* Posts by Dave 126

7168 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Dave 126
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Re: Anti-static.....

> Unfortunately, the anti--static spray was in orange cans, almost identical in appearance to the cleaning agent

Haha, much like that shelf in Maplins, where all the aerosol cans are white. Some are air dusters, some are anti static spray, some are sticky label remover...

In the domestic household space, orange by convention normally denotes something pretty nasty and caustic, such as oven cleaner or drain unblocker.

This isn't the case in the industrial space. I remember cleaning my brush with what I thought was white spirits, because the label was tattered and mostly missing. Upon seeing weird smoke, I examined the label more closely to read ".......ic ..cid". I'm very glad I hadn't used it with saw dust to clean oil off my hands!

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Dave 126
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Re: OT : Petrol Pumps

I just use one of the disposable gloves provided.

If you have trouble gripping, I recommend using a gyroscope 'Power Ball' to strengthen the appropriate muscles. It's also good for relieving RSI. They often used my musicians and rock climbers, amongst others.

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Dave 126
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Re: Carper?

A computer room (Win 2000 for Word, not the mainframe CAD suite) at my uni had a bad carpet for static, exacerbated by the skate shoes and shuffling walks sported by many of us students.

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Dave 126
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Re: Don't give me no static ...

Top tip there @steelpillow, thank you!

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Dave 126
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Re: Don't give me no static ...

> opening envelopes with self-adhesive flap generates static

Possibly the same effect as using sellotape to generate x-rays.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn15016-humble-sticky-tape-emits-powerful-x-rays/

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It's the iPhone's 10th b'day or, as El Reg calls it, 'BILL RAY DAY'

Dave 126
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Re: Or

Fingerworks made a multitouch keyboard, not a Graphical User Interface - a HID is linked to a GUI (just as we associate a mouse with icons and menus) but they are not the same thing. Parts of the iPhone GUI came from a small team in Apple who had been looking at a tablet computer concept. This tablet didn't progress too far because it would have been too expensive to market with the technology of the time.

The 'Jobs Reality Distortion Field' was a term coined to describe the pressure he would put on engineers to do in a week what they'd estimated would take a month - and yep, that was in full effect during the development of the iPhone. Staff were recruited from other Apple departments with the offer 'We want you for a project. We can't tell you what it is. If you accept, you will have next to zero free time for the next eighteen months'. The development of the iPhone resulted in a few divorces, apparently.

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Dave 126
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Re: "apart from the intuitive UI"

At the time of the iPhone's release, most phones from Sony Ericsson, Nokia, LG and Samsung had proprietary headset sockets, which often varied from model to model within a single brand.

Since I've never owned an iPhone it doesn't bother me that they've ditched the 3.5mm jack, but I'm glad they showed other phone makers how to it properly over the last ten years.

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Dave 126
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What do mean by format? Copied from whom?

Nothing is completely new, but making good combinations and making the right compromises - and then polishing the result - are skills in their own right.

LG made a bit of a noise at the time, because they announced a capacitive touch screen phone before the iPhone was announced, but there's no doubt the iPhone was in late development before the LG Prada was made public. What's interesting is that both phones made the same decision to omit 3G in order to preserve battery life (presumably to make up for the large screen's power consumption) - an example that if you give different engineers the same constraints they may well make similar decisions.

The difference of philosophy was that the LG was not trying to be anything more than a stylish feature phone. The iPhone came from a computer company, and thus in it elements that had been developed for other projects... and perhaps a sense amongst its developers that it would be the start of a different way of interacting with computers.

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Dave 126
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Re: They made it simple to use

The following link is an excerpt from a book about the origins of the iPhone. What one takes away is that though a capacitive screened phone with no buttons seems obvious in retrospect, it wasn't at the time. This excerpt covers the time up to Jobs going with the concept, after an internal competition (the other concept was an iPod with phone... yeah, entering numbers on a jog dial is no fun). Also, some of the iPhone UI concepts had been developed by an Apple team researching a tablet device known as Q79 in the early 2000s.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/13/15782200/one-device-secret-history-iphone-brian-merchant-book-excerpt

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Robots will enable a sustainable grey economy

Dave 126
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> You underestimate your political masters.

