third-ed.. I was going to suggest adding the bacon goodness.. smoked streaky preferably :-)
113 posts • joined 15 Dec 2010
third-ed.. I was going to suggest adding the bacon goodness.. smoked streaky preferably :-)
I've been working in the Electronics industry designing circuits and systems since 2000.. so I've seen the introduction of RoHS, WEEE and worst of all REACH legislation.
I can see the point of the WEEE directive (recycling waste electronics), which negates the need for the some parts of RoHS, namely leaded solders, as its easy to recycle and therefore doesn't contaminate the environment.. and incidentally makes electronics easier (there simply isn't a non-leaded solder anywhere near as good as the traditional tin-lead mix)
However Reach is an utter nightmare for us, as its a vastly larger list of substances, which changes at short notice.. for the average engineer, its simply not practical to check every single component in every design.
But at least with RoHS and to a lesser degree REACH, there are tests you can perform to determine the content of PCBs. However a conflict mineral is identical to a non-conflict mineral.. so this becomes even harder, as even fairphone have found, there's simply no way to be 100% sure.
So then the question is what is the point of a new law that cannot be enforced? how do you prove a company is using conflict minerals in their supply chain for a prosecution? and if you can, how can you prove they did so willingly?
For heavens sake EU.. we don't need any more hurdles to getting products out the door! The problem needs tackling at source, not at the end of a supply chain
I'm sure there should be a piece of string tied to it somewhere :-) it does look like a childs helium balloon! as long as the astronauts don't start talking like chipmunks..
Start at the beginning, the colour of Magic :-) it sets the tone for the rest of his books really. you don't have to read them in order, each book is a good read in isolation.. but you get to know the characters and the history if you do go in order though
I'll be hoisting a pint of Turbot's Really Odd in your memory
Have been a fan since university days when I was lucky enough you meet you at a book signing at the Uni bookshop..
Say Hi to Albert, Death, Susan and the death of Rats for us :-)
the only time to use marmite is if your driveway needs re-surfacing.. yuck!
blue cheese is the food of the gods though.. om nom nom
I thought that was unhygienic, or so sayeth Seinfeld anyway.. :-)
now all it needs is some chili sauce! :-)
On the subject of cooked cheese, grilled or fried halloumi would also fit the post-pub nosh neckfiller category, seeing though its dead easy to make (slice it, bung it in a frying pan with a little olive oil and maybe garlic and herbs, fry on both sides 'till golden), its lovely cheesy and salty.. though the saltiness always makes me want another beer...
Anything tastes better with Bacon.. too much faff for a morning after hangover cure though, as tasty as it looks! think I'll stick with the triple fried egg chili and chutney sauce sarnie from last time.. which is also improved with the addition of Bacon (tried that yesterday) :-)
hmmm I'm thinking of smokey bacon.. will go well with the chili sauce methinks :-) and crispy bacon is best with eggs, gives a nice contrast in texture with the runny eggs.. although rind is optional, can be a bit of a pain in sandwich (you end up pulling half the bacon out with every bite), but you can't beat the taste of crispy rind.. dammit I'm hungry now! luckily there's a cafe 5 minutes walk from the office :-)
Hey Sean.. good job overall buddy, despite the lack of decent chili sauce! the photo's did prompt me to go immediately down to the kitchen to have a go (I posted the story earlier on in the comments :-)
I'll definitely put bacon in next time though.. I'll have to make sure the ingredients are available in the fridge this saturday morning :-)
I already did, I told the story earlier on in the comments.. though I neglected to say it was the ghost pepper edition of mad dog 357 :-)
having over indulged in curry and beer last night, and still suffering a bit from the cold this seemed to be a stroke of genius.. so off to the kitchen I went in search of what is to all intents and purposes "food porn"
I was fairly faithful to the recipe.. though I agree with earlier posters comments about the insipid flavourless encona so called "chili sauce", so instead I used a good dollop of Mad dog 357 (about a teaspoon full) with a couple of teaspons of nandos garlic peri peri for some extra flavour..
What can I say? it was a warming satisfying gooey mess, necessitating in a hasty shower and change of t-shirt.. and I feel much better already :-) Will definitely make it again.. though I feel the recipe could be improved with the addition of some bacon (anything tastes better with bacon!)
"How long before history gets rebranded as "past science"?"
I believe that should be "temporal science" :-)
same thing in Engineering.. "sanitation engineer", "meat distribution engineer" to name a couple..
As Ledswinger said, the quality of STEM education seems to have been declining in the UK. In Electronics Engineering, new graduates are often pretty useless when it comes to design work. But the degree at least gives them the basics, so after a couple of years of mentoring and practise they can become useful members of the team. I suspect that's part of the reason graduate wages aren't great.
