* Posts by AdamT

313 posts • joined 7 Sep 2010

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Watch: SpaceX finally lands Falcon rocket on robo-barge in one piece

AdamT

Re: "...live-streamed the landing from a helicopter."

yeah - I don't get that either. Given that "catching the rocket engines with a helicopter" is actually the plan of ULA for their Vulcan project...

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Turbo-charged quantum crypto? You'll need Cambridge laser boffins for that

AdamT

Taking it on trust

So I guess for most people (including the more literate IT types reading here!) we are realistically already at the level where we have to take "secure/unbreakable encryption" claims on trust (because the maths is hard) but once "quantum stuff" starts getting used in real world situations it's going to get worse, right? The number of people who could legitimately claim to genuinely and fully understand how it works is going to go down by an order of magnitude (if not two or three!). 'Cos, you know, this quantum stuff is spooky ...

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New submarine cable to connect Australia to Singapore

AdamT

See you what now?

I was (very slightly) involved in the development of the Sea-Me-We-2 cable and I'm pleased to see they've continued the naming convention so we can continue to all giggle like 8 year olds just like we did 20 years ago ...

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Sick to death of mighty rocket launches? Avoid these dates

AdamT

Re: Further ahead

which also reveals a further TBD SpaceX launch in April...

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William Hague: Brussels attacks mean we must destroy crypto ASAP

AdamT

Huh?

"US Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-SF) introduced a bill to prohibit the anonymous sale of pre-paid mobile phones in America"

Is it just me interpreting that as "OMG! Phones iz more dangerous than gunz!" ?

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Computers shouldn't smoke. Cigarettes aren't healthy for anyone

AdamT

... not just PC's either. Once helped a friend gut a house he'd just bought (partly because of the hideous 60's décor and partly because the previous occupants were chain smokers). As we took down the lovely 60's polystyrene ceiling tiles you could crack them apart and see how far the yellow had soaked into the tile...

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Mighty Soyuz stands proud at Baikonur

AdamT

Re: Middle Naut

Based on in interview with him in a documentary I saw (that was actually more about Tim Peake) it appears that he does have a pretty good sense of humour but that it is very, very, ... very ... dry indeed. Whether that is representative of Russians in general or Cosmonauts in particular, I couldn't say.

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Hi-def ExoMars launch vid lacks volcanic lair vibe

AdamT

Re: Bonkers

There was a recent satellite launch on some similar flavour of converted ICBM (perhaps this one: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/17/sentinel_launch/ ) where it looks like, even though above ground, there is still some kind of tube that the rocket launches from.

I'm sure there's a technical reason (something to do with the rocket engine expecting a certain back pressure from an underground launch tube?) but it's also amusing to just consider that the rockets get nervous in the open air so they're given a little tube to hide in until it's time to go...

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Computers abort SpaceX Falcon 9 launch

AdamT

Volcano Lair?

And presumably we'll find out shortly if Musk really does have any "volcano lair" tendencies as, in this situation, surely the temptation to use one's fortune to hunt down the boat's skipper and do something amusingly unpleasant to them must be very, very tempting ....

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Ordnance Survey unfolds handy Mars map

AdamT

Re: Bah!

Absolutely! That was my favourite bit of the Geography O-Level exam - the "here's a nice OS map for your perusal and a number of questions about it" question. Sad thing was that we didn't get to keep the maps afterwards.

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AdamT

Re: Map for The Martian

yup - I spotted that too. I wonder if it was deliberate or perhaps that area of Mars is just "interesting" whether you are an author, a NASA lander or a quiet bunch of Brit cartographers with a dream ...

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The field at the centre of the universe: Cambridge's outdoor pulsar pusher

AdamT

Used to be my "local" interferometery array

... as I lived in one of the nearby villages so would drive past these chaps most days:

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

Occasionally at night you'd hear the groaning/scraping sounds as they dragged themselves up and down the old rail lines adjusting themselves.

Seems like they've now been co-opted into a more stationary configuration these days:

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

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Who would code a self-destruct feature into their own web browser? Oh, hello, Apple

AdamT

French slang?

