* Posts by AdamT

346 posts • joined 7 Sep 2010

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Blockchain: A digital 'golden section' that's the 'gestalt of its pieces'

AdamT

To infinity?

Pretty sure bitcoins can only be divided down to a "satoshi". Even if they extend the protocol to allow finer division (isn't protocol extension really tricky though? Didn't a previous attempt cause fairly major problems?) then I'm still fairly confident that they can't be "...subdivided to infinity". 'cos, you know, "maths" and "precision" and "finite number of bits to represent your currency units", etc., etc.

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Mr Angry pays taxman with five wheelbarrows worth of loose change

AdamT

Re: Legal Tender ? Debt?

Hmm, quick bit of <search-engine-of-choice>ing suggests I'm wrong. Still, I think the "don't be a dick" philosophy is still good and you can surely enjoy the funny story?

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AdamT

Legal Tender ? Debt?

So, this may not at all be correct but, I was under the impression that "paying for stuff in a shop" is different from "settling a debt".

When you stand at the till and they say "that'll be £11.63 please" then there are limits on what they are required to accept (which, as noted in comments above, are actually surprisingly small so often bigger shops will be more lenient) so you can't give them 1163 pennies and then shout "you're discriminating against me" or whatever if they refuse. This isn't "settling a debt" because you don't owe anything because they haven't given you the goods yet.

But in a restaurant, for example, you are "settling a debt" because at the end of the meal they have given you the goods and so you do now owe them recompense for that. I and thought, perhaps wrongly, that there was a different set of rules about what they were required to accept in payment of that debt. i.e. that they can't refuse to accept because you want to pay a £5.10 bill with 51x10p, for example, because it is actual money of the correct amount and you are legitimately attempting to settle the debt.

Of course all of this is covered by the general observation that life would be so much easier if everyone on both sides of these transactions just resolved to "not be a dick about things".

Which reminds me of the time I donated several years (and Kgs) collection of coppers to the work charity collection and said "You do have one of those coin counting machines don't you?" to which the response was "Yes. But's it's broken. But that's OK because we've got an intern!".

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How the NYE leap second clocked Cloudflare – and how a single character fixed it

AdamT

Re: the code was updated to check if rttMAX was equal to or less than zero

I think the point is that the "implementation" of their UTC functions just doesn't know about leap seconds so all you can do is externally set it back by a second at some point. i.e. the now() function can't ever report "23:59:58", "23:59:59", "23:59:60", "00:00:00", which is what it should do in a leap second. So the only option that they have is to "manually" knock back the time counter so you repeat a second as reported by the now() function. Having done that there is a risk that if you make two requests less than an actual second apart and the knock back occurs between the two, then you will get a negative value.

Hence Google's approach of just smearing the second out over a day or so by making multiple tiny adjustments such that you can guarantee that the smallest interval between now() requests will always still result in a positive number.

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Joe Public likes drones and regulations, finds UK.gov 'public dialogue'

AdamT

Re: Another great government survey

As usual, "Yes, Minister" got there first with the "would you support compulsory military service" questionnaire episode. Just got to find a link...

Ah, here we go: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086831/quotes

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Privacy is theft! Dave Eggers' big-screen takedown of Google and Facebook emerges

AdamT

Black Mirror

Didn't Charlie Brooker already do this in one of his "Black Mirror" episodes?

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Whiffy kitchen after last night's chips? Clear the air with SPACE PLASMA

AdamT

Wait, what?

Running the fumes through the current filters produces ozone but using a high voltage spark won't? I thought high voltage spark was the very definition of how to produce ozone!

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Chap turns busted laptop into phone keyboard, in Himalayan book-rescue mission

AdamT

Not quite as hardcore but...

... I do recall back in the 90's being asked to install Windows 95 Japanese (*) on a laptop. It took me several goes to get it right (I think I had to install regular 95 first then install the Japanese version on top) so I had to ask the user to draw out all the kanji characters for the install wizard questions/answers.

(*) not just a "language pack add on" kind of thing, but a complete "everything is translated" version where the only English text was for trademarks/names/etc.

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Chinese 'nauts blast off for month-long space station scouting mission

AdamT

@esme - well official UK government policy is that our space programme is strictly an unmanned one. So we're just not in that race at all (rightly or wrongly - discuss!)

