* Posts by phy445

35 posts • joined 29 Apr 2013

Boeing just about gives up on the 747

phy445

Boeing don't seem to get cabin noise. Their machines are so much noisier than the Airbus equivalents. For me the noise is one of the worst aspects of long haul flying.

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Einstein's brain to be picked by satellites

phy445

Re: Totes respeck to AE

Indeed he was pretty good at maths, but I understand that the hard work in getting the maths for general relativity sorted was done by Mrs Einstein (insert comment about equality here)

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phy445

Re: Improved GPS accuracy?

For once I haven't been to the cited article to check things, but I think this is more about the science than any improvements to GPS.

There is a lot of interest in test General Relativity to its limits. Over the years "boffins" (in Reg speak) have produced lots of little refinements to GR that predict pretty much the same results as Albert, but with subtle (hard to measure) differences. Which, if any, of these more sophisticated models is right is interesting science wise. I doubt that the real world impact will be that great because wobbles in satellite orbits and other factors will mask these very minor corrections-if they didn't then we'd be able to measure them already using the GPS system.

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Yay, more 'STEM' grads! You're using your maths degree to do ... what?

phy445

Really?

I know its an opinion article, but its probably the worst thing to appear on El Reg for a long, long time.

Seemingly based on nothing but an anecdote about an astronomy conference the author appears to have decreed that STEM is a waste of time. Never mind the irony of writing about this on an IT site–I did start writing a list of things that STEM contributes to in the IT field, but its too long so I decided to write a list of the aspects of IT that don't have a STEM aspect – its on the next line:

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Alumina in glass could stop smartphones cracking up

phy445

It may be stiff enough (snigger)...

But how tough is it? Glass is more than strong enough. The problem is dissipating the energy that gets dumped into the glass when your phone hits the floor (or dog bites it etc.) The paper linked in the report makes no mention of toughness. I suspect this story has been stretched to its limits by a university press office that cares more for getting more inches (more sniggering) in the press than reasonable reporting – an increasingly common problem as universities around the world have to fight for recognition/funding

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Old, not obsolete: IBM takes Linux mainframes back to the future

phy445

Re: Just One Moment...

I believe things go wrong with endianness of code when you get involved in casting types in C and its derivatives. The details are obscure and dull – I once looked it up, but is has pretty much fallen out of my head now.

That sort of coding always leads to trouble anyway, so stick to F77 is my advice.

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Connected kettles boil over, spill Wi-Fi passwords over London

phy445

No need for this tech?

To all the naysayers-think about how we mock the IBM(?) expert who predicted a need for no more than five computers! Who are we to mock the prospect of a future where kettles can be switched on remotely? Although we don't realise it yet, this could be one of those paradigm shifting moments that moves humanity to a higher plane of reality-or not-this is remarkably like the over automated tech that made early 2000AD comics so much fun.

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Tear teardown down, roars Apple: iFixit app yanked from store

phy445

Re: Information wants to be free!

I agree with the need to free information wherever possible, but not sure about the biblical reference. IIRC the original company logo was based on an apple falling on Newton's head. They then went over to the silhouette apple and the bite was taken out to stop it being confused with a cherry.

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NEW ERA for HUMANITY? NASA says something 'major' FOUND ON MARS

phy445
Mushroom

Perhaps...

Perhaps they have found that man hole cover that was filmed being blown space wards in an underground nuke test?

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Michigan sues HP after 'botched' $49m upgrade leaves US state in 1960s mainframe hell

phy445

Re: Same old, same old

Are flares not cool anymore? When did this happen?

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Boffins build magnetic field cloak 'wormhole', could help MRI scanners

phy445

Did you read the paper?

They present pictures of the device in the supplementary information–it looks like a classic MacGyver build, lots of gaffer tape etc. There is measured data in the main paper and in the supplementary info.

They use a superconductor that works at liquid nitrogen temperatures. Not a problem for the MRI bods as their machines work with the way colder liquid helium.

Whether something is meta or not depends on the wavelength/frequency you are working at. For MRI its fairly easy.