Not at all an expert on French slang but I was made aware of "zizzi" as meaning the same as "bite", in this slang context at least, by my French colleagues' hysterical laughter at this news item from 2007: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6586879.stm

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Microsoft sinks to new depths with underwater data centre experiment

AdamT

Re: Why put it all below water?

exactly! Why not just pump seawater out the sea (or a river), pass it through some heat exchanges and then let it back out into the sea? Works pretty well for power stations and they need to get rid of quite a lot more heat than a data centre would ...

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Blighty's Parliament prescribed tablets to cope with future votes

AdamT

Re: Secret

Not any more. Initial transcripts, albeit subject to correction/approval/etc., all available here:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/hansard/commons/todays-commons-debates/

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Space podule outfit inks Arizona launch deal

AdamT

Re: Alternatively...

not entirely sure how the economics and/or politics work but I suspect this is more "dirt-poor southern state competes with other states to keep company in the hope that billionaire visitors will, in the future, spend lots of money in their state on high-altitude ballooning, hotels, food and lots of other sales-tax earning things" ...

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SpaceX: launch, check. Landing? Needs work

AdamT
Mushroom

Hey, Subs! You can have this for free:

"Stuck the landing but not the standing"

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What the Investigatory Powers Bill will mean for your internet use

AdamT

Re: Can anyone* see my web requests if I use HTTPS?

Absolutely true. Where I work this is specifically mentioned in our employment contracts (or at least in a policy doc that is deemed part of our contract). Effectively they MITM every HTTPS because they can set whatever root certificates they like on our workstations. They have legitimate reasons to do this but as a consequence get to sweep up all such data. I'm also presuming that any legislation will at least attempt to be sufficiently broad that they can get such logs from employers too.

If you don't like this then you should only browse personal stuff at home. I nearly added "or on your smartphone" then I laughed at myself.

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UK's super-cyber-snoop shopping list: Internet data, bulk spying, covert equipment tapping

AdamT

reasonable explanation?

She has to try and get all these huge sweeping powers to hide her true purpose - getting the names, addresses and real-time locations of all the members of the Dalmation Owners Club ...

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Cash injection fuels SABRE spaceplane engine

AdamT

Re: Why is it curved?

i actually met a few of the Reaction Engine guys at a conference a few years ago and did ask this qustion. Regrettably I don't recall the exact answer but it was along the lines of wanting some down vector to the thrust whilst the airflow was straight (with respect to the fuselage)

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I survived a head-on crash with driverless cars – and dummies

AdamT

Actually lots of evidence that travelling at a constant say 25mph and going straight through lights at green is quicker for you (and everyone else) than going at 30mph, having to stop,queue and then start again. Germany, for example, has been doing this sort of thing for decades with their traffic lights. Similar example on the london underground where they are switching to "moving block" signalling (which attempts to keep a constant speed / spacing) compared to the old "fixed block" where the driver would slam the train to a halt at the red signal because there was no way of telling that the next block would become free in a few seconds so actually they'd have been better off slowing a little.

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AdamT

"slightly eerie"

You probably shouldn't watch the slow-mo child seat tests that they have on which.co.uk featuring similar crash-test-dummy babies and toddlers, then.They do actually put up a warning before them saying that they might be disturbing, which I casually dismissed and then, shortly after, thoroughly agreed with...

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We're getting kick-ass at seeing through walls using just Wi-Fi – MIT

AdamT

Finally!

The beeping scanner tracking thing from Aliens is here!

(who cares if it uses wifi rather than detecting air motion which, if I recall correctly, is what the film one used)

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El Reg celebrates Back to the Future Day

AdamT

"Why are you still wearing those Google Glass prototypes? They're not retro yet!"

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Whitman slams EMC/Dell deal

AdamT

MW management style

Having read some of the various claim/counter-claim documents in the HP vs. Autonomy spat I still can't get over the description of the high level "Executive Committee" meetings: "Ms Whitman ... repeatedly adopted the management approach of ... playing country music to the meeting instructing the senior executives attending to take the meaning of the country music songs and apply them to their own management methods".

Sounds like HP is in safe hands ...

