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* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

1781 posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: The Griffon engine

When you blip the throttle on a Merlin powered car, do the wheels on one side come off the ground for a short period?

Might be a bit long for a transverse mount, though...

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Phil O'Sophical
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+1 for the photos, some close-ups of that clutch shaft assembly would be interesting, to help with the explanation.

I remember a TV programme 30-odd years ago featuring someone who'd put a real Merlin on a car chassis (no body at that time), but the torque broke every gearbox and/or driveshafts he'd tried. I'm not sure it's quite enough to assume that tyrespin will act as a limiter.

It would be interesting to see torque/power curves, the peak figures don't tell the whole story. After all, the plain ordinary 2.2 turbo diesel in my car produces 175 bhp (easily remapped to 200+) and 310 lbf-ft torque, much the same peak figures quoted for the half-ton 6.5 litre lump.

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Yes, UK. Johnny Foreigner has better mobe services than you

Phil O'Sophical
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The Moon Under Water

Surely a pub with that name would ban phones, on both noise and radio grounds?

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Mysterious BEAM outside London Googleplex ZAPPED

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: In all seriousness....

then surely someone should be investigating this as a matter of urgency?

They'll be on it as soon as they get back from Loch Ness.

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Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: BT: Over-Spec'd and out of date

Fibre Up The Khyber?

Could lead to Glass up the Ass?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: BT: Over-Spec'd and out of date

All of those approaches are used by BT and its rivals when convenient. I remember some years ago when C&W (I think) bought up the long-defunct London Hydraulic Company because some bright spark discovered that they had pipes running into all sorts of buildings from the days when office lifts were run by distributed hydraulic power.

After the BT breakup the new rival Mercury communications was planning to use railway wayleaves.

And as for new technology, does anyone else remember the Blue Peter programme when Lesley Judd was valiantly trying to handle the new BT "mole" which could tunnel new ducts under roads without the need to dig up the surface, but which unfortunately looked to hundreds of sniggering schoolboys (and I suspect to Ms Judd herself, going by her expression) like a giant vibrating dildo?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Are Ofcom a complete waste of space?

I have to complain to my ISP, but they have no control over the infrastructure as it's all provided by Openreach.

It isn't so much "provided" by Openreach, as they buy it from Openreach. If they don't get what they need then they certainly do have control, and can start legal proceedings against Openreach if they want.

Why should I have to open a formal complaint with my ISP

Because your contract is with your ISP. Bang on them until they fix it or "downgrade" you back to where you were before.

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BT in talks to RE-SLURP O2 after spitting it out a decade ago

Phil O'Sophical
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Funny old world

It's just one giant game of "chicken". Customers choose suppliers purely on price. Providers start race to bottom, only to jump out before impact. After the dust settles, remaining providers buy the rubble and start building again. Customers change to new provider because they're even cheaper, then complain about even more dropped calls and worse customer service. Rinse & repeat.

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And the award for the world's most tech-savvy country goes to …

Phil O'Sophical
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they become useless once everyone has a mobile phone…

How do you figure that? Fixed line phones are more reliable, don't suffer from flat batteries or dropped calls due to congestion. They "just work", 99.9999% of the time, which you'll never be able to say for mobiles. Those fixed lines are also used to deliver most broadband services. We have active three mobile phones in the house, on two networks, and a VoIP service, but I still keep a fixed line. I know it will be the one that will be there when I really need it.

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Get a job in Germany – where most activities are precursors to drinking

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: @ Phil O'SophicalGood luck if UKIP/Farage succeed

I don't think anyone is seriously suggesting that sovereignty of states would be abolished, but there is a genuine concern that it will be sidelined in daily life so that countries are unable to run their own economic affairs as they wish. There are a number of politicians who make no secret of their desire for a federal europe (usually with themselves in charge).

The eurozone is already in a poor economic state, where Germany has the only strong growing economy, and other countries are unable to make the changes they would have done if they'd had economic independence. Within a single country it's accepted that rich regions pay to help poor ones, and although people grumble they're generally OK with that. That isn't the case within the EU as a whole, where there is increasing resentment in successful countries about paying for what they see as the economic incompetence of the poorer ones. There is no widespread feeling of european solidarity, and Europe is moving away from, and not toward, that.