The other part of it is that too many people can call themselves engineers these days, so yes the respect for engineers has declined. However its definitely possible to get decent wages, particularly in fields that are more difficult and in demand. RF Engineering and DSP are a couple of good examples.
I think the final part of the problem is Engineers themselves.. we're next to useless at negotiation compared to other parts of the company (e.g. sales, marketing etc), so on average our wages are lower, despite the fact engineers can make or break a company just as easily. If you believe the psychiatric studies its probably because most of us are Autistic to varying degrees! in fact if you believe an old 'el reg article, we're cold and dead inside, with no empathy for others.. sounds like most engineers that I know :-)
Tuition fees should be based on their value to the economy and to society.. i.e. if Engineers are in high demand, engineering degrees should be lower cost and/or subsidised. Those that elect to study far less useful subjects like "David Beckham Studies" should be charged more to pay for those subsidies. Agreed this might not cover all the costs, but the gains in productivity and ultimately tax revenue for having more STEM workers available would easily outweigh the additional costs.
I keep seeing articles about Uni-grads working in jobs that have no relation to their degree.. what's the point of that? OK, i can understand that some industries can be difficult to get into, but if a significant proportion of students never get into their subjects then they have wasted their time and money as well as the taxpayers.
Windows was never intended as an industrial OS (ATM's would probably qualify as industrial, harsh environment, long service life etc)
There are other OS's out there with better security, support and licensing options, and I don't just mean the various flavours of Linux.
But companies like NCR go for windows because there are lots of Dev's out there with windows experience, and the inbuilt UI cuts down on some of the development time. Plus they can now charge their customers for brand spanking new ATM's rather than just upgrading the old ones.
Its the banks own fault for not specifying a more suitable OS and feature roadmap for these devices.. no sympathy at all.. just annoyance that the cost will be passed on to joe bloggs public yet again.
My facts are straight. I don't pay myself a full salary, I take some of it in dividends (like most contractors). I still pay PAYE to keep up my NI contributions. I fully agree, corp tax is paid on profits after expenses (i didn't state that it wasn't)
my point was that the original post was misleading, which I still stand by
Not living/working in London, the ones I know earn considerably less than £500 per day. The additional costs of living in or commuting to London and the more specialist area (banking) probably accounts for the difference.
However I still stand by the fact your post was misleading as you didn't account for most of the costs contractors face. I regularly get told by permies/managers that I'm a rich contractor (I wish), purely because of this kind of misconception, which tends to get annoying after a while
Yep, I've heard those justifications before. And then those large companies wonder why their IT/Engineering projects run over-budget, deliver late and don't meet the requirements.
When IT and Engineering resource decisions are made on purely financial reasons, that's when projects go wrong. The sad fact is that as a contractor its rare that I get contracts in well run engineering departments.. almost always they're getting me in at the end of projects, when deadlines are looming because they haven't properly resourced or specified the projects, and are they are into headless-chicken mode of project management.
using contractors in this fashion means that you lose all the learning and experience that they gained during the project.. that means future projects take longer and are a lot more wasteful. Its a false economy.
Unfortunately financial planners rarely understand this and think IT staff/Engineers can be brought in and moved on at a drop of a hat and still keep their effectiveness and productivity.
So your justification whilst being a valid one financially just doesn't work very well in the real world :-(
My experience is that most bosses in the IT/Engineering sector don't understand the skillset of the people they employ, and therefore are unable to place a value upon it. Those that do understand will rarely bother with contractors but will seek good pay/conditions/opportunities for their permanent staff. However this seems to be the exception rather than the rule these days :-(
Why don't you actually talk to some IT contractors and find out how much they're paid? 'cause frankly I seriously doubt there are many earning that level. Most will be between the £300-£400 mark per day, see
As a highly qualified, and in demand Electronics Engineer (there's a shortage of us in the UK), not even I earn as much as £500 a day, nevermind £700 a day!
You also didn't add in corporation tax (20%), PAYE (yes, most contractors DO pay this, myself included). Add in some travel and lodging expenses (a lot of contractors like myself go where the work is, and that means local accomodation during the week and long drives at the weekend). So if they're doing well, they might net between £50k and £70k per year, assuming they work all year around. Take away pension contributions, healthcare, professional indemnity insurance, end of year accounts and tax returns, etc etc etc, then I think you'll find contractors are not the extreme high earners that you make them out to be
Please get your facts straight before posting stuff like that, you only reinforce the misconception that we contractors are earling loads'a'lolly... though we would if we could!! :-)
I'm electronics design contractor.. ironically my business account is with Barclays! time to reconsider if their IT is about to go down the sh***er
sounds like Electronics contracting is different to IT contracting, I've never had to drop my rates.. Although I do move around every year or two to ensure I keep getting market rates (companies never voluntarily increase their rates unless they're desperate to keep me) and to make sure I fall foul of IR35
This is the scourge of the engineering department.. being expected to build FPGA/microcontroller code, or run Matlab or Spice simulations on a PC that was designed for a company secretary who rarely uses anything other than Word or Internet Explorer (yep, the standard browser for the company, no you can't have firefox, its free! it can't possibly be legal!). 2GB of RAM which IE and windows swallows whole when you have more than a few windows open.. a single core CPU that needs its clockwork winding up regularly..
