* Posts by Chris Holford

59 posts • joined 8 Jul 2008

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BOFH: Is everybody ready for the meeting? Grab a crayon – let's get technical

Chris Holford
Boffin

-a bowline?

Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

Chris Holford

-so buy a Bramah lock...(invented 1784)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bramah_lock

Still available.

Brit drone biz Sensat notches up 29km remote-control flight

Chris Holford

only 29km?

A model aircraft flew across the Atlantic several years ago!

2001: A Space Odyssey has haunted pop culture with anxiety about rogue AIs for half a century

Chris Holford

Re: "Some pre WWII WS used three linked cameras and projectors.."

Early 'Cinerama' used this in the 1960s; eg 'How the West Was Won'

'The capacitors exploded, showering the lab in flaming confetti'

Chris Holford
Mushroom

Re: Improbable

13A, but that's just the fuse rating. In the brief interval before the fuse blows (and, possibly, other protective devices in the house wiring trip), the current can exceed that value by a large margin.

10 years of the Kindle and the curious incident of a dog in the day-time

Chris Holford

Re: Not just pictures; NO FOOTNOTES FOR YOU! ?

Funnily enough I'm just reading

A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain (English Library)

Kindle Edition

Sold by Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.

and it does have footnotes. If you touch the footnote number a box pops up with the start of the footnote; touch 'go to footnotes' and it takes you to the full footnote, after reading the footnote touch the footnote number and it takes you back to the text.

First time I've come across this feature. It's very welcome and works well in this book.

BTW dodgy OCR is not limited to ebooks; I've often come across it in print books as well. -especially in new editions of old books.

Tesla launches electric truck it guarantees won't break for a million miles

Chris Holford
Facepalm

first-electric-road?

-it's a trolly lorry! (Trolly buses operating like this were common until the 60s in large towns.

Si vous comprenez ces mots, vous êtes français ou l'intelligence artificielle de Facebook

Chris Holford
Happy

Re:Fair point

-> blonde apex

Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped

Chris Holford
Boffin

Re: "You can even physically see how the music is happening."

http://presrec.com/terms/b/buchmann.html

Polls? How very 2016. Now Google Street View AI scanner can predict how people will vote

Chris Holford
Facepalm

simpler way?

Wouldn't it have been simpler to use number plate (license plate) recognition and look up make, model and age from licencing records?

Today is the 211th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar

Chris Holford

"No, you need to read the signal in the original French - A l'eau, c'est l'heure."

0r.... "'Allo sailor"

Australia's IBM-assisted Census fail burned AU$30 MEEELLION

Chris Holford

Hollerith must be turning in his grave!

see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punched_card#History

Bloody Dell! Is EMC going to drop its logo? Answers on a postcard to Brentford

Chris Holford
Pint

You mean the Martini Clock!

https://www.architecture.com/image-library/ribapix/image-information/poster/martini-warehouse-formerly-henlys-car-showroom-and-service-station-great-west-road-brentford-london/posterid/RIBA24207.html

If we can't find a working SCSI cable, the company will close tomorrow

Chris Holford
Headmaster

Re: Pournelle's law, well one of them anyway...

-capacitor stores energy proportional to square of PD across terminals

-inductor stores energy proportional to square of current flowing

Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

Chris Holford
Boffin

dorky looking weirdos

As coffin dodger, I remember Lisle Street in Soho; groups of geezers in shabby raincoats with their noses pressed against the shop windows; ignoring the porn and the walk-up brothels but looking at the ex-goverment stuff in the electonics shops.

Toyota not shybot about whybot it will trybot the iBot

Chris Holford

Agreed, -but the balancing on two wheels needs continuous servo operation and thus battery drain, plus the posibility of failure. Wouldn't a scissors jack mechanism achieve the same resultwith less power drain and less likelyhood of failure?

Chris Holford
Facepalm

Agreed, -but the balancing on two wheels needs continuous servo operation and thus battery drain, plus the posibility of failure. Wouldn't a scissors jack mechanism achieve the same resultwith less power drain and less likelyhood of failure?

Chilling evidence emerges of Kilocat weapon

Chris Holford
Happy

-stranger than fiction?

see <http://www.josieholford.com/those-apocryphal-flying-cats-of-borneo/>

AWS outage knocks Amazon, Netflix, Tinder and IMDb in MEGA data collapse

Chris Holford

Re: Aha

That's why the cinema is the best place to watch good movies.

Lottery IT security boss guilty of hacking lotto computer to win $14.3m

Chris Holford
Facepalm

Re: Lottery for idiots

Ah! -that's why 'Mystic Meg' used to be at the draw.

KFC takes legal axe to eight-legged mutant chicken claims

Chris Holford
Alien

Chickin Lickin

Must re-read "The Space Merchants" by Frederick Pohl and C .M. Kornbluth (1953). It's a great satire on consumer society and includes a giant blob of tissue cultured chicken.