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Blighty's telly, radio watchdog Ofcom does a swear

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Hololens for biz shocker: Surprisingly, it doesn't totally suck

AdamT

Re: "evaluating the insurance risks for buildings"

My reading of the article was that the inspector from the insurance company would be wearing the kit. He then just wanders around and, if he's been there before, just need to "look" at everything necessary. Possibly taking a few close-ups of fire-extinguishers, etc. to see serial numbers or whatever. Then, if it all works correctly, doesn't then need to spend hours/days going through his notes, working out where each photo was taken, cross checking every serial number with a test certificate, etc.

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Kaspersky to 1337 haxors: take down our power grid. We dare you

AdamT

Old news

I saw this done in a documentary once: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PxTAn4g20U

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Uber and Volvo take on Ford in race to launch self-driving vehicles

AdamT

So...

...given the recent announcement from Tesla about their truck plans, their undeniable speed of getting stuff actually on the road (notwithstanding their tendency to miss their overly ambitious targets) and the fact that they already have more real-world "autopilot" experience than anyone else - doesn't this mean that the first issue Volvo/Uber/Ford will face when they eventually hit the road is trying to merge into a continuous stream of TeslaTrucks ?

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Viscous liquid oozing down the walls? You must have hives

AdamT
Coat

But no-one said:

"It had to be seen to be Bee-lieved" !?

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Idiot flies drone alongside Flybe jet landing at Newquay Airport

AdamT

Re: Risk?

Bizarrely, I've done exactly the same in almost the same place. My pigeon swooped out the trees from the side and hit right in front of my face on the windscreen - it was loud and I totally flinched! But was quite proud of myself that I didn't swerve or do anything disastrous. The cloud of feathers was impressive ...

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NASA test foiled by rocket shaking power cord loose from camera

AdamT

Re: What it shows

It's almost like he heard you ....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKqY8sy3nkM (went up a day or so ago)

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AdamT

Shaky!

Does anyone know how to run a youtube video through some kind of de-shaking post processing? The rocket should be a nice stable point of reference...

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Violence, vandals and vomit: London's naughtiest tech Tube stations revealed

AdamT

Re: SPADs, TDFs, what a cornucopia for disaster

@TRT - yes, that's when the article was from. They were doing authorised SPADs but discovered that, at low speeds, the automatic brakes were not triggered (because of the string/rope thing). Cue much tabloid hysteria about the tube trains failing because of the wrong sort of string...

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AdamT

Re: SPADs, TDFs, what a cornucopia for disaster

Not sure if this is relevant but I recall an article from a few years ago that actually explained that many SPADs are when there has been some other signalling fault and the line controller authorises the driver to proceed across a red light over the radio. This still triggers the emergency brakes and is still recorded as a SPAD but is actually part of a defined procedure to avoid shutting the line down for every single little failure (i.e. not dangerous and not some driver just piling through a red light at 30mph because he wasn't looking). You know if you've been on a train that's done this because you'll crawl slowly out the station, suddenly stop, pause for a few seconds and then accelerate off as normal.

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The developer died 14 years ago, here's a print out of his source code

AdamT

Re: Portrayal of computer tech guys in films/tv.

Allegedly there was a similar problem in the legal system with juries having watched too much CSI and asking why they couldn't have the grainy CCTV footage "enhanced", etc.

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Perlan 2: The glider that will slip the surly bonds of Earth – and touch the edge of space

AdamT

Looks like ...

Have to admit my first thought on seeing the picture was that it was a Burt Rutan / Scaled Composites design (the people doing the Virgin Galactic craft, amongst other things) and that it was interesting that Airbus would be working with them. But turns out it's not. I guess small round windows is the only feasible choice so they all end up looking a bit similar?

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Chatbot lawyer shreds $2.5m in parking tickets

AdamT

Re: A small omission?

"Some people will game the system of course by betting that the cost of them processing your dispute will be more than the fine is worth"

Arguably the council has already done this to you with the discount offer: "you owe us X for this alleged infringement but if you just pay up quietly within 21 days we will generously reduce it to X/2"

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Singapore Airlines 777 catches fire after engine alarm

AdamT

Re: camera phones

in some situations it is deemed safer to remain on the plane. Most extreme example of this being Qantas 32 (the A380 that lost an engine eplosively). I think the passengers sat on the plane for 3 hours whilst one of the other engines was put out. Obviously they were ready to evacuate the whole time but the pilot's view was that the outside contained a burning engine, hot brakes and a major fuel leak, and until that situation changed, inside was safer.

