* Posts by Jan 0

856 posts • joined 14 Dec 2009


US space programme in shock metric conversion

Jan 0

Re: the civilised world of SI

I have little idea of what 71.33 degrees Fahrenheit feels like*. It's as alien to me as 71.33 degrees Rankine, Réaumur or Rømer. Kelvin at least has a sensible anchor for 0 degrees, but I can't see any justification for the intervals used. Why is the degree Kelvin a primary unit? Couldn't we define temperature in terms of something like the thermal energy in a Mole of Hydrogen?

*Ok, I know that it's colder than my body at 98.4 F and warmer than the best freezing mixture I could make (0 F).

Coat, in case 71.33 F is chilly.

Steve Jobs' 'private Apple spaceship' seeks public love

Jan 0

Re: Why Bother

You mean they're going to consume the world's supply of Tennents? That's certainly a way to get off their plateaux!

VIA outs $49 Raspberry Pi-alike

Jan 0

Watch out VIA, Apple's lawyers will be after you!

Have VIA forgotten the Apple "Wheels for the Mind" campaign in the '80s?

Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12

Jan 0

Audio Fidelity?

Where's the graph?

Vulture 2 trigger triggers serious head-scratching

Jan 0


I you want to keep things simple, don't complicate the situation with a bursting balloon!

With the current system you have to worry about launching before the balloon bursts. A conventional "zero pressure" high altitude balloon is not sealed. It will achieve a higher altitude than a super pressure balloon* and maintain that altitude for long enough for a very relaxed launch window. If you prefer a sealed zero pressure high altitude balloon then, out of politeness, you may add a burster to deflate the balloon after launch.

*sealed latex weather balloons are "super pressure" balloons, because the internal pressure is higher ("super") than the external pressure. Zero pressure balloons have zero pressure differential.

A sealed zero pressure balloon is an envelope filled with enough gas to allow it to rise, but not enough to burst the envelope at altitude, but that means you need to fill it with a measured volume of gas. It's easier to partially fill a balloon with an escape vent at the bottom.

Welding a big polythene balloon is a reasonably simple d-i-y job, if you have access to a working area large enough to lay out your balloon segments.

Hyundai Veloster coupé

Jan 0

Re: Two 12v Power Sockets...

Well, we motorcyclists at least get Hella/DIN sockets which are an improvement, until you realise that all the accesories you want to power your gizmos, require that you remove the excrescence and solder a Hella pug on to it.

Jan 0

Shame! Why do el Reg car and camera reviews involve a reviewer who actually tries things out?

Instead, you could be carrying on the fine tradition of el Reg's printer/audio/visual brochure reviews.

LightSquared files for bankruptcy

Jan 0
Thumb Up

May I be the first to say "Hooray!".

RM dumps cash-bleeding ISIS Concepts onto ex-owner

Jan 0

Can't be arsed to google it.

So nice of you to tell us what ISIS means in this context.

RM - "Research Machines"? Why do they still exist? Didn't the Acorn BBC micro blow them out of the water?

Secret's out: Small 15K disk drive market is 'growing'

Jan 0

@Nigel 11

Gyroscopes may spin much faster than 15krpm, but they do that in evacuated enclosures to drastically reduce aerodynamic drag.

Can anybody tell us how good the seals are? Would evacuated disc arrays need a vacuum pump in the rack?

Blighty's IP framework one of world's worst for consumers

Jan 0

Re: Intellectual Property or Internet Protocol?

Please just write Intellectual Property in full. Register readers know what IP is, why are upstarts redefining it. (I still remember the shock when I looked into the, then new, IP Building at BT Labs, only to discover that it had nothing to do with 'IP'.)

Moore's Law has ten years to run, predicts physicist

Jan 0


Sensible? It was a justifiable choice, nevertheless, there were other choices. There could have been a bigger push to improve person to person text*, audio and video communication instead. Maybe you wouldn't be thinking of supersonic cargo planes if we now had high speed submarine container ships. Why do people want under-ripe tropical fruit anyway? Maybe we should have empowered psychologists back in the 1950s!

*Weren't teletype 'hotlines' more important to governments and businesses than passenger 'planes anyway?

I'll raise a pint to Vannevar Bush, but why was Alan Kay so late?

Swedish men ordered to present cervices in database flub

Jan 0

Full marks to the author

for using the correct plural, but don't forget that other cervices are available.

A man may not have a 'cervix uteri', but he may have a lot of neck!

Ten... Satnavs to suit all budgets

Jan 0


ElReg normally tests these by driving around 'Greater' Manchester. Why not this time?

Singapore most 'liveable' Asian city for ex-pat IT pros

Jan 0

Re: SG is not so great.

That's like fining us for eating Marmite!

What's the point of going to SE Asia if you can't eat durian?

What next, a ban on green papaya? Cuttlefish? Wind-dried Duck?

PLASMA GERM BLASTER GUN invented for cleaning skin

Jan 0

Re: Hey guys, guys, guys; back up a second...

