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* Posts by AdamT

220 posts • joined 7 Sep 2010

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Top ten car gadgets: Get your motor running with new shiny-shiny

AdamT

Re: iODB2 Engine Data Reader - Cheaper option

I've got this combo too. Torque is very good. Problem is the ODB socket in my car is just above my feet so I'd worry about kicking the ridiculously big plug out if I left it in all the time ...

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One amazing reason why NASA boffins are celebrating Curiosity's 687th day on Mars

AdamT

Re: A very lonely birthday party

unless, of course, the cake was a lie...

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Home automation while it's hot: Winter warmth for lazy technophiles

AdamT

Re: @Adam T

@Ledswinger - thanks for the further useful info. I'm approaching this not just from a money saving point of view but also the challenge of how it could be done ideally. Hence my starting point would be to try and monitor everything and control everything and see what could be achieved. I take your point about the boiler over-provision though. I guess this could be partially remediated by having multiple thresholds around the temperate settings so that you delayed the switch on in one room until another room or two also wanted heat, provided the first room didn't breach some second threshold, etc. etc.

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AdamT

thanks

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions/recommendations (watchforstock, circusmole, Nigel Whitfield, et al). Looks like things have moved on a bit since I last looked in to this.

I did note that the nCube use the danfoss wireless controllable and thermostatic valve but I do really want the valve and the thermometer to be separate units. Having the temperature measured right next to the heat source is always going to be second best. I think you can disable that function of the valve in favour of an external control signal but then you are paying for a bit of electronics on each radiator that you are not using...

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AdamT

Yes - they all basically just seem to be adding a bit of automation to the "turning the temperature of the whole house up and down a bit" control on a standard thermostat. What I really want (and what I suspect could really make savings) would be individual control of each room and each radiator. The use profile of bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, spare rooms, hallways, junk rooms and kitchens is very different (my house isn't that big, I'm just trying to be complete!) and a single thermostat, no matter how smart, just isn't going to be able to do a better job than individual room control.

The only one that seems to offer a bit of a nod in that direction is nCube (as they at least have radiator controls) but I still don't think they are quite there (certainly their website is a bit sparse on details).

Are there any systems where you can get: wireless, battery operated radiator valves without thermostats; wireless battery operated thermometer (for each room); wireless on/off control for the boiler; one smart controller (with webapp and/or mobile app) and; maybe a handful of basic room controls for simple overrides ?

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If Google remembers whom it has forgotten, has it complied with the ECJ judgment?

AdamT

Re: this probably sounds stupid.

well, there are two key questions here: what is the extent of your judicial reach and what is the extent of your physical reach? The US (*), for example, seems quite happy to extend its judicial reach well beyond it's physical boundaries, so why would "servers in space" be any different, especially when there will need to be ground control stations, etc. all over the place? And, secondly, the US and China have both been quite happy to demonstrate that their physical reach extends into space too as they have both deliberately downed satellites in circumstances that suggest that "showing that they could" was the primary purpose ...

(*) - not just picking on the US. The UK seems quite happy to attempt to export its libel laws across the world too...

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AdamT

Practicalities?

Well, just from a practical point of view they must surely have to maintain a list of what was removed simply so that when that site gets re-indexed the "offending" links don't just get added straight back into the Big Database? So the key questions are to what extent partially exposing that list (by reference to chillingeffects, etc.) complies with the court judgment and, as mentioned in the article, to what extent they should/shouldn't keep details with the list of removed urls pertaining to the removal request.

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Top 10 tech essentials for the festival season

AdamT

Re: Biolite stove..

I'm probably being a bit dense here but, why didn't you want to charge your phone from it?

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Move over, John Pilger, let us IT scandal-mongerers stick it to you

AdamT

with the eerie green glow provided by "half life wife" ?

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BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept

AdamT

Re: GCHQ wants to know what NSA hasn't a clue about and isn't being recorded for reporting in leaks

I think I've finally worked out what this reminds me of. In Iain M Banks "Feersum Endjinn" there's an AI, or some such, in a tower, maybe on the Plain of Sliding stones? (don't have an e-copy with me that I can check). But I'm pretty sure it was producing messages like this ...

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So, what exactly defines a 'boffin'? Speak your brains...

AdamT

Based on appearance?

If it's based on appearance, then the Pierce Brosnan character from Mars Attacks! must be a pretty good archetype:

http://www.empireonline.com/features/film-by-film-pierce-brosnan/p7

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Evidence of ancient WORLD SMASHER planet Theia - FOUND ON MOON

AdamT

Re: Are we here because of Theia?

