magazines. Being a spotty school boy, I wouldn't have dared to call anything other than the vacuum molded plastic box original.

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BT to end traffic throttling - claims capacity is FAT

David_H
Headmaster

U nit

Kft not Km

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Aw grandad, I asked for an iPad and you got me an iPod

David_H
Childcatcher

Re: ipod

Pea-pod - IPod

Pee-pad - IPad

Hmm... I thought that it was a good joke on each occassion. Obviously my sense of humour is not as common as I thought!

The Galaxy I bought her is the envy of her firends at school who were bought other alternatives (including Ipads) as they found it to be the easiest to use (they've spent all afternoon with their teachers comparing their tablets). The only thing that she and her friends report not being able to do that their Ipad endowed friends can do is access some free OU books. Listening to music, watching videos, downloading homework and uploading the answers (in Microsoft and other formats), etc. she and her friends have been able to do on all the devices. (Although some devices needed paid for apps to achieve the required functionality.)

Of course the fanbois will claim that even though the tabs have similar capabilities, I've failed my daughter because I have not bought into the 'cult of Jobs'.

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David_H
Devil

ipod

A few years ago my (then 9yo) daughter wanted an ipod for Christmas. Image the video of Christmas morning when she opened the correctly sized box to find a pea-pod inside and then the relief when the other present was an ipod.

Fast forward to this year when she wanted an ipad and got a neatly wrapped box with a Tenna Max inside it (pee-pad). Her other present was a Galaxy tab.

Am I the worst father out there?

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Crushing $1.17bn Marvell patent judgment could set record

David_H
FAIL

Ahem...

"This is why Alexander Graham bell actually had to have a working phone before he could patent it."

As made by Antonio Meucci who had already patent letter for it!

So not a good example.

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CSIRO mine safety tech becomes archaeological tool

David_H
Thumb Up

Spring

How gloriously simple!

I would be suprised if they gathered a full 3D image with a spring mount though.

I designed something a little similar in the 90's, but I had a couple of mirrors to bounce the beam around, and could never get over the magnetic effects of the stepper motors driving them, so in the end that (and babies) forced it to be dropped. (I had inclinometers and magnetometers to work our which way up and in which direction the box was pointing when the laser was spinning round)

I matched the current 3D readings to the last set I took, a second before, to work out if/where I had moved and so did not have to worry about the harshness of bumps that the kit would take. Where there were junctions in the passageways I used to note these on the UI, and when I returned to this spot to map the other exits at the junction, I used this to identify the spot (I just could not get an accurate match up automatically if I had turned off the box on the return from the first passage end which I had to do to preserve battery life)

I even had a website to catalogue caves across the world, but the search engines of the internet superceeded what I had achieved. <GRUMBLE> And when I closed down the site, the hosting organisation kept ignoring my requests to close my account (every month for over 2 years). AFAIK it (Fishnet) is still sending ever increasing bills to the defunct email addresses 8+ years on! </GRUMBLE>

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Wikipedia doesn't need your money - so why does it keep pestering you?

David_H
Thumb Down

Agree

I've only tried to correct something once. With citations to peer reviewed sources and reports from government bodies.

It was deleted within hours. I try not to rely on Lie-pedia for anything.

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Vatican shrugs off apocalypse, fiddles with accounts dept

David_H
Thumb Up

Vogons

I'll have my thumb up for a lift on Friday then

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Parliament to unleash barrage of criticism on Snoopers' Charter

David_H

Re: Remember the innocent have nothing to hide!

And when anyone ever says that to me, I always ask them how much they earned last year.

I've only ever had one person tell me, and their wage is published in an anual report, so they can't keep that part of their income secret anyway!

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Intel prepping Atom bombs to drop on ARM microservers

David_H
Holmes

Even older?

If we are looking at low power server class computing how about a Feb 2004 "mini-cluster"

http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/cluster/?p

Very impressive with the consumer tech available at the time!

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Revealed: ITU's deep packet snooping standard leaks online

David_H

Standards

As with so many 'standards' from so many 'authoritative organisations' it is a loose collection of the specifications of the first products on the market. There is no attempt to create a 'best practice' in the standard, just an attempt to include what is on the market.

There are very few standards that are actually defined before products hit the marketplace.

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Slideshow: A History of Intel x86 in 20 CPUs

David_H

Re: Intel competitors

It was a NEC V series processor.