You think? I did note that pubs are unfairly penalised if one accepts government's stated reasons (reduction in alcohol consumption) at face value.

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Dave 126
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Re: "We've just seen how hard it is politically to address these issues."

> If they live longer then it is probably because they are healthier even if there is a cost in drugs to maintain that they are less likely to need high levels of care

Not exactly. Longer life spans are partly attributable to a decrease in cheap to treat conditions such as heart disease*, thus a rise in expensive to cope with conditions such as dementia.

*If you survive you may have a Stent or drug treatment and lifestyle changes - or else it kills you quickly. Dementia patients may require care for years.

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Dave 126
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Re: "We've just seen how hard it is politically to address these issues."

Well, if we could build robots to build the robots that help us out of bed...

Taken all the way (eliminate all human labour) we eventually get to questions about the allocation of finite resources, such as land, minerals and power (energy)… and thus population growth.

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Dave 126
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Re: "...................car could reverse the decline of the country pub."

Having a human take over the controls at a moment's notice is not safe. The systems need to be reliable enough that this is never required. I was referring to a mature tech (like your vehicle's brakes are mature), not current autonomous tech.

One way of increasing safety is to travel more slowly. Many would prefer an hour's journey reading a newspaper to driving themselves for forty minutes.

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Dave 126
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Re: Other cars are available …

Horses for courses. Musk's plans include the Gigafactory for reducing the cost of lithium ion batteries, the plans for which he intends to open source. Autonomous driving tech will further reduce the costs of public busses, perhaps allowing more, smaller busses (no labour cost employing drivers) which creates more flexibility in route and timetable. Alternatively, the human driver will instead become a conductor, assisting people on and off the bus, and cheering them up.

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Dave 126
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Re: What a beautiful and glorious vision. Meanwhile...

We've just seen how hard it is politically to address these issues. Theresa May makes tentative noises about using using the assets of a generation who have done pretty well to pay for younger people to care for them and people start shouting 'dementia tax!' by people claiming to be 'progressive'.

I'm not saying I supported her plan, just that any sensible debate seems impossible with partisan views. If only sociable media could be used for education and learning instead of uninformed self expression.

And a form of social networking maybe could be so used - there are efforts to network experts to answer social and technological problems.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/how-to-problem-solve---the-ultimate-problem/8610108

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Dave 126
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Seriously, the autonomous car could reverse the decline of the country pub. Well, it would address one factor; successive governments have been determined to keep raising beer duties on health grounds, despite the fact that booze can be bought for an eighth of the price from a supermarket and consumed at home. What we lose is community and the health benefits of society and laughter.

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Dave 126
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Re: Spritely?

> Can he get into and out of the Tesla without help?

One of the reasons that Japan has led the way in robotics (besides their high tech manufacturing base) is due to their awareness that their population is aging, and their are fewer young people to care for the infirm aged. This means that devices that aid in the care of older people are of great interest. A vehicle with a mechanised seat that raises the passenger up is not beyond the wit of engineers.

The infirm are of course only the extreme end of an older population. Japan (and Germany for that matter) have used design of the workplace to allow people to stay in work for longer. Indoor hydroponics farms for growing lettuce, with the plants grown on raised beds mean that they can be harvested without the farmers bending down.

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Dave 126
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Re: Dumb yanks

> You have to build public transport into the fabric of new cities.

Building infrastructure for the future is tricky - you don't know what you'll need. Take the first canals in England; they were relatively narrow, because it wasn't seen how popular they would become. Businesses and warehouses were built right next to them, which meant that they then couldn't be widened, necessitating the construction of new canals for service the same routes.

New cities... Interesting. ”If you want to go there, then I wouldn't start from here" goes the old joke. Can anyone here sketch out a portrait of any recent examples from around the world? In any case, the majority of the urban population, especially in the West, won't be living in new cities anytime soon.

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Looking for an Ubuntu Unity close cousin? Elementary, my dear...

Dave 126
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Re: @Powernumpty

Don't worry, the HDD noise is definitely a hardware issue - the technical term is 'totally fucked' - and I never thought it was an OS issue. It's just that the event caused me to consider what I actually use the laptop for these days!