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Sliced your submarine cable? Fill in this paperwork

AdamT

Re: Notification...

well, given that the contents of that cable could be at around 9kV I'm guessing that a number of paper-work inducing events will ensue...

But, I agree, this new "FCC Outage Report" will probably be the least of them.

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Happy Mappiversary, Ordnance Survey

AdamT

well, hence the name _Ordnance_ Survey. Meaning either artillery or military planning/logistics.

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Microsoft cancels Remain speech after death of Labour MP

AdamT
Unhappy

Re: Shitstorm V2

I have no particular objection to a company saying to its workforce "this is what we believe the consequences of the two outcomes will be both for the company itself and you as as member of staff" - and then backing it up with some actual facts, actual reasoned arguments and clarification of which bits were opinion, company policy, etc. (*)

Of course I'd like the same from the wider debate too, so clearly I'm an eternal optimist due to live forever in a state of disappointment.

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FAA to test Brit drone-busting kit

AdamT

Well, quite. And also, if my drone could use wifi, 4g, 3g, etc. could it really block all those? Or some sort of custom telemetry on some random frequency? If I'm planning something nefarious with a drone then I'm probably not going to be too scared of OFCOM turning up to complain weakly at the unlicensed spectrum use ...

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ISS pump-up space podule fully engorged

AdamT

Actually I'm not sure that a "The Martian" style Hab material needs to be quite as tough. Pressure differentials about the same but even Mars' thin atmosphere is enough to stop the kind of micrometeorites and so forth that the ISS has to worry about...

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AdamT

Re: Hope he's not a smoker

i was watching the first attempt on NASA TV and he was being told to inflate it in one second bursts. It did seem to me that his definition of "one second" was somewhat quick and evidently mission control thought so too because the fourth or fifth "go" command contained the addendum " ... and make it a generous second".

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AdamT

CGI?

This is yet another good step forward in space exploration and space technology development. But I can't help but feel that the actual thing looks a bit, well, scruffy compared to the various CGI/artist's impressions that were shown around before hand...

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First successful Hyperloop test module hits 100mph in four seconds

AdamT

Re: The key question

Well, it's not just about the cost of the power. It's also about the cost of the infrastructure necessary to deliver that power such that it can be consumed at any point along the route. Point of Hyperloop being that (a) less power is needed, and (b) it only needs to be delivered at a few key points on the route.

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AdamT

Re: The key question

Well, according to this ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TGV_world_speed_record#Preparation_of_the_train_for_Operation_TGV_150 ) - about the current rail based speed record - you need a mechanical power output measured in 10's of MW which suggest the total of the various drags are considerable.

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Ooh missus, get a grip on my notifications

AdamT

Re: "What I say means what I want to say when I say it. More I cannot say."

Hmm, don't agree with the use of FLA for "four letter acronym". You should use ETLA meaning "extended three letter acronym", that's much more IT appropriate...

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Watch: SpaceX finally lands Falcon rocket on robo-barge in one piece

AdamT

Re: "...live-streamed the landing from a helicopter."

yeah - I don't get that either. Given that "catching the rocket engines with a helicopter" is actually the plan of ULA for their Vulcan project...

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Turbo-charged quantum crypto? You'll need Cambridge laser boffins for that

AdamT

Taking it on trust

So I guess for most people (including the more literate IT types reading here!) we are realistically already at the level where we have to take "secure/unbreakable encryption" claims on trust (because the maths is hard) but once "quantum stuff" starts getting used in real world situations it's going to get worse, right? The number of people who could legitimately claim to genuinely and fully understand how it works is going to go down by an order of magnitude (if not two or three!). 'Cos, you know, this quantum stuff is spooky ...

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New submarine cable to connect Australia to Singapore

AdamT

See you what now?

I was (very slightly) involved in the development of the Sea-Me-We-2 cable and I'm pleased to see they've continued the naming convention so we can continue to all giggle like 8 year olds just like we did 20 years ago ...