I vaguely recall a related theory that the presence of the moon (not just the impact that created it) also influenced the composition of the crust and that it has more of the heavier elements in it that it would otherwise. Hence us having access to metals/minerals/isotopes and all the other things that we need for "technology"...

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You know all those resources we're about to run out of? No, we aren't

AdamT

Re: Great Article.

It's not always about science but I find "More or Less" on BBC Radio 4/World Service (and podcasts) is still happy to have a go at debunking dodgy statistics on almost any subject from any source. I thought they had done one on "peak oil", "reserves vs. resources", etc. - although I can't find it - but, for example, they did cover "peak population" and they don't mind quizzing politicians or charities about claims that are arguably or provably false. i.e. they are all about the facts and the reasoning rather than worrying about whether the claims are being made to support something that is considered "broadly good" or not.

I suspect their audience isn't really big enough to be making a difference though.

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Achtung! Use maths to smash the German tank problem – and your rival

AdamT

Re: Nice one again

You may also enjoy "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson. Part of the plot follows a slightly fictionalised/alternate-history version of the allied code breakers (Bletchley Park, etc.) as they deal with exactly this kind of problem.

And also worry about the reverse issue of trying to counteract their own possible revelations of information back the other way. e.g. having worked out how many tanks per week the enemy is building, what if you inadvertently change your behavior in such a way that the enemy can work out what you have done? Then they might start deliberately messing with the serial numbers to spoil your analysis whilst suddenly increasing production...

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Boffins 3D-print biomimetic shark skin

AdamT

Evolution ...

... is there anything it can't do?!

Well, actually, yeah there are a few things. But it still never ceases to amaze me especially when you see it coming up with things like this...

(and, of course, I am referring to the thing they are trying to copy rather than the - admittedly also very clever - thing that the researchers came up with)

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Boffins build billion-synapse, three-watt 'brain'

AdamT

Re: Programming

if they do it right then they will only need another computer once ...

<RotM>

duh duh duh ... duh duh

duh duh duh ... duh duh

</RotM>

Edit: hmmm, not sure that's really worked with the "duh"s. I'm going for the Terminator theme, if that's not clear...

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Microsoft forms 'Special Projects' black ops team

AdamT

Re: SPG?

"There's no room for men like you in my force, Whitaker. I'm transferring you to the SPG"

(NTNOCN)

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Minecraft players can now download Denmark – all of it – in 1:1 scale

AdamT

Re: Wait! The GOVERNMENT did this?

It _did_ happen in the UK: http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=minecraft+britain

Don't recall that there was too much seething, given that an intern at Ordnance Survey did it.

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AdamT

Re: This is great!

yes it did: http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=minecraft+britain

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Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68

AdamT

Awkward conversations

Ah yes, the days when parents let their young teens read the first book and prepared themselves for the awkward questions afterwards. (*)

"Mum? What are ..."

<what's she going to ask? what's she going to ask!?>

" ... Tunisian Baggage Handlers?"

(genuinely happened to some family friends)

(*) As the article alludes, these were probably the first (or at least the first, successful) Young Adult/Aimed at Teens books that frankly discussed a number of topics that were formerly "behind the bike sheds"/"unsubstantiated gossip"/"things the older kids told you (or lied to you) about" areas!

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Reg LOHAN spaceplane: Punch and Judy show in comedy non-explosive climax

AdamT

Hydrogen? Helium?

I may have slightly lost track of the latest plan but I though Helium was very much the SPB lift gas of choice (for lots of good reasons involving proximity of rockets, ignitors, etc.).

But those tanks are bright red, which I thought was the tank colour of Hydrogen?

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Eco-friendly fluid keeps SGI supercomputer cool and moist

AdamT

Re: Aesthetics

Bit like this perhaps? http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cray_X-MP.jpg

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The... Windows... XPocalypse... is... NIGH

AdamT

Re: Microsoft missed an opportunity here...

It's almost as if you read Trev's previous post :-)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/04/02/the_mathematics_of_trust/

He reckoned about $65 per year should hit the mark as an amount businesses would pay and enough to directly fund the necesary staff at MS. With the added bonus to MS of getting lots of people used to the idea of paying for an OS by annual subscription...

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Nominet bins Optical Express' appeal against 'It ruined my life' website

AdamT

Sarcastic Panel

No way was the "eye-wateringly high" line an innocent and coincidental choice of phrasing!

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Want to see at night? Here comes the infrared CONTACT LENS

AdamT

Graphene ...

... now you're just showing off.

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LOHAN team gears up for Punch and Judy show

AdamT

That carbon rod ...

... is it inanimate?

