* Posts by FrancisKing

16 posts • joined 15 Oct 2010

Netbooks projected to become EXTINCT by 2015

FrancisKing

Re: Like for like

The keyboard is the big weakness on a netbook. Using a keyboard means that you have to have the screen further away, which makes it look smaller. My 10" ipad has the same size screen as a netbook, but is an excellent size whereas the screens on netbooks were too small.

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Climate was HOTTER in Roman, medieval times than now: Study

FrancisKing

"Yes and the alarmists always point to the victorian "ice faires" as an example of how much the climate has warmed, they never know what to say when I mention those Roman the vineyards up North."

The restoration era had the Thames freezing in cold weather. Part of that was due to the London Bridge of the time, which restricted the flow of water downstream.

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Lesser-spotted Raspberry Pi FINALLY dished up

FrancisKing

Re: A rubber-keyed speccy?

"When I were a lad, we had to share one abacus between the whole school!"

Abacus? You were lucky. We had to do all our calculations in cuneiform.

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FrancisKing

Re: @Pete 2

"Since you believe its a far better solution, is there anything stopping you actually going out and doing this yourself?"

They already have. The Raspberry Pi, media craze not withstanding, is not the only development kit, not by a long way. So why just now has everyone got to buy one?

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Quitting your job? Here's how not to do it

FrancisKing

Re: Spanish Inquisition

no one expects them

The Spanish Inquisition always gave 30 days notice of their arrival.

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Dutch astronaut unleashes 155 mph 'Superbus'

FrancisKing

Erm...yes

Because the whole basis of an effective public transport system is that you collect a large number of people at one place, not that you go around picking people up all over town.

The latter already exists, where a minibus picks people up from their front doors, and it is an economic failure - it costs too much, is tool slow, and picks up too much subsidy.

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Oxfordshire cops switch speed cameras back on

FrancisKing

Thank God for that

"Its for cars and they will smush you first and stop later."

Thank God for that. For a horrible moment I though that the roads belonged to the Queen, for everyone to use.

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Toshiba NB500 budget netbook

FrancisKing

Not sure about some things

"That said, I was particularly unimpressed with the NB500's 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi adaptor, which Windows states delivers a speed of just 72Mb/s, barely faster than 802.11g's 54Mb/s. 802.11n is capable of a much higher throughput, even allowing for Windows reporting the maximum possible speed rather than real-world throughput. The NB500 doesn't feel as quick as other 802.11n kit I've used, nor as able to cope with areas where a router's wireless signal is week."

Given the speed of the broadband behind the Wi-Fi, does it matter, beyond a certain point, how fast it connects?

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DEC: The best of systems, the worst of systems

FrancisKing

DEC Alpha

The Alpha processor was the hottest ticket around when it came out. The company for which I worked had embedded DEC engineers, and they could hardly contain themselves. The big problem was how much a system like that cost, and so it was never going to end up with home enthusiasts.

The thing I remember about VMS was that the root user wasn't top dog. There were also a few bigger accounts, including the site engineer account. User: site. Default password: engineer. I still wonder how many DEC systems never had the site engineer password changed.

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Super-thin materials could POWER our WORLD

FrancisKing
WTF?

How does that work then?

You can't extract electrical power from heat, only from a temperature gradient.

That's why in a coal-fired power station, one end is hot (the boiler) and one is cold (river water).

"In gas-fired power plants, approximately 50 per cent of energy produced is lost as waste heat, while for coal and oil plants the figure is up to 70 per cent ... the development of efficient thermoelectric devices would allow some of this waste heat to be recycled cheaply and easily, something that has been beyond us, up until now."

The only way to get a temperature gradient across the new gadget is to increase the temperature of the cold end of the power station - so it produces less electricity. I'm feeling a little bit sceptical right now...

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Britain takes delivery of first Nissan e-cars

FrancisKing

Yes.

Yes. It's a car aimed directly at the rich, yet all taxpayers will be subsidising it.

So much for progressive policies.

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Who are the biggest electric car liars - the BBC, or Tesla Motors?

FrancisKing

But in reality...

... the electric car would be used for a short journey to work, where a slow speed charger would charge the electric car over 8 hours whilst the driver was sat at a desk, before the short return journey. As long as the driver is doing something else, it doesn't matter how long the charging takes.

Indeed, car journeys are so short that most could be replaced with bicycles on, largely, a one-for-one swap, if we as a nation could be bothered to think rather more about what cyclists want, not just what car drivers want. In the 1960s, The Netherlands had the same attitude towards cars as in the UK, but they deliberately, not accidentally, decided to take a different approach.

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South African wireless traffic lights pillaged by SIM-card thieves

FrancisKing

UK too

"In the UK this practice was considered to deprive the exchequer of petrol duty revenue and councils were prohibited from using it till as recently as a couple of years back. So having traffic lights along major routes talk to each other is actually a very good idea and is the de-facto standard outside the UK."

The UK has had synchronised traffic lights for a long time. TRANSYT was (and still is to a large extent) the software which does the calculations for it. TRANSYT goes back to the days of punched card data entry.

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Plasma space-drive aces efficiency numbers: Set for ISS in 2014

FrancisKing

Pedant

"Give me a place to stand, and I will move the earth" - Archimedes.

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Has CERN made the VATICAN ANTIMATTER BOMB for real?*

FrancisKing

Being even more pedantic

" in fact it would take 300 billion years by his estimates."

Before the Haber process was invented, producing ammonia in industrial quantities was very difficult. To fuse hydrogen and nitrogen required a lot of heat and pressure.After the Haber process, using iron as a catalyst, it was all much easier.

What happens when they figure out what makes antimatter tick? Do we get an anti-Haber process?

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MoD braced for painful weight-loss surgery next week

FrancisKing

Nice theory

"Even if you can find an enemy with lots of tanks and artillery to have a fight with, it makes far more sense to simply blast them in safety from the air using precision weapons, than to fight them on their own terms. Tackling enemy tanks using tanks of your own - in these days of all-weather aircraft, airborne radar and guided weapons - is rather like killing rottweilers by getting down on all fours and biting them to death."

Only, it didn't work in Kosovo. The Serbian armour didn't need to concentrate in one place, since it wasn't facing Nato armour. The Serbs deployed decoys, and many of these were hit instead. The armour is the anvil against which the airpower hammer is wielded.

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