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* Posts by Dave 126

4178 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Ten top tech toys to interface with a techie’s Christmas stocking

Dave 126
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If the techy buys a Chromebook for a family member, they might receive fewer phone calls along the lines of "My computer is asking me a question I don't understand, what button do I press?", leaving said techy more time to play with their toys.

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Dave 126
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Re: Strange

Re, the Z1 Ultra, I believe that there is a Google Play Edition available in the US, although Sony's Android customisations aren't too obtrusive anyway.

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Oz couple get jiggy in pharmacy in 'banned' condom ad

Dave 126
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Re: Toothpaste

It's a similar joke to one in Rab C Nesbitt:

MARY DOLL: Rab, I don't mind you having a fag before sex, and I don't mind you having a fag after sex. I don't even mind you smoking a fag during sex, but do you really have to go down to the kitchen and light it off the gas hob?

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Boffins devise world's HARDEST tongue-twister

Dave 126
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Re: sheikh

And on the 'You Are What You Is' album, Zappa has

"I heard that some Sheikh

Bought New Jersey last week

And you suckers ain't gettin' nothing"

The use of words in poetry is actually one of the few tools historians have of estimating how words were pronounced in the past!

I know a rude joke about sheep shearing that only works in an Australian accent.

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Dave 126
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Re: I never saw the point of this concept.

>Hell, most people if you play their won speech back at the with a few milliseconds delay will find it near impossible to talk.

D'oh! Sorry people, I'm trying out a small Bluetooth keyboard... though more convenient for me, it is less convenient for anyone trying to read my words!

Still, despite my lack of precision, it would appear you can still grasp my meaning.

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Dave 126
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Re: Sorry, but here's a serious(ish) question.

I don't know, but my guess would be yes... I would imagine that some shapes flow more easily from other shapes, just as some guitar chords flow from others more easily.

I'd like to hear from someone who actually knows, though!

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Dave 126
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Re: Dr Seuss said it best...

I've always liked the song 'Labio Dental Fricative' by the Bonzo Dog Band:

"Cannibal chiefs chew Camembert cheese

'cause chewing keeps 'em cheeky

Big Fat Fred sticks fur to his head

'cause he thinks fur makes him freaky

Benjamin Bland and his Bugle Band blow the blues bi-weekly

How many pies can a porpoise poise on purpose if she pleases?"

But any song with the lyric "Back at the boozer" and stunt guitar by Eric Clapton is good by me!

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Dave 126
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Depends on how you pronounce Sheikh.... (Frank Zappa has pronounced it to rhyme with 'Shake', and also with 'Week')

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Dave 126
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Re: I never saw the point of this concept.

>You can either speak the language, or you cannot.

???

So what about people recovering from strokes? Children with a developmental difficulty in this regard? People who stammer or have a lisp? Hell, most people if you play their won speech back at the with a few milliseconds delay will find it near impossible to talk.

Tongue twisters can give an insight into the task of speaking, analogous to how optical illusions can give clues as too how we interpret visual information.

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Bigger on the inside: WD’s Tardis-like Black² Dual Drive laptop disk

Dave 126
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Apple was toying with ZFS for a while, and some that file system's ideas have been implemented in OSX's CoreStorage.

As far as I can make out, Windows 8's 'Storage Spaces' isn't capable of presenting two drives as a single volume to the OS if one of those drives is the boot drive... but if I've misunderstood, please do post a link!

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Dave 126
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Re: modern laptops with single drive bays

Some laptops do have an mSATA slot (suitible for an mSATA SSD) in addition to the normal SATA drive bay... but some laptops have a non-functioning mSATA slot, including the Dell reviewed by The Reg today:

http://forum.notebookreview.com/dell-inspiron-dell-studio/734278-owners-thread-dell-inspiron-7000-series-14.html

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Dave 126
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Re: Linux support... well, who can say?

>Frankly the author's comment of "who can say?" is utter crap, and shows a lack of effort.

Do bear in mind that the reviewer concluded that, even for Windows machines, this drive is only recommended for a limited group of users. Throw another circle at that Venn diagram, "People with a Linux installation", and the number can only get pretty small, even if we used a figure of 20% for argument's sake.