I don't think I'll ever get on with The Gimp, but in the 3D realm, especially with respect to 3D physical output, there would appear to be done damned handy FOSS tools.

Oh, I wouldn't reinstall Windows from scratch - I'd just restore the system image from external storage - about a twenty minute job by the time I've burnt a recovery CD to boot from.

Right oh, time for the pub!

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Dave 126
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I might start using a Linux distribution again - I haven't had need to use Photoshop or Solidworks for a while, and my HDD made a horrible scrunchy squeeky noise a few days back (I thought for a moment that a flesh and blood mouse was behind my laptop). Restoring my Win 7 image or installing a Linux distribution are about the same amount of faff.

It's time I played with Blender, and to get to grips with a different slicing application for my long-neglected 3D printer (Slic3r was misbehaving on some STL files).

Tempted to buy a new laptop, but the same money would buy a cheap and cheerful laser cutter from China.

No urgency though, it's summertime!

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Despite high-profile hires, Apple's TV plans are doomed

Dave 126
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Re: Apple could succeed only if it makes programming for the ignored demographics

You've got Micheal Portillo on a train, what more do you want?!!

- Signed, The BBC

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Dave 126
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Re: Apple

Hehe, always fun to see someone criticise Apple for Intel's release schedule!

I believe the Macbooks (and indeed Microsoft's Surface range) have since been bumped up to Intel's latest suitable CPUs, but at the time of the computers' release (in the the run up to Christmas) there hadn't been enough time to incorporate the latest silicon with sufficient testing.

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Dave 126
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Re: Tim Cook has never been very good at executing Jobs' "wait then dominate" strategy

The Apple TV might have been a missed opportunity to develop a Netflix style business, but I don't think it has lost money. It started out as a x86 based machine, effectively a mini Mac Mini, running a stripped down OSX - indeed some customers squeezed the full-fat OS onto it. These days its effectively an iPhone inna box.

The thing is, the Apple TV just isn't essential. One can browse Netflix or YouTube comfortably on an iPad or Android device, and then send the content to a PS3 or cheap Chromecast wired to the TV.

This might be why Jobs always described the Apple TV as their 'hobby project'.

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Dave 126
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Re: Must watch tv ?

@ Richard Jones

I was aiming at more playful than sarcastic or snide, and whilst I thought the link was unlikely to hit your 3% I thought it equally didn't qualify as a another Police Procedural, talent show or

Super Hero adaptation!

As regards the ergonomics of reading - which can encourage the spine to stay in one place for too long - I wonder if two Kindles can be harnessed together, so that the reader will scan from page to page? On a wider accessibility front, certainly the ability to display any book at larger font sizes benefits some readers, where once such titles were kept in a specialist section of the bookshop or public library.

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Dave 126
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Re: Must watch tv ?

> Perhaps the issue is that too many offerings mine the same mother load so their output falls consistently into my no thanks 97%.

Here you go, Elvis Goes Lambing (in the Cotswolds):

https://youtu.be/2-oWlQh93v8

You're welcome! I guess I'm making a case that more people can create and distribute video content than ever before, so something might hit your yes-please 3%!

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Dave 126
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Re: "Apple helped to destroy the music business."

I prefer the recent XKCD hypothesis: we had 60s music and fashion because it's easy to label, ditto 80s music and 90s music. Since 2001 we haven't had an easy phrase (naughties music? Aughties music? Teensies music?) to describe where we're at!

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Dave 126
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Re: "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

> just wanted to chuckle about how your TLDR statement is as long as the original :-)

I'll get the hang of this internet malarkey one of these days!

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Dave 126
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Re: Must watch tv ?

