* Posts by Putters

81 posts • joined 23 Aug 2012

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Portsmouth bomb about to be detonated

Putters

Re: Design Parameters

We can only hope that American explosives from the same era are just as crap ...

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

"According to a survey conducted in 2000 by the United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency,[1] the wreck still held munitions containing approximately 1,400 tonnes (1,500 short tons) of TNT high explosive.[1] These comprise the following items of ordnance:

286 × 2,000 lb (910 kg) high explosive "Blockbuster" bombs[9]

4,439 × 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs of various types

1,925 × 500 lb (230 kg) bombs

2,815 fragmentation bombs and bomb clusters

Various explosive booster charges

Various smoke bombs, including white phosphorus bombs

Various pyrotechnic signals

An investigation by New Scientist magazine concluded in 2004, based partly on government documents released in 2004, that the cargo was still deadly, and could be detonated by a collision, an attack, or even shifting of the cargo in the tide. The bad condition of the bombs is such that they could explode spontaneously"

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BBC to demand logins for iPlayer in early 2017

Putters

Phone No. Too

01 811 8055 burnt into the next field in the brain.

Along with (if you're a fan old old British films) WHItehall 1212 (Scotland Yard)

And for trivia fans, the TfL helpline (in the building over the road) was WHItehall 1234 and is (0343 222 )1234 to this day ...

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What wedding cake would an engineer make? A LEGO one

Putters

Remember a friends missus commenting (in their early days) that she realised what it meant to be involved with an engineer when her Valentine's Day gift came lovingly wrapped, but the wrapping taped up with insulating tape.

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Watch the world's biggest 'flying bum' go arse over tit in a crash

Putters

Re: Martha Gwyn ?

Bizarrely I missed the first item in the search.

Can only think of two reasons for that.

1) Automatically assumed it was an Ad and not a proper search response.

2) Failing eyesight - whatever the cause ...

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Putters
Windows

Martha Gwyn ?

A quick google doesn't reveal the source, but I think could be quite 'fun' to meet the Martha Gwyn that inspired the name ...

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London's 'automatic' Tube trains suffered 750 computer failures last year

Putters

LUL average 460 ish trains in service at any one time (higher in peak, lower off peak). Number of trips up and down the line vary by line, but if you assume somewhere in the 5-6000 area won't be far out. Multiply up by, say 300 or so to allow for this, that, planned closures, weekends, Xmas day etc and so on and you get somewhere in the 1.7M range ...

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Putters

Most by trip and reset of the ATO / ATP system (see earlier reply). For length of delay, also see earlier reply

Not Fail Safe is EXTREMELY rare - even an alleged wrong side failure causes real ructions in the Signalling Team.

NOTE : A train running a red light and stopping is not Not Fail Safe. It is the system working as it should in a failure (human or machine) situation. A train running a red light and Not Stopping is definitely Not Fail Safe. There is always* a section that is unoccupied between trains. So you get section occupied by train, empty section, section occupied by back of next train, section occupied by front of next train.

* the only exception is when there is a dead train and one is drawn up behind it to push it out. Then the driver has detrain the passengers beforehand, and approach under direction at extreme caution speed, applying The Rule for passing a signal at danger.

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Putters

Only the central control system - the on train systems that cause nearly all of the delays are a trip and reset (see earlier reply)

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Putters

Re: Wrong conclusion

The Central central system very rarely falls over - it has happened, but it is pretty rare. Most ATO failures are as a result of the onboard ATO or ATP controllers locking up - or not talking to each other. Most of the time the delay is the time it takes to trip the ATP MCB, trip the ATO MCB, reset the ATO MCB and reset the ATP MCB. In that order. Getting it wrong makes for a longer delay.

The main problem with ATO in wet weather is that the braking rate is too much for the low rail adhesion. So the wheel slide protection cuts in (like ABS on a car) and stops the train in the shortest possible distance. Which tends to be longer than the dry stopping distance. So the train overruns the platform (a SPAD in ATO if it passes a red signal which is a pain and a 7 mins delay and pisses everyone off; if a green signal the train can continue to the next station which only pisses off the people who wanted to get off).

To avoid this, Central Line normally derates back to mk1 eyeball, manual control and "defensive driving".

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Putters

Re: Wrong conclusion

Can help you put that number in perspective. Central Line plans to puts 79 trains into service every day. They make an average of 11 trips per day. They stop at around 40 stations per trip.

