* Posts by James Pels

18 posts • joined 1 Oct 2007

Can you handle LOHAN's substantial globes?

James Pels

hang it out the side...

Something like this...


Obligatory use of sticking material, obviously (and it might even work!)

If spinning is an issue, a few lightwight hoops holding the three suspension ropes (red and green) wouls stop them twisting.

the line supporting the launch rail will always ensure Vulture 2 points a little outside the envelope, no matter how much it inflates.


Curiosity kills 3D Cameron cams

James Pels

Mars breeze sounds?

Somthing like "whoosh, howl, moan, cough, er, hello earthlings - stop it with the damn RC cars already! howl, whoosh", I suspect.

Xbox modder prosecution dropped like white-hot potato

James Pels

So why does it matter if you change somebody else's kit if they ask?

Following on from the apparently agreed "do what you want to your own kit" argument, why shouldn't Chav 1 ask Chav 2 to mod their kit for them? Again, the rule will come down to what Chav 1 does with the kit once Chav 2 has modded it...

Chav 2 should be at liberty to make any changes to Chav 1's kit that Chav 1 requests (and that do not adversely impact other people). In this way, Chav 1 can have changes made that s/he cannot do him/her self and Chav 2 has a viable business model that keeps him/her off the streets nicking things. If we can finally get back to the idea that (most) people are responsible for their own actions, it is no concern of Chav 2 what Chav 1 intends to do with the kit once it's been modded (though Chav 2 may refuse to do the work or report Chav 1 to the cops if his / her intentions are clearly nefarious...). This is no different from me asking the nice chaps at the local garage to make my car go again when it stops - I COULD use the newly mended car to ram-raid the off-license round the corner but this really is not their concern.

James Pels

re Doug Glass

Doug, I think you missed the point here a bit. Sure, you shouldn't be able to explode a bomb in public but there should be nothing at all stopping you making fireworks (or anything else) into a bomb in the first place. I made great use of my Anarchists' Cookbook when I was younger and have nothing against this sort of thing - it enourages people to think creatively, solve problems and has to be a better use of time than getting fat playing computer games and watching telly all day long. Very educational for those with a bit of wit and those without should either accept their limits or feature in next year's Darwin awards...

The basic premise the original poster made is spot on - if you own something, you should be able to do whatever you want with it. The missing bit is what you allude to - SO LONG AS YOU DON'T HARM OR DISTRESS ANYONE ELSE IN THE PROCESS (yes, this isncludes the emergency services and anyone who may have to pay to clean up after you.). Thankfully, as a few other people point out, British law seems to work along these lines but there is a worrying big brother trend at the moment... On the matter of pritating media, this rule still applies, though it also applies to the existing media oligopoly so I am a bit divided here.

Grenade icon cos of the bomb reference and there isn't a high horse / ivory tower / soap box.

Amazon Kindle flunked by college students

James Pels


Now J3, this is an IT rag where people should know better than than to come up with a list of requirements before building / judging the thing...

Like you, I have no experience of e-book readers (I have an extensive library of technical books and literature though, so if there is a decent one out there that really meets requirements I would be interested) but have spent the 15 minutes it took to read these comments coming up with an essentially identical list of "things it should do" to you. You might want to add a graphical "edge on" view of the book with chapters clearly demarcated; possibly make this touch sensitive so that as you slide your finger across, the name of each chapter and an appropriate mini-index is displayed - maybe double-tap anywhere on the image to open the book at that page? Then you really could flip through the whole book in a couple of seconds.

UI design really is not difficult (though most people don't get it at all) - you just need to think about what would make it useful and do that rather than thinking "what can I code" and hoping the users will like it.

Will Google regret the mega data center?

James Pels

Commercial use for BOINC?

Not really my area but could cloud thingumies be run from BOINC clients (a al SETI, etc.) or similar?

There would probably be some limitations here but the servers we host at work spend a lot of time not doing very much and if there was money to be made hosting cloud apps I am sure we could be talked into it...

Presumably BOINC (or even some of the peer-to-peer apps) could be used to monitor who is doing what and manage billing accordingly?

Microsoft's Silverlight for mobile to muscle iPhone

James Pels

@Doug Bostrom

Doug, this is a stndard part of a practice commonly known as "technological advance": one company with a lower market share invents something useful; another company with a larger market share and more money takes those ideas and makes them available to the larger market.

Think about this from a business perspective rather than the insular "Apple Good; MS Bad" approach that seems to prevail here at times... if you were losing market share to another more innovative company because they have some really neat ideas, wouldn't you try to copy them?

Admittedly it would be nice if Redmond would come up with something of their own but, in every sector of industry, big players will always get a lot of their good ideas from small innovators. If you don't agree, take a look at how many tech startups' business model consists entirely of "have good idea - prove concept - sell / license to someone who can commercialise it".

