* Posts by Max Sang

20 posts • joined 11 Dec 2007

Why hacking and platforms are the future of NHS IT

Max Sang

Re: Do it in house

So the onus is on the clinicians and managers to understand the importance of maintenance, understand the importance of open standards and loose coupling, understand the ecosystem of OSes and platforms? And if they screw it up it's their fault? In a nutshell, there's everything that's wrong with the consultancy business. Caveat emptor, we just build what we're asked to build, not our fault guv.

His point is that without in-house expertise, they're sitting ducks for Crapita et al. And you just illustrated it brilliantly.

Thai floods derail Hadron-colliding antimatter boffinry

Max Sang

Filtered *and* compressed

They only record 'interesting' events, and they store the events gzipped, IIRC. I may be wrong because I left the field a few years ago but I think the issue is getting enough storage at all the replication sites to allow efficient analysis by all the physicists on the collaboration, not that they can't afford the storage for a single copy of the events. That would be nuts, clearly.

41-megapixel MONSTER mobe shutters Nokia knockers

Max Sang

The pictures look OK

The only thing that matters (unless you're in marketing) is what the pictures actually look like. And they look like roughly 5MP images taken on a decent modern compact with an adequate wide angle lens. The dynamic range is just about acceptable, though they have deliberately chosen photos taken in the golden hour to avoid any pesky highlights showing up any deficiencies. Lovely to have a passable camera in your phone but not exactly earth-shattering.

Early Bell recordings live again (kind of)

Max Sang

Will the tech ever leave the lab?

There are lots of old one-off recordings that could be brought back from the dead if this were made more widely available. The story I like is of the friend of Debussy's who had some cylinders of the composer talking, singing and playing the piano. After his death his friend played them occasionally to reminisce, until they "wore out". I'll bet they'd be at least partially recoverable.

God particle may be within our grasp

Max Sang

Splendid news

Two bumps at the same mass from the two experiments is much more exciting than anything from one alone. A combined significance of 4 sigma or above is where particle physicists start to get properly excited, and the rumours are it may get somewhere close.

And no, if it's there at about 125GeV then it's completely compatible with lots of supersymmetric theories, which may or may not start to show up when they analyse more data. Not to mention actually measuring the properties of the Higgs, and looking for it in other decay channels.

Neutrinos still FASTER THAN LIGHT in second test

Max Sang

OK, in answer to those questions...

1) they can't send light alongside the neutrino beam because it'd mean digging a very long tunnel, which costs £££. The neutrinos go through the rock quite happily but light wouldn't play ball.

2) they can't send a beam back the opposite direction because generating a neutrino beam requires a huge accelerator a) which costs £££ and b) isn't very practical a mile underground

3) even if they had an accelerator in Gran Sasso and OPERA II in Geneva and decided to play neutrino tennis, it takes too long to prepare and fire an intense beam of protons to produce the neutrino beam. They couldn't do it so many times per second with current tech.

Fusion boffins crack shreddy eddy plasma puzzle

Max Sang

Calder Hall

Britain's nuclear power stations' primary function was to produce the fissile materials for our nuclear weapons. The 'too cheap to meter' propaganda was exactly that - propaganda. Unfortunately nuclear power has been badly tainted by this secret agenda; if our reactors had been designed exclusively for the safe generation of power from the start, we might be in a bit less of a mess now. Less anti-nuke hysteria and more advanced tech would go a long way to mitigating our energy/CO2 pickle.

Euro banks unhappy with proposed e-payment rules

Max Sang

Name and proclaim

Which bank? Not possible at RBS

Max Sang

Can't happen quickly enough

Every time in the last 20 years I've tried to send money abroad it's been the same story. Trek down to a branch during "working" hours, stand in a queue, show ID, pay through the nose, and prepare for staff who look at you like you're asking them to send their own pet hamster to the moon by catapult. Woe betide you if you don't have the correct IBAN or SWIFT. Not that they bother to tell you your own IBAN on your statements or the web so you can hand it out to your fellow europeans on request.

Oh, and it still takes the same time (a week or so) and costs the same (30 quid or so) that it did in 1995. Is it any wonder we're selling our souls to PayPal?

