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* Posts by BenR

150 posts • joined 4 Aug 2010

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iPhone 6: The final straw for Android makers eaten alive by the data parasite?

BenR

Premium Android

There will always be a requirement to have a 'premium, top-end' Android device, and claiming this comes from Samsung doesn't cut it for me. I've never picked up a single Samsung mobile device - be it phone or tablet - and been as impressed by the build quality as i am by the build of an iPhone, my own Xperia Z1 (which I adore) or the HTC One M8. Samsung sell well because of the range of devices, and the more pragmatic approach to encrypted bootloaders etc. Surely there has to be some money to be made here?

Sony are currently going down the incremental update route that has fared so well with the iPhone... the Xperia Z to the Z1 was a big leap. Z1 to Z2 and subsequently Z2 to Z3 are much smaller steps. Now they have a working formula, they can carry on with incremental updates. i wonder how much of that reported loss is down to historic events that they're paying down or writing off?

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

BenR

Re: No real surprise, really

And how much do people want to bet the next most common password is 'Swordfish'?

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Tim Cook on pale, male Apple: 'As CEO, I'm NOT satisfied'

BenR

Re: let me guess...

Wasn't it not so long ago that affirmative action lived under another name?

And wasn't that name "positive discrimination"?

"All discrimination is bad, but some discrimination is better than others" seems to be the message here.

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Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London

BenR

Re: Not yet.

I also don't understand how using my credit card is easier than using an Oyster card. After the initail sign up for auto top up and setting up a direct debit to pay my credit card in full every month, they become interchangable in usage.

The answer is - it isn't. Not for you at least. They aren't making this change to help you (where 'you' represents a random variable defined as 'someone who already lives / works in London and uses TfL services at least once a day). TfL are making this change because:

a) it simplifies their model, as they aren't having to run three or four charging models (cash either on the bus/tube or paid for as a ticket in advance; debit/credit card on the bus/tube or in advance, contactless debit/credit card and Oyster.) Look for them to phase out Oyster in four or five years when everyone has had their current card replaced with a contactless one.

b) combined with a) above, it practically removes any requirement they have for handling cash at all (as stated in the article).

c) it makes life for tourists / other irregular London visitors much easier, as they don't have to prat about getting an Oyster card in the first place, then topping it up yadda yadda yadda...

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Measure for measure: We visit the most applied-physicist-rich building in the UK

BenR

I thought the same thing - suspciously circular reckoning going on!

The second is determined by the frequency of the flip of a caesium atom. But it seems in order to get the right flip, you use microwave radiation of a specific frequency. How do you know your microwaves are the right frequency?

However, having read the original response, I think the answer is that you don't define the frequency. You know that at some frequency, fx, the caesium will 'flip'. You therefore aim a microwave generator at the caesium, and increase the frequency until 'flipping' begins (which you presumably measure in some way - I'm guessing some kind of EM emission?). At which point, you know the frequency at which this is occurring, and thus can work out how long a second is? And rather than use the number of cycles in a second, you run the test over a long period of time and count the number of cycles to reduce the error, and then further reduce it by running many many many repeats of the test, then use Clever Maths (TM) to get to a final number?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_fountain seems to explain it.

I still can't quite get the idea that it's a bit circular out of my head, but I'm guessing the Uber-Boffins at NPL are much much much clever than me and know what they're doing. If it was as circular as it appears to my (our) brains, I'm sure the peer-reviewed journals would be filled with a lot more comments along the lines of "You're a pillock."

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TalkTalk whips BT with riding crop over sport fibs in telly ad

BenR

The Watchdog is wrong too

You can also get it for 'free' through Virgin Media TV.

Although if you get it through such a source, then you can't use the BTSport app or watch online, as you are required to have a BTInternet account to do so.

(Although you CAN watch it online through the Virgin Media TV portal / phone app.)

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SpaceX 'Dragon V2' ROCKET PODULE can hover-land on Earth - or MARS

BenR

Re: Funding challenge sorted

Closer to being a Dreadclaw I think.

Although they aren't that 'accurate' in canon... just mental psycho-crazy AIs.

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UK's pirate-nagging VCAP scheme WON'T have penalties – report

BenR

Re: Sort out the pricing...

They need to sort out the fragmentation too.

By the time you've finished paying for LoveFilm, Netflix and NOW! TV to be able to get House of cards, Orange is the New Black, Banshee, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire etc., that's nearly £20 a month!