So, for the Central Line alone (the oldest and least reliable ATO currently on London Undergound) the number of times a train stops in ATO per day is somewhere in the low 30k area.

And that's just Central Line.

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Violence, vandals and vomit: London's naughtiest tech Tube stations revealed

Putters

Re: Blown bulbs?

The safety case for LEDs in signal lamps took ages to get though (changing anything in safety critical kit is a right royal PITA).

Also there's one hell of a lot of bulbs out there to be changed. Simpler to wait for them to die and change on a casualty basis.

And don't underestimate the cost of getting drawings updated. Real example, from my Central Line days again. There was an error in the fuse discrimination (ie a higher level fuse blowing before some lower level one, taking out more kit than necessary) for some of the new (this was back in the 1990s) Westinghouse kit. ~50 Signal Equipment rooms to have fuses changed - about 50 quids worth of kit + 50x 5mins for a Technical Officer. Peanuts in cost. Cost for Westinghouse to update master and prints for 50 Signal Equipment rooms - a cool £1M quoted ...

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Putters

The main reason for not fully automating is that the bored bloody drivers main purpose on the train is not to drive it (as the ATO does that perfectly well when it is working) but to be there as when the train fails to proceed. A significant part of the training is for technical fault finding. When you have a train stopped in a tunnel that has no real access for someone else to get to it (no side footway - or a long time to get there) you need a competent person on board. Preferably one who can diagnose the fault and is not fazed by then going back though a 1000 pissed off punters to effect an isolation or cut out to get a train moving to the next station. Even the DLR has the train captains for the same reason.

Drivers on ATO lines are a bit like nuclear power station control room staff and airline pilots - you want them to be doing nothing as much as possible ...

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Putters

Re: Pathetic

The best incident I ever came across (and I used to see the details of quite a few being involved in Incident Attribution - basically assigning who was responsible) was one where a bloke ran into Hyde Park Corner Station to get staff to call for an ambulance as his mate was impaled and caught by the scrotum after slipping whilst attempting to climb the railings of the park ...

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Putters

Re: You know...

Indeed - back in the mid 1990's when the Central Line ATO was being implemented, the failure rate was horrendous (about 6 failures a day IIRC).

I was asked to provide some idea of how long we (I worked for Central Line Line Engineering - no that is not a double type) would have to run a test train to prove the system sufficiently reliable (they actually wanted somewhere around 1 a week)

A quick calc of the number of times a Central Line trains stops each day gave 72 trains (the max service at the time) * an average of 11 trips per day * 40 station stops average per trip. 6 failures a day meant the unreliable system was 99.98% reliable. 1 failure a week was 99.9995% reliable ...

I had to report that running a single test train with a reliable version meant that they would have to wait somewhere around a year for a failure :O)

Oh - and you know when your train is delayed for defective doors ? On the Central Line alone with it's current service levels, there are about 3.3 million individual door operations a day ...

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Render crashing PCs back to their component silicon: They deserve it

Putters

Re: I've said it before, I'll say it again

Sorry - not stupidity, that's accidental. This is deliberate and malign !

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Putters
Devil

I've said it before, I'll say it again

Artificial Intelligence is in its infancy, but Artificial Bloody Mindedness was perfected years ago ...

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Cats, dogs starve as web-connected chow chute PetNet plays dead

Putters

Re: More dead cats :)

Over the last 30 years or so behind the wheel I've managed to hit a few of our feathered friends. Though probably few enough to count on the digits of one hand.

I am, however, one of what I suspect is a pretty small group of people who have managed to run over a squirrel whilst riding a pushbike (me on the bike, not the squirrel, obviously) ...

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Tesla's Model S autonomous mode may have saved a life

Putters

"Tesla's sensors are pretty basic as they appear to be unable to tell the difference between a car and a person"

And exactly how do you want the car to behave differently in each case ? Not stop for one fo them ???

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Putters

Re: @Bazza: PR stunt

Err. Blind bend? Rural road ? Yes you should be going round it at 20mph if that is the speed you need to be going to stop when you come round the blind bend on a rural road and see a stupid cyclist in black with no lights in the middle of the lane.