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A history of personal computing in 20 objects part 2

David_H
Happy

EPSON HX-20

Remember that the HX-20 also had two other really innovative peripherals in a portable:

• a speech generation unit

• a brail generator

Its younger brother the PX-4 was used for F1 timing systems (all coded in assembler and hijacking the barcode input for timing beams, by yours truly)

Epson also produced the QX-16 desktop on which I could run the same programs under DOS or CPM!

And the EHT-10, a hand-held with integral printer option (much loved by traffic wardens in Westminster in the late 1980’s, and by the Concorde baggage loaders)

Ah... life was so much simpler when a ROM disassembly was you bible!

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Arduino barebones board upgraded with 32-bit ARM

David_H
Facepalm

Nice

But is sold out on the Arduino web-store!

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Sanitary towel firm's 'CEO' sets traumatised man straight

David_H
Joke

That time of year

It that time of year when they print Holly on the outside of the Tampax packets - all ready for the Christmas period!

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David_H
Alert

Blue water

When I went to the Tambrands site to maintain their warehousing system (IT link!) I was made by my colleagues to go on a tour of their R & D labs and they used red water (and I think glycerine) mixes. It was all a little bid to real for a lad who had grown up without exposure to such things!

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Peeved bumpkins demand legally binding broadband promise from UK.gov

David_H
Thumb Down

Re: How much is too much?

My village sits on the end of a lead pipe containing paper insulated wires, and until someone 'accidentally' put a hole in the pipe in the valley between us and the exchange it was full of water. It took a week for the water to stop flowing out, and our speed has increaded since.

Anyway to the point. "wait until technology catches up" BT will not update our wet paper system as they say that they do not have anything that old, because the replaced it all years ago. Maybe in the towns it was replaced, but certainly in my area of the countryside BT are keeping us well behind 'modern' technology.

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David_H
Childcatcher

Re: Move House

I was brought up in the countryside, as that’s where the farming jobs my father did were. There were no other children my age in the village, and there were no busses to use to visit friends or to go to college. Also there were no shops or recreational facilities, so I know the sense of rural isollation from first hand experience.

Now, with the lack of any jobs in villages (other than the farmers who cannot afford to employ offspring let alone any-one else) rural isolation is even more intense. For young people there is little or no chance of having a social life outside of the web, with the lack of public transport, and the cost of car insurance and fuel making independence unaffordable.

For many rural children the internet is the only way of having a semi-normal social life. It is only fair that with the lack of other opportunites for rural youth, that the one that is available (the internet) is presented in a reasonable way, and that means at least at the governments own low speed target.

I perhaps ought to state that I am Deputy-President of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs in addition to working at the bleeding edge of electronics and communications, so I am in a fairly unique position to know exactly what I am talking about on this subject!

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Humanity facing GLOBAL BACON SHORTAGE

David_H
Boffin

Young Farmer and Rocket Scientist

We have had very good animal welfare rules for many years, and you will find British pork at the 'premium' end of the supermarket range as good welfare is more expensive than the truly disgusting conditions animals are kept in abroad. Denmark has been a foreign source for many decades#centuries# and is reasonable on the welfare side, but bringing them up to a similar standard to us is going to increase their costs. Southern Asia will only grow as a source for the 'value' end of the market as a result of this and their animal welfare will stay truly terrible for a long as I can forsee.

UK farming is very efficient, but in general we produce everything the most humane way, and that is how we can be undercut on cost. I always buy British and yes, you can taste the difference!

Rocket scientist logo, as you don't have to be to buy the best and buy British

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Broadband minister's fibre cabinet gripe snub sparks revolt

David_H
Thumb Up

Re: Seriously?

I'm a Parish Councillor, and I can assure you that in my rural parish we use common sense. We would look at path obstruction, noise and any roadway line-of-sight issues it might bring. If any one of those was a problem we would suggest a slight move (probably only a few feet). Job done!

Bring it on I say as we have (wet) paper insulated lines in my village.

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Teflon slips smoothly over LOHAN's mighty rod

David_H
Headmaster

Units or you nits?

"It's merely for illustrative purposes, and is therefore neither to scale, nor an accurate reflection of the final design of the Vulture 2 and its exact position under the truss."

"LOHAN regulars will note we've reduced the size of the aluminium plate behind the spaceplane..."

No we won't! See first quotation.

Good luck!

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