Which wouldn't be so bad if I could drop everything barring internet connectivity, but most firms (I'm looking at you Virgin Media!) bundle stuff up so tightly that it costs you more to not have stuff - such as dumping a home phone line for example.

End these counter-productive, anti-competitive 'exclusivity' agreements for certain shows and channels, then we might get somewhere.

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ENTIRE UNIVERSE created in supercomputer. Not THIS universe (probably)

BenR

I think his point was that a universe of 350 million light-years squared implies it's a 2-dimensional, planar universe.

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Denmark dynamited by cunning American Minecraft vandals

BenR

Re: 19.000

In fact the comma as thousands separator is also used in the USA, Canada, Australia, NZ and swathes of Asia too (ie the target audience for El Reg and then some).

That's true. But DENMARK (where the original text was written) is in Continental Europe, which is why I said Continental Europe, but explicitly excluded the UK so that some poor Americans didn't think this was just another weird thing that all Europeans do...

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BenR
Boffin

Re: 19.000

Not enough clues as to if this is sarcasm or not, hence the following explanation:

In Continental Europe (as in everywhere barring the UK), the period / full stop is (sometimes) used instead of a comma as a thousands separator, with the comma being used instead as a decimal mark.

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UK.gov data sell-off row: HMRC denies claims it'll flog YOUR private info

BenR

re: ObnoxiousGit

Exactly the same can be said about access to DVLA data - and yet it seems that anyone and their nan can look at the DVLA database to send out parking 'contractual charge notices'...

i don't recall being asked about that when i applied for my driving licence.

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BenR

Re: Welcome to our country

<quote>What we got is a peculiar bastard hybrid government that never stood for election.</quote>

Governments don't stand for election. In the UK, a particular person stands for the seat of MP of a constituency, and the party with the most seats is asked to form a government. With the voting system we have, this is the only way a government can be formed.

It's exactly the same as the people who whinge about how they "didn't vote for that cockwomble Cameron to be Prime Minister". These people have, at least, the benefit of being entirely correct in their assertions - just not for the reasons they suspect!

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Lost artworks by Andy Warhol found on 80s-era FLOPPY DISKS

BenR

Re: Not that easy

Probably the least simple thing about it would be finding a still-working Amiga floppy drive if my experience is anything to go by!

A500, A600, A1200 - owned all three, and every single one of them had to have the drive replaced at least once (I think it was three times on the A1200!)

It's not like I was trying to ram slices of toast or something in there...

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Got a Netgear router from Virgin Media? Change your admin password NOW

BenR

SuperHub2 modem mode

I am a (relatively) techie person, although my job isn't working with networking kit in an IT environment, and I have a SuperHub2. I dearly dearly dearly wish that I could have just kept my little dinky VM modem with my own router, but VM tell me that they "aren't compatible with speeds higher than 20Mbps" for some reason. I can't work out whether that's just the party line their helldesk folks have been told to spin (surely they're all DOCSIS3.0 compatible?) or whether there is some technical element of truth to it... I'd be interested if anyone knows the truth.

Onto the 'Super' Hub 2. Modem mode on mine simply refuses to work correctly. When it was installed, once it had been proven to be working correctly "as-is", the first thing I did was flick it into modem mode to use my D-Link DIR645 with it... and nothing. The 'modem' wasn't assigning a WAN IP address to the router. I found this odd, as the router itself had been functioning perfectly fine an hour beforehand with my old dinky VM modem:

- Tried swapping cables, just in case. Nothing.

- Tried plugging the 'modem' directly into a machine to see if the machine would get an IP address... it timed out and assigned itself a 169.xxx IP address. Obviously: nothing.

- Reset the Hub at least five times while trying various things. Nothing.

- Tried various combinations of cables, networks cards, boxes, machines and both router and 'modem' settings. Nothing.

- Hit the VM forums for some support, and got the usual nonsense from their 'Technical' support people (i.e. power cycle it; do a software reset etc. - all the stuff I'd told them I'd already done.)

Eventually decided to run the SuperHub2 as a router for a week and try again. Still nothing, although some random software update turned up in the logs, but wasn't installed as the security hash was for the wrong bit of kit. At this point I start wondering if I've maybe just been unfortunate and got a bit of kit borked from the factory - I suppose these things can happen now and then.

Got fed up, phoned VM Helldesk - who were surprisingly sanguine about the entire affair. Explained what I'd done, and was told immediately that they'd replace the unit - I didn't even have to power cycle the damned thing while I was on the phone.

Engineer turned up and replaced the unit and had basically the same problems again. (Full disclosure - it did, on first turning modem mode on, give the router an IP address, but then it seemed to pull down some kind of software update which borked it again.)