If the reviewer's primary OS is not Linux, it is reasonable to suggest he might not be the best person to get the drive working under Linux... indeed, he might spend some trying, and even then merely reach an inconclusive conclusion, such as "It might be possible to get it working, but I personally couldn't make it behave".

Why not leave it to users on a Linux forum to provide an answer?

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Dave 126
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Re: Alternative

>Also cloning an HDD is fine but you will find that some software binds itself to the HDD serial number.

Thanks for highlighting that potential hurdle!

That's just a stupid policy... It would save a lot of headaches if it was just easy for the average user to create system images - even if they have to call upon a technical friend to restore the image to a new HDD. It took long enough for MS to include cloning tools with Windows.

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Our Vulture strokes Dell's ROBUST 15 INCHER: Inspiron 15 Core i7

Dave 126
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Re: What's on the screen?

On closer inspection, those artefacts appear to be reflections of light fittings, or similar. These days, a lot of product promotion images are computer-generated renders - it saves time faffing around in a photographic studio, adjusting the lighting, wiping fingerprint smears off the product etc.

Of course this is a review, not a product promotion.

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Lightning strikes USB bosses: Next-gen jacks will be REVERSIBLE

Dave 126
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Re: Plugging it in upside down is impossible

>The only way to put it in upside down is to not be paying attention.

Or to suffer from poor eyesight. Don't know how to explain this, but here goes: Technology is supposed to make life easier.

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Dave 126
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Re: Other desirable features...

Yeah, I couldnt play Doom with a friend until we'd made our own null modem cable...

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Dave 126
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...and your list doesn't even include the large number of proprietary phone connectors over tose years... even single companies would have a number of similar-looking but different connectors, even for headsets! (looking at you Samsung)

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Dave 126
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Re: "500 - 850mAH"

Whoops! Thanks Handle, I did of course mean 'mA', and that H was in error!

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Dave 126
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Re: Couldn't have they just adopted lightning?

>The only place I see a lightning connector being useful is in my Dr Frankenstein re-animation laboratory.

What about powering your flux capacitor when you find yourself in a situation where plutonium is surprisingly hard to get hold of?

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Dave 126
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Re: Wireless optical data transfer?

Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of 'Li-Fi', which can use light in the visible spectrum. It requires so few photos that it can work in a room that appears dark to humans, and it can use light reflected off walls... though obviously it can't penetrate walls (which can be considered either an advantage or a disadvantage)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li-Fi

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Dave 126
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Re: Any details on how the orientaion is handled?

>Does this mean it's not going to be hard wired end to end like a lightning cable?

If I had to guess, I'd venture that any 'cleverness' will be built into the controllers built into the devices, rather than the cable. This guess is based on the idea that both the 'host' and the connected device are using the same port.

However, this guess might be wrong, because of the desire to use adaptors for backwards compatibility.

Just speculation.

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Dave 126
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Other desirable features...

Other things I hope they consider for USB-C are:

- Make the connector so that it doesn't scratch things, like the current microUSB design is prone to.

- Insertion / removal force required.

- Mechanical strength - relevant to docking solutions.

- Point of any physical failure should be the (cheap and replaceable) cable, and not the device's female port.

- Design the female port so that it doesn't allow water ingress into the device, facilitating the design of waterproof devices.

Since this new design will hopefully be the last redesign for a while, it should be as good as it can be!

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Dave 126
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Re: Couldn't have they just adopted lightning?

Apple/Intel? is it possible you're thinking of Thunderbolt? Lightening is all Apple. Thunderbolt is an Intel technology, though Apple contributed the name.

>a company famous for randomly changing stuff

Apple stuck with FireWire for years. Their 13pin iDevice connector remained largely unchanged for years, over which period comparable devices used a variety of both proprietary and standard connectors for power and data (USB-B, miniUSB, miroUSB) - I have a drawer of old cables and adaptors that testifies to that.

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Dave 126
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I agree that the ubiquity of microUSB devices and cables is a very handy thing, and makes up for the current shortcomings on the microUSB design. However, microUSB3 is already only partially compatible.

