* Posts by Dave 126

5939 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

El Reg mulls entering Robot Wars arena

Dave 126
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Surface Detail

meaning, are the floors ferrous?

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Dave 126
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Are they sure to have security flaws?

I'd have thought that existing competitive RC leagues ( cars, planes etc) would have ironed out those kind of issues.

The production company is likely to fit Go-Pro cameras to competing robots (to make things more 'immersive' for the viewer at home), and will take a dim view of anyone messing with them.

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Dave 126
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>would that be cheating though?

That attack method would be easy to defend against... just pot the PCBs in epoxy or silicone conform spray.

The thing about an arms is race... etc etc

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The production company are boasting of a "purpose built, literally bullet-proof arena" in Glasgow, so maybe the new rules won't be quite so constrained by safety concerns.

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Dave 126
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Re: Deadline

>Our assumption is that they must have already contacted existing teams. It is very short notice otherwise.

@Lester Haines

I've emailed you a link to the production company's website that has an email address and telephone number for more information.

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Test burn on recycled SpaceX rocket shows almost all systems are go

Dave 126
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Re: A Barge is not stable enough...

Object supported by fluid [rocket on fast jet of gasses] landing on object supported by fluid [barge on slow moving water].

I'd assume that any control systems that deal with landing the rocket can additionally deal with and small movement of the barge without much extra effort.

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Dave 126
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Imagine a sliding scale of possible outcomes, with a Perfect Landing at one end, and a fireball at the other:

[Perfect Landing] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [BANG!]

Where on this scale would a giant net (or airbag) make sense?

At one end of the scale, a giant net or airbag is redundant, and at the other extreme it wouldn't help at all.

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Dave 126
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Re: Launch Window

@Duncan Macdonald

I don't suppose you are *that* Duncan Macdonald, from PCZone? :)

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Russian Pastafarian wins right to bear colander

Dave 126
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THe Church of the FSM is a form of 'Russell's Teapot', a form of argument made by a very bright and compassionate individual. When we can all agree the world has too much common sense in it, *then* we will have no more need of Pastafarians.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%27s_teapot

[ I note that the above article is a part of Wikipedia'a 'Atheism Series*', and is illustrated with a symbol designed by 'Atheist Alliance International'. It looks like the Starfleet logo from Star Trek. I don't normally ascribe conspiracy to co-incidence, but in this case it seems fitting.

* I don't know, but I'm assuming any article on Wikipedia that touches upon religion is specially moderated. ]

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Murderous necrophiliac kangaroo briefly wins nation's heart

Dave 126
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Re: Can I

"It thinks we're either food, a threat or a mate. Its either going to eat us, kill us or hump us. Either we try to persuade it that we're not *that* kind of oceanic salvage vessel, or we scarper pronto."

- RD V

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Dave 126
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Good quote:

Dr Eldridge, the Australian Museum's principal research scientist said: "The evidence is here sticking out from behind the scrotum."

- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-35308161

I can't believe the Reg didn't report it, for shame. Falling standards, I am hereby cancelling my subscription etc etc

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Aircraft now so automated pilots have forgotten how to fly

Dave 126
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Re: Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger

@Voyna i Mor

You raise some good questions.

Indeed, Sully averted disaster in a rare incident. And yeah, he was an unusually experienced and skilled pilot who prior to the incident spent lots of time in simulators practising emergency scenarios.

But that has to balanced against the incidents that have been caused by human error (either of an individual pilot, a communication issue, or an issue with procedure or training)

I'm sure there are people with more knowledge, better statistical skills, and data who have spent time seriously studying this question.

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Dave 126
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"One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years, I've been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education and training. And on January 15 the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal."

- Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, retired airline captain and aviation safety consultant.

He was hailed as a national hero in the United States when he successfully executed an emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after birdstrike to both engines.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Airways_Flight_1549

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2015 was the Year of the Linux Phone ... Nah, we're messing with you

Dave 126
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The ATM is just the terminal. It could be running OS2/Warp yet still be in communication with a machine somewhere running Linux, even if it is just a router along the way. Thus the user of an ATM is making use of Linux.