Perhaps if that solidarity had been built first, on economic success, it might have been possible to make an EU work, but the politicians fiddled the books around the convergence criteria in order to create a eurozone for political, not economic, reasons, and they are now paying the price for that in terms of popular resentment.

I disagree that UKIP are only "stoking fantastical and nonsensical fears", polls in most EU countries showed increasing dislike and mistrust of the EU institutions long before UKIP were more than a loony fringe, and those concerns are being expressed by people well placed to know the diference between popular hysteria and fact. UKIP is certainly reacting to that and benefiting from it, as are other parties in other countries, but the concerns are real, and predate UKIP. To assume that simply preventing UKIP from "stoking fears" would make the problem go away shows a deep misunderstanding of the issue.

As for "failing to help their members live in the reality of modern life." that is somewhat patronizing, and is very symptomatic of the paternalistic attitudes people are reacting to. It's the old "if the people don't like it, it just shows they're too stupid to understand it" attitude, which underpinned far too many autocratic regimes.

Incidentally, I personally would not like the UK to leave the EU, if the EU can indeed be reshaped not to impose a "one size fits no-one" economic policy, and working to that should be a priority. I have very little hope that it can be done before the eurozone implodes, though. Apart from anything else, I am quite sure that the EU "powers that be" will not hesitate to make an example of any country with the temerity to unilaterally leave the EU. The chances of the UE permitting a calm exit into a Norway-like membership of only the EEA, which would probably suit Britain well, are close to zero.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Good luck if UKIP/Farage succeed

UKIP is a symptom, not the problem.

When the UK was a member of the common market, it worked well. A trading bloc of independent nations, ensuring a level playing field and free movement of people and goods, it played to Britain's strengths.. OK we all had a laugh at some half-assed rules inverted by politicians with an axe to grind but overall it worked (I've been an expat for over 20 years, working in another EU country).

The problem many people in the UK have (and it isn't just the Tory right*) is with the "ever closer union" of the EU, and the career politicians who want to create a US of Europe, mostly to assuage their own vanity: "Look what I've achieved!". For a very large number of people in the UK that is an unnecessary step too far. They don't see what there is to gain from centralizing political and economic policy between countries who have such different fundamental political and economic philosophies. It plays directly into the hands of the populist parties like UKIP, Front National, etc. who will jump on any passing bandwagon. It's significant that the two most anti-EU parties in France are the Front National and the Communists.

The real threat to expat jobs isn't from any EU-bashing party, it's from the economic stagnation that's been destroying jobs in the eurozone for years. Not only does the lack of growth means there are fewer jobs for everyone, but it does lead to the nationalism exemplified by the "France for the French" slogan of the FN, when jobs are in short supply there is always a backlash against 'foreigners' taking 'our' jobs. The best way to resolve that is to make sure there are plenty of jobs available, which means growth, not centrally-planned economics by political diktat.

* I say not limited to the Tory right, because this isn't just a "tory" issue. There used to be a group of UK voters known as "working-class tories", stereotyped by Alf Garnet in the 70s sitcom "'Til Death us do part", but of course not all so exaggerated. These were people who lived in a council house, worked for the 'corporation' or similar, and hadn't been to University. They tended to be nationalistic, loved the Queen (but not the rest of the junior layabout royals), flew the flag at every opportunity, etc. They were determined that their children could to go Uni, could own their house, etc. They used to vote Tory because that sort of mobility was espoused by the post-war Tory party.

Over time, especially the 60s/70s, Labour worked hard to convince these people to become Labour voters, but that's changing. New Labour firmly put itself in Guardian-reader territory, and Emily Thornberry's "white van" tweet at Rochester last week will drive more of those voters into UKIP territory. I'd say that working-class Labour constituencies have more reason to worry about UKIP than the Tories do at the next election.

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Brit mobile firms in FOURPLAY TUSSLE – how very French of them

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: MVNO

Lots of people seem to be building offerings which rely on using "someone else's" network. Reminds me of the early days of the web when everyone expected their new service to be advertising-funded, only to find that there wasn't enough funding to go round.

