* Posts by Timbo

150 posts • joined 6 Jun 2007

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Snakes on a backplane: Server-room cabling horrors

Timbo

re: ALL the above

...and you try telling that to the young people of today - they won't believe you :)

(copyright Messrs Python & Co inc)

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How a hack on Prince Philip's Prestel account led to UK computer law

Timbo

Re: Prestel, eh? Communitel... Viewdata... MicroGnome... jumpers for goalposts... Marvellous

Nice link - seeing the MicroGnome, and info about Micronet 800 brought it all back to me: I had over time, 2 Prestel accounts, and loved chatting to TA's (Travel Agents) about various trips abroad that they had had, mainly as freebies from the holiday firms for the holidays that they sold.

And as Bulletin Board Systems sprung up, I was always looking for "Prestel-type" BBS's where I could use the Spectrum 48k + VTX5000 modem on 1200/75 7-E-1.

After that, I upgraded to a PC and got a modem that supported 2400 half or full duplex, 8-N-1 and found some software, such as ProComm to view many new BBS's. There was even some shareware software (the names escapes me right now) that allowed access to Prestel-type BBS's...as most software was stuff that was available in USA and was made available to UK users - does anyone remember the Night Owl series of CDROM's, full of shareware software?

Ah, such happy memories....so thanks for the link :)

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Win! El Reg exceedingly fine mug collection

Timbo

Re: FTW

ITALIAN Sausage in my missues

I mis-read that as being "ITALIAN sausage in my MISSUS" !!!

and thinking to myself that I'm sure she'd be very pleased about her sex-ploits being aired on here !!

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RIP Leonard Nimoy: He lived long and prospered

Timbo

Lager Advert

RIP Mr Nimoy - a man who despite typecasting still had time for humanity in his words and deeds. You'll be greatly missed and in days to come, you will be remembered, both in character and as a person.

On a different note, having seen various images of Nimoy circulating the web over the last day or so, I'm reminded of an advert (for Heineken beer) that for me always made me smile:

[url]http://www.zteamproductions.com/beerspock2.jpg[/url]

I offer it now, in his memory, though I will be supping a Guinness instead.

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LIFELESS BEAGLE on MARS: A British TRIUMPH!

Timbo

A recent Sky at Night program showed that the aerial for receiving & transmitting data was underneath the 4 solar panels that opened up, once it had landed. The image of Beagle2 on Mars seems to show that only 2 opened correctly....so 2 other panels didn't open and hence the aerial remained hidden, and it couldn't contact it's makers. One would guess that in future, the aerials won't be hidden out of sight :)

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Timbo
Coat

Re: Curiosity

pedant mode here but:

1) there already are (or have been) four things driving around on Mars: Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity - though only the last two are still roving around simultaneously.

http://www.space.com/12404-mars-explored-landers-rovers-1971.html

2) IIRC, Beagle 2 didn't have wheels or any form of movement - it was just designed to land on the surface, do some experiments and report back.

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ATTENTION SETI scientists! It's TOO LATE: ALIENS will ATTACK in 2049

Timbo

Re: What about the 1974 Arecibo message?

I checked out the wiki article on the Arecibo messsage...

And according them, by the time the signal (that was sent in 1974) eventually arrives 25,000 years later, M13 won't be there any more:.

[quote]In fact, the stars of M13, to which the message was aimed, will no longer be in that location when the message arrives.[/quote]

Even if someone/something is there, the signal only lasted 3 minutes....and it was never repeated :(

Mind you, there's been lots of other signals broadcast from Terra Firma ever since, even if they weren't of the same magnitude and certainly not of the same historic quality. !!.

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Timbo

Re: Nah, we're safe

I wonder if the Bebo people pointed this signal at where Gliese "was" (in the night sky at the time of the transmission)....or did they point it at where Gliese "would be" once the signal got there 20 years later ?

I would hope for the latter, but even so, if the signal was sent on a narrow beam, the chances of any non-terrestrial picking it up, as the signal reached the Gliese system would be pretty remote. Chances are that they'd be listening in a different direction for signals from "more likely" sources of "alien" (to them) life.