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NASA announcement of MAJOR MARS DISCOVERY imminent: WHAT can it be?

AdamT

Well, you're out of date! Sadly, it's sonic sunglasses these days...

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

AdamT

"You're the 666th visitor to this site! Click here to claim your prize!1!!!"

Hmmm, tempting ....

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We saw the future: Apart from the bath apps it looks like the past

AdamT

Efficiency...

Nice use of sarcasm in the article saving us from having to bother in the comments!

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How green is your ROCKET FUEL?

AdamT

Yes, but can you make water out of it?

You know, if you're stuck on Mars, for example ...

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AdamT

Re: A "one newton thruster"

yes but these thrusters are just used for rotating the satellite and, I suspect (although I'm no rocket scientist) that, the 22N ones are for minor orbital changes. Basically these are just for pootling around (*) not for major course adjustments.

(*) - I think the technical term is "station keeping"

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

AdamT

"I wonder if I can friend Captain Beaky on Facebook? I've finally proved I'm innocent!"

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That's a Tor order: Library gets cop visit for running exit relay in US

AdamT

Two things:

Firstly, the library hasn't backed down (yet) - they've just sent it back to their Trustees (who are probably the group that would face any legal difficulties). Seems perfectly reasonable - if I were just some random employee then that's totally what I would do too.

Secondly, is there the option of hosting the node but only allowing the exit to see the library hosted content? That should resolve the issue, right? TOR users wherever they are can get to the library content but nowhere else (via the Library node). So no "criminal" traffic can be passing through the libraries systems onto the internet. Or do you think they are arguing that even passing the encrypted TOR in/out stream, which I guess might contain a few instances of naughtiness, is a problem?

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Au oh, there's gold in them thar server farms, so lead the way

AdamT

Gold FTW ! (when soldering)

I used to work for a company where long life and corrosion resistance were very, very important so almost all the electrical bits ended up being gold plated to some degree or other. For similar reasons, connectors were not allowed - everything had to be soldered. I have to say soldering a gold plated wire onto a gold plated pin was always a real pleasure - it's about the only time even a non-expert can get the textbook solder fillet!

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Another chance to win a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive

AdamT

Where's Adric when you need him?

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SpaceX's blast shock delays world's MOST POWERFUL ROCKET

AdamT

Re: Confused about the re-useables return path?

"Overall, SpaceX fuel tanks are the lightest in the industry, and the engines have amazing thrust to weight ratio" - this also means, I believe, that one of the issues with landing is that even using a single engine at minimum thrust it still has net lift. So it cannot just gently lower itself down at whatever pace it feels like - it has to set a descent trajectory with positive vertical acceleration that happens to end with zero velocity exactly(*) on the pad/barge...

(*) obviously there is a certain amount of tweaking you can do, there are cold gas thrusters and the legs can take a certain range of non-zero landing speeds, but, still, it's tricky...

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AdamT

Re: Re-Use

So about as re-usable as an F1 car then ...

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AdamT

Reuse and price

As per the end of the article I do think reuse and the knock on effect on price are the key. As long as Musk/SpaceX have the financial reserves/income stream to keep on with the Falcon Heavy (and XX) programme then their launch cost per Kg will be tiny in comparison to the SLS which is completely thrown away.

The maximum payload difference may not be such an issue either: one use of such a heavy lift is to take up multiple things, in which case multiple, dramatically cheaper lauches are better. The other is to take up a single heavy thing (duh!) - but what is the demand for that? Any realistic manned Mars mission is likely to need multiple launches of bits and pieces and likely some in-orbit assembly at which point what is the difference between joining 3 things together and joining 5? Well, obviously _some_ difference but enough to be worth spending the entire SLS development cost on? (when they should be spending the money on e.g. working out how to assemble stuff in orbit ....)

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It's the hottest day of the year. So check out John Lewis' Xmas tech range!

AdamT
Facepalm

Vorwerk Thermomix TM5

Caused quite a stir did it? Really? You went there?