What happens when all but one supplier is an MVNO, and the real network they all use goes TITSUP?

I suspect we'l get a foretaste this winter from the power companies, when they discover that assuming you can make up a domestic shortfall by buying electricity from a neighbouring country doesn't work when everyone wants to do it at the same time...

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All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: SCAT BUS

Does it run a Shittle service?

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Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Safety of Nuclear Power

Honestly, more people have died from bloody windfarms..

And coal-fired power stations emit more radiation than nuclear ones. But it doesn't fit with the treehugger agenda to recognize that.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: I seem to remember

I heat my house with a Ground Source Heat Pump. The pump is powered by a 2ft square Solar Panel. This covers 95% of my heating needs for the year.

You live in the Caribbean?

A 2ft square Solar panel will receive ~ 350W max incident power, so even the most efficient panels aren't going to give you more than about 70W electricity from that.

GS heat pumps can generally generate about 4x the energy required to drive them, so if you're using 70W of electricity to drive the pump, you'll get maybe 300W of heat pumped. At best, during bright sunlight.

If you can heat your home with 300W you're either living in a shoebox or in the tropics. Or it's BS, of course.

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Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: "select markets"

the Swedish police/prosecutors.just don't have a reasonable explanation for why they are refusing to conduct their interviews as things stand now.

They have a perfectly reasonable explanation: "why the fuck should they?".

Assange wants to have his cake, and eat it. If they question him they may decide to charge him, or they may decide there's no case to answer, and he goes free. Assange just wants to make sure that if they go for the first option, he can still evade arrest by staying in the embassy. It's like letting a burglar decide that he'll only show up for trial if he's sure of being let off. Why should the Swedish authorities give him the choice, it's no problem for them if he wants to deprive himself of his freedom for the next ten years.

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Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Default passords

Sadly the result of that will be poor reviews on Amazon for being "hard to set up", and people will go elsewhere for the easy "works right out of the box" option.

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Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: See ...

There is a touch of the Tea Party about them

Yes, but probably Earl Grey

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NXT: The first SPAAAACE cryptocurrency

Phil O'Sophical
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light crypocurrency trading from the comfort of our spaceplane's cockpit.

Does the mean that LOHAN is (briefly) becoming an offshore tax haven? I hope the playmonaut's got a good accountant!

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Quebec's latest bid to break away from Canada HALTED by a single dot

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Stop signs at junctions.

I don't buy your bit about foreign language shows either.

French law. Any TV programme that doesn't have a French soundtrack must be subtitled in French. The fact that it can be done digitally now, and the user can choose whether or not to have them, is irrelevant.

Dubbing obviously solves the problem differently, a dubbed programme no longer counts as "foreign language".

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Phil O'Sophical
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speaks french properly

You mean like "mon tire est flat." ??

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Stop signs at junctions.

Which all explain why, when French-Canadian programmes are shown on French TV, they are subtitled in French like all foreign-language shows.

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Toyota to launch hydrogen (ie, NATURAL GAS) powered fuel cell hybrid

Phil O'Sophical
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If we're going to assume an efficient, magic, carbon-free way to make hydrogen, why not just invent one that creates alcohol instead? Then we could use the existing engine and filling station networks largely unchanged?

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Phil O'Sophical
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It deals with rising sea levels too. What's not to like?

And if we collect the water produced by the fuel cells, through the roadside drains, we can divert it to reservoirs, solving the hosepipe ban/drought problem as well.

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Blackpool hotel 'fines' couple £100 for crap TripAdvisor review

Phil O'Sophical
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Hotels can do some strange things with credit cards. A few years ago my wife and I had a very pleasant stay and dinner for New Year at a small hotel. The next morning my credit (actually debit) card was, embarrassingly, declined. My wife was willing to pay but the manager wouldn't hear of it. He rummaged in a drawer for a special code, entered that into the POS terminal, and my card was accepted. The correct amount was duly debited from my bank account.

It was only a couple of days later that I realised why the card had been declined. It had expired on Dec 31st, and of course I was paying on Jan 1st. None of us had noticed at the time. Entirely my fault, and everything was above board, but I'm still surprised that a merchant was able to override an expired card.