The engineer, bless him, was very helpful and tried all sorts of things while I was there, but we eventually ran out of time - and to be fair to him, it worked flawlessly (for small values of 'flawless') when in router mode. He seemed to think it could be some form of incompatibility between the Netgear SuperHub and the D-Link router. Not sure what to think about that - I know in the bad old days this could happen between different manufacturers, but one would hope that the various firmware IP stacks would have been able to talk to each other over an apparently standard protocol by now!

So, the upshot is I'm currently sat using the SuperHub as VM intend - as a router. As it seems to work well at my house and I can get a decent signal from it in every room, I'm tempted to just leave it as-is. Might give it another go once the new firmware update comes out, but it's annoying. My only other consideration is whether to hit eBay and buy an old Cisco router / VPN tunneller so I can route a lot of my traffic through a VPN so I don't get hit with throttling for having the temerity to use my 'unlimited' internet connection to stream video using the TorrentStream protocol.

Anyone on here got any thoughts or similar stories of woe? If anyone has any potential solutions I'd be interested to hear them.

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Virgin Media's 'little(ish)' book of deals contained BIG FIBS, rules ad watchdog

BenR

Unreal deal!

He's right - that is a cracking deal.

I've just talked them into 30Meg internet, TV XL with a TiVo box and a second 'normal' HD box for £38 a month, and paid the line rental up-front to get the £60 saving so it's only £120 for the year...

I thought I'd got a good deal but now I'm not so sure!

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Cheap 3D printer works with steel

BenR

Re: solar power will be the limiting factor on what humans can do in the long run

Cock.

Just realised I've misread a decimal place:

You're looking at a 20% conversion efficiency probably, so you need to increase your area by a factor of five. So that's 100km² / GW. The area of the Sahara is 9.4 million km². That gives you a total power output of 94,000 GW, or 823.4 PWh per annum. Planetary energy consumption in 2008 was approx. 144 PWh.

Not 82.3 PWh as I initially read while I was typing. So the entire Sahara would generate about FIVE TIMES the current energy consumption of the planet, so including for losses etc. you'd realistically need to cover only about 40-45% of the total area.

Which is STILL over 4 MILLION SQUARE KILOMETERS!

Which would STILL require over a HUNDRED YEARS WORTH of our current energy usage to create the array.

And it STILL wouldn't generate power for 50% of the time, no matter the fact that the 50% capacity reduction was taken into account, so we'd either need to store the excess (in ma-HOO-sive batteries for example) or simply turn off the planet when it's night-time in North Africa.

It's still a f**king stupid idea, whichever way you look at it. Just because it's only 40% of a stupid idea doesn't help.

[Slinks away in shame at making a rudimentary mathematical error when typing]

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BenR

Re: solar power will be the limiting factor on what humans can do in the long run

I ran out of edit time:

But let's not even consider the embedded energy of the array either.

Polycrystalline panels have an embedded energy of 4.07 GJ/m² ( http://perigordvacance.typepad.com/files/inventoryofcarbonandenergy.pdf ). So to build the entire array would require:

9.4 million km² x 1 000 000 m² / km² x 4.07 GJ/m² = 3.8258 x 10^13 GJ.

1 GJ = 0.001044444 GWh, hence 3.8258 x 10^13 GJ = 3.9958 x10^10 GWh = 39 958 PWh.

Therefore, to build the array, we'd need to utilise the entire energy consumption of the planet as it (just about) currently stands for 39 958 PWh / 144 PWh / annum = 277.5 YEARS just to build the array that wouldn't even power a quarter of the planet.

Does that seem like an efficient use of resources to anyone?

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BenR

Re: solar power will be the limiting factor on what humans can do in the long run

Bollocks! A small fraction of the Sahara desert alone could generate more electricity than the human race currently uses.

The Solar radiation flux onto Earth's surface is about a kilowatt per square meter. Allowing 10% for harvesting efficiency and a factor of two for dark night-times. you need 20 m^2 per kW power-station output. A large power station is a Gigawatt: a million kilowatts, or 20 square kilometers of desert covered in solar panels.

10% for harvesting efficiency is a nonsense. I refer you to Wikipedia:

Solar cell efficiencies vary from 6% for amorphous silicon-based solar cells to 40.7% with multiple-junction research lab cells and 44.4% with multiple dies assembled into a hybrid package.[11] Solar cell energy conversion efficiencies for commercially available multicrystalline Si solar cells are around 14-19%.[12] The highest efficiency cells have not always been the most economical — for example a 30% efficient multijunction cell based on exotic materials such as gallium arsenide or indium selenide and produced in low volume might well cost one hundred times as much as an 8% efficient amorphous silicon cell in mass production, while only delivering about four times the electrical power.

