* Posts by graeme leggett

2204 posts • joined 6 Oct 2007

Champagne corks undocked as SpaceX brings the Crew Dragon back to Earth

graeme leggett

Re: Well done, SpaceX ...

Because British intelligence were feeding duff gen to the Germans.

Had they received accurate feedback on the target, the Wehrmacht could probably have improved on accuracy.

That said Jerry aimed 40-odd V2s at my home city and did not hit any buildings.

graeme leggett

Re: Congratulations

"a sea-faring tradition that you don't rename ships"

I don't think the [insert name of navy] got that memo.

Radio gaga: Techies fear EU directive to stop RF device tinkering will do more harm than good

graeme leggett

Your changing the software might not be 'illegal' but it reads to me that the EU regulation could mean that the manufacturer should have made it diffficult (assuming nothing is impossible) for you to change the software.

Crowdfunded lawyer suing Uber told he can't swerve taxi app giant's £1m legal bill

graeme leggett

Re: " I suppose it's no different from black cabs refusing to go over the river in the evenings!"

"A taxi driver, unless required by the hirer to drive more than 12 miles, or more than 20 miles in respect of a journey which begins at Heathrow Airport, London, or for a longer time than one hour, is under a duty to accept a fare:"

"A taxi driver is under a duty to drive the hirer of his taxi to any place within the Metropolitan Police District or the City of London not exceeding 12 miles from the place where he was hired; or more than 20 miles in respect of a journey which begins at Heathrow Airport, London"

Says TFL

graeme leggett

Re: Who is ultimately responsible for collecting/paying the VAT

HMRC does not always collect all that is owed. And may need prompting to act.

It reached an agreement with Goldman Sachs in 2010 which avoided the latter paying interest on about 20 million quids worth of National Insurance Contributions they hadn't paid relating to offshore bonuses (I believe)

The HMRC had settled because Goldman Sachs had threatened to withdraw from a voluntary code of conduct. Judge said it “was not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue.” Those in HMRC who had made the agreement hadn't consulted legal experts nor noticed they had to have the deal reviewed internally.

Amazon Prime Air flight crashes in Texas after 6,000ft nosedive

graeme leggett

Re: Age?

This past week in my newsletter from Airfix I heard one of the last flying Gloster Meteors (a Nightfighter) has ceased flying.

Airframe age, of itself, means that it's had more opportunity for problems to develop but that does not mean you shouldn't step foot in the cabin of an airliner just because its been around a while.

[declaration of (in)competence - I may have watched too much Air Crash Investigation and be overrating my skills/opinion]

Solder and Lego required: The Register builds glorious Project Alias gizmo to deafen Alexa

graeme leggett

As an alternative

What about a device that just pushes the mute button on the top?

Say what?! An AI system can decode brain signals into speech

graeme leggett

If I've understood correctly, you can't open people up to do these sorts of direct measurement of brain impulses. So you find people who are having their skulls opened for surgery etc and then ask them if you can stick your multimeter probes into their grey matter before the brain surgeon gets going. Obviously routine surgery not emergency surgery (even though such nuerological prodding and poking is not rocket science)

I heard of this project on the Sceptics Guide to the Universe podcast earlier this week, but a more interesting aspect of brain mapping mentioned in the episode (described by Steve Novella, a neurologist) is the use of "lattice light-sheet microscopy" to map the neurons in a brain.


Microsoft's Master Chief calls time on Cortana as a standalone AI platform

graeme leggett

Looking for the MS Phone replacement.

"You might still be able to restore devices or upload photos until 10 December 2020, but the company isn't making any promises"

There's a couple of Black Fridays and another January sale betwixt now and then. Wonder how long I can eke mine out.

It's 2019, the year Blade Runner takes place: I can has flying cars?

graeme leggett

Re: The real hangup is an instinct for self-preservation.

"I never wanted a jet-pack, I want a drink that makes me slim without exercise."

and that tastes of bacon....

graeme leggett

Re: Electric sheep

Ta. Must be a programming glitch in my head made me confuse general rubbish and beige pet biscuits.

graeme leggett

Electric sheep

Deckard in the novel wants a real sheep. He makes do with an electric one as mankind has (for reasons not gone into in depth) most all real animals are gone. We haven't gotten there yet.

Another element I remember from the book is (IIRC) 'kibble' - the general,detritus of broken and unrepairarable materials of civilisation. We might be getting there with drawers stuffed with ancient USB sticks, propriety cables, instruction leaflets and warning labels. Stuff you'd like to throw on the tip but feel morally obligated to dispose of responsibly (you'll get round to it one day) or fear that you might need one day.