The ATM example was only used in an attempt to unpick the term ' Linux user'. For most discussions, an ATM user, whilst making of Linux, wouldn't be considered a 'Linux user'

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Dave 126
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Yep!

Or more generally, there are so many factors (marketing, hardware quality and availability, partner adoption, UI design, luck, time to market and so on and so on) relating to the success of an OS that to attribute success to just one factor (OS 'quality') is too simplistic.

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Dave 126
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Re: What on earth is the author talking about?

> Why is Ubuntu's software on top of the Linux Kernal any different from Android?

Any non-GUI Linux software will run on Ubuntu Touch, but it won't on Android.

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Dave 126
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Re: It works...

>Pushing Linux to anyone and everyone seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, all those who couldn't program started designing icons, backgrounds and sounds for projects like KDE and GNOME.

You're right to highlight the importance of skills beyond coding. Whilst coding lends itself to many people working on a project (modules, bug-reporting, audit trails, etc), the User Interface / User Experience seems harder to get right by this approach.

UI/UX design benefits from thinking about users who are different from yourself, at varying levels of competency. If you are designing software for a draughtsman, then it is obvious the team needs a deep understanding of draughting, and not just coding. A UI design can take longer to test- with real human subjects - and then analyse than code. Coders can teach themselves to code with no more equipment than a PC, but subjects like human cognition are learnt in a different fashion.

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Re: It works...

@John Arthur

I agree.

However, it seems unlikely that Linux will gain enough market share to attract more software vendors before other solutions present themselves:

1. Run software remotely, from an AWS instance or whatever. The pay-per-use model works better for smaller users, and you can throw as much computer power at the job as you wish.

2. Google's ChomeOS/Android mashup plans (whatever they are) take off and attract interest from developers, who then consider the job of porting their wares to traditional Linux distros worthwhile. Or you just run ChromeOS apps in a VM on your existing Linux box.

3. Due to pressure from Steam on Linux, office tasks on ChromeOS and applications on AWS, Microsoft has to reduce the cost of Windows to the point that it is no hardship for you to buy it and run it in a VM.

I'm not saying that any of these things will definitely happen, but that the path forward is far from straight.

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Dave 126
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The success of Android owes more to the backing it had from Google than it does to the OS that underpins it. And even then, it was a bit of a rush job - though its pretty good now.

In support of my statement, I offer the example of the even more Linux-y mobile OSs from Nokia - or even WebOS from Palm - where are they now?

I would also observe that WinPhone works better on low powered hardware than Android (though with hardware costs now so low it is is a moot point), and that QNX that underpins Blackberry's BB10 is technically superior to Linux for many applications.

Linux is good, but it is not a panacea. The adoption of a platform, or otherwise, depends upon far more than the technical proficiency of an OS.

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Re: It works...

>In other words if you don't like Linux desktops, get windows, chrome or osx the choice is yours

Exactly.

It makes me wonder, who the hell actually wants mass adoption of the Linux desktop? I mean, Linux desktop users seem happy enough at the moment, so how would it improve their experience if yet more people ran Linux?

The only advantage that I can think of is that wider Linux adoption would put more pressure on open file formats - and that helps everybody, whatever OS they use.

Conceivably, mass adoption of Linux on the desktop might result in more propriety productivity software coming to the platform, but apart from games Linux users don't seem too bothered by that (because they can use WINE, or VMs at a push, or because they are masochists and actually prefer The GIMP). That said, we're reaching a point where software, CAD for example, can be run through a web-browser from a remote server and so is OS-agnostic.

So everybody's happy! Good stuff.

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Never mind the patent trolls. Here's a riddle: What about the inventors?

Dave 126
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So, what's the invention shown in the image?