5V battery?

Errm, probably the last time was when I made a battery from four NiMH or NiCd cells? Let's see, that's probably when I replaced the AAs in my keyboard this morning.

(A battery is made of N voltaic cells, N>0)

Jan 0

Re: If 5 minutes burned through 0.025 mm...

Ouch! My eyes are burning at the thought of it!

(No dead cells on the surface of the eye, 'though there is an aqueous film.

Jan 0

Re: Violet Ray

The last thing you want near a human is ozone. It's toxic at the smell threshold. With luck the sort of machine you refer to smelled of oxides of nitrogen rather than ozone (not that you want to breath them either, but at least they're less toxic).

This plasma device sounds interesting, but will it fail in the same way as aqueous bactericides? You can't zap the blighters if they've got a protective coat around them. In the case of skin, it's not a shiny surface with a thin film of bacteria on it. The surface of skin is a messy, porous construction of dead skin cells with bacteria in the spaces between them. Those bacteria are well protected. That plasma had better be able to penetrate further than 25 micrometres. I'd rather my would-be surgeon scrubbed with povidone iodine.

Sync 'n' share startups hawk safer BYOD file-sharing

Jan 0

Blue Yawn of Death?


ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. - Humans begin artificial CO2 emissions

Jan 0


You are still missing the point about illiteracy. Oh wait, the schools are on holiday.

Terrafugia flies first prototype: Flying cars 'within a year'

Jan 0

Re: good idea

Surely you want the Timothy McVeighs to have their fair share too?

Barclaycard pay-by-bonk fraud risk exposes Amazon's security

Jan 0

Re: tin foil is the answer

The seat post, bottom bracket and head tube block the holes in a bicycle frame. Given that the shortest wavelength used for RFIDS is ~30mm (10GHz), a bicycle frame doesn't need to be hermetically sealed.

How good a Faraday Cage can a foil or mesh lined wallet be if it's not earthed?

Jan 0

Re: tin foil is the answer

but, does it work if the foil isn't earthed?

I've read that Datatags can be read when stuffed deep into a bicycle frame.

Arcam rDock

Jan 0

Re: Slight quibble about terminology

The graph isn't to tell you what sounds better. Only you can tell us that. Mind you, I don't see how the article could possibly help you with that.

The graph is to tell those who care whether the device actually reproduces the signal faithfully or not.

There is a paucity of sites with objective reviews. Some of us would like El Reg to become one.

US movie viewers make sudden shift to net

Jan 0

Delivery channels

How easy is it for US consumers to stream films? Do the majority of US citizens still live in small towns? If so how good is broadband for the majority? For that matter, how good is broadband for the sizeable minority that lives in trailer parks? Broadband provision is relatively inexpensive when people live in high density cities like New York, but what's it like in a low density 'city' like Houston?

Supersonic silent biplane COMING SOON ...ish

Jan 0

Hmm, that;s an interesting question. Compared with the sonic distraction of a helicopter flying 600ft up, the odd sonic boom would be a gentle relief, so long as the supersonic aircraft was maybe 40,000 ft up:)

Mega squid use HUMONGOUS eyes to spot ravenous sperm whales

Jan 0

Your Lance of Death tickles the sperm whale.

You are eaten by the sperm whale.

'Cheap' Oracle box bashes NetApp benchmark

Jan 0
Paris Hilton

Re: non-news

I was going to say: 'Yes but the ageing FAS6080 is only put in as an extra data point. The main article compares the $179,602 Oracle 7320 with a $1,215,290 FAS3270 which didn't start selling until late last year.' Until I read the comment below. If the 7320 really is just running RAID0 (striped Vdevs), then it's a silly comparison. If you ask them nicely, could they repeat the comparison with raidz2 or, even better, striped raidz2, please?

Where's the "We live in hope" icon? Oh, Paris!

Cambridge boffins build laser 'unprinter' to burn pages clean

Jan 0

Re: No, It's Not So Simple

You're right about the real costs, but that's people for you. Reusing is no bad as a rule of thumb.

You can still buy 'flimsy'. Look for Bank Paper at c. 40 - 50 gsm (NOT Bank Note Paper!) E.g. http://www.ryman.co.uk/0203210468/Ryman-Bank-Typing-Paper-A4-45gsm-100-Sheets/Product.

You'll find pulpwood, and plenty of others, in art or craft suppliers. E.g. https://www.artistpapers.co.uk/Fine-Art-Papers/Newsprint-Paper/Strathmore-300-Series-Newsprint-Paper http://www.artstore.co.uk/bienfang-35g-detail-paper-roll-12inch-white-c-290-p-1 It starts getting dodgy for writing at about 25gsm!

Boffins render fibre obsolete

Jan 0

Build Him Til He Breaks

Can neutrinos be generated in a beam? Are neutrino detectors directional? If not, aren't we stuck with a single transmitter and receiver pair for all neutrino communications? Hmm, I suppose you could use phased arrays for transmission and reception. That's going to be massive!