However, there is a way to "boost" solar power. By increasing the light intensity, typically photogenerated carriers are increased, resulting in increased efficiency by up to 15%. These so-called "concentrator systems" have only begun to become cost-competitive as a result of the development of high efficiency GaAs cells. The increase in intensity is typically accomplished by using concentrating optics. A typical concentrator system may use a light intensity 6-400 times the sun, and increase the efficiency of a one sun GaAs cell from 31% at AM 1.5 to 35%.

You're looking at a 20% conversion efficiency probably, so you need to increase your area by a factor of five. So that's 100km² / GW. The area of the Sahara is 9.4 million km². That gives you a total power output of 94,000 GW, or 823.4 PWh per annum. Planetary energy consumption in 2008 was approx. 144 PWh. So the Sahara, assuming you could cover it ENTIRELY with solar panels, keep them clean, and with an exact 50/50 split of day/night, and that each panel was generating it's maximum possible theoretical output the entire time it was in sunlight, would provide about half of the planetary energy requirements. Realistically, probably more like a quarter or less.

And then, on top of all that, you've got transmission losses to take into account. You'd lose another 10% or so in that. Again, from Wikipedia:

As of 1980, the longest cost-effective distance for Direct Current transmission was determined to be 7,000 km (4,300 mi). For Alternating Current it was 4,000 km (2,500 mi), though all transmission lines in use today are substantially shorter than this.

Can anyone spot any problems with this plan? Answers on a postcard...

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RIP Comet ISON: ???-2013. We hardly knew ye

BenR

Exactly as designed.

It was clearly a stunt for 'Disaster Area'.

Once Hotblack Desiato comes back from his year spent dead for tax reasons, he'll be pleased that the R&D has continued apace.

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Samsung to spend ENTIRE budget of London 2012 OLYMPICS... on ADS

BenR

Not necessarily

You've been exposed to marketing efforts from at least two companies and have chosen the product you liked best. The fact you were exposed to the efforts of more than one company indicates everyone's marketing was successful, regardless of the option you chose. The final purchase decision is sales, not marketing so someone's sales strategy didn't pan out, but everyone's marketing succeeded.

None of that to say you're weak minded or easily influenced, but to attempt to place yourself out of the reach of marketing is foolish. You're getting messages but failure to acknowledge them makes you more open to efforts which you don't recognize as marketing.

While I know what you mean and broadly agree, you've forgotten a sub-set or two:

1) the sub-set of people who see the advertising, then go and have a butchers at a product in the shops and/or read reviews in a variety of forums and decide it isn't for them for various reasons (in my own, personal case, feeling the build quality of my aunt's S3, deciding it felt like a shoddy piece of plastic that wouldn't last the rigours of a 24-month phone contract, and looking for something else);

2) the sub-set of people who have previously owned Samsung mobile kit and were disappointed by the quality, support, features, software bloat, et al.

Both are likely to be skeptical of a huge marketing campaign. Those that shout loudest frequently have the least worth listening to.

Samsung have tried to develop a 'premium' line, without doing anything in particular to make it 'premium' in any way, and having successfully managed to do so, have then diluted it by attaching that premium brand to anything they think will tolerate it.

While I'm impressed by Samsung's product cycle, I'm less impressed by the overall quality of the product. Personally, I'd prefer a less rapid product cycle with more time given over the build quality and development of features other than gimmicks. Their marketing campaign won't do a damned thing to change my mind otherwise.

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Ten top stories from New Who

BenR

Missing from the list: (in no particular order)

As suggested by others:

The Doctor's Wife

Silence in the Library

Midnight

Inexplicably omitted entirely:

Waters of Mars (minus the piss-annoying robot)

The Impossible Planet

38 Minutes (I think that's what it's called - the one where they're falling into the star)

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'Only NUCLEAR power can SAVE HUMANITY', say Global Warming high priests

BenR

Agreed, but

Agreed, but while what you say is true, in the short-to-medium-term, uranium based fission is proven technology that is (relatively) easily commercially deployable.

While the fuel has limited availability, the last time this point was brought up I seem to recall discovering that there was sufficient commercially-accessible uranium to power the planet for at least 50 years based on even the most conservative of conservative assessments. More than enough - when combined with our current CCGT for peak demand, and whatever renewables happen to be generating - to keep us going for the foreseeable future. Plenty of time to perfect and make commercially available additional technologies like fusion and thorium molten salt.