Please, do tell!

https://regmedia.co.uk/2016/01/13/patent_fig539_cap.jpg?x=1200&y=794 Shows the whole picture, without the top being truncated.

As far as I can make out, it is a cross between a tend and a bomb shelter, so would appreciate some clarification!

Ta

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BBC risks wrath of android rights activists with Robot Wars reboot

Dave 126
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Re: apex predators

What, as opposed to a Rock-Tube-Powder-Lizard-Kirk scenario? :)

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Dave 126
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Re: Pah. RC models vs more RC Models

Huh? Can someone expand on what they objected to in my post?

Was it:

- the the software-on-hardware format?

- the idea of restricting the hardware and materials that can be used?

- the idea of restricting the construction methods so that they are accessible to a wide pool of participants?

Genuinely, I'd respect your point of view, but I just don't know what it is!

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Dave 126
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Re: Someone fetch me a bucket of iced water and a strong cup of coffee...

Actually, he's filming another series of Red Dwarf at the moment. And on New Year's Eve, his Radio 6 Funk show shifted to Radio 2 for the afternoon.

But yeah, I saw him DJ at a night club last year, and his enthusiasm did appear to be... enhanced.

http://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/596143/Red-Dwarf-returns-Craig-Charles-Robert-Llewellyn-Chris-Barrie

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Dave 126
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>Any rules about including electronic warfare capabilities ?

Also, should the show use autonomous robots, physical distractions to upset the enemies object-recognition routines... like a matador using a red towel to spoof a bull.

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Dave 126
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Re: apex predators

Actually, screw the BBC and let's launch the Reg Automonous Robot Death Match* tournament of our own.

As a bonus, it would make the forums more fun to moderate:

Sir, you have downvoted me and I demand satisfaction! Robots at dawn! Or about ten am if you want to get a full English first!

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Dave 126
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Re: apex predators

Yeah, the problem with the original show was that Robot A might be destroyed on its first round, and unable to compete. Why is this an issue? Because if one accepts a Rock-Paper-Scissors scenario as plausible, it makes competitor's fate luck of the draw.

So:

Contestants, working within material and construction constraints, submit their designs to the BBC. If there robot is damaged, new parts are laser-cut and 3D printed by the BBC, and assembled by the team. The team may also choose from a limited, but wide, selection of off-the-shelf components (Bloggs disc saws, Jones' hammer heads and centre-punches, etc, nuts, bolts, ) Hell, having the teams assemble their components into a robot could be a competitive round in its own right, rewarding design-for-maintenance)

Having robots that are smaller, lighter aqnd quicker to make using simpler tools (once custom laser and £d-printed parts are supplied) would result in a more rapid 'evolution' of the teams' designs.

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Dave 126
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Re: Pah. RC models vs more RC Models

>Why even bother with the physical machines smashing each other up?

Because software without hardware can be boring.

With the hardware, teams will be composed of people with different skillsets, as well as encouraging young people to learn practical skills.

Personally, I'd like to autonomous robot wars, with standard constraints. Just as an example:

- The CPU must be a XYZ with an RST GPU, programed in [language]

- Power supplies must be no more than N x li-ion batteries of DEF variety. If this was a commercial show, they could have sponsorship from an 18v powertool manufacturer, and state that all 'bots must use Ryobi/Makita/whoever model BAT018 batteries, for consistency.

I'd even be tempted to specify standard materials ( "No more than X Kg of 3mm sheet aluminium, X Kg of standard PLA or ABS polymer, X Kg misc, etc"), to place the emphasis on design and engineering, and not just whose dad has access to a milling machine. The materials I've specced can be easily worked (with a jigsaw, or laser-cut by a bueaea, or 3D printed) in almost any garage.

Just ideas.

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Dave 126
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That would be interesting, but might result in some boring matches (Robot A mistakes wall for Robot B, Robot B spins in circles).

The BBC could specify a standard processor and suitable language for programming the robots.