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EasyGroup continues bizarre, time-travelling domain crusade

phy445

If memory serves Chipzilla used send their cold blooded bottom feeders out to get anybody who tried to market anything with a vaguely Latinate name on the grounds that it might be confused with Pentium. Happy days!

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Radiohead(ache): BBC wants dead duck tech in sexy new mobes

phy445

Dead ducks

To describe DAB as Dead Duck tech is a diservice to dead ducks.

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Three UK fined £250,000 for customer complaints COCKUP

phy445

Re: More fool you

And you get tethering-a lot of the other telcos do not allow this.

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Rare HPC beauties unveiled: Quivering racks, Lustre clusters and the tiers of a Cray

phy445

Don't knock water

Water is surprisingly useful stuff. For "science" reasons its rather good at taking heat away from from objects–try sleeping on a water-bed without a heater. There are other fluids that could be used, but very few would take away anyway near the heat that water can without seriously upgrading the flow rate.

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Lost treasure of Atari REVEALED

phy445

Apple Lisa next?

If memory serves Apple buried thousands of Lisas back in the eighties. I wonder if there will be an attempt to get at these?

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

phy445

Re: Review or plug for intel?

That's good to hear–thanks for the update.

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phy445

Review or plug for intel?

The article begins with the word "Review", but there is precious little evidence of this. Did the reviewer actually try to use this board or has all the information been extracted from sales literature and online articles?

The Arduino platform is about doing things. I'd like to know how this board measures up when it comes to interfacing with the real world before I part with this amount of cash. I can get a lot of Arduino Uno clones for the cost of this board.

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Tech titan Bill Gates: Polio-free India one of the 'most impressive accomplishments' ever

phy445

The Gates Foundation

Declaration of interests: Some of my research is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-on the water side rather than the vaccination side

Top marks to the anti polio team at the foundation and the other NGOs that have made this possible. Hopefully this will help improve trust in the places where it is proving difficult to get the vaccination programmes going.

I also hope that some of the commentards above will take the trouble to find out about the work of the foundation. Once they have done that then hopefully they will find out a bit about population growth which is currently been driven by better health care which means that we have more over fifties than ever before, not by the birth rate (which on average is about two children per family)

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Beauty firm Avon sticks spike heel into $125m SAP-based sales project

phy445

how does it compare to...

I have managed to avoid SAP so far. My current employer uses Agresso which provides an awful user experience and the last "upgrade " took a week during which no orders could be made. How does SAP measure up to this?

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OHM MY GOD! Move over graphene, here comes '100% PERFECT' stanene

phy445

Re: No chemists here

Its not a war over pronunciation - the word is spelt differently on either side of the atlantic. IIRC the discoverer of aluminium/aluminum changed his mind on a voyage from Europe to the States. Due to the timescales that information travelled at back then, the aluminium version had stuck fast in GB by the time he got back to this side of the pond.

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Sony PS4 SHATTERS UK console sales SPEED RECORD

phy445

Re: Look at the profit...

Infoscout is an internet startup that produces its figures based on crowd sourcing and other weird and wonderful metrics. It'll be interesting to see if these figures stand up to scrutiny or it turns out that ps4 owners have got better things to do than tell the twattersphere that they have just bought one.

I own neither a xbox or a ps of any kind. I wish both well in this fondleslab dominated world...

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Best budget Android smartphone there is? Must be the Moto G

phy445

Will no-one think of the children? Re: It's the tip of the iceberg

If the budget phone manufacturers go to the wall then who is going to employ all the children who work in the sweat shops putting them together?

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phy445

Cheap as chips?

Out of interest, how much do chips cost in the vicinity of Reg HQ? Round here £1.50 gets me more chips than I can eat.

£100 may be good value for a reasonably specked droid device, but cheap as chips implies to me that folk with ordinary income levels wouldn't bat an eyelid if it were lost. I for one would be a bit annoyed (to say the least) if I lost that much money.

Whilst I think of it, why has nobody picked up on the assualt [sic] in the caption?

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Wolfram's new equation: Mathematica+RPi=child geniuses everywhere

phy445
Stop

A programming nightmare

Mathematica is a truly weird programming experience it is only tangentially related to more standard programming systems. Learning Mathematica will be of very limited use when it comes to learning "proper" programming.