On the waste front, there is a perfectly feasible generating cycle that will burn the really *nasty* waste (the long-term, deep-geological, 200k-year half-life stuff) and leave you with waste that, while still quite unpleasant were one to start swimming in it, is clean and easy to deal with by comparison (no hard gammas, no risk of critical mass, stable isotopes with relatively short - several hundred years - half-life). As has been said by many people, many times, on many forums - the big problem with previous - and to an extent, current - gen tech is that much of it was set up to produce waste that could be reprocessed for weaponry. Take that limitation out, and there are other fuel cycles that can be used that are much more friendly. Doing that even reduces the amount of enrichment that is needed, so the fuel will last that bit longer!

You'll note the frequent use of the phrase 'commercial'. Don't kid yourselves here - Commerce is key to all this. The bigger the company; the bigger the turnover; the bigger the aversion to risk. Proven tech is the name of the game, because it's well-understood and makes money. If thorium molten salt and thorium pebble-bed and everything was really "READY", it'd be out there making money already. I have no doubts about the science, but I wonder about the viability once it's upscaled from a research project to something of commercial generating capacity.

Now - where's my robot monkey butler and flying, auto-pilot controlled car? I believe these are all technologies which were promised within 25 years over thirty years ago!

3
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BitTorrent awarded distributed storage patent

BenR
Thumb Up

Re: Erasure codes

Upvoted, because I was going to make the same joke.

In a way I'm glad I didn't, as it seems people have missed it...

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Linus Torvalds seeks REDEMPTION for every coded SIN

BenR
Joke

Re: Woodland Creature?

>>>(cough*cough*moronic*woodland creature*cough*cough)<<<

"Stupid Sasquatch"

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iPAD AIR WORLD DEBUT: Our Australian team gets an early fondle

BenR

Re: Pants

My understanding - which is far from perfect so I will happily be corrected - is that the dreadful Americanism of 'pants' = 'trousers' is from when such garments were more fittingly referred to as 'pantaloons'.

From a country still doggedly fixed on pounds and ounces, and feet and inches, such anachronisms shouldn't be unexpected!

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Locked into fixed-term mobile contract with variable prices? Not on our watch – Ofcom

BenR

Re: Has always been this way, no need for OfCom

A contract requires both parties to agree terms.

If one party varies those terms, the other party must agree or the contract is void.

This is basic law.

Yes - and if one of the contractual terms to which one agrees is that the cost increases annually in line with RPI, or at a fixed %age as defined in the contract, then as long as that is the only rise that is enforced then the contract is perfectly legal and in fact still stands.

Obviously, there's an argument over whether the normal extra £1.20 a month these rises normally comprise is in fact an accurate RPI increase or not, especially when the infrastructure is already paid for; it costs telcos *ABSOLUTELY NOTHING* for you to make a call or send a text; and that the only way £1.20 pcm is a 3% RPI is if your monthly bill is over £40 all in, which includes them taking an increase in the loan repayments for the hardware in the first place.

No-one is denying that telcos are taking the piss - but saying that payments increasing annually with RPI as a contractual term voids a contract is incorrect.

3
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Boffins spot LONE PLANET roaming interstellar void

BenR
Headmaster

Re: Dyson Sphere

Probably not. Assuming when they talk about size they're referring to mass, and assuming the average density of large gas giants to be similar (i.e. this has approximately the same density as Jupiter despite being 6 times more massive), then the ratio of radii is the cube-root of the size multiple, so in this case the cube-root of 6 = 1.817, so slightly less than twice the radius, or slightly more than 3.5 times the diameter if you prefer.

(NB: if they were talking about ACTUAL dimensions, then 6 times the ACTUAL size would of course make it 216 times more massive for the same density, although it is theorised that Jupiter is about as 'big' as a planet can get before the additional mass causes it to become 'smaller' but more dense - see the Jupiter wiki article.)

This gives it an approx. radius of about 126k km. Bit on the small side for a Dyson sphere - unless it was a very small, relatively cool star. For reference, Jupiter would need to be about 75 times more massive to fuse hydrogen properly and be a red dwarf. 50 times the mass and it'd probably be a brown dwarf in itself. This exoplanet still has a way to go then.

I'm sure someone will correct my maths if I've made a balls-up somewhere!

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Reg readers! You've got 100 MILLION QUID - what would you BLOW it on?