The Great British Curry: Put down the takeaway, you're cooking tonight

graeme leggett

Re: Cooking Basmati

After many years of intermittent cooking of rice I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that microwaveable bags of rice make a lot of sense. No pans, no clouds of steam, no starchy water down the sink, no anxiety over timing.

Rice is there to soak up liquids while giving you a portion of carbs. And if you're mixing it with a strong tasting sauce such as a curry then any subtlety of flavour is forsworn.

And if you're only cooking because your body is crying out for something because of the ravages upon it from alcohol, then 'is it edible?' is your yardstick.

A few reasons why cops haven't immediately shot down London Gatwick airport drone menace

graeme leggett

Re: How about a high power laser burst ?

"Urban myth" implies didn't happen at all.

The flip was used but not often. because it wasn't an simple manoeuvre and was resorted to when a pilot a ran out of ammo.

Eg a 3 Squadron pilot "It wasn't impossible to tip them up but quite difficult. I only did it once.... I found that every time I put my wing under its starboard wing, it just skidded away; I had upset the airflow. On the next try I slipped my wing under it and immediately flipped my stick over to the right, and that tipped its wing right over and it just catapulted into the ground."

The few Meteors available were only in use from late July (when seven aircraft were posted to Manston) to September (when the launch sites were overrun) against V1s. That and working out the kinks in the new fighter probably counted as much as low endurance against them getting a passable score.

Ecuador says 'yes' to Assange 'freedom' deal, but Julian says 'nyet'

graeme leggett

Re: Inside for 6 and a half years?

Some balls are held for charity

And some for fancy dress

But when they're held for....

[sorry, couldn't resist]

Microsoft: New icons, new drivers, AI! Everything is awesome!

graeme leggett

New icon design

"We also used gestalt principles to further emphasize key product changes"

I think I get what they mean, but I'm sure they could have used more understandable language to say something along the lines of - "we bore in mind that these programs are all related to each other and that the apps have changed over the years"

As opposed to readers thinking "Gestalt - isn't that what the Borg are...or was that thingy's lot in DS9"

YouTube fight gets dirty: Kids urged to pester parents over Article 13

graeme leggett

Re: Isn't it bad?

I don't think I was implying that. But I see a lot of of copyright material on youtube and the impression I get is that if youtube wanted to they could throw tech at the problem.

What woudl the knock on effect be if the averager user uploaded a video and it took 5 minutes or 50 minutes for the system to "validate" it?

graeme leggett

Re: Isn't it bad?

"that is impossible for Google to do, they simply can't afford to hire enough people to do that"

That's an interesting statement because I'm sure Google/Alphabet have implied before now that they are masters of AI and search. Do they need humans, or is it sufficient that show they have made a reasonable attempt to vet content.

Also, that a company is unable to exercise its legal requirements without going bust is not a pre-requisiste to letting a company off its legal obligations.

Here's the list of space orgs big and small sparring to send next NASA gear to the Moon

graeme leggett

Re: Bigelow?

But Robert Bigelow is going to be real disappointed when he doesn't find evidence of aliens on the moon.

On the other hand he can blame any system failures on sabotage by aliens already on Earth trying to stop him from discovering their far side base.

Montezuma's Revenge can finally be laid to rest as Uber AI researchers crack the classic game

graeme leggett


Perhaps I'm missing something but the method reads a lot like 'play the game a lot and remember which bits work'? Which is very human but not very inspired.

In my defence, it's first thing in the morning for me.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

graeme leggett

Not surprised

I login to my online energy supplier account.

Would you like a smart meter? It's free it says. Click here to arrange install.

OK, I think. I forget to do the read your own meter thing. And getting down on my knees to look in the back of the cupboard is no fun either. So I click. Screen tells me my install is already scheduled - for January last year. With no option to change.

At this point you know you're going to have to phone a call centre, and your heart sinks.

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

graeme leggett

I do have a copy. And in hardback it's a beautiful item. I haven't looked at it in a while but it must have partly influence my suggestion.

graeme leggett

Re: One problem with this

According to the Measuring Worth website, a 6d Mars bar in 1955 going by retail price index would be worth about 60p today. Coincidentally the current price of a 51g Mars bar from Tesco.