Another change will be worth it in my opinion, as long as it is the last for the foreseeable future, and it implements improvements in usability in addition to faster speeds and greater power delivery.

Who knows, within the decade we might all be using wireless power systems, and wireless optical data transmission or some-such.

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Dave 126
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Re: Any details on how the orientaion is handled?

Yep!

The USB Type-C specification is targeted for industry review during the first quarter of 2014 and a final specification is expected to be published by the middle of 2014. Further information regarding the specification and plans for pre-release industry reviews will be provided via the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) website at

http://www.usb.org/developers/USB-Futures.pdf.

- http://www.usb.org/press/USB-IF_Press_Releases/Type-C_PR_20131203_Final.pdf

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Dave 126
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Re: NSS Flip and try again

>Make the plug feel asymmetric in the hand, and make the socket look more visually asymmetric.

The current microUSB is asymmetric, but its so small that it is not easy to spot immediately. Even if you do, you then have to inspect the orientation of the port you want to plug it into....

Making the plug orientation reversible is the sensible thing to do, and - without knowing the details of its implementation - it might be essential too, since the cable direction is also reversible.

I'd venture to suggest that for someone with poor sight an arthritis, the old 'big Nokia' power connector is easier to use than microUSB.

Chisels? Oh, we used to dream of chisels!

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Hear that? It's the sound of BadBIOS wannabe chatting over air gaps

Dave 126
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Re: Still don't get all the fuss on this.

> But as a virus-carrying medium...? Really???

>the idea that this could be used to spread viruses is absurd, and pure click-bait.

The article doesn't say that! Read it again.

It is not a virus-carrying medium.

All the researchers are showing is a method that a previously infected machine can use to communicate with other infected machines, so that small data such as passwords etc can be 'sent home' after the original attack vector is no longer available to it.

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Dave 126
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Re: Even easier to stop...

>It would be easier to believe Dragos Ruiu's claims of infection if he published the make/model of the PCs he claims have been infected,

"The researcher reports that the BIOS malware on a Dell Alienware, Thinkpads and Sony laptops is encountered. MacBooks could also have become infected as possible, but that's not confirmed yet. The malware uses DHCP options encrypted to communicate. Attackers On the basis of the tweets shows that the investigation of the malware is still in full swing. Security.NL Ruiu has asked for more information. We will let you know. Soon as more details are known"

- https://www.security.nl/posting/366329/Onderzoeker+ontdekt+mysterieuze+BIOS-malware

I'm not supporting his claims, just reposting some info about the machines he's used.

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Google unveils ten-year plan to build its ROBOT ARMY of the future

Dave 126
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>I honestly wonder what advantage Google sees in all this

Nobody does - it's called speculation.

There might be dozens of areas of investigation, of which a few will bear fruit. So, you put millions in to each... if just one is successful, you will reap a multi-billion dollar reward.

If you're curious about the value of robots, ask yourself why Japan, with an ageing population, have been amongst the pioneers.

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Women crap at parking: Official

Dave 126
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Re: I think I've found your problem

I've met 8 year-olds who were shit-hot at Sonic the Hedgehog...

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Dave 126
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Re: Multitasking

Multitasking, or multiplexing? (i.e very quickly switching back and forth between activities)

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Dave 126
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Re: ..."a whopping 80 per cent of crashes ... involved male drivers"

>Is this figure correct? Are you sure about it. I thought the figures showed that women have more crashes overall, its just that men have more bigger crashes.

That was the conclusion I read about some years ago, I can't remember the source but I think it was from car insurers. There is no reason why small bumps would be reported to insurers.

If we agree that the difference between a small 'bump' and a 'crash' is that a bump doesn't cause damage that either party cares about, then we need to look at car design. It depends on the design of car bumpers, which, alas, aren't as robust as they used to be, and many are damaged by bumps of less than 5mph ('Which?' magazine drew attention to this a few years back)

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Apple prepping 4K resolution 12.9-inch MaxiPad – report

Dave 126
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Re: Seems a bit pointless

>I've no doubt they'll do 4K and beyond, but it will be at bigger screen sizes.