BenR

Re: Enforcement

Upvoted, but i'd take it further still.

How about a general "Become effective at what you're actually supposed to be doing?"

3
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Oz sawbones extract fork from old boy's todger: Gents, start your wincing

BenR
Gimp

Re: Nothing like variety!

From the article;

"a wide array of self-inserted foreign bodies", including ... vegetables (carrot, cucumber) ... parts of animals (leeches, squirrel tail, snakes) ... fluids (glue, hot wax).

O.o

The mind boggles.

Icon, well, because.

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Guardian lets UK spooks trash 'Snowden files' PCs to make them feel better

BenR
Happy

Upvoted:

Just for this:

"Would you stop being ignorant? We do not have the information, we do not have it here nor there, we do not have it anywhere, we do not have it in our SAN, we do not have it whitehall man"

That has made my day.

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Microsoft's next device could be a Surface Watch

BenR
Alien

"Hello computer...?"

"A keyboard. How quaint."

1
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CLIMATE CHANGE forces women into PROSTITUTION - US politicians

BenR
Holmes

@deshepherd Re: Gender sensitive framework

Actually, in that case I can see why the effect on women particularly might be considered separately - for example, women are probably more likely to be walking on the streets with children to and from school, and thus will be disproportionately benefited by such a change.

The rest of them are totally crackers though.

1
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UK.Gov passes Instagram Act: All your pics belong to everyone now

BenR
WTF?

Facebook / Instagram etc.

"For the first time anywhere in the world, the Act will permit the widespread commercial exploitation of unidentified work - the user only needs to perform a "diligent search". But since this is likely to come up with a blank, they can proceed with impunity."

Surely if you have an account with the like of Facebook or Instagram and you upload photos to it, then such a 'diligent search' should turn up the fact that the photograph is associated with you, and thus you own the rights to it? Alright, the meta-data might be deliberately stripped by the uploading process (I hope they get caught out doing that as it'll be fun!), but if it's in your account as uploaded by you on such-and-such a date...?

At the very least it should give companies a starting point to find the creator of whatever it is, and you'd like to think that if they are ever taken to court that the beak in question would look unfavourably on a company who hadn't gone past even the first level of checking?

Or am I being hopelessly naive? Or perhaps missing something startlingly obvious?

The real question I suppose is "How diligent is diligent?"

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Net neutrality? We've heard of it, says Ofcom

BenR

It's still not as funny as this tidbit

The "Competition Appeals Tribunal, responding to Sky's appeal against being forced to let competitors offer Sky Sports, ruled that Sky did not have enough power to upset the market. Meanwhile the Competition Commission, in an unrelated ruling, decided that Sky's dominance means the Pay TV industry is not competitive."

The idea that Sky don't have enough power in the PayTV market to upset it is just laughable - especially in the Home Box Office arena, and even more so again in the Sports market!

1
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No, really: Austrians develop hi-tech jewellery made out of concrete

BenR
Headmaster

It's not 'supported by'

Structural reinforced concrete isn't simply "supported on an underlying metal structure" - the steel is required to provide tensile capacity and form a composite material. The lever arm between the allowable compressive force in the concrete and the tensile force in the steel then provides bending capacity.

Similarly, reinforced concrete columns require both longitudinal and transverse reinforcement to both increase the direct axial compression carrying capacity, and to provide tensile reinforcement against the bursting forces generated by the Poisson effect (i.e. "cream-caking").

It's not like you can take away the steel once the concrete has cured. Bad things tend to happen if you try.

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Ten serious sci-fi films for the sentient fan

BenR
Thumb Up

Forgetting some of the other things he's done since, but...

'Donnie Darko'.

Although the super-duper "we've got some money now it's already a classic" Director's Cut Special Edition should be given a miss.

I agree wholeheartedly with the others suggested though... especially 'eXistenZ' and '12 Monkeys'. Both great great great films. And to whoever suggested 'Event Horizon' - good shout!

3
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Torvalds asks 'Why do PC manufacturers even bother any more?'

BenR
Megaphone

Re: Laptop screens are crap

You're not wrong.

Both you and Linus T. are not wrong.

My work laptop is a pretty high-end HP EliteBook w8760 mobile workstation. I love it as a bit of hardware, even though it does weight slightly more than the Moon.

My real point is that it is not a cheap bit of kit - and the screen it comes with is a HP DreamColor 1920x1080 panel, which in and of itself isn't bad at all, and is usable at that native res on a 17" panel.

The previous model (the w8740) however came with a 1920x1200 17" panel. The newer model is merely a refresh of the older model, less than a year after the original. But they changed the screen.