There is still good radio (spoken word) being made, it depends upon what you want. For documentaries, the Australian equivalent of Radio 4 is very good - try the Science Show and its sister programmes. For comedy, you might be well served by podcasts from around the world, of which there are thousands. Well-produced audio books have seen a surge in popularity, now that MP3 et al have liberated them from requiring a briefcase full of cassette tapes.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/

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Dave 126
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Re: "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

I've scan-read a few blogs that are bored of the numerous Marvel TV shows, with one exception -'Legion'. It's run by Noah Hawley of the excellent Fargo TV series, and is a wonderful homage to the 1960s in terms of set design, costume and music.

tl;dr: TV execs aren't all stupid and are willing to allow diversity of style and tone even within a studio's imagined world. Just as the movie Deadpool was a black comedy with Fawlty Towers and Viz references, though still ostensibly an X-Men movie.

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The good kind of data sharing: Reg empties its storage news warehouse

Dave 126
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Now, Kanye West 'headlining' the Pyramid Stage with two hours of Autotune karioke was atrocious. At least JC was in keeping with the ethos of many of the Glastonbury staff and organisers.

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Dave 126
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Re: It is the Monday after Glasto

And yet pop music is full of politics, from the clearly labelled Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy, to Hendrix, Marley, Future Sound of London. But yeah, adversarial political talk in pubs bore me, I just feel that 'Tories are bastatds / Labour are muppets' to be unproductive and getting in the way of more interesting chats about where we, as a society, nation, planet go in the future.

That said, could there be a trade? If Corbyn spoke on the Pyramid Stage, could we have The Prodigy play in the House of Commons?

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NASA? More like NASAI: Brainy robots 'crucial' to space exploration

Dave 126
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Re: And . . .

The Songs of Distant Earth

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Dave 126
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As long as nobody, in response to a discovery of a Lunar magnetic anomaly for example, hurriedly bolts on some extra orders at very a late stage of the mission planning process, the crew should be safe from the shipboard AI.

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Dave 126
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Re: Autonomous exploration of Alpha Centauri

There are lots and lots of unsolved problems. You can find more links and discussion here: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/12/yuri_milner_stephen_hawking_interstellar_space_mission/

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UK and Ecuador working on Assange escape mechanism

Dave 126
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A recent Radio 4 Book of the Week was the account of the man hired to be Assange's ghost writer . As it turned out, Assange kept promising to provide notes and read through the drafts but never did, stringing the publisher along.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08vk79l

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Researchers take the piss with pee-powered liquid energy project

Dave 126
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Take a dumb phone to a festival - battery will last ages, SMS and calls sufficient for finding mates, no tears if you lose it.

That said, last festival I went to had an oversubscribed cell, so SMS messages took 5 minutes to send.

I lost my smartphone several times, but always found it the next day in a dance tent (honest people), and being on a lighting crew, I had access to 13 A sockets around the site. Having two 5000 mAH power banks (one left on charge, one in use) works well.

Top tip: a 12 V solar panel of the type used to trickle-charge car batteries, and a couple of computer cooling fans - when the sun comes up the fans kick in and delay your tent becoming an oven for an hour or so, giving you more time to sleep off the hangover.

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Google may follow Apple, design mobile chips in-house

Dave 126
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Re: Google shareholders pays for it

You tend to think quite narrowly, don't you? There's no reason that a Google designed bit of silicon couldn't be used by other Android vendors, for free or for a modest fee - that would easily give them the volume.

Apple have done very well tweaking and designing silicon to work with their own OS, and their split with Imagination Technologies could well be that they want a GPU that can be efficiently used for AR and DSP duties - indeed, a recent Reg article suggested that using Apple's AR toolkit on existing iPhones depleted the battery too quickly for consumer use. This sits well with what an ARM rep (in this article) said of the power savings of AR-optimised silicon over existing mobile GPUs.

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Dave 126
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Re: Maybe an SoC, but maybe not for mobile

> Google has NEVER HAD ONE SUCCESSFUL consumer product

Chromecasts are pretty handy, and not too uncommon.

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Dave 126
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Re: Maybe an SoC, but maybe not for mobile

Any design Google come up with could be licensed out to other Android ODMs. It can't hurt to have the strategists, software and silicon guys working more closely together on upcoming products.

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Dave 126
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Can Imagination Technologies supply the kind of GPU/DSP Google need for AR? Apple's hiring of GPU talent over the last few years prior to their publicised split from Imagination suggests otherwise.