As an HTC / WM user (IMHO, still better for business users than iPhone, despite its shortcomings), I am glad MS is adding these features into Silverlight and I doubt I am alone.

Superfast-charging batteries? Whoa there, MIT

James Pels

Why melt your house?

OK, so it could (maybe) charge in 9s if you were willing to melt your ring main, but...

For ease of argument, let us say the battery has a 1Ah capacity. If it was to carge fully in 9s, it would need to take a charge at (60x60) / 9 = 400A. Most UK sockets are rated at 13A so this is clearly not going to happen in a normal domestic environment (and the internal losses would most likely be enormous if a suitable supply was found). However, charging at 13A would still only take approx 30 times longer = 270s = 4 to 5 minutes. I would happily pay a small premium for a phone that could realistically take a full charge in that time. Adding some reality though, expect it to take about two to three times that long to account for losses in the transformer - my HP laptop charger reckons it takes 1.5A @ 100-240V (~150 - 350W) and delivers 90W - oops.

Here's desperately hoping these sums are right. If not, mine's the one with the broken logic and dodgy calculator in the pocket - you'll find it in the porch of that house that just caught fire...

New Jersey sysadmin gets 5 years for Cisco scam

James Pels

Too damn dumb to be a BOFH

Greed is one thing; greed sombined with stupidy will get you nowhere - this fool got what he deserved.

A decent BOFH would have locked any witnesses in the disk safe long since.

UFO damages Lincolnshire wind turbine

James Pels

Sorry to be boring but...

... does nobody remember the KISS principle?

!is it really inconceivable that one of the blades let go (metal fatigue, dodgy joint, etc.) and the next one clobbered it on the way round?

Drink-drive chain gang obliged to bury dead alcoholics

James Pels
Thumb Up

Bloody great idea...

... just get it in place over here before the bloody civil rights muppets find some reason to stop it...

w00t voted 'Word of the Year'

James Pels


... does "pwn" mean?

(I have my coat on and am heading to the taxi rank as I type...)

James Pels

Verbification, cntd...

While it pains me to see made up words (w00t, etc.) being added to a dictionary (even ones that don't count, like American ones!), 'verbification' has been going on for a long time, and not just in IT.

Take 'Hoover', 'Xerox' and 'Velcro', for example - these are all brand names (I am probably in breach of something-or-other for not including the odd TM or (R) in there) that have become popular as verbs.

I just 'Googled' for similar things and there appear to be several sites dedicated to the concept. For starters, try this list... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_generic_and_genericized_trademarks.

IT pro admits stealing 8.4M consumer records

James Pels

remining proceeds...

I think the remaining proceeds are independent of the fine, i.e. whatever is left of the money has to be repaid and the govt. gets an additional $500k (who gets first dibs on his cash if he doesn't have enough to pay the fine is anyone's guess, but I would have thought the fine would reflect his financial situation?)

'course, I could be wrong and the gov't are really just a bunch of filthy cheating scumbags...

Likely Lib-Dem leader in 'no to ID card data' pledge

James Pels

Stop fretting...

... it's a government-run IT project. Anyone with experience of NPfIT or any other major online intiative HMG have tried in the last decade will know it is doomed to failure.

Chances are, it will cost the taxpayer another abscene number of £Ms and then identify me as a 90 year old grandmother from Milton Keynes who happened to die last year (no offence intended to anyone who was, or had, a 90 yr old grannie in MK who died last year...).

It's a huge waste of money, it's a massive invasion of privacy but it'll never bloody work.

My 2p ;)

Carmack's X-Prize rocket explodes on pad

James Pels


... crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside ...

Science and religion collide for galactic conference

James Pels

what a load of christianity


Whatever method of dating you use carbon or RD they are ONLY THEORIES PRESENTED AS FACTS, which inherently make them unprovable. Unless you have the KNOWN facts of the environment at THAT time it is impossible to STATE 100% this thing is 100 million years old.


OK, maybe not exactly 100 million years old... more like "between 90 and 110 million years old" - nobody claims infallibility. Also, the age of many discoveries is being revised continuously as methods of calculating them changes.

Incidentally, one thing we can say with absolute certainty is that the universe is far, far older than 100 million years old. We know the speed of light accurately (certainly in our local universe) and two simple, provable techniques (trigonometry using the diameter of Earth's orbit as a baseline and redshift of the light reaching Earth) give very accurate locations of at least the closer stars and galaxies. Combining these gives an irrefutable minimum age of our universe of at least a couple of billion years (I haven't gone back any further than this in case key properties of the universe such as the speed of light change outside our local region).


If dino's didn't exist with man why are there so many cave paintings which depict dino's with men?


These paintings being where, exactly??!

Microsoft punts web-based apps to the masses

James Pels

@Neil Barnes

Wonderful feature in Word... Alt+A, then select a style (unless, of course, Word decides it doesn't want to work properly...)

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