On such a high-end piece of kit, why on earth would they do it? Other than the obvious reason to bump their profit margins even higher...

8
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FIFA stages shoot-out between British and German goal line tech

BenR
Mushroom

Re: re : It was "rightly" ruled out for the "wrong" reason.

Ditto.

The one thing about GLT that bothers me is that the proposed systems only consider if the ball crossed the line, which is great and all, but these incidents happen so rarely and so infrequently, as to almost not be worth bothering about.

I hear the argument that 'because football is a low-scoring game, even a single goal is extremely important thus...' blah blah blah and that's right and true and correct.

This argument goes both ways, of course.

So what about the dodgy goals scored that shouldn't have been given because of offside? Or a foul in the build-up? Or, to cite an example from the Bayern Munich thrashing of Arsenal last night, when the goal comes directly from a corner that is clearly incorrectly awarded in the first place? Or a free-kick that should/shouldn't have been awarded? Or a penalty?

These are all much more common occurrences, and none of these systems do a damned thing about any of them. We all (those of us that watch football on telly and live) know from experience that most of the time the telly-bods have stuck a replay up showing fairly clearly what has happened inside of about 15 seconds of it occurring - often the only reason these things aren't shown immediately is so that any follow-on action isn't missed. Where is the help in sorting these out?

This redundant, ridiculous requirement from FIFA that decisions shouldn't interrupt the flow of the game, and should be made in an arbitrary timescale of X hundredths of a second or whatever are plainly nonsense, as anyone who has watched football knows that for the majority of calls that are seen as controversial, or requiring a booking / penalty / sending off generally take much longer than that to administer anyway due to the number of players arguing and complaining with the ref that the decision should / shouldn't stand... plenty of time to review on the magic telly-box.

Even at the most basic level - where's the official timer that stops the clock when the ball goes out of play and starts when it reenters? At the minute stoppage time is broadly a fictional number anyway. The simplest of measures (as has been used extensively and repeatedly in rugby) removes any 'Fergie-time' arguments. And the 'Hackney Marshes' rule doesn't apply, as clocks capable and suitable for this approach cost about £30 - well within the reaches of everyone playing at a level above that of having a kickabout in the park with your mates.

FIFA and UEFA are both jokes.

2
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AMD: Star Trek holodecks within reach

BenR

Much more likely to see the light of day as, at least initially and for the near-to-medium term, as a semi-interactive viewer. Visual and audio only - none of the olfactory or tactile nonsense.

If they could project in holographic 3D - rather than projecting 2x 2D images and using a parallax barrier to trick your brain - it'd be awesome for sporting events and the like. Imagine watching the FA Cup Final from your front room, but it feeling as if you're actually there. Being able to pan, zoom and tilt the camera to get the best view. Possibly to the extent that you could just have a continually moving view that follows the ball from a distance of ten feet?

It'd almost not be live, but a Hawkeye-type-system generated render in real-time, sort of a cross between a live video stream and an extremely highly-detailed game of FIFA - or whatever you happen to be watching.

Same for films as well really.

Anything more than that is a HUGE pipe dream though.

0
0

The truth on the Navy carrier debacle? Industry got away with murder

BenR
Thumb Up

Re: Persuasive Arguments

Not necessarily that I don't believe you, but any chance you could provide some links for some of these claims?

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BenR
FAIL

Re: Eh? (TheBigYin @ 11:15)

Precisely this.

Claiming the ships to be 'modular and adaptable with the facility to fit cats'n'traps afterwards', and then providing a ship which is neither modular, nor sufficiently adaptable that the cost of fitting said gear to an already extant seaframe exceeds by a considerable margin the cost of building said seaframe in the first feckin' place does very much seem to be the very definition of "bait and switch", and surely must constitute fraud.

Surely.

Surely?

As for why it wasn't nuclear, screwed if I know. It's not even like we have to look at what Peirre across the Channel is doing - we've been developing naval nuclear reactors for our SSN and SSBN programmes for at least the last 40-50 years. Rolls Royce have all the gear ready for the Astute subs - why not just design the engineering spaces of the carrier (which you're designing anyway) around the available power plants rather than doing it the other way round which would no doubt have been substantially more expensive?

The MoD couldn't be more full of fail if it tried. In fact, I'm surprised that they don't fail at failing.

Please - take some more of my tax money to piss away against the wall.