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Dave 126
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A man walked into a bar... and said ouch*

*I'm unable to provide any evidence or witnesses to this event. Sorry.

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Engineer's bosses gave him printout of his Yahoo IMs. Euro court says it's OK

Dave 126
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Re: Separate work from private life!

>I bet most people currently use a mobile phone for private comms, not their work desktop.

Exactly. This story begins in 2007, when smart-phones as we now know them weren't yet ubiquitous (and, more importantly perhaps, mobile data tariffs were still on the pricey side even for those with the handsets).

If he wanted to be really sly in this day and age, he could use a Bluethtooth keyboard equipped with a device-selection switch, so he can quickly change between typing into his desktop and into his phone.

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Dave 126
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> "[T]he court finds that it is not unreasonable for an employer to want to verify that the employees are completing their professional tasks during working hours."

Reading between the lines, it seems he was taking the piss a little bit.... had he just had a few short IM exchanges a week with his fiancée, along the lines of "I'll working late tonight, so hold dinner. X", there probably wouldn't have been a problem. As portrayed in the article, it sounds like he wasn't doing his work.

[I tried to follow the link, but it doesn't lead to an article]

Had the company policy been in place through fear of confidential company information being sent to unknown 3rd parties, they would have taken pre-emptive safeguards against IM and the like.

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Whatever Android-ChromeOS mashup looks like, it's gotta be better looking than this

Dave 126
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Whoops!!

In my comment above, I meant Chrome OS, not Chromium OS! D'Oh!

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Dave 126
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Re: Are you kidding me ?

@Qwertius

You need to read the article in the context of continued speculation about Google's plans for Chromium OS and Android.

see: http://arstechnica.co.uk/gadgets/2016/01/2016-google-tracker-everything-google-is-working-on-for-the-new-year/2/#h3 for the background.

As such, the article is a bit of fun, in the spirit of "What X *might* look like..."

Take it easy!

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BlackBerry baffled by Dutch cops' phone encryption cracked brag

Dave 126
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Re: Propaganda

Indeed. Spreading this 'news' might the effect of making the criminals or whoever wary of using their existing communication techniques, if only for a short while. There might then be knock-on effects that the police can take advantage of, such as more face-to-face meetings between criminals.

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Boffins switch on pinchfist incandescent bulb

Dave 126
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The above link kindly supplied by Whitter, above, is well worth two minutes of your time to read, IMHO.

Thank you.

It then lead me to start reading more generally about 'femtosecond lasers' and their current and future applications.

Now I've lost a bit more time than just two minutes!

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Dave 126
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Re: black-body radiation...

>Still at least you didn't copy the bit from the Daily Telegraph's "science editor" who described the incandescent filament as emitting

The MIT news letter uses the same phrase.

http://news.mit.edu/2016/nanophotonic-incandescent-light-bulbs-0111

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Dave 126
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Re: Sounds expensive

>As Da Vinci noted: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. And usually a lot cheaper.

An LED light is more complicated and expensive than an incandescent bulb, but cheaper to run.

A bicycle is more complicated and expensive than a sled, but more efficient in many circumstances.

So, as others have noted: Horses (or bicycles, or sleds, or camels, depending) for courses.

Or: Anyone who overgeneralises is always an idiot. : p

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Future Snowden hunt starts with audit of NSA spooks' privileges

Dave 126
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Re: Shurley some mishtake

>Richard Chirgwin's "sudo cp -R * /dev/DVD" has multiple problems.

Maybe it was a deliberate mistake, in the same way Frederick Forsyth includes deliberate errors in his books (to avoid accusations of providing instructions to ne'er-do-wells)? In any case, the next Snowden is unlikely to look to Reg headlines for their MO!

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Discworld fans stake claim to element 117

Dave 126
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Hmmm, Travoltium.... urghhh

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Dave 126
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Re: Petition fatigue

Man: However, I would just like to add a complaint about shows that have too many complaints in them as they get very tedious for the average viewer.

