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# Posts by Randolf McKinley

44 posts • joined 17 Oct 2007

### Socket to the energy bill: 5-bed home with stupid number of power outlets leaves us asking... why?

#### Re: priorities

But , Shirley, computing is all about rules? Try making a single syntactic error in any programming language I'm aware of and the whole thing is spat out like a dummy. "Expected a semicolon before ..." Well, if you bloody expect a semicolon, just put one in there then!

#### Re: priorities

It is a bad thing: it's a "number" of electrical sockets, not an "amount".

### Amount of pixels needed to make VR less crap may set your PC on fire

#### Re: Number! It's the flipping number!!!

I know what you mean, Mike. I get upset about grammar, punctuation, and the Oxford comma.

I'll get my coat ...

#### Re: Amount

Ah, yes, but we're not talking the definitions of the words, we're talking grammar. Those two do not always intersect. In grammar you have a "number of things you can count" but an "amount or quantity of stuff you can't count". However a number can be both an amount or a quantity (34 pounds is a large amount of cash but a large number of pound coins). That's English, one of the least logical grammars in existence.

#### Number! It's the flipping number!!!

Pixels are countable, they come in "Number of pixels", not "Amount of pixels"! Water comes in amounts, so does sand, unless you're talking about atoms of water or grains of sand, then it's number again. I suppose you could have said "Amount of pixel needed ..."

Anal? Moi?

### EasyJet: We'll have electric airliners within the next decade

#### A rough approximation is that, ...

... for a given weight, batteries do not hold the same amount of energy as aviation kerosene.

How is this a rough approximation? It's an exact statement. Am I just being out-ironied?

### Feeling old? Well, we're older than that: Newly found Homo sapiens jaw dates back 350k years

#### More than one ...

Err, Homo sapiens is not a plural, and there is no such thing as a Homo sapien.

Awww. Bugger. :(

### Calm down, dear: Woman claims sexism in tech journalism

Lamb. MMMMmmmmmmmm. You might be able to beat some meat but you can't beat meat that once went "Baaaaaaa".

### El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

#### Skype?

They buggered up Skype a while back, too sparse, too much white space, now El Reg has followed suit. Good one. Not.

And why are the fonts so bloody big?

### Netflix FREEZES prices for existing UK users to stop them quitting vid-streaming service

Ah yes, I had the email today about my account price being fixed. Reminded me that I meant to cancel it a couple of months ago, so when and did it

### Does Apple's iOS 7 make you physically SICK? Try swallowing version 7.1

#### Re: Better than Android then?

Yes, but only in one sense. Apple doesn't let the carrier screw with the OS - err, I mean "customise" it. And (OK, two senses) updates are not dependant on the carrier releasing a customised version for their phone.

Personally I'm philosophically attracted to the Android ecosystem (and had one for a while) but I'm practically more attracted to the iOS walled garden. I got fed up with O2 being a version behind at least on my Galaxy compared with Samsung. Yes, I know I could have jailbroken it, but why should I need the hassle. I'm 53 you know ...

### 10,000 km road trip proves Galileo satnav works, says ESA

#### Re: Does this mean

Err, it's nothing to do with bouncing signals off the Sun. The satellites are solar powered, so of course they only work during the day. Duh!

### El Reg's contraptions confessional no.5: The Sinclair Sovereign

#### Ahh, the days of real calcluators

I still have and use most working days my HP41CV calculator I bought new when they first came out in 1981 or '82 in the last year or two of my engineering degree. Reverse Polish like all good calculators should be. I still have the magnetic card reader and the printer that went with it although I've not used them for a long long time, and a bunch of the plug-in ROM packs with pre-written programs for advanced maths and circuit analysis and stuff. Of course they don't get used any more because anything more complex than a bit of a sum gets done in a spreadsheet or a real program, but in those days it was the peak of engineering programming, and you still can't beat a good calculator for doing simple maths.

Sadly got a HP41 simulator for my jesusphone too. It's pretty good, but the phone display is a bit to small to do the original justice.

### It's a fiddle! Funnyman's Irish tax flashmob floods Apple flagship store

#### \$100Bn cash pile

What I don't understand (tax issues aside) is why the shareholders don't demand a goodly-sized cut of the \$100bn cash reserve as a dividend? Why does the company (looking at is purely as a business) need such a large reserve?

Looking at it another way it's 4 years' profit so perhaps it isn't as enormous in relation to that as the raw number seems, but is it usual for companies to retain that much cash? I don't know the R&D spend to bring out a new product, but it's surely a fraction of that?

### Android is a mess and needs sprucing up, admits chief

#### Yep, I agree

Yep, I agree entirely, and for that reason I'm doing another flip from Android to iOS with my next upgrade. I've found myself doing that for the last three upgrades - first Android, then iOS when I got fed up with that not quite working, then Android again when the Apple hegemony became too much for me, and now back to iOS again! At least the Apple stuff just seems to work properly on their hardware.