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Northern Ireland website leaves front door open, spills users' data

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Irish Government?

Not Irish Government website, but Irish government website, i.e. a government website in Irish.

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THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS

Phil O'Sophical
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we could estimate the top speed of a Clanger in an emergency

Martian or Venusian?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Should have included some buttered toast on the feet

it would spend even more of its time in sleep mode.

But only after first performing a complete circle with its claws out, so it would be well attached.

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Kindle, meet my partner. Darling, play nice with Kindle, please

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Xerox, anyone?

That's why when I buy a CD I do it through Amazon, to get the digital copy as well.

These days it's faster & easier to rip the CD yourself. Last time I tried to get an album as an MP3 from Amazon I had to turn on 1-click ordering, and then download a 38MByte application just so I could do the MP3 download. I don't need my PC cluttered up with more crap that just duplicates what I already have :( Their MP3s also seem to be 160kbit/s CBR, I prefer 320kbit/s VBR which work out about the same size but better quality.

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Sarong it's right: Coining it in Thailand without a visa

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Surely the inland revenue are getting interested in your bank account at this point?

He should probably hope it's only the Inland Revenue, I hear that Thai jails aren't nice places. For the pittance he's earning surely it can't be worth the risk? He will get caught eventually.

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BOFH: An UNHOLY MATCH forged amid the sweet smell of bullsh*t

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: that was an interesting twist

I can't wait to see how this turns out.

She'll never marry him. He might get two weeks of shagging in France if he agrees to pay for and take the wine...

...or he might find out later that she prefers her men a little younger, when the PFY returns exhausted and tanned two weeks later.

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Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

Phil O'Sophical
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Must be two VbyV schemes?

When I see VbyV it's in the form of a screen on the browser payment confirmation asking me to type in the code that has just been sent to my phone by SMS, a useful 2-factor system. What's all this password stuff people are talking about??

The SMS-to-phone is actually very useful. When my card was cloned a couple of years ago it was the flood of texts that alerted me to the fact, and allowed me to cancel the card before it was really hammered. The crooks still got 1600euros of stuff from sites that didn't use VbyV, but the bank reimbursed me for that.

If you don't have a mobile it can work to a fixed line, as I discovered when I made an online purchase when on a US business trip. The bank had my home landline number, and sent the text to that, where it was read out by a text-to-speech system. Would have worked fine had I not been in a Californian hotel, but my wife was not so amused to be woken up by the phone at 3am. She forgave me, the purchase was for her birthday :) That's when I gave the bank my mobile number...

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COMET lander DRILL CLIFFHANGER as last dregs of power used

Phil O'Sophical
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Solar panels

I don't suppose Rosetta has any shiny surfaces that could be used to reflect some sunlight onto Philae (when they find it)?

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VINYL is BACK and you can thank Sonos for that

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: There is at least one upside to vinyl.

Macrovision couldn't do anything to stop it

Yes they could, and did. They started playing games with the colo(u)r signal as well. You got stable pictures with coloured stripes.

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UK PM Cameron says Internet must not 'be an ungoverned space'

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Don't waste your breath, David

you would find a proposition to go to some godforesaken desert and live in shit without running water and electricity and proper food, all for the chance of getting your arse shot off from under you and possibly, just possibly, get a number of women to play with *after* you die - irresistively attractive?

I'm sure I've seen that on TV, something about celebrities?

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US carder gets nine years in cooler, must pay back $50 MEELLION

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Wait - I don't understand

How in $deity's name did the cops manage to catch him before looking at his computer, email etc?

At a guess, by looking at the other computers that he used to buy/sell the stuff, and then using that evidence to get a warrant to search his computer.

A bit like finding a burglars fingerprint at the scene of a robbery, and then finding the stolen goods at his house.

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Sky: We're no longer calling ourselves British. Yep. And Broadcasting can do one, too

Phil O'Sophical
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History

This discussion prompted me to dig out old copies of "Television" magazine. It's easy to forget how things changed.

1981: The Home Office expecting 5 DBS channels by 1986

1984: Collapse of BBC plans to start a 2-channel service, decoder costs of 500GBP "beyond what the public would find acceptable".