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At the third beep, the Atomic Clock will be 60 ... imprecisely

Timbo

Another DAB "put-down" !!

The writer said "The multiple transmitters in DAB networks are synchronized by GPS. All that technology and still it sounds awful."

This is perhaps only true where specific circumstances are met: (1) The people in charge make limited bandwidth available for DAB (due to not encouraging multiple ensembles to exist. (2) the commercial cost of carrying a DAB signal is higher than it needs to be and given the case in (1) so it forces broadcasters to limit their bandwidth (in order to save money) and hence lower the quality heard by listeners :(

Issue (1) can be resolved if Ofcom (or whatever their name is now) licensed all 37 ensembles (instead of the 2 national and upto 4 regional MUX's currently) that could be used on the DAB network. This then provides far greater bandwidth and broadcasters could then transmit at 256kb, even 384kb and then DAB would sound much better and hence it would stifle any further criticisms.

Even at 192kb, BBC Radio 3 can sound exceptionally good. So please stop tarnishing DAB with the "same old, same old" argument and lets push Ofcom to release new ensembles and get Arqiva to reduce their rates.

PS: The 2nd commercial national multiplex is likely to be on air by 2016, and one of the applicants, Listen2Digital is proposing to broadcast 4 DAB+ stations. http://www.wohnort.org/DAB/uknat.html

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EE squashes Orange UK: France Telecom's been 'destroying it for years'

Timbo

Re: Oh Two, Zero Two

The trouble is that it's "easier" (and lazier) for people to say "OH-8-4-5" then to say "ZERO-8-4-5"...and everyone does it...on radio and tv commercials, news presenters, every level of a-to-z listed celeb, everyone....

One can either "run with the pack" (as we all know it's a zero and not an "O"), or you say it with a "zero" and people say "pardon" because they are expecting you to say ""O", and you've said something else.

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Landlines: The tech that just won't die

Timbo

Re: I cancelled my landline a couple of years ago.

Orange and Vodaphone (and others I'm sure) have devices that provide wifi access to your laptop or tablet. They work over the 3G network (and I'm sure in time, 4G).

One of the more common units is the Huawei E585, but there are others.

So, if you only need internet access, there are options available so you don't need a landline. Once 4G is available in my area, I'll just use the tether on my mobile and get rid of the landline and the expensive monthly cost.

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Google unleashes build-it-yourself 'Ara' SLABLET phones (in Puerto Rico)

Timbo

This modular idea is worth a go

If only because once you have the basics of the phone, you can then add or change to the functions you actually need.

I chose to move from my old reliable Nokia work phone 3 years ago and I got a Samsung Galaxy S2 phone and it's very good....it's still in use and does a fine job.

But: The rear facing camera, despite being 8Mega pixels, is not that good. Likewise, it's not 4G...so it would be nice to swop a comms module to have 4G now....and it'd be nice to have a dual-SIM function too. I also don't use Bluetooth, nor GPS and who needs all those extra sensors, like an accelerometer ?

So, being able to pick which things you want, seems a much better way of enabling people to have the phone and functions they actually want....rather than having things they don't need, but still have to pay for.

Shame I need to change the entire phone to get something that better suits my needs. Of course, I could sell it and buy something else...but I'm sure I'd be out of pocket, as the functions I'd like are only found on the higher end, more expensive phones.

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Stop viewing Facebook at work says Facebook at work on Facebook at Work

Timbo

Silly question...

but what is the point of FB@W ?

If one wants to converse/share info with a work colleague, whilst at work, one can do that with either email, or meet up at the water/coffee machine or pop to the pub at lunchtime.....one doesn't need an "app" for that.

And who is going to use FB@W when you get home? Surely, by then, you've switched off and will be enjoying some "family time"...and if something is THAT important you'd have a work colleagues mobile number to call or txt, or you can ping them an email. Hell you could even use FB@Home as said work friends/colleagues could be on your FB@Home friends list.

So, unless FB@W offers businesses something that no other software/resource can offer (and irrespective of what money Mr Z can make from this "idea" via advertising), then all I CAN see is that Mr Z is just throwing a lot of money at something that just isn't needed.

Surely, he'd just be better off buying LinkedIn ??