Simply because it's the same speed you need to be going to stop when you come round the same bend and find a sensible cyclist laying in the road because a front spoke has just given and stopped the front wheel dead (yep - been there, done that, it hurts !). Or a damn great piece of farm machinery coming the other way scraping both hedgerows (been there, done that, learned to drive in rural Norfolk, there damn great combine harvesters come down the road scraping both hedgerows !).

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Man killed in gruesome Tesla autopilot crash was saved by his car's software weeks earlier

Putters

Re: First person to be killed by (semi)autonomous vehicle ?

You are also being a little US-centric ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Ward_%28scientist%29 (1869)

or if you want to be a little more pedantic and want a car, not a private steam carriage

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Ward_%28scientist%29 (1896)

Mr Bliss was 1899

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Putters

Re: First person to be killed by (semi)autonomous vehicle ?

Ahh, but was Harry Bliss at the time the William Huskinson of the modern era ?

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Down and out in the Middle Kingdom: Beijing is sinking

Putters

Re: "delicious example of the challenge of science writing in non-metric America"

That looks like something I'd do.

Being born in 1968* I was taught in both {feet, inches, stones, pounds ounces, pints and gallons} as well as {metres, kilos and litres). So am quite happy to use which ever side of the ruler makes most sense at the time, hence it's far from unusual for me to measure and cut a piece of wood to say 10" x 5cm.

* 1968 means that I'm of that small group who can't remember spending old pennies etc, but can remember legally spending a sixpence ...

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Chinese demand end to canine carvery festival

Putters

Re: It's more possible to be uncertain than you might think

Goes back a lot further than the 70's - from Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days"

" Having transacted his business at the passport office, Phileas Fogg repaired quietly to the railway station, where he ordered dinner. Among the dishes served up to him, the landlord especially recommended a certain giblet of "native rabbit," on which he prided himself.

Mr. Fogg accordingly tasted the dish, but, despite its spiced sauce, found it far from palatable. He rang for the landlord, and, on his appearance, said, fixing his clear eyes upon him, "Is this rabbit, sir?"

"Yes, my lord," the rogue boldly replied, "rabbit from the jungles."

"And this rabbit did not mew when he was killed?"

"Mew, my lord! What, a rabbit mew! I swear to you—"

"Be so good, landlord, as not to swear, but remember this: cats were formerly considered, in India, as sacred animals. That was a good time."

"For the cats, my lord?"

"Perhaps for the travellers as well!"

After which Mr. Fogg quietly continued his dinner.

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Putters

Re: A dog isn't just for Christmas...

"In any case, my guinea pig pet is a Bolivian's fav stew."

I have a 1930s UK published Homekeeping book. It has a large pet care section. And a good section on keeping guinea pigs as pets. The last paragraph of which reads "In flavour they are rather like rabbit, but due to their small size are best opened out flat and fried with bacon".

Interestingly it doesn't refer to how to cook rabbits, though they have their own pet care section. Probably because in the 1930s it was so common as to not be worth writing about

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Is it a car? Is it a rocket? No, it's Elon Musk's robot butler!

Putters

Obligatory Pratchett Quote ...

... just because it is the first thing that sprang to mind when I read this.

"One of Igor’s former masters had made a tick-tock man, all levers and gearwheels and cranks and clockwork. Instead of a brain, it had a long tape punched with holes. Instead of a heart, it had a big spring. Provided everything in the kitchen was very carefully positioned, the thing could sweep the floor and make a passable cup of tea. If everything wasn’t carefully positioned, or if the ticking, clicking thing hit an unexpected bump, then it’d strip the plaster off the walls and make a furious cup of cat. "

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BOFH: Follow the paper trail

Putters

Giselles ...

Scott Adams quote

" Dating is never easy for engineers. A normal person will employ various indirect and duplicitous methods to create a false impression of attractiveness. Engineers are incapable of placing appearance above function.

Fortunately, engineers have an ace in the hole. They are widely recognized as superior marriage material: intelligent, dependable, employed, honest, and handy around the house. While it's true that many normal people would prefer not to date an engineer, most normal people harbor an intense desire to mate with them, thus producing engineer-like children who will have high-paying jobs long before losing their virginity.

Male engineers reach their peak of sexual attractiveness later than normal men, becoming irresistible erotic dynamos in their mid thirties to late forties. Just look at these examples of sexually irresistible men in technical professions:

Bill Gates.

MacGyver.

Etcetera.