Co-op Bank's creaky IT should be flogged off, growls UK.gov

Chris Holford
Facepalm

Re: Feed the Vultures

In the past the Coop Bank was a prudent lender; AFAIK they weren't involved in a big way in the banking crisis. (Many years ago I asked for a loan to buy a car; despite being a customer since 1961 and in regular employment, they declined. Northern Rock made me the loan just like that!

Microsoft celebrates 25 years' SOLITARY SELF-PLEASURE with GROUP SESSION

Chris Holford
Boffin

Too late now.....

-but isn't it really a version of 'patience'? Solitaire is a game played with marbles on dimpled board.

Bridge, ship 'n' tunnel – the Brunels' hidden Thames trip

Chris Holford
Thumb Up

Cuppa included

I've visited The British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum a couple of times and been given a cuppa; I believe some visitors had meals as well. An excellent Geek's museum.

http://www.bvwtm.org.uk/

Welcome, stranger: Inside Microsoft's command line shell

Chris Holford
Unhappy

config.sys/autoexec.bat fail!

I remember spending Christmas morning struggling with config.sys and autoexec.bat to get 'Magic Carpet' to work on our 386 computer. It had been a present for 10 yr old son; after about 3hrs I just got it to work, by which time son was totally disillusioned.

Building a better society from the Czechs' version of Meccano

Chris Holford
Boffin

IT content!

ISTR seeing a tide-predicting analogue computer made from Meccano.

A Bombe Called Christopher, or A Very Poor Imitation

Chris Holford

Re: Not history

I thought the film 'Enigma', which had a fictional plot, gave a more plausible impression of Bletchly Park

Beam me up, Scotty, And VAPORIZE me in the process

Chris Holford
Facepalm

Hmmm

If I understood the process correctly, what the receiver makes is a mirror image of the original. The top of the original is scanned and then destroyed by milling off one layer. This information is sent to the receiver which deposits the bottom layer of the recreated object. So what you get is a version of the original as seen reflected in a horizontal mirror.

Apple to PROTECT YOU from dreaded TROUSER EXPLOSIONS

Chris Holford
Boffin

Bigger bums??

Surely for equal weight, a bigger bum would give LESS pressure? (pressure = weight/area )

Want a more fuel efficient car? Then redesign it – here's how

Chris Holford
Boffin

Re: Fuse wire

Alumin(i)um has a slightly higher temperature coefficient of resistance than copper!

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/tables/rstiv.html

(most pure metals have a value of roughly 0.004/degreeCelsius)

SHINY NEW GADGETS! No, we're not joking, here's a load of them

Chris Holford
Boffin

Re: Just wondering

For classic 'Blunlein' stereophony the two microphones are as near to coincident as practical; gives a very natural impression of the sound field.

Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE

Chris Holford
Facepalm

Re: Flash

'feckless ****heads' -do you remember the scene in Cornwall when there was an eclipse of the sun a few years ago? Hundreds of 'feckless ****heads' were taking photo's WITH FLASH during totality!

Measure for measure: We visit the most applied-physicist-rich building in the UK

Chris Holford
Boffin

It's the Schneider Race seaplane; It's upside down so that 'lift' forces act downwards and can be measured as an INCREASE in the load on the supports it is hanging from.

Can you tell a man's intelligence simply by looking at him? Yes

Chris Holford
Boffin

Well, it is April 1st, ... but...

-the paper referred to looks real enough.

BUT, the small sample of subjects was drawn from university students who might be expected to have fairly high IQs. I wonder what the results would be if a larger sample more representative of the general population had been used

Battery vendors push ultracapacitor wrappers to give Li-ions more bite

Chris Holford
Thumb Up

a batacitor!

-all we need now are grailstones to charge them and we can power a Fabulous Riverboat

Furtive ebook readers push Hitler's Mein Kampf up the charts

Chris Holford

Re: The bigger Question is :

During WWII an English translation was on sale in the UK with all profits going to the Red Cross.

IBM turns plastic bottles into life-saving 'ninja' MRSA, fungus fighters

Chris Holford
WTF?

Biodegradable?

So, if nano-ninjas kill bacteria and fungi, the what bio agent degrades them when they've done their work?

Britain’s forgotten first home computer pioneer: John Miller-Kirkpatrick

Chris Holford
Paris Hilton

ETI

Despite a degree in physics I found transistor circuit theory impenetrable; all those h parameters etc.. Then I read an article in ETI which explained that the voltage gain of a common-collector amplifier stage was (40 x the dc voltage across the collector load resistor) as near as dammit. This was typical of their articles; the approach was to give a simple account or theory with the emphasis on actually getting on and building a circuit.

(BTW, wasn't one of their contributors obsessed with Felicity Kendal and mentioned her in almost every article?}

Happy 50th birthday, Compact Cassette: How it struck a chord for millions

Chris Holford

Other cassette systems.