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Brit graphene maker poised to go public: Yes, wonder stuff WILL float

phy445

That's not graphene!

Graphene is one atomic layer thick. When there are multiple layers it becomes graphite - the stuff that makes pencils work. This stuff might be easier to make, but its properties are nothing like those of the real thing.

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Secrets of Apple's mysterious Arizona sapphire factory: Our expert whispers all

phy445

What about the reflections?

Sapphire produces far more reflections than glass. For fancy camera lenses and watches anti reflection coatings are used. The trouble is these coatings are very soft and will soon be wiped off a fondleslab. It will be very interesting to see what Apple do about this...

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Surface 2 MYSTERY: Haswell's here, so WHY the duff battery life?

phy445
Happy

It's the spooks

Could MS be so firmly embedded with the security services that windows eats battery sending logs of all that you do back to the mothership?

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Samsung touching up ROUNDED, CURVY plastic enhanced MODEL

phy445

Re: Once upon a time......

Need to interject with a bit of materials science here. Gorilla glass is not significantly different in hardness to other glasses. Where it wins over ordinary glass is in its resistance to cracking - yes I am being serious. I know there are lots of tales of how easily these screens break, but if were made from ordinary glass then they probably break in your pocket.

Glass breaks really easily because tiny cracks in it surface open up easily and this process gets easier as the cracks get larger. Gorilla glass and related materials (Apple uses something similar, but not Corning's ape themed product) is specially treated so that the surface swells and closes up any cracks in the surface - this makes it much harder for the cracks to spread. If enough damage is done so that the crack is larger than the thickness of the swollen region then the crack will spread like wildfire.

Mines the white lab coat in the corner...

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Stallman's GNU at 30: The hippie OS that foresaw the rise of Apple - and is now trying to take it on

phy445
Alert

Whoops

I hit what I thought was the read comments button expecting to be treated to a plethora of sage words, not realising that there weren't any. Whilst I'm here I might as well make a comment.

I'm with Stallman most of the way. Open source software is a good thing. It helps drive innovation. However, I am happy with companies such as Apple and MS not releasing all the source code to their operating systems. I tend to look on devices (Apple in particular) as hardware and OS combined. As long as I have got the APIs then I can produce code for these systems.

I shall now retire a safe distance and whatch the fireworks begin.

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Boffins demo new holo storage using graphene oxide

phy445

Read the paper

The paper does not discuss these results in terms of holographic mass storage as implied by the El Reg story. The paper discusses the use of the technology for security markers - this is really should not take too much to develop it. A microscopic security tag that requires a femto second laser source to record an image onto will be reasonably hard to forge making this attractive to manufacturers of bank notes etc.

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Microsoft: Surface is DEAD. Long live the Surface 2!

phy445

Ugly dock

I'm afraid that dock in the first picture is astonishingly ugly. It looks like someone on Hackaday ripped some bits out of an old printer to repurpose as a stand.

I think they have even managed to out-ugly Dyson!

If MS want large numbers of people to part with money for slabs and the peripherals then they need to up the style factor. At the moment the Tesco slab looks better.

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Oh noes! New 'CRISIS DISASTER' at Fukushima! Oh wait, it's nothing. Again

phy445
Alert

"Almost all of this was contained by a backup dam..."

Just been checking the statements from TEPCO. apparently about four cubic meters of the leaked water was contained by the dam. The remainder of the 300 tones of water is merrily diffusing its way through the soil.

Reading the announcements from TEPCO is eye opening. They seem to be reacting to events rather than getting on top of things. They didn't even think to monitor water levels in their storage tanks until this leak was spotted. Not measuring things makes for good plot twists in films like Jurassic Park, but the nuclear industry has no excuse. IIRC there was a leak at Sellafield/Windscale that was't found for a long time because they did't bother to monitor the levels correctly.

Nuclear power, much like communism, looks like a reasonable idea on paper, it just all falls apart when humans get into the equation.

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phy445

"They always have a back-up"

So just how did this disaster come about? Something to do with the back-up failing I seem to recall.

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Ten ancestors of the netbook

phy445
Alert

Z88 anyone?

Surely Uncle Clive's Z88 should be on this list?

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