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TERROR in SPACE: ISS 'Nauts end panic by switching computer off and on again

Timbo

This SO reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey...

...when HAL9000 "detected" a fault in the AR-35 module, requiring a space walk to fix it.....and leading to the death of Frank Poole :(

Switching off the computer in 2001 did the trick - seems it worked on the ISS as well :)

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Our EXCLUSIVE VID of MIRACLE TECH: Charge your phone in 16 SECONDS – WIRELESSLY

Timbo

Great vid...

I've been doing this for about 3 years - I got a Sammy S2, that came with a battery and I got a 2nd battery, that is easily recharged via a Yiboyuan wall-wart that has a cut-out on the front side for the battery to physically connect to (and it has a USB outlet on the top too). So, a battery in the phone and the 2nd one in my pocket, if the 1st gets low....saved me lots of pain when I've had to use wifi and/or bluetooth and drained the battery and couldn't find a charging point ;)

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Goes like the blazes: Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 late 2014 edition

Timbo

Looks the same....

....same weight, same screen, same battery....

so HOW on earth can us poor punters tell the difference ?

If the reviewer included (say) the different SKU/barcode/part numbers then we'd know which is which !!

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1&1 goes titsup, blames lengthy outage on DDoS attack

Timbo

Re: Nothing much to read ...

and the UK website (http://status-1and1.co.uk/#Fault report) says:

Start:09/12/2014 9:50 PM

Probable end:Unknown

Last update:09/12/2014 10:37 PM

Event:Fault report

Affected products:Website

Description:

Some customers may currently be experiencing website issues within their 1&1 webhosting package

Updates:

09/12/2014 10:37 PM

Our engineers have identified the problem and are working to resolve it as quickly as possible.

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FTC to flog Butterfly Labs' Bitcoin holdings

Timbo

Strange goings on...

I have to say I'm a bit bemused by what is going on at BFL.

I can see that there are certain claims against the company, which I have no expert knowledge of and so I will await the proof of what they have got up to.

And I have heard that they took money, without shipping specific goods in a timely fashion and those customers should get refunds. No problems there.

And yet, they do/did make some very nice kit, which they shipped (eventually), and which is perhaps a little less efficient (heat dissipation wise vs power input) compared to say Rock Miners - I've got some Jalapeno's, and BFL 60's and they are nicely made pieces of kit. You can get them on fleabay for less that £30 or £50 (respectively) and not only do they keep your house/office warm, they also do a bit of Bitcoin mining too.

So, it's not as if BFL never shipped a single device and just held onto the money - they were making reliable items, which they sold.

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DVLA website GOES TITSUP on day paper car tax discs retire

Timbo

Worked for me....

...but then when I went to the DVLA website (yesterday early afternoon), I chose to use the original site, rather than the "Beta" site, as I didn't want my "transaction" to fail due to some issue or other that might not have been found yet.

As it happens, it all went very well and within a few mins I was all done :)

Clearly, it seems that whoever designed the "back end" didn't properly load test it.

And I wonder how many Dept of Transport people are out in the field today with ANPR systems, hoping to catch a few tax dodgers.....!!

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EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers

Timbo

Another good Android app...

is Joiku Phone Usage, which is free from Google Play.

Allows you to monitor phone/SMS and data usage over days/weeks/months and with user-selectable start dates so you can tie it in with your monthly contract. I've found it very useful to get a idea of how much data I've used over any period.

(PS I'm not associated with this app - just a happy user).

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Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR

Timbo

why oh why don't they get it right first time ?

...and this is why I'm not a first adopter of all this new fangled tech ;)

let some other fanbois get all the grief and I'll wait until the fixes are released and then I won't have the apgro.

anyways, back to my Win 3.11 PC and if that fails, my abacus and stonemasons chisel :(

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Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5

Timbo

Re: Sonos legacy support...

The CR100 has already been "put to the sword", as Sonos decided about a year ago (IIRC) to kill it off. So, if you did a "Sonos update" to your Zone Players, the CR100 wouldn't work with the same functionality.