Garrard in the UK -famous for turntables- developed a cassette system in the 60s. It was available for home constructors but few, if any, adopted it. IIRC It was based on conventional 5" reels held in an outer case and ran at 3 1/2 inches/second like the RCA system. At a college I worked at in the early 70s they used a system based on these machines to make recordings off air of educational programmes. Commercially it was too soon eclipsed bt the Philips Compact Cassette.

The Royal National Institute for the Blind also used their own-brand cassettes. These used four mono tracks on 1/4 inch tape running at 1 7/8 inches per second. They were used by the very extensive 'Talking Books for the Blind' library for many years.

Giant human-powered quadricopter wins $250,000 Sikorsky Prize

Chris Holford
Boffin

Power train?

I wonder if the power is transmitted by winding in a single kevlar thread from each of the large pulleys (the conical structures under the rotor hubs). These could be pre-wound with just enough thread to last the required minute of flight. The four threads could be wound onto the drums which are to be seen near the pedals. This would be a very light and simple system but of course could not operate continuously.

ISTR toy helicopters where you wound a string round the rotor shaft; when you pulled the string the rotor would jump up into the air.

BT Tower is just a relic? Wrong: It relays 18,000hrs of telly daily

Chris Holford
Coat

Microwave links - cold war

ISTR being told that the new Russian Trade Mission building in Highgate 'just happened' to be built directly under one of the microwave links from the Post Office Tower.

There's a tinfoil hat in my coat pocket.

CURSE you, EINSTEIN! Humanity still chained in relativistic PRISON

Chris Holford
Boffin

Re: Stupid question

Any real rod has mass and elasticity;

You could model this by stretching a 'slinky' spring out on a smooth table. Give one end a push and you can see the pulse propagate to the other end. It takes a non-zero time for the pulse to travel the length of the slinky.

Musk muses on middle-class Mars colony

Chris Holford
Facepalm

Hmmm.....

Mr Musk seems wildly optimistic to me; I wonder if he thinks that Moore's Law applies to rocket launches?

Got a few minutes to help LOHAN suck?

Chris Holford
Boffin

Don't forget the collapsing can demonstration.

When the pressure in the test rig is reduced, atmospheric pressure will try to crush the container so it needs to be fairly strong.

BTW I liked the idea of taking it to the top of a building; the water only needs a head of about 10metres to give a pressure difference of 1 atmosphere.

Why modern music sounds rubbish

Chris Holford
Megaphone

Peak Programme Meters

Decades ago the BBC developed 'peak programme meters' to use in studios so that engineers could adjust levels to preserve the transient peaks in the music.

US broadcasters used 'volume level' meters which respond to average sound levels.Even in the 70s audio enthusiasts complained of over compressed music. The problem is that most music is heard in noisy environments where music with a wide dynamic range is inaudible during quiet passages. A serious listener in a quiet environment (eg in the concert hall or in a quiet living room with a good hi-fi system) can enjoy the wide dynamic range.

El Reg to unleash rocket-powered spaceplane

Chris Holford
Happy

showing my age....

How about;

British

Astronautical

Rocket-

Driven

Orbital

Test

?

Draw and fold working circuitry with the silver-ink pen

Chris Holford
Facepalm

'...in my young days....hrrumph etc etc'

Somewhere I've got a book from the 1920s on 'wireless' (the big wooden box sort) with do-it-yourself instructions. -Make a resistor by drawing a line with a graphite pencil on a piece of dry smooth oak. - Soft pencil ;6B for low resistance, hard pencil 6H for high resistance. Make a microphone by stretching a paper diaphragm over the top of an empty cocoa tin and draw a line across it with a pencil. 'condensers' were made from layers of foil from chocolate bar wrapping separated by layers of waxed paper.

James Bond's autogyro revived by Brit spec-ops pilots

Chris Holford
Happy

Ken Wallis

Yes; still flying. and aiming for a speed record!!

see

http://www.edp24.co.uk/content/edp24/news/video/story.aspx?brand=EDPOnline&category=Video&tBrand=EDPOnline&tCategory=Video&itemid=NOED08%20Jun%202010%2018%3A10%3A41%3A387

Windows XP customers positive but split on Windows 7

Chris Holford
Unhappy

XP -> windows 7 -even more expensive than it looks

To upgrade from Xp you need first to 'upgrade' to Vista and then upgrade from Vista to 7.

(I'm talking of upgrading rather than a new installation) -I have a lot of app's on my machine that I've used for years and have lost the original install discs. In the case of 'EasyCad', which I use a lot, my original floppies have become unreadable. I KNOW it's always recommended to do a clean install of Windows and then install all the app's but in my case I can't see a way of doing this.

Microsoft to issue emergency patches Tuesday

Chris Holford
Unhappy

-well, where are they?

16:50 here in the UK and no sign of them.

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