It's a bit like Linux and Windows - I used Linux exclusively on he desktop for years (at least 10) but I finally got fed up with stuff not quite working properly on my hardware (mostly high-end laptops), and have given up with that for now too. Like it or lump it, if you but a laptop with Windows installed it just works these days (mind you, that hasn't always been the case!). Still use Linux on a lot of stuff, from servers to embedded systems, but not the desktop.

### Sinclair ZX Spectrum FAILS latest radio noise rules SHOCK

I wonder if the Spectrum has caused any real interference problems either with contemporary or modern electronic equipment, despite the failure? If not, what does that say about the limits? Or modern electronics?

Abject fail icon to reflect the abject fail ...

### Warming up the thruster that will ram LOHAN to glorious heights

I use LiPos extensively for model aircraft electric motors. Even at a few degrees above zero their performance is very noticeably degraded, and they're useless below zero (although I'm taking one or more 10s of amps from them, so YMMY but I suspect not). These days I keep my LiPos in a "cool" box with a hot water bottle to keep them toasty.

### NASA counts down to nuclear tank invasion of Mars

#### Feet and pounds and meters ...

No wonder they screw things up! A 21 foot tether 20m from the surface? You'd have thought rocket scientists would at least keep to consistent measurement units, wouldn't you?

### Eight... Rugged Cameras

#### Viewfinders!

I need a viewfinder! My middle-aged varifocal-equipped eyes can't cope with screens, particularly outdoors in bright sunlight. Been trying for some time to get a new compact with a viewfinder, can't find one anywhere.

### UNSW researcher creates four-atom silicon wires

#### @Beau

Err, yeah, fail on my part!

#### @MondoMan

Naa, the resistance of the wire depends on the width. The resistivity is independent of the width. They're not the same thing.

### World may be short 70 MILLION disk drives

#### Flash? It's a no-brainer anyway ...

Spinning metal is on the way out permanently anyway, as inexorably as punch tape and the floppy drive did before it. The price and capacity and lifetime differences are shrinking all the time, and it's inevitable that flash will eventually dominate, and I'd not be surprised if that was within the next few years, 10 at the most.

FFS!!!

### Spillover from 400lb man squeezed fellow flier into galley

#### Reclining seats

We flew Cathay Pacific UK to Oz this year and their seats reclined in a slidey-forward manner so the seat back rear face didn't move at all (the bottom of the front of the seat back moved forward). Excellent idea, it meant that the seat in front didn't move backwards at the expense of a bit less leg-room when you recline your own seat.

### iPhone baby clothes shop mauled by Apple

#### Just stomping on bad taste ...

Gotta admire Apple for stomping on bad taste when it sees it!

### Netgear CEO sorry for 'when Steve Jobs goes away' bit

#### Re: Dear Pat,

It's the capacitors. The routers all run too hot, the caps just end up dying. The two I've had I've ended up replacing all the electrolytics after a couple of years when they started going flaky (Dropping ADSL connections and even dropping Etherent-side connections), and they were right as rain after that.

### National Identity Card holding chumps have buyer's remorse

#### Ha ha ha ha ha ...

Frankly I think that anyone stupid enough to sign up for a card voluntarily deserves to lose the money - think of it as a tax on the stupid for being stupid.

### Wikileaks DDoSser 'Jester' in phantom cop raid tomfoolery

#### OxBlood

So OxBlood reckons that anyone who spells their name in numbers ought to have their computer confiscated? Is that OxBlood of 0xB100D, or 725005?

### New Aus PM may dump comms minister

#### And good riddance ...

... what a bloody clueless knob.

### US Navy develops toss-proof robot crane

#### @Fr. Ted Crilly

Yeah, but it's not heave compensation. That just has to keep a load in one place in space, which is an entirely simpler problem to keeping a load in one place relative to a moving point (the other deck). Firstly you have to sense the deck and secondly you have to accelerate the load around to make it stay in the same place, particularly laterally, which isn't easy on the end of a cable. Also you probably need to adjust the plane of the bottom of the container to match the receiving deck, which is probably what the gubbins on the crane head and the extra lateral cables are for.

So, simple heave comp it ain't.

### ID cards poster girl laments her £30

#### Something Labour did right ...

ID Cards - a tax on the stupid.

### Atlantis spacewalkers snapped through shuttle windows

#### Kitchen timers

They're not pocket calculators, they're off-the-shelf kitchen timers. Also there's a dispenser of Post-It page markers on the LH windowsill, one stuck just above the joystick. I do like the aftermarket velcro fittings though - Pimp My Shuttle.