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Dave 126
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Re: As they say....

Actually, it's the design of Android that gets in the way of timely updates. True, Qualcomm don't always release blobs to ODMs for older chipsets, but then they have no incentive to - and such costs will always have to be paid by the downstream customer anyway.

Google are beginning to put the pieces in place so that Android handsets can be effectively updated without the code first going through the chipset and Original Device manufacturers; if it were that easy, Google would have done so years ago because *they* do have a strong incentive to do so.

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Elon Musk reveals Mars colony rocket capable of bringing pizza joints to the red planet

Dave 126
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The shielding is largely governed by the square power if the radiation is largely from the sun, whilst the inhabitable crew volume is governed by the cube power. This means that for a bigger ship and more populated ship less mass of shielding is required per passenger.

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Dave 126
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Re: Another taxpayer-funded Ponzi scheme

Musk will soon be saving US tax payers money by undercutting United Launch Alliance, who currently get US hardware into space for about $400 million per launch - though the contract with ULA was drafted so to make comparisons difficult.

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Dave 126
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Re: Wonder....

See above.

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Dave 126
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Re: Carbon

tfb misunderstood me. I meant that there are alternatives to burning low grade dirty oil to power container ships, such as less dirty oil, solar and wind. I wasn't saying that there are alternatives to using rocketry to get to orbit.

Someone crunched the numbers, and the carbon emissions of terestial transport are many, many orders of magnitude greater than those of rocketry.

If tfb wants to push his point, he's free to show his numbers and his working.

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Dave 126
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Re: One Way Trip

Radiation on a trip to Mars (outside of the Earth's magnetic influence which largely protects astronauts in Earth orbit) is likely to do you some damage, in addition to known effects of living in micro gravity. The trouble with shielding is that it is heavy. However, the scaling laws that govern surface area (your shielding facing the sun, a square power) against volume (where the crew reside, a cube power) mean that bigger ships with more crew would be best.

Potentially, shielding could be the drinking water for (and later, waste products of) the crew. Some very early research has also been done in generating artificial magnetic shields - though I stress *very early*.

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Dave 126
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Re: Fuel on Mars

> Non-manned probes do at least have a chance of getting to the near relativistic speeds needed to find another solar system just in case this one fails.

Eh? So, the probe would find a cosy new star system, bully for the probe. What use is that if no humans can get there?

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Dave 126
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Re: Venus is too nasty, Mercury too hot and the moons of Jupiter or Saturn too distant.

> Making Technology critical for all survival is not a smart idea, because it can break, then everyone is dead!

Fertiliser is a technology, as is birth control, education, societal organisations... Any which way we will have to use a fallible technology to stave off death - in fact we have already done so.

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Microsoft's new Surface laptop defeats teardown – with glue

Dave 126
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Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

Why would you throw it away instead of taking it back to the shop?

Apple et all aren't incentivised in any way to make a user-repairable device, but they are incentivised to make a more easily recyclable device (by statute in the EU and some US states). Whilst Reg readers prefer screws to glue, recycling is easier if you can just dissemble products in an oven before separating the nasties in the screen and motherboard (bulkier plastic and metal parts are separated from each other after shredding, but it's the rare or dangerous stuff in the screen and motherboard that causes worry). That's just the way it is - feel free to read up on it, if only out of courtesy to professionals in a discipline other than yours.

The repairability of a laptop has to be weighed up against its reliability in the first place, how long it will be actively used, how likely someone will be to actually repair it instead of just taking back to the shop under warranty, how easy it is to recycle etc. The only time a user has to repair a laptop is if it fails after the 3 year warranty period but before it so outdated as to be no longer useful - this becomes such a small factor that recyclability, reliability and useful function are given priority.

If you want to save the planet, the best laptop to buy is one from the most reliable manufacturers - you can Google who that is (judged by a range of metrics) for yourselves - and to use it for a long time.

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Dave 126
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Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

Around 25mph, they sound like tractors, are relatively expensive and are nicknamed 'cars for the blind' - none of which a French teenager wants. However, the French do let teenagers with L plates carry their girlfriend on the back of scooters, making rural life that bit easier for them!

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