* Posts by Phillip Bicknell

17 posts • joined 23 Oct 2008

Mobile phones cause tinnitus, says study

Phillip Bicknell

And MRI scanners

I now have fairly constant tinnitus after having a second MRI scan, this time for an injured hand. The tinnitus only started intermittently after the first scan a few years ago to try and determine the reason for my hearing loss at age 40!

I'm gonna have to go to the doc sometime soon as the ringing is slowly driving me nutty. And I'll bet a pound to pinch of **** that the entire medical profession closes ranks and denies MRI is responsible.

And in relation to this story - the tinnitus is in both ears and I only rarely use my right ear with any phone, including my mobile.

BOFH: The stupidity criticality

Phillip Bicknell

@ IT Dogs Boy and Chris T

FM200 isn't toxic at the 6.8% concentration (from memory) that is used for surface fires in computer rooms. (Yep, seems I'm about right, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1,1,1,2,3,3,3-Heptafluoropropane)

The argon(ite) or Inergen system also intends to reduce the O2 levels to those that don't sustain (surface) fires, but can just sustain life. I wouldn't try to sabotage a 150 bar (again, uncertain memory) system, and I was around dodgy cylinders a bit.

I used to encounter lots of people who were told that both these and their predecessor Halon 1301, were toxic, etc, (most were security guards, though) - none of them were at normal extinguishing concentrations. It's their decomposition products and those of the fire, or a cylinder leaking in a small space like a cylinder store that's a risk.

The noise and fogging of discharge aren't nice, but are quite survivable. The loose materials from poor housekeeping are messy too.

We had one consultant that asked us for details of a system that actually put out a fire - we couldn't find one - they were all Xmas, faulty air-con, sackings, etc. That's partly why I left the industry after 10 years - a Vesda or Hart system, with phased shutdown and dry-pipe sprinklers for major back-up, is pretty much all that modern kit needs.

UKUUG Summer Conference 2009

Phillip Bicknell

Microsoft adverts

What?! An Open Source conference and you let Microsoft adverts onto the page!

Masked passwords must go

Phillip Bicknell
Big Brother

What about the new style PIN

Uh, I've just remembered about that new style ATM PIN whereby one remembers a sequence of locations on a 5 x 5 grid. That's more secure than any masked password, so don't websites use that? (Probably because of some expensive patent.)

BOFH: Stick this

Phillip Bicknell

Two lots of laughs

I laughed hard at the article - thank you, Simon. But I also laughed hard at loads of the comments - thank you, all.

Dutch cat skinner publishes critics' personal details

Phillip Bicknell


Artists tend to seek publicity and need approbation. There's no doubt she's just managed some more publicity based on the original act. And I can't really blame her for fighting back against hate mail.

I believe the strongest condemnation of her original act would have been to ignore it. Just like the worst job reference you can get from a former employer is a blank sheet of paper.

Linux to spend eternity in shadow of 'little blue E'

Phillip Bicknell

I'm out there spreading the Linux word

So why don't some more of you join me? I do my bit on Yahoo Answers, bigging up Open Source stuff like Gimp against Photoshop, and helping people who do ask Linux questions. I reckon the majority of question askers are young, judging by the (lack of) spelling and (abuse of) language, so I'm busy gently helping the next generation of workers. Revolution won't work, but evolution will.

MoD: 27 per cent of our computers are secure

Phillip Bicknell

Wrong side

Reminds me of the old joke about the chap walking down Whitehall who asks "Which side is the War Office on?" Back comes the retort, "Ours, I hope!"

Tux because he's secure :-)

Formula One kinetic energy recovery rigs debut

Phillip Bicknell

Not London buses

Surely London buses are more reliable to timetable than that?!

Now, out here in the Home Counties maybe ...

Mine's the spotter's anorak, not.

Employees sue for unpaid Windows Vista overtime

Phillip Bicknell

Has to be said ...

About time these call centres switched to solid-state Linux boxes - then they would probably be up in 15 seconds with a bit of optimisation.

Sorry, it had to be said.

PS. My XP work box takes more like 3 minutes and it's 3D CAD suited. The issue is probably network speed/availability, since our profiles are all on the server - and we all start at the same time!

Coppers nab more mobe-yapping drivers

Phillip Bicknell

How can we shame them?

As a pedestrian, how can I help shame the drivers who are yakking?

I've tried pointing at them a couple of times, but without much success.

I even deliberately walked out in front of one driver - calculated risk - and suceeded in making my point that time.

BTW, @simulator comparison, there is a difference: The passenger is aware of what else is going on, so can stop talking. Perhaps this exposes one of the differences between a simulator and real life.

The USA's NHTSA, http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/, clearly state that it's bad, although it's not banned at a Federal level yet. (I'd have posted a specific page link, but wouldn't you know, their site's down right now.)

PS. I don't even use hands-free when I driving anymore, because I find that personally I still get noticeably distracted. However, it's permitted within UK law, so I support anyone who's practiced enough to do so safely.

Ford to drive green motoring with 'leaves and vines' dashboard

Phillip Bicknell

Driver reward

Even heavy vehicle engine manufacturers offer a "driver reward" output from their engine management system, that can be displayed for the driver, technician or owning company. Strange that they're not used, as far as I know - yet!

Driver distraction is an increasing concern, and the EC Commission are only a couple of years off proposing some sort of regulation. And yet, cars like BMWs have had MPG gauges for donkeys years, so all that's really new is the pretty graphics. They'll probably get toned down before the car hits the streets (and tree).

@Chris W: The G-wiz does 48 miles on a charge. That's 77 km in Euro-speak. Will that do you? http://www.goingreen.co.uk/store

Co-op IT workers vote on strike action

Phillip Bicknell

Fair trade

And there's the Co-op food shop trumpeting it's Fair Trade activities, and the banking arm likewise it's ethical investment policies!

Student charged after alerting principal to server hack

Phillip Bicknell


"It is dangerous to be right when those in power are wrong." No computers in the eighteenth century, but still just as valid.

BBC's TV detector vans to remain a state secret

Phillip Bicknell
Paris Hilton

A few points

My uncle was a postmaster in those pre-Internet days - he told me that the detector van in his yard was empty - they relied on the list.

However, the MoD wouldn't go to the trouble and expense of installing Tempest cages around their equipment just for nuclear blast EMP protection, would they? When I had a room integrity test to do on one of their refurbuished rooms, the operators in the adjacent working room were sent on a tea-break.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for all those people in house shares - if the landlord doesn't pay the fee, then every individual tenant is meant to have one. Fortunately the licence database doesn't go into that detail, so one licence surfices, albeit with the tenants being at slight risk of discovery.

Paris because no-one else has yet!

UK Govt to spend £100m on three-city electric car trial

Phillip Bicknell

Just one part of the bigger picture

The press release refers to changing planning rules to facilitate recharging points.

"Green" electricity generation is being addressed by other parts of government - this is another piece of the jigsaw.

It's a helping hand to car manufacturers who are going through hard times again - Land Rover has just forced a week's shutdown.

Mine's the fair-trade hemp one.

Toshiba charges ahead with electric car-friendly battery building plan

Phillip Bicknell

Super capacitor - ho, ho


We're just building some buses for a Canadian customer who wants the option to fit a super capacitor to help the starter motor batteries in the winter. All the wiring and switching is relatively cheap, but the super cap costs several thousand pounds Sterling. So they probably won't be fitting that many unless it gets really cold. Global warming, anyone?

Mine's the hi-viz one with a beach-ball like company logo.

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