I think I'll stick to listening to the Neutrinos.

LOHAN's fantastical flying truss takes to the air

Jan 0

Re: plane design

Biplanes only generate extra lift if they're staggered. The biplane design improves strength rather than lift. Oh, and it certainly adds weight, which is not wanted here!

Tesco blunder prices 64GB 4G iPad at 50 quid

Jan 0
Thumb Down

Oh great, so you'd rather bankrupt a real high street asset with motivated staff, than the "every little hurts" bully?

Jupiter and Venus get cozy in revealing late-night display

Jan 0


Not very aligned if the gap is 3 degrees! You could almost stuff half a dozen moons* between them!

Also. Wot? No mention of Saturn which is also visible? Saturn rise is at 9:01 pm tonight.

Mars, is the reddest (well ok, amberest) I've ever noticed it too.

*earth's moon. Other moons are available.

SUPERCOMPUTER vs your computer in bang-for-buck battle

Jan 0


Thanks for the nice comparison, but I think you're using the wrong units.

Long ago*, Byte magazine compared a range of computers with a standardised Vax configuration. It rated various mini-computers in milliVaxes and IIRC an IBM PC at around 0.05 milliVax.

So how many Giga/Peta/Tera/Exa-Vaxes are we up to now?

*Does anyone know if the original article available on line? I can't find it.

Brits trapped in confusing council website labyrinths - survey

Jan 0

Re: con-cil @Jan 0

Of course I check my statements, but I know I won't have the hassle of chasing banks to fix problems that shouldn't be there in the first place.

Direct debits are the equivalent of giving a shopkeeper your wallet to keep. Why would you do that?

Direct debits are a marketing gimmick to make it a little more difficult to change providers.

What's so difficult about BACS transfers and standing orders that makes you use direct debits?

Jan 0

Re: con-cil

Perhaps because only idiots let others dip into their bank accounts using the direct debit mechanism. It's your money, shouldn't you be in control?

Lithuania rules beer brewing 'vitally essential' to life

Jan 0

Re: Ah, a 'purist'

Carlsberg != essential

Augustiner != Baltic

Vilkmergės Tamsusis == Baltic && essential

Storage players pitch DRM tech for downloads

Jan 0


From the language that gave us ameba and fetus, it might as well be Fenix.

Hats off to J.G.Thirlwell, who could spell!

Let's see: æ œ, will these dipthongs survive?

Linux PC-in-a-stick to cost coders £139

Jan 0

Re: Misleading?

Well, let me think. PCs have had 6502s, 68000s and Alphas to name just 3 of many possible chips. What memory of "Personal Computer" has Intel brainwashed for you?

Grid Lens

Jan 0

Re: Wow

Well, call a spade a spade, call a Snickers a Marathon - please!

Heatmiser PRT-TS Wi-Fi RF thermostat

Jan 0

Re: Convergence?

> requirements to set my central heating when I'm out of the house

This is exactly what I need. When I decide to work late, or go out for the evening, there's no point firing up my boiler that evening, so being able to override it will put save beer tokens. Similarly, when I'm sent home early because it's snowing, I can make sure I get home to a warm house. What's not to like?

Intel joins The Document Foundation, pushes LibreOffice

Jan 0

@Tony Gregory

Errm, shurely you need Gnumeric, tpp and IRC too?

LOHAN's flying truss: One orb or two?

Jan 0

Wrong balloon?

Why not use a balloon that doesn't explode?

Either have a pressure relief valve, or use a large, partly filled, inelastic balloon filled with just enough helium to reach a target height. An aluminised mylar balloon should do nicely, but you'll need to glue the seams (you can weld plain mylar, but it will lose helium faster).

Dell Latitude E6220 12.5in Core i7 notebook

Jan 0

Re: Spot the FAIL!

and there's no thunderbolt port!

Brit student locked up for Facebook source code hack

Jan 0
Thumb Up


Thank you. You are a true gentleman. The first poster I've seen (anywhere/anywhen) to actually summarise what their link is pointing at.

Shuttleworth remixes Ubuntu... for biz users

Jan 0


Exchange doesn't do CSCW software properly*!

Let the calendaring software communicate with the email software as necessary. Don't try and amalgamate them into a mess. KISS!

*No surprise, it didn't do email properly in the first place. Exchange was a horrible kludge to get Microsoft Mail working across the Internet. Internet? - you know, that thingie that Mr Gates didn't see as important before 1995!

Japanese robot mirrors master’s movements

Jan 0

Call a spade a spade!

Thanks for putting me straight. I'd always thought that a Waldo was a powered exoskeleton. A quick read of the Wikipedia synopsis of the story has put me straight. I didn't start reading science fiction magazines until the '60s, which must be how I (incorrectly) learned the term Waldo.

Cable thieves wreak havoc for cops, BT punters

Jan 0

By just how much do you propose putting up phone charges to pay for this redundancy?


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