Another Man: I'd like to complain about people who hold things up by complaining about people complaining. It's about time something was done about it. [sixteen-ton weight falls on him]

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Dave 126
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Feynman was well known for playing bongos.

Einstein, who of course already has an element named after him, was also an amateur violin player. During one attempted duet, Einstein's musician friend declared in exasperation "My God Albert, can't you count?!"

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Dave 126
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>It might be modern, but it's still myth:

>Myth - from the Greek word mythos (μύθος), which simply means "story".

The same could be said of Bowie's alter egos as well!

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Dave 126
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Scientist's tribute to Terry Pratchett

Physicist Len Fisher pays tribute to Pratchett's scientific observations.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/2016-01-02/7051062 link to webpage where MP3 can be downloaded from.

Example:

It’s very hard to talk quantum using a language originally designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is.'

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Dave 126
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Just as a quick game, which musicians are also scientists?

William Herschel, composer and astronomer.

Brian May, who has played with Bowie on Queen's Under Pressure, has his PhD for zodiacal dust.... who else? Join in, folks!

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David Bowie: Musician, actor... tech admirer

Dave 126
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Re: Ground Control to Major Tomb

Probably not - had he carried on by bounds of what was considered conventionally decent? In any case, he was ahead of you - a deceased astronaut features in Bowie's recent 'Blackstar' video. Much of that album, only released a couple of days ago, and its associated imagery takes on a new feeling in the wake of this sad news, the inevitably of which he had clearly grokked some time ago.

But hey, he's stage-managed his own departure! I can't think of a better way to go for a man who lived by playing with the myth of rock n roll, a genre known for elevating its deceased.

Well played, that man.

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Anyone using M-DISC to archive snaps?

Dave 126
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Re: Solves only the easy problem

Even storing a reader won't help because data interfaces and even power ones changes enough to make old readers unusable on newer system.

You have a pile of strange, shiny flat discs with a hole in the middle. You take a microscope to them and find patterns of dots, either pits or dye. You find quite a few mechanisms in former landfill heaps, in strata contemporary with the discs. Physically, the strange discs fit the strange machines, both in the outer diameter and sometimes the inner hole too. You take the machines apart, and see a little lens mounted on a screw-thread. You know what a screw thread is. You twizzle it, and the mounted component moves radially with respect to the disc.

You have a few of these machines, so you decide to experiment...

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Dave 126
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Re: Solves only the easy problem

I'm no expert, but what are the possibilities of bitrot when copying DVDs from generation to the next? Or rather, how does one ( by choice choice of file system, method of error checking when making new copies etc) limit/eliminate the impact of small errors on compressed (jpg etc) files?

If one uses a more capable but lesser-used file system, would it result in a greater headache for future librarians?

>(google for heroic efforts to extract data from old NASA tapes).

That was a system only used by a small number of people. The same is true iof the BBC LaserDisc-based hybrid digital data and analogue video overlay system used in the 1980s BBC Domesday project.

DVD drives are so common today that finding one in 50 years time (if only to reverse-engineer a non-functioning one) is likely to be easy.

(Whoah, DVD drives.... every laptop and desktop I've had in the last 15 years has had one, various units under the television, a games console or two... it's got be getting close to a dozen DVD drives at least, and I'm just one person. )

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VW floats catalytic converter as fix for fibbing diesels

Dave 126
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Re: VW floats catalytic converter as fix for fibbing diesels

@Swamp Dog

I think the reason The Quiet One was downvoted was because he launched attacks on both people who fetishised fast cars, and also those who just see their cars as tools for going from A to B.

Internally consistent comments are usually treated more seriously.

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It's replicant Roy Batty's birthday – but hey, where's my killer robot?

Dave 126
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Re: Deckard

The confirmation is the little piece of folded paper he drops on the threshold at the end of the film, when considered with Deckard's dream. I mean the proper end of the film, not the bolted-on aerial landscape footage from The Shining that Kubrick gave to Scott.

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