Bigger screens, i.e monitors used with mice and keyboards, are used further away from the eyes than tablets are, so a 4K 13" tablet would be roughly on par with a 4K 27" monitor. If Apple are targeting the market that Wacom have traditionally played in, it makes sense. The fact that such products are already sold despite their high price tag, and other established players are looking to get into that market, should suggest that it is at least plausible.

Here is a picture of some sketching on paper, so you see how such a product might be used:

http://image.lowridermagazine.com/f/features/1107_lrmp_air_ink_master_artist_fonzy/32736208/lrmp_1107_10_z%2Bair_and_ink_master_artist%2Bsketching.jpg

After all, making the iPad 13" does nothing for it's portability, and there are studies that suggest a good proportion of full-size iPads rarely leave the house.

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Dave 126
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Re: 20/20 ... AVG -- Won't happen

>Was 20/20 based on a sampled average originally?

No, it wasn't - and it isn't normalised like IQ scores are. It means nothing more than being able to read text of a certain size from 20' away.

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Dave 126
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Re: 20/20 ... AVG -- Won't happen

>Neither of the quotes you have supplied supports your assertion that the average person has better than 20/20 vision.

In the first quote, Snellen, the man who developed the eye test chart that bears his name, warns not to confuse his base value of 20/20 for a population average, yet you persist in doing so. And I haven't seen any links from you support that 20/20 is average, either.

I have better than 20/20 vision when I'm wearing my spectacles.

Here is yet another link supporting the assertion that Steve Jobs was guilty of hyperbole when introducing the Retina Display:

Analyst Challenges Apple's iPhone 4 'Retina Display' Claims

- http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2364871,00.asp

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Dave 126
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Re: Seems a bit pointless

Instead of lazily downvoting me, can someone please point out which of my assertions they believe to be factually incorrect? To make it easy for you, you can merely post a number, or several. Thanks!

1. It's premature to call a product feature 'pointless' when it is just a rumour and the intended use of the device is yet unknown. A desk-based machine might not require as long lasting a battery as a more mobile device.

2. Wacom make very expensive Android and Win8 13" tablets

3. Modbook make 13" OSX tablets based on Macbook Pros

4. Apple could easily undercut the Modbook Pro spec by spec - because the Modbook is the full price of Macbook plus extra parts and labour.

5. Adobe are making hardware to allow iPads to be used more productively.

7. The market is not currently that big, but it does exist.

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Dave 126
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Re: Seems a bit pointless

>That's just ridiculous. So who has the first 64 bit processor in a mobile phone?

That doesn't benefit the customer directly now, but does mean the transition to higher RAM in the future will be smoother - for application developers, especially. Apple have a financial interest in their application marketplace, in a way Android phone vendors don't in theirs.

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Dave 126
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Re: 20/20 ... AVG -- Won't happen

20/20 is purely a measure of one's ability to identify letters in a certain typeface and of a certain size from a distance of twenty feet.

> You might have written "many people have ..."

I might have, but I didn't. What I wrote was less vague and just as accurate. The average person does have better than 20/20 vision:

...both Snellen and Donders noted that acuity levels of better than 20/20 were common in normal individuals, and both cautioned against a conclusion that their norm values represented normal visual acuity. Unfortunately, these cautioning remarks have rarely been heeded..."

- http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00413146#page-1

he significance of the 20/20 standard can best be thought of as the lower limit of normal or as a screening cutoff. When used as a screening test subjects that reach this level need no further investigation, even though the average visual acuity of healthy eyes is 20/16 to 20/12.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_acuity#Normal_vision

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Dave 126
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Re: Seems a bit pointless

>4k res in a 12" tablet seems pointless, the battery life will suffer and the GPU would need a massive upgrade to actually do much at the full res, so we'd see a lot of up-scaled stuff totally negating having the 4k res in the first place.

Pointless?

We don't know anything about this rumoured device.... it might be that it is designed to be used mainly in the studio as a graphic design / Photoshop tool, for example. In this case use, the battery wouldn't be a too big an issue. There is a market for this, albeit a currently small one, since Wacom will sell you a 13" tablet ('Companion'), as will Modbook (based in a gutted Macbook Pro)... and Apple could easily undercut the price of either of those models, spec for spec. Adobe are looking into this area too, with their first foray into hardware (see Mighty Pen and Napoleon Ruler)

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On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns

Dave 126
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Not knowing what rifles were designed for doesn't automatically preclude people from objectively noting how they are sometimes used.