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Graphene sheaths could boost processor signal speeds by 30 per cent

AdamT

Re: Contradiction? @ chemist

So this is Graphene Oxide but from Jan '12: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/27/graphene_blocks_liquids_gases/

(blocks gases but let's water through)

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AdamT

From Nov '13: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/22/gates_graphene_condom/

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Do svidaniya Roscosmos. By the way, any idea where that 92 BEEELLION rubles went?

AdamT

And this sort of thing ...

... is why you wouldn't want to be an astronaut or cosmonaut. It's already happened in both Russia and the USA both during the Space Race and to some extent during the Shuttle era, and is probably going to happen again with the rescheduled next crew flight to ISS - a bunch of Astronauts and Cosmosnauts are going to have to stand, smile and wave at the cameras whilst repeating carefully written statements about how confident they are and how everything is going to be fine whilst privately thinking "we're all going to die but if I say anything that's the end of my career".

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Red-faced Germans halt NSA cooperation after Euro spying revealed

AdamT

Re: "Socialism" in the name

similiar to a country having "democratic" in its name... (c.f. Yes Minister for those of you with long memories)

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Bridge, ship 'n' tunnel – the Brunels' hidden Thames trip

AdamT

Re: I can't resist

I think Enderby's Wharf is at the site of the current Alcatel facility (near the Blackwall Tunnel south entrance). When I worked there (a couple of decades ago when it was still STC) a lot of the cable handling equipment was still there although cable hadn't been made on that site for quite some time. Things may have changed since then, of course...

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AdamT

Re: Thames Tunnel

I was lucky enough to get on the "walk through the tunnels" trip they did when line was closed for extended engineering works. I suspect the last photograph in the article (of random people walking alone the lines) is actually from that event as I have a very similar one myself. I think they have done a pretty good job in the end with a reasonable balance between preservation, exhibition (albeit that you won't really see it from the trains) and waterproofing!

There is also a slightly nerdy thrill from walking along tracks through a tunnel and occasionally stepping on the live rail...

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Fondleslab deaths grounded ALL of American Airlines' 737s

AdamT

Re: Now an intelligent design

well they are not "safety critical" in the sense that the plane falls out of the sky if the iPads fail but I am curious as to what the procedure is if you lose access to your flight plan (and all the "reference manuals") mid flight ...

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The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It's NOT a law after all

AdamT

Re: Bah!

Umm, it's just a english idiom rougly meaning, in this context, something like "seriously" or maybe "professionally" and implying that this was when he got seriously stuck into that business. I think originally it was used to distinguish between practice and "for real". For example "shots fired in anger" meaning you were shooting at someone with intent as opposed to just practicing.

(Here's hoping that was a genuine language misunderstanding and I haven't missed some joke and patronisingly explained it to you anyway!)

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FBI alert: Get these motherf'king hackers off this motherf'king plane

AdamT

Re: oh hell....

I used to work with someone who had formerly worked on fitting out customised private jets - "client wants a diamond encrusted plasma TV that rises out the footboard of the bed", etc. etc. I think the actually restrictions were even tougher - they couldn't even share a power cable with the avionics. Obviously at some point there must have been some interaction but the point was there had to be no feasible way that any failure of the entertainment kit could have any impact, no matter how tiny, on the actual flight systems. I think he left because jumping through all those hoops took the fun out of the "how do I diamond encrust a TV?" aspects of the job ...

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Got a big day planned in 15 BEELLLION years? You need this clock

AdamT

Re: Sensitivity

I recall that this sort of thing has been tried already. Wikipedia agrees: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation#Experimental_confirmation But the discussion of which one is "right" is probably more philosophical than scientific ...

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AdamT

Sensitivity

Doesn't this also mean that it's going to be affected by things like the mass of air in the atmosphere above it? Which obviously varies...

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The Internet of things is great until it blows up your house

AdamT

Re: Deeper thought

Well, can't speak for the rest of the world but assume it would be similar to UK, but, for example, all central heating boilers/furnaces have to have a whole range of electrical and (I think) thermo-mechanical interlocks. So the external input to the boiler (from the controller) is just a "heat demanded" signal. And, sure, I leave my central heating on when I'm on holiday without worrying about the boiler exploding. (with thermostat turned down obviously - I'm not a CO2 monster!)

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