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2302/~/important-information-about-the-sonos-controller-100-(cr100)

But this is of course an "optional" update - I have 3 CR100's and as my Sonos system works fine, there's no need to update....I might be missing out on a few bells and whistles, but I doubt it, as the main limitations that Sonos have, haven't been "improved" over subsequent generations of updates.

(eg: No hardware support for directly connected USB devices (such as external hard drives/memory sticks), limit to number of tracks available in the library, limited number of file types supported).

Can I assume that the Sonos' Apple app is also manually updated...so if you have a iOS4 or 5 device, you don't HAVE to update the app ?

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Carphone Warehouse, Dixons embroiled in £3.7bn merger rumour

Timbo

oh dearie me...

...Carphone Wharehouse's aborted "joint venture" with Best Buy failed badly, and in the meantime Comet went bust, Dixons stores vanished and then Currys and PC World merged some (most?) of their stores, one assumes to reduce overheads as well as competition (as it was easy to get a "deal" by getting one to price match against the other)..

The truth behind all of this is that domestic consumer electronics is now a "volume" product, sold not by specialists, but by the likes of supermarkets...and just as multi-branch chains of record shops, shoe shops, department stores, et al have all more or less vanished from the high street.....so this merger could be the "last call" for a nationwide chain of electrical stores.

And then the likes of Tesco Extra, ASDA etc would almost have the market to themselves (save for any independant hi-fi or Euronics stores).

(And yes I'm old enough to remember Laskys, Rumbelows, etc all of whom have failed long before the Internet !)

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Live in the middle of nowhere? CONGRATS. Some of you can pay EE for 4G

Timbo

<quote>*Middle of nowhere? No. 8 miles from the Cambridge Science Park.</quote>

I know the feeling - I used to live just up the A10, halfway between Cambridge and Ely......ok, so most of it is farmland.....BUT, signal reception on all major mobile networks was god-awful....and you were lucky on broadband to get 512k, sometimes reaching 1Meg.

I'm now just a few miles from Macc and with luck, 4G will get here soon.....but I'm not going to be holding my breath

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Ancient telly, check. Sonos sound system, check. OMG WOAH

Timbo

£600 is pretty steep...

...if all you want to do is to improve the sound of flat-panel screens.

Much simpler is to get a small, active centre channel speaker, that can accept the L/R analogue stereo outputs from the TV.

I had exactly this scenario to resolve for my parents who found it difficult to understand the speech of some characters/news readers on TV.

The solution I found was the small, compact ZVOX Mini speaker, which you can find for around £199 - the only downside is the small credit card sized remote control (for volume), though this isn't needed if the analogue TV output varies with it's own remote.

PS Anyone else notice while commenting that there's a "Sonos" Play3 advert directly underneath the comments box..... :(

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Computer expert and broadcaster Ian McNaught-Davis dies at 84

Timbo

RIP Mac

Mac was the reason why I got interested in PC's.....even though to begin with, I paid £49.99 for a 1k ZX81, (from WH Smiths), expanded that to 16k with the Rampak and after that I borrowed my brothers Spectrum and bought myself a VTX5000 modem - ah, those were the days.

Here's a snippet I well remember: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rirq-uFFKRc

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The other end of the telescope: Intel’s Galileo developer board

Timbo

connecting power BEFORE any other connection?

"“You must use the power supply or you will damage the board,” the firm warns, adding: “Always connect the 5V power before any other connection.” (Intel’s emphasis). "

BEFORE any connection ? I always thought it was wiser to connect everything you need, (esp Shields) before powering up - else you risk damaging components when they see the power line is already "on".

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A BBC-by-subscription 'would be richer', MPs told

Timbo

Re: They missed a trick

"If smartcard readers had been mandated for all digital TV receivers from the outset, then the BBC could have scrambled all their programmes and gone to a "no payment, no programmes" system -- all achieved without the need for the bully-boy enforcement tactics and poison-pen letters that turn people off the TV licence system."

I think the problem was that once it was announced that analogue TV was going to be switched off, there was already a few set top boxes available that had CAM slots - but these were quite expensive.

And at the time, CAM was going out of fashion, due to the failure of OnDigital/ITV Digital. So, it was simple for manufacturers to drop the CAM function and then the STB's were cheaper to buy, which then suited OFCOM as the move to get more people to switch to digital was easier.