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ECCENTRIC, PINK DWARF dubbed 'Biden' by saucy astronomers

AdamT

It's a nice idea but I don't think our technology is up to it. Firstly you'd need an imaging system on it that could spot these objects from many AU away and secondly you'd need a pretty awesome propulsion system to get out of the earth's orbit around the sun and into a new perpendicular one.

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Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

AdamT

More or Less ...

... on Radio 4 covered this, I thought, pretty completely: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01p8bs2

But, having just listened again, I don't hear them mention "pole" though ....

Interestingly the Romans seemed to like the idea of "metricated" multiples as there was a Roman mile of 60,000 inches (as opposed to the normal mile of 63,360 inches, obviously).

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Battery vendors push ultracapacitor wrappers to give Li-ions more bite

AdamT

A level physics confusion?

So, I recall from A level physics (*) that you will always waste 50% of the energy if you charge a capacitor from a fixed voltage. Basic idea being that energy in cap is 0.5 x C x V x V but that the energy supplied from the fixed voltage source is Q x V = (C x V) x V. I guess these days you can use some clever electronics to break the assumption of fixed voltage, but even so there must be some losses, right? As well as the increased complexity of the combined cap/battery/electronics.

* - a while ago, deduceable from the fact that I also have a physics O-Level ...

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Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

AdamT

Re: RS?

What about Machine Mart? Where do you stand on that?

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Roll up, roll up for the Commentards' Ball

AdamT

unfortunately that pub got turned into apartments. (let's see if a google streetview link works)

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=39+Monson+Road,+SE14&hl=en&ll=51.477954,-0.047715&spn=0.000007,0.004549&sll=51.537794,-0.101624&sspn=0.55607,1.164551&t=h&hnear=39+Monson+Rd,+London+SE14+5EQ,+United+Kingdom&z=18&layer=c&cbll=51.477954,-0.047715&panoid=g5APZIJzrVnWGd3Z_WRAJw&cbp=12,355,,0,-5.94

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US Senator lobbies feds to BAN BITCOIN

AdamT

Re: "the currency helps facilitate criminal activity"

True that there are controls on cash entering/leaving the banking system (and in the UK too, as per Condiment's comment) but presumably you can still have a fairly significant chunk of the ecomony operating as cash that never enters/leaves a bank account? I wonder what the figure is of actual physical cash as a fraction of total ammount of currency (if that is even measureable) and whether you can establish a figure representing what fraction of that circulates entirely physically?

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Blighty's banks prep for repeated kicks to cyber-'nads in Operation Waking Shark II

AdamT

No matter how many times I read the headline, it seems that the use of "-'nads" (*) conditions my brain to mis-read "waking" and makes me think "hmm, didn't know sharks were in to that sort of thing. Thought that was dolphins".

Naughty headline writers forcing our innocent reader's brains to think of such things...

(*) Could also be "Banks", I suppose.

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Backup software for HDD and Cloud

AdamT

Re: Backup software for HDD and Cloud

Upvote for Cloudberry (and their technical support). I've used it for a couple of years running off WHS (and now from Server 2012 Essentials) to backup to Amazon S3 but it now supports loads of other destinations too. So kind of a double backup really: PC -> WHS/Essentials -> S3

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Tesla battery fire pushes beleaguered firm's share price even lower

AdamT

Indeed - think about how many millions (billions? trillions?) of man-hours of development have led to the current state of safety for trains, planes and automobiles with regard to both their flamable fuel (which Tesla need to do again for batteries) and with things like crumple zones, body cages, etc. (which Tesla can just use as is).

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Boffins build R2-WEE-2: The urine-powered robot with a human-like heart

AdamT

Re: I was going to make a "Spare some piss guv?" joke

You could have gone with "Spare a penny, guv?"

Or is that just a UK-ism?

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LOHAN's mighty thruster poised for hot coupling

AdamT

Tearing foil?

bit of a repost but:

How about using strips of foil that have a notch in them? If you align the clamps at each end of the foil to be slightly non-parallel then you can make sure that the tearing force concentrates at the notch. Bit like tearing a sheet of paper by putting a fold in it, making a small tear at the top and then just pulling the top corners.

Should be fairly robust and flexible on the way up if the rocket wobbles with respect to the truss but should tear with pretty minimal force when the rocket wants to leave.

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Could Doctor Who really bump into human space dwellers?

AdamT

Working both ends of the problem

Clearly I'm not an expert (as I shall now reveal with this question) but, as well as trying to mitigate the amount of damaging radiation that hits you in the first place - with lead, water, "force fields", etc. - what are the prospects for being able to just fix the damage?