Using other measures of 'value' 6d in 1950s is worth up to £2.50 in terms of earnings or share of economy.ie it took more to earn that Mars bar in the 50s.

graeme leggett

Ada Lovelace gets a poor showing sometimes because although a romantic figure, there's not the evidence to point to and say 'she did that'. But as a symbol of women in technology and as a bridge between the literary and scientific sets could be a justification as an early communicator?. Her 'social' network included

Mary Sommerville


Charles Wheatstone - influential but a bit of a sod over claiming IP that wasn't necessarily his to claim?


De Morgan - her tutor

Brewster - optics

Faraday - nuff said

Perhaps a hypothetical soiree of the above could be considered.

graeme leggett

Re: A logical choice...

Not De Morgan?

graeme leggett

One problem with this

Putting a scientist on the £50 doesn't mean much recognition for the British scientist chosen.

Because the average Briton seldom sees a fifty.

Short of massive inflation reducing the British pound to a fraction of its current worth, the image when chosen will appear briefly in the news and then fade from memory. Finally becoming a question on a tv quiz show in a few years.

So, about that Google tax on Android makers in the EU – report pegs it at up to $40 per phone

graeme leggett


And Google would drop Microsoft in the hot water the moment they found some dirt on them.

UK space comes to an 'understanding' with Australia as Brexit looms

graeme leggett

Re: RE: Mooseman

There are quite a few French overseas departments. Is not one suitable?

Bombing raids during WWII sent out shockwaves powerful enough to alter the Earth's ionosphere

graeme leggett

Re: War Is Bad

I think you may be getting your anti-Me 262 and anti-night fighter operations confused with the melee between the Mustangs, Thunderbolts and Spitfires and the Me 109s and Fw190s over Europe.

In "Big Week" February 1944 the Luftwaffe lost 355 fighters and 100 fighter pilots. In March-April 1944 (according to Galland) the Luftwaffe lost 500 aircraft and 400 pilots. In the first half of 1944, Germany lost 2000 pilots while the US had far more pilots to replace their own losses.

graeme leggett

Re: War Is Bad

The campaign against oil facilities was fairly effective according to the post war bombing survey.

The American daylight bombing campaign crippled the Luftwaffe by forcing German day fighters to engage the bombers, the Allied fighter escorts then shooting them down. (The nighttime attacks are credited with drawing resources -eg 88mm guns, ammunition, and gun crews - away from the ground fronts.)

With the Luftwaffe in the West nowhere to be seen on D-Day and the North West Europe campaign it's not surprising the Allied tactical air forces were particularly effective.

graeme leggett

Re: 300 lightning strikes

Raids could be swift. The concentration of bombers in space and time is what allowed the RAF to overwhelm the Luftwaffe defences.

In operation Gomorrah, the July 1943 attack on Hamburg, "728 aircraft dropped their bombs in 50 minutes"

In the 1945 attack on Dresden the first 250 bombers dropped their payload (500 tons of HE and 370 tons incendiaries) in a space of 10 minutes.

In the second part of that raid, 3 hours later, 500 bombers took 25 minutes to unload 1800 tons of bombs.

graeme leggett

"The duo aren’t sure how radio communications were impacted during these raids"

Given that on later raids, the RAF were flying airborne jamming aircraft within the bomber stream, and using high powered transmitters in the UK for man-in-the-middle-attacks on German radio control of their nightfighters the researchers might find they have some confounding factors to deal with.

graeme leggett

Re: C'mon, we're all anoraks round here

If only the Second World War had provided us with iconic photos of bombers, or even iconic bombers.....

Amazon Alexa outage: Voice-activated devices are down in UK and beyond

graeme leggett

Re: "Are you affected by the outage? Leave us a comment and let us know."

Are you outraged by the affectation, then?

Looks like I picked a good day not to buy my partner one for her birthday. Though they do seem nifty devices....

I want to buy a coffee with an app – how hard can it be?

graeme leggett

Memories of Not The Nine O Clock News

and their spoof on the American Express advert.

the AE card enthusiastically received everywhere with extra customer service (Pamela Stephenson's "and would you like.." but this may be read by young people so I'll gloss over).

Punchline - trying to buy rail tickets only to be asked "haven't you got any money?"

'Men only' job ad posts land Facebook in boiling hot water with ACLU

graeme leggett

Re: The ALCU might be confused

The town of Kenner? the mayor did it off his own bat.