(Of course in the meantime, TV technology improvements had meant we were going to replace all our old CRT's with flat-screens, some of which had CAM slots in them anyways).

Overall, I'm of the opinion that receiving TV broadcasts "OTA" will soon become a thing of the past as more and more TV's will have Ethernet and/or wifi built in, so watching LIVE TV will be replaced with time-shifted viewing, via PVR's or through the likes of iPlayer.

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Timbo

Re: Freeview (HD) was last chance to intro subs

"What I'd be *far* more interested in is a sub to the massive BBC archive that their employees have access to - now that is something worth subscribing to since much of it isn't available elsewhere (legally or not)."

Point 1) There's a lot of old BBC stuff on Dave

Point 2) Anything else worth watching from the BBC archive is probably available to buy on DVD - so Auntie gets extra income even though most of us paid the TV licence fee in the first place to get it made originally.

Speaking of which: It's a shame that £100m was spent on the DMI dept....I wonder what they actually did with all that money ?? Did they actually digitise ANY of the archive ?.....or did they just have power lunches with all the luvvies thinking about how good it would be ?

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LogMeIn: We're stopping our free offering from, errrm, NOW

Timbo

is this "new" news?

I installed LogMeIn on a friends PC a year or so ago and when they had a problem, I could do a remote log in and sort it out for them.

However, about 2-3 months ago, when in need of sorting out another problem for them, I found that the LogMeIn program I had installed (on both PC's) wouldn't work anymore and a new version had to be downloaded...which I duly installed, only to then be "advised" on-screen that it was a "subscriber only" release....and I had to pay to activate it.

So, was it "just me" that had this problem 2+ months ago... ?

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Fees shakeup: Freephone numbers will actually BE free – Ofcom

Timbo

"Or ask them for their ordinary number "as I will be out of the country and can't call 08whatever numbers" There is one - 08 are just redirector numbers."

I've tried that and found that in some cases, the landline number won't accept calls UNLESS you are calling from outside UK..... :-(

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Confessions of a porn site boss: How I got it up on the 'net

Timbo

Re: Sadly modern porn is crap

>>I prefer my porn from the 70s and 80s.

Too true....I recall working in London's West End at a particular hi-fi shop, just after VCR's became "all the rage". Due to their scarcity, video recorders kept their high prices and initially every machine we had delivered to us (from the likes of Sony, JVC, Panasonic, Akai, Sanyo, Hitachi etc) would have been pre-sold.

Within a short period of time, we got friendly with some customers who kept coming back to buy yet another machine.....plus the "cable kit" to link between them......either with PL259 or BNC video cables and a single phono/RCA cable for the sound (as early VCR's were mono). Hence a small "industry" started up, with people copying tapes and then selling them to people who had bought a VCR but wanted something different to what was on normal telly. :-)

And we had a "nice little earner" as quite a few people would ask us to copy non-copyright tapes for them (as initially there were few pre-recorded films available).....but it had to be done in real time, so with the large number of demonstration models on show, we'd link up as many machines are required (to do enough copies for the customer, plus one for "us") and this would then happen overnight.

They had to buy the blank tape the copy was recorded onto as well as pay a small service charge for the copying (which paid for our bacon sarnies).

In time, more films became available and we saw far fewer customer who wanted copy services, due to the wider availability of VCR from other outlets.....but it was fun checking over the copies we'd made to see exactly what sort of adventures some humans had got up to....

Just a shame that most of these films were from the US and had been poorly transcribed from NTSC to PAL and likewise the poor quality of any copies you made on VHS and Beta....but at the time it was quite "eye-opening".....

Eventually, there was "legal" softcore available such as Electric Blue, which sold quite well.....but not as well as the BBC Royal Wedding video's (of Chuck and Di) which we sold at full RRP of £50 each.....

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What the CUFF? Nokia shows how a smartwatch really OUGHT to work

Timbo
Big Brother

Great idea...

I was a bit sceptical on seeing this at first, but at the very end, it showed all the screens as separate items, which could then be "installed" into a bracelet "holder".