1988: Quite a lot of equipment around, to find satellites they recommended the "World Satellite Almanac", at 30GBP :) Lyngsat.com wasn't even a dream!

1989: A BBC Basic program (two pages to type in yourself) to do dish alignment calculations.

February 1989 Sky TV started.

February 1990 Sky Movies in scrambled form, half of Sky users signed up.

April 1990 BSB started, first Squarials.

25 years on we have hundreds of channels, digital, 3D, Dolby sound, and 95% of the programmes are still crap.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Pirate TV

You might even draw an analogy with some of the 'disruptive' tech startups like Uber, in that like them, Sky decided the rules didn't apply, and just threw money at the problem until the incumbents had to surrender.

You could also consider that Sky didn't want to throw as much money at it as the EU-mandated formats required, and went for a cheap'n'cheerful solution that satisfied the punters' idea of value for money.The same thing happened eleswhere in Europe. As usual quantity won out over quality.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Pirate TV

broadcasting to the UK without a licence,

What licence do you think he would have needed???

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: It used to be that...

And Murdoch and his ilk are to blame. Oh, and the politicians we voted in, who allowed it to happen.

It's still bloody disgusting.

Don't forget all those vulgar, disgusting customers who paid for it as well. If they had refused to cough up the pay channels would never have been successful.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Maybe this will finally encourage "Sky" to sell subscriptions across Europe?

(OK, it's a slim hope...)

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Does this mean

IIRC Murdoch owns somewhere around 7% of Sky, it's hardly "owned by" him. These days most things seem to be largely owned by pension funds. Retirement is coming...

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Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Don't Panic!

Yes, but it started out as a radio series.The book came later.

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BOING, BOING! Philae BOUNCED TWICE on Comet 67P

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Dude, I'm a comet. Do you even have a landing permit?

Umm ... the word 'probably' in that sentence is slightly disturbing.

Since Philae reportedly sank 4cm into the surface, even at it's gentle landing speed, I'd be more concerned about the word 'anchored'. Ice-screws aren't going to get much of a grip if the surface is like dry ash. Still, they only have 3 days of battery life [insert iWatch joke here], so they'll have to get cracking with something, whatever the risk. Whatever happens, even getting this far is amazing, though.

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ESA sends back PRE-LANDING COMET CLOSE-UPS

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Scale.

Cheops boulder is 45m across, 25m high.

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FIRST for HUMANITY: Fridge-size PROBOT headed for COMET TOUCHDOWN

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: In space no one can hear your sonar

The trick is to stick your emitter and microphone right into the comet.

So Philae isn't so much landing on as mating with the comet?

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Texas boffins put radio waves in a spin

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: allow full-duplex operation of a phone on a single frequency

Circulators have nothing to do with circular polarization. They are three-terminal A-B-C devices where signals can travel from A->B and B->C but not C->A or A->C. You connect the transmitter to A, the aerial to B, and the receiver to C. Inbound signals go from Aerial to Receiver, outbound from Transmitter to Aerial, but the high power from the transmitter never gets to the receiver (where it would wipeout any simultaneous received signal and/or damage the receiver). That way the aerial can be used for transmit & receive at the same time.

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'Tech giants who encrypt comms are unwittingly aiding terrorists', claims ex-Home Sec Blunkett

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Badge of Honor

I'm pretty sure I used to have a passport that declared me a "subject", and I most certainly do have right of abode..

If the passport was issued pre-1949 that could be the case, but things are different for any passport issued in the past 65 years, see https://www.gov.uk/types-of-british-nationality/british-subject

Few people today are in that category, and there's no reason that you'd want to be.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Badge of Honor

I think you'll find that's "of me... a subject..." but that's another discussion.

You should read your passport, where it clearly says "citizen". British passports haven't said "subject" in decades, and even then the only ones that did were for citizens born overseas, without right of abode.

Agreed on the terrorist stats, though. Even during the most recent "troubles" in NI the average death rate from troubles-related causes still worked out at about the same as that from traffic accidents, ~100/year.

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Security products: Best of breed or create your own monster?

Phil O'Sophical
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cloud security

cf: oxymoron

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