11
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BenR
Flame

It's this bit that worries me the most:

General Atomics tacked on still more, Mr Gray tells us:

"Additional aircraft launch and recovery equipment was required, on top of the cats and traps, which had not been included in the original estimate. The cost of going through the FMS [Foreign Military Sales] purchasing route and some inflation adjustments were further components."

Wait... what?

You're telling me that some absolute f**king CRETIN in the MoD put together a quote for adding cats'n'traps to our "adaptable" carriers, and didn't include all the aircraft launch and recovery kit? Do these things not get reviewed before going out? Or is there just some YTS, work-experience kid pulling these reports together?

12
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Red supergiant Betelgeuse heads for SMACKDOWN with 'dust bar'

BenR
Mushroom

Re: What has this got to do with a Supernova?

No / kind of - supernovae generally occur either:

a) when the star becomes sufficiently massive / hot to reignite and undergo either helium or carbon fusion through material accumulation; or

b) the outward pressure of the fusion in the core is no longer sufficient to balance the pressure due to the size of the star, causing gravitational collapse. The gravitational collapse increases the density of the core, leading to a) occurring.

Betelgeuse will nova through route b) - it is almost certainly undergoing helium-fusion at the moment, and when the helium concentration in its core becomes too dilute to effectively fuse (ie, the reaction is poisoned by too much carbon and other 'heavy' elements), it'll shed it's outer layers and undergo core collapse before becoming a type II supernova.

<url>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betelgeuse</url>

Explosion - well... if I need to explain why...

0
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Ever had to register to buy online - and been PELTED with SPAM?

BenR
FAIL

Re: Master of your own domain

While in theory that's the 'right' thing to do, the ICO are the biggest waste of time and money going. They are a bunch of useless, toothless cretins generally, with about as much punitive power as the cup of tea slowly cooling on my desk.

I went through them with a complaint about spam phone calls and text messages, despite being registered with TPS. I'd gone to the trouble of filling in their idiotic form, and providing them with all the information the wanted and more, including the name, registered office address, phone number, contact details and website of the company in question. They contacted me back saying there was nothing they could do as they 'couldn't identify the company making the calls'.

Hopeless.

0
1

After Sandy Hook, Senator calls for violent video game probe

BenR
Thumb Up

Re: What assault rifle???

Now both of your previous are ones I can (semi-) agree with. Shame you didn't make your point that clearly originally.

I would argue that they don't even need that ready an access to weaponry at all, but that's a different argument entirely.

0
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BenR
FAIL

Re: What assault rifle???

You know what - you've hit the nail right on the head.

He didn't use an ASSAULT rifle to massacre twenty six-year old children, six of their teachers and his own mother. It was just a boggo rifle that he only had to walk into his front room, pick up and kill people with

Our mistake - that's perfectly fine then.

Idiot.

4
2
BenR
Mushroom

When the Americans get around to banning 'violent' video games - and have dealt with the ensuing social trouble, free speech riots and probably killings that result - and the next one of these tragedies occurs because some nutter went off the rails and only had to walk into his front room to pick up a loaded assault rifle, I wonder what'll get blamed then?

Surely they won't blame video games, as the only thing Americans will be allowed to play will be 'My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic' (which will probably be enough to drive anyone into a killing rage).

Violent films?

Loud music?

Lack of prayer?

By the time the video game industry, the film industry and the music industry have left America and moved to Canada or somewhere because they won't have ridiculous legislation banning things that have no bearing whatsoever on the problem they are designed to 'fix', a fairly big chunk of money will be gone from the economy too. It all just snowballs from there.

OK America - we've all had a laugh at your idiotic approach to things, blaming everyone and everything but the root cause of the problem that the rest of the 6 billion people can see. It's time to get a grip.

3
0

Taxpayers to cough for Comet staff redundo

BenR
Mushroom

What really gets me:

"But unsecured creditors will gain nothing from the proceeds of administration. These include punters that paid for goods not yet delivered, landlords and HMRC."

So I've paid for something, and injected 'real' cash into a business in exchange for provision of 'real' goods or services, and that's considered unsecured credit?

But the frequently 'fictional' money injected, in this case £2 to buy the business gets £50million back?

How can this be the case? How can this be fair?

$Deity help anyone that had the temerity to pay for something in actual cash-money as opposed to getting it on a credit card on the never-never.

0
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Deputy PM: Rip up Snoop Charter, 'go back to the drawing board'

BenR
Mushroom

Re: Streaky

They still haven't made it abundantly clear who will pay for storing all this data and the extra cpu time/bandwidth either.

I think it's ALREADY abundantly clear who'll end up paying for this...

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