What struck me was that you could buy maybe one screen to begin with and then add others, depending on your needs and circumstances. Indeed, said screens could also be used in your car, at home/work or anywhere...and then clipped onto the bracelet, should you want to.

So, this could prove to be quite a winner, as long as it's not too expensive.....lest the "great unwashed" might find good reason to relieve you of various assorted (expensive) screens.....

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Blighty's great digital radio switchover targets missed AGAIN

Timbo

Re: re: Power usage

No. I don't know if this comes out of the Daily Mail Radio Design Handbook, but it is cobblers.

A 'cat's whisker' makes a simple diode detector, which extracts the _envelope_ or amplitude of the signal. For an AM broadcast, this is a simple way of recovering the audio.

correction accepted - I errored when I wrote the sentence as it should have mentioned both AM (for the cats whisker reference) and FM (where another reference was omitted whilst I wrote the reply via my mobile).

<...>

"the majority of radio's only have a single speaker"

...and you can have your apostrophe back and all.

So, now I take it you will be correcting everybody else when they make even the slightest typos....you're going to be busy......

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Timbo

Re: re: Power usage

"Prime suspect has to be the processing needed to extract a clean mux bitstream from the analogue domain, with all its distortions, reflected signals, strength fluctuations as surroundings change or the radio moves. That's never going to be cheap."

...except that DAB can utilise multipath broadcast signals and combine them in order to produce enough signal to be able to reproduce the signal without issues. See the section on Single Frequency Networks

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Broadcasting#Protocol_stack

"It appears it's not particularly effective either. Exposed right there is why FM is a more appropriate technology for inherently difficult reception conditions, it doesn't need heroic efforts to receive and doesn't break catastrophically when those efforts fail. And doesn't eat batteries trying to do it."

FM fails in a number of ways - there is only a limited range of allocated frequencies for FM radio - 88-108 MHz. Within that, there have to be enough transmitters for the national broadcasters, plus enough for all the local area broadcasters - and frankly there isn't enough space....and bear in mind that in some area's you might have multiple transmissions for the same radio station.....if they were on the SAME frequency, you'd have no clear reception due to interference. Also, at the edge of reception, background noise on FM transmissions can be if-putting and likewise, listening to say some light classical music on Radio 3 can be less than ideal, if the background noise is too great.

Using Band 3, you can have many more stations all broadcasting at once. (There are 37 ensembles allocated in UK - with somewhere between 4 (at "best quality") and maybe 10 (at low quality) stations per ensemble - so lets say maybe a total choice of over 300 stations). DAB broadcasts don't suffer from random noise, and they have potentially a wider bandwidth, *IF* the broadcasters used say a 256k or 320k signal (with 320k being almost synonymous with CD quality). The issue with sound quality is simply down to transmission costs - if it was cheaper then DAB broadcast rates could be increased and sound would be better.

(However, there is also the possibility that if CD quality music was broadcast over the air, would a lot of people simply record said broadcasts, instead of buying the music ??)

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Timbo

Re: DAB pros and cons

" Why they chose DAB I will never fathom."

They chose DAB back in the late 1980's when things like MP2 were "the norm" for digitising analogue signals. MP3 and other codes just weren't available...and no-one knew that new codecs would be coming along.

The trouble with DAB was that most equipment at the time as far too expensive for most people (and manufacturers) and so from 1995 when the BBC launched DAB, until about 2001, the cheapest DAB radio was a tuner for around £500.

It was only after PURE released the Evoke-1 for £99 that it started to become more popular....however, nearly 10 years had passed and no-one had updated the specs...so we've been stuck with MP2 ever since.

Of course DAB+ is now available, but for Arqiva to re-equip to broadcast this is too expensive for them. As such UK have really been "guinea pigs" for the DAB system and now other countries have seen the pitfalls and are now introducing DAB+ which uses better codecs and it sounds better.