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Sick to death of mighty rocket launches? Avoid these dates

AdamT

Re: Further ahead

which also reveals a further TBD SpaceX launch in April...

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William Hague: Brussels attacks mean we must destroy crypto ASAP

AdamT

Huh?

"US Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-SF) introduced a bill to prohibit the anonymous sale of pre-paid mobile phones in America"

Is it just me interpreting that as "OMG! Phones iz more dangerous than gunz!" ?

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Computers shouldn't smoke. Cigarettes aren't healthy for anyone

AdamT

... not just PC's either. Once helped a friend gut a house he'd just bought (partly because of the hideous 60's décor and partly because the previous occupants were chain smokers). As we took down the lovely 60's polystyrene ceiling tiles you could crack them apart and see how far the yellow had soaked into the tile...

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Mighty Soyuz stands proud at Baikonur

AdamT

Re: Middle Naut

Based on in interview with him in a documentary I saw (that was actually more about Tim Peake) it appears that he does have a pretty good sense of humour but that it is very, very, ... very ... dry indeed. Whether that is representative of Russians in general or Cosmonauts in particular, I couldn't say.

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Hi-def ExoMars launch vid lacks volcanic lair vibe

AdamT

Re: Bonkers

There was a recent satellite launch on some similar flavour of converted ICBM (perhaps this one: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/17/sentinel_launch/ ) where it looks like, even though above ground, there is still some kind of tube that the rocket launches from.

I'm sure there's a technical reason (something to do with the rocket engine expecting a certain back pressure from an underground launch tube?) but it's also amusing to just consider that the rockets get nervous in the open air so they're given a little tube to hide in until it's time to go...

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Computers abort SpaceX Falcon 9 launch

AdamT

Volcano Lair?

And presumably we'll find out shortly if Musk really does have any "volcano lair" tendencies as, in this situation, surely the temptation to use one's fortune to hunt down the boat's skipper and do something amusingly unpleasant to them must be very, very tempting ....

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Ordnance Survey unfolds handy Mars map

AdamT

Re: Bah!

Absolutely! That was my favourite bit of the Geography O-Level exam - the "here's a nice OS map for your perusal and a number of questions about it" question. Sad thing was that we didn't get to keep the maps afterwards.

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AdamT

Re: Map for The Martian

yup - I spotted that too. I wonder if it was deliberate or perhaps that area of Mars is just "interesting" whether you are an author, a NASA lander or a quiet bunch of Brit cartographers with a dream ...

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The field at the centre of the universe: Cambridge's outdoor pulsar pusher

AdamT

Used to be my "local" interferometery array

... as I lived in one of the nearby villages so would drive past these chaps most days:

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

Occasionally at night you'd hear the groaning/scraping sounds as they dragged themselves up and down the old rail lines adjusting themselves.

Seems like they've now been co-opted into a more stationary configuration these days:

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

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Who would code a self-destruct feature into their own web browser? Oh, hello, Apple

AdamT

French slang?

Not at all an expert on French slang but I was made aware of "zizzi" as meaning the same as "bite", in this slang context at least, by my French colleagues' hysterical laughter at this news item from 2007: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6586879.stm

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Microsoft sinks to new depths with underwater data centre experiment

AdamT

Re: Why put it all below water?

exactly! Why not just pump seawater out the sea (or a river), pass it through some heat exchanges and then let it back out into the sea? Works pretty well for power stations and they need to get rid of quite a lot more heat than a data centre would ...

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Blighty's Parliament prescribed tablets to cope with future votes

AdamT

Re: Secret

Not any more. Initial transcripts, albeit subject to correction/approval/etc., all available here:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/hansard/commons/todays-commons-debates/

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Space podule outfit inks Arizona launch deal

AdamT

Re: Alternatively...

not entirely sure how the economics and/or politics work but I suspect this is more "dirt-poor southern state competes with other states to keep company in the hope that billionaire visitors will, in the future, spend lots of money in their state on high-altitude ballooning, hotels, food and lots of other sales-tax earning things" ...

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SpaceX: launch, check. Landing? Needs work

AdamT
Mushroom

Hey, Subs! You can have this for free:

"Stuck the landing but not the standing"

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