Female engineers become irresistible at the age of consent and remain that way until about thirty minutes after their clinical death. Longer if it's a warm day. "

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8K video gives virtual reality the full picture for mainstream use

Putters

Re: How ... ?

You sure ? Sort of assumed it was 3D all around from the article comment "so when you stretch that out in both directions (width and height) over an entire sphere, a high resolution image becomes very sparse and grainy."

Also looking at the picture (which unhelpfully cuts off at the cameras themselves - but I'm assuming given the likely height of the transparent domes the light receiving business end is above the cutoff and is something along the lines of the digital equivalent of a fisheye lens approach ), there's only two cameras so I'm assuming they effectively take a hemisphere each.

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Putters

How ... ?

... do you avoid taking a selfie every time you use this thing ?

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You can always rely on the Ancient Ones to cock things up

Putters

Artificial Intelligence is Difficult

Artificial Intelligence is difficult ... but Artificial Bloody Mindedness has been perfected and is in action every day.

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Picture this: An exabyte of cat pix in the space of a sugar cube of DNA

Putters

Re: A writeable CD left on window sill

Magnetic media seems to last quite well, even under less than ideal storage conditions.

Eg the games that went with the Spectrum I sold a year or two ago, including the home recorded "backups", loaded quite happily (mid 1980s)

Similarly the QL microdrive cartridges, the Atari 3.5" disks and the IBM PC XT 5 1/4" disks, as well as the 10 meg hard drive (late 80's).

Just stored in cardboard boxes in the (distinctly non temperature controlled) loft.

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Dropping 1,000 cats from 32km: How practical is that?

Putters

Opportunity ...

... to find out how high a frozen dead cat bounce is from that height given the starting temperature ?

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Neighbour sick of you parking in his driveway? You'd better hack-proof your car

Putters

Lucas Electrics

Not for nothing has Lucas been referred to before now as the Prince of Darkness (of the dashboard) in the classic car world ...

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Woman scales Ben Nevis wielding selfie stick instead of ice axe

Putters

Can I drive my car up there ?

Why not - it's been done before (7h23mins up, less than 2hrs down) :

1928 - http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/angus-the-mearns/memento-of-famous-ben-nevis-exploit-to-be-auctioned-in-angus-1.70708

Note that he was inspired by a Pathe film of someone who'd done it twice in "an American Ford" - so I'm guessing a Model T ....

EDIT - found another link - it was a 1911 Model T : http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/may-1996/74/top-ben-nevis

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Furious English villagers force council climbdown over Satan's stone booty

Putters

The Old Photo in the Beeb article ...

... has the correct solution. Put the lamp post back !

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Swede builds steam-powered Raspberry Pi. Nowhere to plug in micro-USB, then?

Putters

Re: El Reg suspects his dad might have given him a hand... ®

Still got the Mamod engine in the loft - decidedly used, but still in (most of) it's box. An early enough one to have the meths trough and not the solid fuel blocks.

For some reason my grandad decided that it was an ideal present for a 3 year old boy ...

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Domino's trials trundling four-wheeled pizza delivery bot

Putters

Simples !

First thing that sprang to mind when I saw your comment was that they could use the same solution as Mary Mungo and Midge

http://www.davethewave.co.uk/mary-mungo-midge/big-jpg/lift%20button3.jpg

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You say I mustn’t write down my password? Let me make a note of that

Putters

Clear Desk

We had a clear desk policy after a little incident at the office block where I worked.

http://www.highrisefirefighting.co.uk/cstelstar.html

We were based on the 6th Floor (the fun started on the 7th). What was very noticeable was that the stuff that was in cupboards and desk drawers etc survived. Stuff that was on desks was water damaged and, in many cases, had sprouted quite a lot of green hair and possibly some new antibiotics - as it was a few days before anyone could get safe access to recover it, and there was a lot of moisture in what was for some reason quite a warm building ...

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Official: Toshiba pulls out of European consumer PC market

Putters

Goodbye Tosh ...

Saw the headline, and the first thing that sprang to mind was "Hello Tosh, got a Toshiba" !

It's over thirty years since that ad ... feeling old :O(

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Boffins: There's a ninth planet out there – now we just need to find it

Putters

Well, that answers an earlier Reg question ...

... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/10/30/has_voyager_1_escaped_the_sun_yet_yes_but_also_no_say_boffins/

The answer would appear to be a resounding NO.