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Timbo

re: Power usage

A simple cat's whisker can pick up (analogue) FM signals hence why battery drain on a portable FM radio is pretty low....whereas a multiplexed digital signal needs to be "processed" in order to extract the radio signal of the station you want to hear - hence why the battery drain on a portable DAB set will be much higher. In time there'll be more efficient chipsets that will run off lower power, but don't hold your breath yet.

re: local reception

The biggest problem has been that OFCOM has not "opened up the airwaves" to all and sundry - local DAB licences are issued on a "per county" basis, with the proviso that at least one "slot" be set aside for the local BBC radio station. Unfortunately, some counties have not yet had licences awarded to them and hence some BBC local radio stations are not on DAB.

These local licences should have been made available at knock-down prices in order to stimulate commercial radio operators to get behind DAB and make it a success....but OFCOM haven't done that.

re: Quality vs quantity

Likewise Arqiva, who run the transmitter sites, charge a certain amount for the signal that is being transmitted....so, you pay less if you are transmitting in mono, compared to the same signal in stereo (as stereo uses twice the bandwidth of mono). Hence in these tough fiscal times, downgrading a station to mono can save the broadcaster some money....and if the majority of radio's only have a single speaker in them (such as many from Roberts and Pure) then most people won't notice the difference.

Ultimately, what needs to happen is for the number of transmitter sites to increase so as to "fill in" all the dead spots so that more people can get the best use out of DAB. Ultimately DAB (and DAB+) have potentially a lot of good going about them, (despite Orlowski's clear bias against it) although the MP2 format of DAB is clearly "old hat" - but a nice healthy broadcast rate of 256k (or even 320k) will show how good DAB CAN be....if given the bandwidth.

So, come on OFCOM and fingers crossed DAB can be made to work.

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Space truck Cygnus left idling outside ISS after data format snafu borks docking

Timbo
Coat

...The company said that the craft had received data from the space station that it didn't expect. Cygnus rejected the data which, according to Orbital Sciences, "mandated an interruption of the approach sequence."

Let me guess: NASA uses Windows and Cygnus uses a Mac?

Or maybe NASA sent their messages via Xmodem, 8N1@9600, while Cygnus uses 7E1 @1200/75 ??

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Facebook Frankenphoto morgue will store cold, dead selfies FOREVER

Timbo

So, they'll have a data centre comprising 11,520 servers (each with 30 HDD's installed).

How much power is that lot going to consume? Even if only 2 HDD's are active at any one time, the servers themselves must be powered up, the CPU's must be active as well as NIC's and SIMM's.

And then there's the closet full of network switches and other ancillary bits and pieces.....

Hope the advertisers and accountants will be happy with all of this.

PS How do you "back-up" 1.38 Exabytes of data ????

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Swiss space plane to launch robotic orbital debris destroyer

Timbo

It's not that simple, as one assumes that any "large-ish" piece of space junk, must be guided down, just in case it doesn't all burn up and some bits come through the atmosphere and land on somebody's head/car/building/nuclear power station etc.

So, it's not really a case of attaching some cheap rocket and keep one's fingers crossed that it all burns up.

Personally, I'd have thought it might be an idea to push the stuff to the moon - it could then just sit there until such time as we have the technology and the lunar outposts to recycle the stuff and use it for other space ventures - after all, all this satellite material cost a fortune to put up into space in the first instance....so, much better to keep it in a re-usable form.

This also is simple as little guidance is required, it's not going to hit anyone/anything and the Earth's atmosphere won't have to absorb any of the nasties that burn up on re-entry.

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Chromecast: You'll pop me in for HOT STREAMS of JOY, hopes Google

Timbo

"Available now" ???

Glad to see that these devices are shipping straight away - I'm in N. America at the moment, and seeing this press announcement, I looked on ebay.com to see if I could get one....cheapest is $46 and most are more than that...up to $90 even...so much for a $35 price tag :-(

(PS Amazon ARE dong them for $35 - and what is more strange is that "reviews" have appeared already :-(

What also surprises me is that the dongle needs an external PSU - HDMI can support self-powered devices so I'm wondering why they've not designed this so it can be powered off the HDMI socket... Maybe it draws too much current ?

(Note:One of the amazon reviews claims the device CAN be powered by the HDMI socket, if it is a v1.4 type)

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MSX: The Japanese are coming! The Japanese are coming!

Timbo
Coat

"Far Eastern firms like Sony, JVC, Sanyo and Pioneer had put paid to Britain’s mass-market hi-fi makers..."