Corning launches can-stand-the-heat Lotus glass for phones

Max Sang

Dimensionless, old chap

It's a percentage change in each linear dimension. It gets 0.00000339% bigger with every degree of warming.

Pampernaut love-rat space shuttle pilot prangs plane

Max Sang

Messenger shot

In my defence I was a) talking about a deep stall and b) pointing out an oft-repeated confusion between aerodynamic stalling and 'stalling' when the writer means engine failure. Everyone ignored (b) and my correction and tore me a new one regarding (a). Fair enough, this is a Register comments thread.

Stalls can and do cause fatal crashes all the time - that's why pilots are trained to recognise onset and correct before it becomes a full/deep stall. Some pilots are well capable of recovery from all kinds of unusual attitudes, spins etc. but many are not and end up in a smoking crater. That's why suggesting his unscheduled landing was due to a stall is pretty misleading. Recovery = keep on flying and change your trousers, non-recovery = splat. As many of you know.

OK I'll shut up now before I'm tracked down and murdered for further inaccuracies.

Max Sang

Stall? Or engine failure?

Stalling is a Bad Thing involving the complete loss of lift and control, and said aircraft tumbling out of the sky like a clothes horse. No amount of stick waggling will cure it and it's fatal. I think you mean the engine may have failed, turning the aircraft into a glider.

Spotify tethers future to Facebook

Max Sang

Give last.fm a whirl

You can't pick the exact tracks but it learns quickly what kind of things you like and its recommendation engine is excellent. I've discovered dozens of new bands (and bought a fair few of their CDs, I might add) because of last.fm. Good for gig recommendations etc too. No, I don't work for them.

Apple tightens screws on hardware hackers

Max Sang

Look more carefully..

Massive geekery follows. Those are five-pointed stars, with a hole - known as secure Torx. These have no hole, and the lobes are oval shaped, not triangular, meaning a torx driver could easily strip them. They're not easy to track down because the patent holder doesn't want them to be widely available.

Battleship of an Android phone sets Sprint sales record

Max Sang

Largest android phone?

I've just bought a Dell Streak which has a lovely 5" screen, and that's most definitely a phone, despite Dell calling it a tablet. And it runs Android (1.6 with a promised upgrade in a few weeks). IMHO the interface is not as intuitive as my old iPhone but in all other respects it trounces it. Not to mention being able to manage my music etc without the dreaded iTunes.

A 5" screen is 35% larger than a 4.3", btw. It's pretty significant when you're trying to browse the web.

iPads in spa-a-a-a-ce!

Max Sang

Back to school

Such total scientific illiteracy going on here I think we need a new word - scitard?

Boffins turn Bunsen burners on Frank Skinner

Max Sang
Dead Vulture

Amend your RSS feed please...

..as I can't tell before I click on a Reg story in my RSS reader if it's been written by Orlowski or Page. Since I am now going to delete their bullshit unread, perhaps you could save me from having to download it in the first place. Ta.

LHC boffins crank beams to 3.5 TeV redline

Max Sang

Special relativity fail

The energy in the beams, measured in GeV, really is the energy, not the velocity. Half the energy is half the energy. If the beam is at 3.5TeV rather than 7 it's still going near-as-dammit at the speed of light. Oh, and it's also proportional to the luminosity (brightness) of the beams - how many protons are in all the bunches. Which at this early stage is a tiny fraction of the maximum. The energy of a trundling Reliant Robin, perhaps.

Wii can conduct an orchestra too

Max Sang

Jig-like? You're having a laugh

Would it really be asking too much that an article about music is written by someone who has a vague clue about music? 'Jig-like' is not a synonym for 'fast'. It's a kind of dance, with a fixed time signature and fixed (ish) structure. And being slow is a common feature of 'Funereal' music but playing 'Who Let The Dogs Out' slowly doesn't make it suitable for your granny's send-off. Probably.


Mine's the black tuxedo.

Boffins slashed in big-science budget blunder bloodbath

Max Sang

This is what's being cut...

Hot off the press, here's what's being slashed/buggered...


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