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How to build a real lightsabre

Putters

Re: A lightsaber in the right hand is by far the deadliest weapon to be found in the universe

The word you are looking for is ambisinister - incompetent with either hand :o)

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Kids' TV show Rainbow in homosexual agenda shocker

Putters

Am I missing something.

Hmm - three "non human" characters.

None of whom has identifiable gender - Bungle, a six foot bear with a suspiciously high voice for such a creature, a pink hippo (George - short for Georgia, Georgina ?) and Zippy - and I still don't know what Zippy was, let alone gender.

So, forget the homosexuality. If you're gonna bitch about something, bitch about the interspecies sex !

George and Zippy don't have anything below the waist to walk with, let alone misbehave with ...

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Downloads for Windows 10 November big-bang build axed by Microsoft

Putters

Is this the Cumulative update from mid November ?

If so, the damn thing has tried to update several times so far, only to complain it "couldn't complete the update" and then "restoring to previous setting", or something like that anyhow. Phaffed around for a couple of hours last night trying to either stop it attempting to install or successfully install it and gave up. Got a PC with a boot time of about 10 minutes as a result at present.

If I could get the missus's "Work from Home" to work on the playing-around-with-Linux box upstairs, then this (the main PC) would go the same way ... my Work from Home works on it and the bits of Office 2010 we use too, so I don't think I'd miss much.

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Short weekend break: Skegness or exoplanet HD 189733b?

Putters

Re: Skeggie? Why oh why?

I reckon Sunny Hunny is the reason why I work with computers. Went to the school you see as you go up the hill into the town. When a northeasterly was whipping the sleet in off the winter North Sea, any sane individual would go and find the Commodore Pet's in the comuter room rather than play football.

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It's come to this for IBM: Watson is now a gimmick app on the iPhone

Putters

Maybe I'm reading to much into this

There's a tendency with results like "kids like lego" to dismiss them as obvious - especially in Headlines, but generally such results are actually just some hacks over simplistic summary. Similar to "Sugar makes you fat" - well, Duh, yes, but the interesting part is "how much sugar makes you gain weight at what rate, from what starting conditions, under what other dietary conditions, environment and exercise levels"

Eg in this case, I'm sure that there was a relative popularity of lego compared to the next whatever-kids-are-interested-in. Ie some quantitative analysis / results.

And I found it interesting (got to go Christmas shopping for the nephew's prezzie yet) that the popular lego(s?) were those that were more generic over the themed ones - an example of the less obvious result hiding in the Duh-Generic.

Also, back to the point of the article, great to know that large scale analytics can be made available easily to the general population, instead of just applying those in academic ivory towers and the great unwashed of the marketing "profession" trying to flog us stuff.

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Exam board in 'send all' fail: Hands up who knows what the BCC button is for?

Putters

CC and BCC

Funny how we still use CarbonCopy and BlindCarbonCopy ... surely it should be EC (Email/Electronic - take your pick) Copy ?

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FBI probed SciFi author Ray Bradbury for plot to glum-down America

Putters

Re: FBI sponsored?

I've always found it amusing how, when discussing British History (and in particular, invasion of the mainland) that the last time a large army - 11,000 foot and 4,000 mounted troops - landed and deposed the rightful-by-the-rules-of-succession, albeit unpopular, king ...

1688 and all that.

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Huge explosion kills 44+ in China, blasts nearby supercomputer offline

Putters

Mark85 "I just can't imagine storing what appears to be explosives/chemicals going off in the middle of a city."

Anything they can do we can do first - including stupidly purifying explosives in a major built up area.

http://www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog/2012/03/25/the-memorial-to-londons-largest-ever-explosion/

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

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HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie

Putters

Not just the smelly feet, nobody else walking barefoot wants to share your verruca.

Maybe we can get one of those little footpools they have in swimming pools installed ?

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2015 Fiat 500 fashionista, complete with facelift

Putters

Sorry, you were driving it wrong ! Its a Fiat, so you have to thrash the nuts off it, then thrash it again as a rental. Our little sojourn in Sardinia was a few weeks ago with a 1.2 Panda. Absolute hoot. First gear is a driving gear, not a getting started gear, and that rev counter red lines a 6,300. Especially up that funny little roundabout in Abbiadori. We christened it Timmi after the well behaved but hyperactive kid staying at our hotel.

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