Anyone tried to design a PCB using a 15" screen? for heavens sake, my smartphone has more pixels! not fun!
*sigh* sorry rant over
I'm just waiting for someone to say that these devices will suddenly somehow coalesce and form a big bad AI that will wip-out mankind, whilst curiously resurrecting an aged austrian holywood star
first there was GM.. then nano-particles (grey goo), next we'll either be blasted by liquid-metal robots, or we'll be grown, farmed for electricity and controlled via artificial reality implants
personally I'll be watching with amusement supping ice cold beer ordered automatically from my internet fridge :-)
now if it ordered beer by itself, that would definitely make me feel better.. mmmmm beer
This isn't about improving the economy, lifestyle, saving the planet or all the normal crap politicians spout.. this is about connecting up more devices to the webs that NSA/GCHQ can hack into! pretty soon server farms will be analysing your milk-drinking habits for signs of subversive activity..
personally I believe we should invest in aluminium foil headwear.. several layers should do the trick :-)
p.s. its only paranoia if nobody is out to get you..
a test glide to check the trim might be prudent, local RC flying clubs are a good place to go and get help from, the gliders use powered planes to get them going :-)
and while I'm at it, the best way to suck an egg is to make sure you don't get one too big, and to thoroughtly wash the chicken poo from it first :-p I'm sure you've thought of all this stuff already.. nice work on the assembly :-)
to check your centre of gravity now that all the kit and kaboodle are in.. would be a shame to see it nosedive instead of gliding elegantly.. it would spill playmonaut's cuppa-char!
That's soo... wrong! my eyes feel violated! I don't want to know any of that.. *covers up ears* lalalala can't hear you lalalala *shudder*
genius comment.. lol
His picture makes it look like the pitt-bull is getting its own back! His eyes look like someone's just slapped his back and they're about to pop out and cannon off the cameraman
I'm flying out to germany to demo my new product the next day, I doubt they'll be impressed by me turning up smelling of stale lager, late night curry, with eyes redder than Saurons after a particularly bad session of quaffing hobbit blood-mead (just made that up). Knowing 'el Reg, I wouldn't discount the possibility of traffic-cone headwear, and handcuffs attached to bits of hack-sawed lampost
to those that make it, I damn you!!! :-) sounds like it will be an awesome night out
the way you might do it would be using a watchdog on the electronics that powers a normally closed relay which is in series with the pressure switch. i.e. if the watchdog is cleared regularly it powers the relay and keeps it open, thus preventing the pressure switch from firing the rocket.
If the electronics fails to clear the watchdog, or loses power completely, the relay automatically closes (they're spring loaded and need power to hold 'em open), and allows the pressure switch to kick in at the correct altitude.
The caveat being the software needs to be well written to ensure it doesn't arbitrarily keep resetting the watchdog (a common mistake when implementing watchdog monitors)
you could also have a seperate radio system to close the relay to allow the pressure switch to fire the rocket.. all of it is extra complication of course, it just depends if you want to allow the balloon to burst without firing the rocket (for a re-try for example)
Give me a shout if you don't get any luck, there are other companies that do these things. I can probably blag a sample if push comes to shove through my electronics Biz :-)
I think you might snag yourself something larger than a duck were that to happen :-D
Still, a pint (or three) will solve any problem in existance.. world peace, starvation, cold fusion, and also why bags of nuts have that silly little label on them "May contain nuts"
In the words of Benjamin Franklin "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy"
I'll drink to that!!!
stabilising fins might be more effective, simpler and will weigh less :-)
simples.. as long as it stays upright and doesn't get blown by turbulence close to the horizontal position ;-)
The accelerator was meant as an example of a system that only "fails safe" if it stops performing a function (i.e. continuing to deliver radiation is an example of a system which does NOT fail safe), whereas the ventilator is the opposite.