"His memo, dated September 5 reads that any purchases for use at city recreation facilities made by sports booster clubs for "apparel, shoes, athletic equipment and/or any athletic product" must be approved by the city first"

Since which the mayor has reversed his stance, and blamed the city attorney for giving him bad advice.

Euro bureaucrats tie up .eu in red tape to stop Brexit Brits snatching back their web domains

graeme leggett

Re: Small minded petty eurocracy

If looking for a 'Rome office' to carry on EU related business, I've heard that the Netherlands has much more exciting requirements for setting up a company.

Such that it's easier for an East Anglian to set up a company with the EU27 in Dublin rather than (45minute flight away) Amsterdam.

UK.gov finally adds Galileo and Copernicus to the Brexit divorce bill

graeme leggett

Re: #PeoplesVote for space race

And Star Cops?

UK getting ready to go it alone on Galileo

graeme leggett

Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

The US gave us money to develop the P.1127/Kestrel/Harrier under the guise of Mutual Weapons Development so, among other things, Bristol only had to cover 25% of the cost of engine development.

Plus the idea was part French.

Overall it's all so complex


ZX Spectrum reboot scandal biz gets £35k legal costs delayed

graeme leggett


So RCL can't get documents from 'their' solicitors and their solicitors are no longer representing them?

Sounds like someone else hasn't been paid for work done.

I think court fees on the other hand have to be paid upfront. Very wise.

Google keeps tracking you even when you specifically tell it not to: Maps, Search won't take no for an answer

graeme leggett

Not surprised

Google won't even pay attention when I click "no I don't want to install chrome" up the top right corner when I go to the google homepage. (And that's when I'm logged in to google).

So ignoring other tickboxes and sliders is hardly a shock.

ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator

graeme leggett

Re: @Steve K

And while in Smiths, pick up a magazine with a Cassette tape stuck to the cover?

Now that's a dodgy Giza: Eggheads claim Great Pyramid can focus electromagnetic waves

graeme leggett

Re: Correlation, causation, and all that

The pseudo science lot will be over this like a rash.

Particular Structure Rresonates (when tested) will not be seen as a specific case of Things Resonate but as a general case of OMG Aliens

India mulls ban on probes into anonymized data use – with GDPR-style privacy laws

graeme leggett

Re: India? Good for them... I hope.

The world has moved on, these days it's "BT" calling you to say there's "a problem with your router".

I haven't hung on the line long enough to find out what form a miscreancy they are up to. But I'll hazard a guess it's going to be some form of remote viewer and then mucking up your system. Perhaps someone can enlighten us.

Think tank calls for post-Brexit national ID cards: The kids have phones so what's the difference?

graeme leggett

Re: A principled stand?

Perhaps we could get him to lie down in front of a bulldozer.

I predict a riot: Amazon UK chief foresees 'civil unrest' for no-deal Brexit

graeme leggett

Re: eh?

You recall previous French intransigence and agricultural based strikes and blockades? British lamb in roadside BBQ, anyone?

In the past, you got the EU to admonish the French and issue fines. The French complain but comply eventually. Under WTO? "bouff" will be the response.

Fake prudes: Catholic uni AI bot taught to daub bikinis on naked chicks

graeme leggett

Re: Or turn a woman in a bikini into a beach ball

If I remember a flounder is a flatfish and doesn't do that much swimming.

Though once when diving a long long while ago, I found a very small flatfish and it did an impressive job of swimming upside down to stay against the protection of my glove.

graeme leggett

They just need to add urns not bikinis to the pictures then?

Won't take much would it, buy an urn digitise and insert; how much is a Grecian urn?

Wearable hybrids prove the bloated smartwatch is one of Silly Valley's biggest mistakes

graeme leggett

Re: Still need that "killer app" ?

My son wears a watch - ordinary for school, waterproof Timex for Scouts etc.

It doesn't help him look to his mobile because its a huge smartphone (Moto 5)

I don't wear a watch because I got out of the habit when working in laboratories and with strong magnets in mass spectrometry.

What I'd like to see in a smart watch is a basic information I get off the top line of my mobile - time, date and the alerts that come up. Not really a smartwatch but more a dumb repeater so I don't have to fish my phone from my pocket each time it goes ping.

Science fiction legend Harlan Ellison ends his short time on Earth

graeme leggett

Re: Diplomat?

"specialising in psyops" which he conveniently published in book form so other people could learn about them.

Perhaps 'diplomatic' refers to being a member of the Foreign Policy Association, or being confidant of Chiang Kai Sek

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