### Windows 7 - the Reg reader verdict

#### Virtual Desktops

I've been using goScreen (www.goscreen.info) for ages now with Vista having been used to virtual desktops on Linux for years. It works pretty much as well as the Gnome version (for all the things I do with it, YMMV) and can be configured to use keystrokes to switch screens too like Gnome. The only thing it doesn't do that I used on Linux is alter windows' system menus to add "Put this window on Woxkspace X", but there are keyboard based workarounds for that.

### Bureaucrat behind bars for creating 1,400 fake kids

#### A National ID Card ...

... would have prevented this. Because there's no way anyone in the National ID Card Registration Office would do anything similar and abuse their position of power to create false National ID Cards, is there. Absolutely not, it's unthinkable.

### Boffins showcase do-it-yourself flying spy drone

#### Complete rubbish

The technology is all used in electric model helicopters, but has one important drawback - it can't autorotate. Lose one motor, the whole thing crashes and burns. The "Powerful 3-phase motors and 3-phase speed controllers" are in everyday use in model aircraft and helicopters. I have, umm, 9 model aircraft using them sitting right now in my garage. A motor the size of the ones in the "UAV" costs about £40, the speed controller a similar amount and the LiPo battery (they had one per motor) about £50, all bought from my local hobby shop. I even have a video camera I can attach to any of my models, and in our club there is at least one remote telemetry video camera.

The only different thing is the control board that coordinates the motor thrust to give speed and directional control. Big deal. You can but something that'll do that as a toy (with 4 upward-facing props) for less than £100 on the high street. It ain't rocket science.

It's not even a UAV in the commonly accepted meaning of the term, it's remotely controlled. Most UAVs have some autonomous flight capability - if you take your fingers off the transmitter this one will crash and burn. All it is is an RC aircraft that is in fact inferior to an electric helicopter (because it can't auto rotate).

For goodness sake, it's complete rubbish - these days there are even plenty of model aircraft hobbyists who have mounted cameras on gimbals on their aircraft, wear goggles with head-tracking software that controls the gimbals, and they fly their models out of direct sight using the cockpit view (Of questionable legality in the UK, mind).

€5000? Rubbish. £1000 absolute max.

Bloody students just wanted their university to pay for their model plane.

Oooh, look, I've had a rant!

### French yoof offered Halo-esque electric buggy

#### How's my Driving?

Text "arrêt" to 0773243...

### ISS astronauts lose 'alarming' amounts of hipbone strength

#### @The solution

"... really no excuse why they haven't built a centrifuge into the ISS"

Well, except for the complexity, the space requirements, the expense, the fuel requirements to overcome the effects of friction in the bearings and counter-torque while accelerating it to and from speed, the somewhat more pressing needs of carrying out the station's primary mission, the cost of lifting it and installing it on the ISS, etc ...

### Swiss boffins sniff passwords from (wired) keyboards 65 feet away

#### @yeah right

Or it could be down to increased sophistication and sensitivity in detecting any leakage and more importantly in pulling useful signal from the noise with better and more powerful signal processing.

### Swedish spy agency sics lawyers on wiretap critic

#### re: AC and "It's your taxes and mine."

In the 63 years since WW2 ended, despite them being in the country since before I was born, I can still run round the streets, (and I do, a lot,) , surf the net for filth, (and I do, a lot,) , criticise the government, (and I do, a lot,) Vista, and practically everyone else, and not once have I been sat on by an elephant or eaten by a tiger.

It is therefore with some regret that I have to conclude that all these elephant and tiger trainer type people are pretty successful on the whole at protecting my wife and kids.

Thank goodness, eh?

Paris, because she's just as stupid.

### Kiwi airliners converted into giant iPod docks

#### New device detected: Aurbus A380

Reminds me of this:

http://www.heise.de/ct/schlagseite/03/01/gross.jpg

The text on the screen reads something like "New device detected: Airbus A380. Begin auto configuration?"

### Dutch fire up petrol-pumping robot

#### 75000 Euros?

You could pay a human pump attendant for about 3 years with that. What's more, a pump attendant could deal with at least 3 or 4 pumps at once. SO with the money you save you could pay for the attendant for about 12 years. How long is the ShitStop thing going to last?

### Stripogram copper walks on offensive weapon rap

#### Coppers weren't that bent

At least one of the coppers was a woman.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/north_east/7113574.stm

"Pc [Fiona] Duncan added: "We went into the bar to make sure we could keep an eye on him."

"Later that night, Pc Duncan took Mr Kennedy to Grampian Police headquarters for questioning.

It doesn't say what sex here colleague was, or how closely she kept an eye on him. I wonder if it was on his truncheon?

### Pennsylvania woman in legal doo-doo for lav profanities

#### @A.J. Stiles

So what you're saying is that US toilets are shit flushers because they have a shit flushing function, and UK toilets are not shit flushers because they have a proper shit flushing function?

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