You would hope the ventilator alarms and that someone reacts quickly enough to prevent serious harm to the patient, but that situation is definitely not fail safe! Having designed the electronics for a ventilator in a previous job, I can tell you that although the designs do include redundancy for critical systems, the pneumatics is arranged such that even under failure conditions it still provides positive air pressure to the patient. This is an example of a system that continues to provide a function under failure conditions
So perhaps I wasn't clear in last nights semi-drunken post (new batch of homebrew was ready last night mmmm), but in my own mind at least I wasn't confusing redundancy with fail-safe, but hopefully making it clear that fail-safe is a term that can have many meanings depending on what it is applied to :-)
you're 100% right and at the same time 100% wrong.. yes that's contradictory, but please allow me to explain!
Firstly my background as self proclaimed expert (or nearest semi-expert in the vicinity), I work in medical electronics and have had formal training in safety engineering and much experience in designing stuff that is "failsafe"
you notice the exclamation marks (in real life I might have been making a funny gesture with two fingers)
you see, failsafe is all a matter of context. a rocket that fails to ignite.. has it failed safe? it depends if you're the bloke that has to approach it afterwards!
likewise, a linear accelerator that generates high energy x-rays.. it fails and continues to deliver radiation? definitely not safe! likewise a ventilator that helps a patient breath.. it fails and stops pumping gas into the patient.. is it safe? again definitely not!.
In this case, what the author means by "safe" is that the rocket is safely away from the balloon.. so if the main launch system fails, it has a failsafe backup that ensure the launch. Remember "safe" has many meanings depending on the context of the project
oh and p.s. its a mechanical switch.. i.e. its a mechanical mechanism that closes electrical contacts, much like what has already been discussed through various garden-shed arrangements of ice, bluetack, loo-rolls etc, however engineered by professionals (probably with lots of letters after their name, like Msc, Meng, Phd etc) to actually work :-)
I wasn't talking about a sensor (i.e. converts pressure to voltage), but a pressure switch (triggers the switch at a preset pressure level).. link again;
yes it has 20% tolerance, however on the 14.92mbar unit (approx 29500m), this equates to +/- 3mbar or around +/-1500m roughly. There are two ways around this if you need it better, firstly you set your primary electronic trigger to a level below this (say 27,500m), and make sure your burst altitude is higher than 31,000m
alternatively you can talk nicely to the manufacturer and get them to pre-select a unit with the right pressure trigger point for you :-)
actually, I already suggested a absolute pressure switch, set to trigger at the correct altitude (see the link in my post).
my only worry about the differential pressure switch on the balloon is how much differential pressure there might be between the balloon and atmostphere, and how much this will vary during ascent. The balloon expands because the gas inside is trying to equalise pressure with the outside world, so I would expect this differential to be quite small..
That said, it would probably spike before the balloon reaches the limit of its stretch, so maybe you could use that.. I prefer the set pressure method though, more predictable
Try something like this;
The manufacturer will set the pressure for you, calculate it to trigger above your main system pressure (allow for some error in both systems). If there isn't one with your exact pressure, you could use a differential pressure switch and put a known pressure on the second port. Looking at the one in the you can set it between 0.25mbar and 124mbar (30,000m altitude = 14mbar)
Again, why re-invent the wheel when there is already tried/tested tech out there that does it for you :-)
this gives you your mechanical solution you're after :-)
glad that was only semi serious lol :-p
before I mention the weight of a magnetron.. or its power supply.. or the fact it would need more power than you can get out of a wee little battery (magnetrons aren't particularly efficient) or the effect concentrated microwaves will have on the electronics.. or metallic components.. in fact I'll stop there :-p
inductive heating might be slighty more efficient than the wireless power stuff.. however I think wireless power would allow you to have a lot more control over the heating. Not entirely happy with the thought of heating explosive compounds to begin with, but if you have to, then make sure its consistent, monitored and controllable :-p
I still favour a spring pin arrangement.. maybe combined with the magets to provide the coupling force.. hmmm
conductive rubber isn't all that conductive.. and the more resistive it is, the more heat it will dissipate.
Copper tape also corrodes very quickly, I wouldn't want to rely on it. (connectors are always flashed with gold for a reason ;-)
There are off the shelf solutions for wireless charging, e.g;
However, these are limited in wattage (5W), and their range is limited. Using anything else requires some serious engineering.. which I suspect el reg don't have time for without sacrificing valuable pub time :-p
It might be do-able, with the wireless modules, you would have to give it a go and see
In this case gold pads on a PCB would be OK. However if you need any significant amount of mating cycles, then the normal gold flash is insufficient as it wears away too quickly. In that case you need electroless gold over nickel plating (same as they use on the finger contacts on PCI cards), which is a much thicker and harder gold plating :-)
Another idea if the worry over the spring pins freezing is too much, you can also use battery contacts (like they use in smart phones). an example here:
might also be worth a look, though I've never used them in harsh enivornments, so couldn't vouch for the actual contact quality of these