Medical nano technology clearly isn't there yet, but is it within in the realms of plausibility (in the same kind of timescales that we are talking about for travelling to Mars, etc.) to imagine that you could have nanobots roaming within you that could just fix up a reasonable amount of the radiation damage or at least cleanly dispose of newly formed cancerous cells, etc.?

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Google barge erection hypegasm latest - What's in the box?

AdamT

If only all the other agencies of the US government were as well mannered and discreet as the Californian Coast Guard...

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DON'T BREW THAT CUPPA! Your kettle could be a SPAMBOT

AdamT

Re: They used to be protected against the Irons.

Doesn't have quite the same ring to it though:

<grave(*) voice>

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic a kettle curtain has descended across the Continent...

</grave voice>

(*) - or churchillian, indeed

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How I BLEW my co-workers' HEADS OFF ... without going to jail

AdamT

Re: Self Curling?

Even though it was full of computers the desks were those lab bench type things with thin metal legs bolted to the (polished wood) floor. So you self launched on your 5-point caster chair down one aisle by grabbing one table leg and one bookcase and then had to handle the cornering force to do a right angle turn off the last table leg into the second aisle. Points awarded for accuracy of the right angle turn and speed with which you hit the cupboard at the end of the second aisle (which obviously required you to have achieved a reasonably accurate turn).

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Oz racehorse shod with 3D-printed titanium hoofwear

AdamT

Re: Wow.

and the other half of the farriers job is trimming the hoof itself. Now I appreciate that part of the trimming is to help it fit the shoe, so arguably that part becomes unnecessary, but the other purpose of the trimming is also just general "hoof care" so will still be needed.

<serious comment in reply to delightfully subtle sarcastic one!>

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AdamT

Re: If only someone had told them..

Having just read Charles Stross' "Equoid" this half-horse comment raises further disturbing mental images and also the thought that horse shoes made of lead might be safer...

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Slip your SIM into a plastic sheath, WIPE international call charges

AdamT

Re: A neat trick

I'm reminded of a science fiction story - probably Arthur C Clarke, possibly "Imperial Earth" - in which he notes the momentous day on which every phone call on the planet, to/from anywhere, became a "local call". I'm also guessing that he reckoned that date should already have passed but it seems that in real life we have some way to go.

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Boffins spot LONE PLANET roaming interstellar void

AdamT

got to find your multipass first though?

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AdamT

Re: Daleks

I always found that hiding behind a large cushion or your Dad worked too. Now that I am a Dad I'm thinking there is a flaw in this theory ...

Unless in becoming a Dad you acquire invulnerability to DWE's. Or perhaps you just acquire the appearance of such invulnerability. Hmmm.

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Brit boson boffin Higgs bags Nobel with eponymous deiton

AdamT

Re: These guys are old.

Although there are many cases in science/maths where the person who has their name on it isn't necessarily the most deserving of it (a) this isn't the case this time and (b) there would be a certain confusion caused by awarding the nobel prize "to Alice, Bob and Carol (but not Dave) for the discovery of the Dave particle".

c.f. my frothing at the mouth when anyone suggests the UK should drop GMT. "But the G stands for Greenwich - which is right over there! I can see it out my window! Look! Look at it! There's a hill with the observatory on top! You can go and stand on 0 degrees! Arrrggghhhhh!"

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British support for fracking largely unmoved by knowledge of downsides

AdamT

To be fair to the media (*)

I wasn't really paying much attention and I still ended knowing two "facts" about the protest:

1 - that it was a protest against fracking at an oil drilling site (turned out to be correct)

2 - that some of the protesters had previous form protesting against coal mine closures (no idea if true or not but seemed kind of hypocritcal)

(*) - although it does feel weird

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Our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane: Intimate snaps

AdamT

Re: Aamzing!

About 10 years ago the company I worked for was offered a trial of an incredibly expensive 3d printing machine and my first question was "do you reckon you could print a nut and bolt that were screwed together, take it out the machine and unscrew it?". The general consensus was "no, not really". But seeing the detail you've got there, I'm starting to think maybe we're nearly there ...

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Thorium and inefficient solar power? That's good enough for me

AdamT

Re: Thorium reactors

I guess I have the same questions about the Fusion Polywell thing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell). Sounds plausible (to a non-physicist) but "what's the catch?". Even the initial estimates of the cost to produce a realistic sized prototype were being quoted in units of $100M as opposed to investments in "standard" fusion which is measured in $10B units. The cost of just building a plain old nuclear plant are measured in $100M to $1B units. So by any of those measures isn't it worth just building a bigger polywell and finding out?

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