Since the domestication of animals for meat in some parts of the world, many animals have been hunted as much for sport as they have meat. Indeed, this sport was a often privilege, defended against humans of lower status by the use of force. The people who commissioned the first rifles -made by skilled artisans - were powerful individuals with resources to spare, when an average member of their society was just scraping by.

Of course, in some parts of the world wild animals might eat you, thus making the carrying of forearms a good idea (and in some places, mandatory), but generally our species' habit of displacing such creatures has negated those concerns.

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Dave 126
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Same here, my first thought on hearing of this Amazon plan was that they would be based on a 'carrier' truck.

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Dave 126
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Thanks for bringing the UP to our attention Tanuki!

"A small cordite charge was used to ignite a rocket motor which propelled the fin-stabilized 7 inches (18 cm) diameter rocket out of the tube to a distance of about 1,000 feet (300 m) where it exploded and released an 8.4 ounces (240 g) mine attached to three parachutes by 400 feet (120 m) of wire. The idea was that an aeroplane hitting the wire would draw the mine towards itself where it would detonate.

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unrotated_Projectile

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Dave 126
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Re: why distruction

>I don't get why you'd want to blow the drone out of the sky?

(a) for sport

(b) for a thought exercise. Of course, adding the constraint that the parcel must be undamaged adds to the challenge!

I'm leaning towards (b) myself

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Dave 126
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Re: Oh deer!!

The round you describe increases your range and accuracy, but what you lose is the spread of shot with conventional shotgun rounds. Okay for a large target ( a deer) but not for a small, distant and fast target (duck or drone).

I'm aware that there is quite a variety of specialist shotgun ammunition available to law enforcement / military organisations.

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Dave 126
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Re: Weapons

An 'offensive weapon' in the UK is whatever a police officer at the time decides is one, depending on context. Carrying a cricket bat to a park in the afternoon? Sporting equipment. Carrying a cricket bat at 3 AM outside a nightclub? Offensive weapon.

Shotgun properly secured in boot of car on the way to a shoot? Sporting equipment.

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Dave 126
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Re: remote control rockets

The mathematical equation requires data... wind speed, for example, can vary along the path taken by the rocket en route to the target. I don't know what the limitations of laser anemometers are, but it is plausible that they might allow the margin of error to be reduced - if indeed said margin is too high.

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Dave 126
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Re: Brits forgetting their past?

The solution I had in mind was similar in concept to a barrage balloon, but based on a quadcopter instead of a balloon, for the sake of manoeuvrability. Instead of chains fixed to the ground, the quadcopter would trail dental floss - much like a jellyfish's tentacles - to tangle in the target's rotors.

I've liked the responses to the challenge... maybe Farting Hippo's net concept could be used with rockets?

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Dave 126
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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

@Jan 0

Haha, I do know what string is, and bailer-twine too! Dental floss is strong and light, and also cheap compared to fishing line. If you've ever used a mini RC helicopter to take down out-of-reach cobwebs in an old cottage, you'll know how string spider silk is, too (but it doesn't have the bulk to quickly disable the chopper)

@Ledswinger,

The plane could go faster, but the target drone might be more agile. Let us not disagree, let us test!

@Farting Hippo

I like it! Perhaps a bolas might also do the trick if we can't sort out the spinning net mechnism

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Bring Your Own Disks: The Synology DS214 network storage box

Dave 126
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Re: The Microserver option

Thanks AC, I've been wondering why those HP Microservers have been sold with a £100 cashback offer for what seems like years.

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Sony PS4 SHATTERS UK console sales SPEED RECORD

Dave 126
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Yeah, it may be only anecdotal, but of my friends who are keen console gamers, all are adopting a 'wait and see' policy.

And why the hell not? Waiting allows you to guess which platform might prevail, it allows you time to hear of teething problems and silly policies, and it usually results in a price cut several months down the line.

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