* Posts by Simon_Edwards

3 posts • joined 4 Feb 2010

Reg readers ponder LOHAN's substantial globes


Rail guide

Isn't everyone overthinking this launch sequence. Military aircraft designers solved this long ago by using a sliding rail to avoid rockets hitting the wings that they are mounted on. Why not use one for LOHAN?

I like KISS for this part of the design. Flying the thing later will be hard enough.

To get a vertical attitude from a rising baloon you can hang a weight beneath the main payload container - that'll be Vulture2. But you don't connect it directly to the payload container.

You have it slot onto a rail that is suspended at a 45 degree up angle and connected to the main payload container.

Use either low powered RF, or IR or old fasioned contact points to have the main payload communicate with Vulture 2 and get it to trigger Vulture2 to fire and fly it straight off the rail.

The rail will need to be sufficiently rigid to withstand the initial tug of the rocket firing, so its hanging on a rigid lightweight structure not on a rope. But we're talking a few grams of structure not kilos of the thing hanging there.

As for the Vulture 2 itself: Some missiles used to have rail mounts designed into the external structure, others had sprung trips to either discard the mount or to have it retract inside the body as the mount cleared the rail end.

Since it doesn't exist yet either approach could be used with Vulture 2.


Dixons Advent Vega


Updates required.

Simplicity is a good thing for sales to end users. Until recently the Vega has been sold on-line to enthusiasts who knew exactly what they were getting.

The Open Source nature of Android has really helped these enthusiasts.

Kernel source is made available by the best Android tablet manufacturers (Viewsonic and Advent included) in the knowledge that it will be used. New kernels are relatively easy to create if required because of this.

As has been pointed out already the Google Apps collection won't ever be certified for Android 2.2 on a tablet with no phone functionality. This is apparantly because Google do not want to be responsible for how they behave and appear on the supersized screen of a tablet. However Google do know that they will be used on tablets and take no active efforts to stop it - they could easily stop it, but they don't.

Don't be worried about the implied or potential actions of Google. They know exactly what is going on and whilst not being willing to take direct responsibility for the use of their apps on large screens there is tacit complicity that its going on.

There's an eco-system to be fed here and the market needs all the throughput that it can get even if its not officially recognised.

Screen angles and WiFi modules apart the hardware is bang up to date, at a relatively low price. Once the MoDaCo pack is installed its an iPad killer in many ways, whilst lacking the integrated Apple user experience.

So, if you know you are buying hardware that will require some simple tweaks to make the best of it the Vega is a great tablet (as are several others mentioned in the comments here).

If you want to see an iPad competitor out of the box, then wait for Honeycomb to ship on the hardware.

For the price, if you are in the UK, if you are a techie, its currently unbeatable.


Huawei E5 Wi-Fi/3G modem


The best reason to use a MiFi...

With so much bundled data access on phones these days you'd wonder about the need for a personal hot spot. That point certainly comes across in the article.

But there are specific circumstances where they make sense, they are just not the obvious ones that the advertising promotes.

I've found that the best reason to use a MiFi, or Zoom or any other portable 3G WiFi router is when roaming abroad, it concentrates data access from several devices into a single carrier which can then be managed cheaply.

Unfortunately this is also when you need to have an unlocked 3G modem part of the router. But that's another story.

When I'm abroad; with two iPhones in the family and a laptop. Data usage could easily exceed £50/week just reading news and keeping up with emails.

So my first reason to have 3G Router is to save money. Here's how.

Whenever I travel to a new foreign location I get a collection of local free PAYG sims, one for each network carrier. Of course you could just pick a favourite and stick with it.

I try each of them in the hotel/beach/meeting/park/car/wherever to see which has the best coverage where I'm likely to be that week. Then pay for a week of local mobile broadband access on your chosen carrier.

This reduces the bills to either around £10/week or £15/week depending upon how much data I expect to use and how long I need to keep access to the 3G network. After three weeks of trips the router has paid for itself.

My second reason for using one is to provide fexibility.

Its useful if you find yourself in a dead spot for your usual carrier at home and want to switch to another for data access.

For instance in my case I find O2 coverage on the M6 above Birmingham pretty patchy. I put the 3G router on the dash using battery power. My iPhone detects the WiFi signal and switches automatically from the O2 data connection. Now its data connection goes through the "3" network. I know that the CoPilot SatNav can now get all its traffic updates. You can also use this setup to access real time traffic updates when roaming abroad, another expensive data use if you stick to normal roaming rates.

If you setup the same security settings that you use in your home network you won't even need to reconfigure any of the connecting WiFi client devices.

I agree that there's a limited market here. But if you are in the market for a 3G modem, you could do a lot worse than buy a 3G Router just to allow yourself some extra flexibility later.



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