I'd agree with three of those names....Sony, JVC and Pioneer...but SANYO???? They made a few pieces of kit that might be best called "audio" but they were never truly "hi-fi"....

Better choices might have been the likes of Rotel, Technics and Akai who ONLY made hi-fi kit :-)

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Quantum transistors at room temp

Timbo

"Or will we keep buying scrub ups of Windows, Linux, and various *nix derivatives with technological roots in the 1990's?"

I think the problem is one of "compatibility".....a new grounds up OS might not allow companies and individuals to easily transfer their data sets from the "old" platform to a new one.....and in the meantime, those companies that have made the transition will then find that their data isn't compatible with their suppliers and/or customers.

I'm sure provision can be made for this, but it'd be a huge upheaval.... :-(

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Glasgow subway's new smart tickets aren't, moan passengers

Timbo
Coat

"You say that a 20 carnet trip costs £22, and a week pass costs £12. So buying 2 week passes, costs £24."

20 trips is enough for 10 work days (home to work and then back again same day), so 20 trips costing £22 = £1.10 per trip.

Buying 2x 7 day tickets, costs £24.....but if you are only using it for the same 20 trips (over 10 workdays), that makes £1.20 per trip.

If one worked 7 days a week, making 28 trips in the 2 week period, it's cheaper than the 20 carnet ticket @ 85p per trip.

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Apple's next OS X said to be targeted at 'power users'

Timbo

Best file manager? Has to be XTree Gold (for DOS) :-)

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NASA-backed fusion engine could cut Mars trip down to 30 days

Timbo
Coat

Re: "200KW of solar panels .. about the same as .. the panels around the ISS"

A large solar array collecting sunlight and converting it to electrical energy sounds OK, as long as you can keep it directed towards the sun and it doesn't become damaged as you are accelerating along.

Maybe a better idea would be to have a very small nuclear reactor on hand to create the electrical energy ?

OK, so it would need a lot of shielding, but it could be packaged into it's own re-usable craft, and use it a bit like a railway shunter, moving "cargo" around the solar system.

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Maggie Thatcher: The Iron Lady who saved us from drab Post Office mobes

Timbo
Coat

Re: Sadly, the under 40s

<quote>......(phones were hardwired - no plugs and sockets)</quote>

I seem to recall in our house, on the end of the phone cable was a big 4-pole brown plug that was like a 1/4 inch (6.35mm) headphone jack, that pushed into a small brown box on the wall.....

Was this "non-standard" or maybe just used on those properties deemed suitable for such forward thinking connectivity ??

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The ten SEXIEST computers of ALL TIME

Timbo
Coat

obviously, we're talking about REAL computers, so the omission of the SGI Indigo and Cobalt Networks RAQ's is a shame......and I did have a soft spot for the Atari ST...

personally, I always thought the computers used in "Time Tunnel/Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea/Lost in Space" TV series were wonderful, full of flashing lights and whirling tape drives.... :)

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Happy birthday, LP: Can you believe it's only 65?

Timbo
Coat

Re: Introducing a new definition of "a few"

>>The cassette-based Walkman was introduced in 1979

I remember selling the first Sony version of the Walkman in 1979, when it was called a "Stowaway" and had the model number TPSL2.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkman

Of note to Apple might be the fact that, in 1982, Sony made a product called a Watchman.....except that this was a portable TV, rather than something you wear on your wrist and listen to... :)

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Microsoft holds off on shooting Windows Live Messenger

Timbo
Coat

Mesenger (aka MSN, back in the days) works very well...

...it has a low bandwidth "overhead" (allowing it's use over a laptop and mobile tether connection via 3G), it allows you to block one or more contacts, (so you can stay "offline" to those you don't want to "appear to") and it has a nice range of options so you can save your chat history, add a few extra "emoticons" to your library (which are great to use when chatting)...

Skype on the other hand is a VOIP client with "chat" added on.....difficult to use and not worthy of serious consideration for "chat" - maybe dropping MSN is to appease the shareholders to justify M$ hefty $8bn investment....??

Either way, there's now room for an alternative to MSN...I wonder if Yahoo Messenger is still going?

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