* Posts by Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

28 posts • joined 3 Feb 2011

Mystery GPS glitch grounds flights, leaves passengers in the bar

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Re: back in MY day...

Loran C was turned off in North America in 2010. Apparently, still running elsewhere in the world.

Until now, if Canadian Uber drivers wanted to battle the tech giant, they had to do it in the Netherlands – for real

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

The proper name is "Court of Appeal for Ontario", not 'Court of Appeals'.

If you read the decision in its full form, the name was at the top of the first page!

The link given at para 3 is now stale. The full decision is at:


Or in legal-speak 2019 ONCA 1

A basement of broken kit, zero budget – now get the team running

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Re: Bad managers are like knotweed

"I'd be interested if anyone has a notion to explain this ...."

It's a digression from the usual sort of anecdata... but I'll try.

One represents the world of feelings and desire, the other the world of the reality of *getting things done*. The prime advantage of military education (and that includes boot camp/basic) is to bash into everyone's head that the team and the result are of a much higher priority than ego, especially ego which gets in the way of dealing with reality as it is, rather than how you would like it to be.

Sort of BTW, but not really. Earlier this year the USS Fitzgerald collided with a freighter, in Japanese waters. It turns out that the Officer of the Deck on the USS Fitzgerald, and the Officer in charge of the Combat Information Center were engaged in a tiff more appropriate to a pair of 12 year old girls, which they were acting like: they were not speaking to each other. Although CIC was aware of the risk of collision shown by the constant bearing angle between the ships, CIC did not so inform the bridge and trigger some reaction before it was too late. Seven sailors died because of that ego storm.

"Two entirely different creatures, it seems. It's weird."

In 2004, Michael Barone wrote a book about this dichotomy, called 'Hard America, Soft America.'

'A peculiar feature of our country today, says Michael Barone, is that we seem to produce incompetent eighteen-year-olds but remarkably competent thirty-year-olds. Indeed, American students lag behind their peers in other nations, but America remains on the leading edge economically, scientifically, technologically, and militarily.'

A REALLY REALLY interesting read.

Also about then, I read an article in some publication, written by a lefty journalist (but I repeat myself (damn! I just typed 'mysql' and had to go back!)) who was embedded with an Army unit in the sand-box. He was astounded by the men he met: "Where do they find people like this?" They were, of course, completely unlike anything he had ever seen at Columbia U, or Brown. The mind-blower for him, was when a Corporal gave up his lottery-gifted planned satellite phone call to his expectant wife back home, so that the Sergeant could use the platoon's only allowed call, to call the parents of their recently killed brother in arms. The journo could neither imagine nor understand this selflessness: Where do they find people like this? To him it was as if they were grown in Montana or Idaho or Kansas. But such people are not found, they can be and are made. And the modern educational system (including Oxbridge etc) *does not teach that*. STEM at least requires that the bridges not fall down, but that is unfortunately not enough on its own.

Here endeth the digression.

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Re: Bad managers are like knotweed

Germany may not suffer from the equivalents of Eton, but France surely does.

Intel rips up microcode security fix license that banned benchmarking

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Now we can understand

IIRC there was an announcement here (poss Arstech) which described the new chipsets which Intel was introducing.

And mirabile dictu, there are upcoming chips *which have no HT*. Cannot remember if the i9 does or doesn't, but the i7 is the other way round. And this does not depend on the core count.

So now we know why THAT has happened. No HT -> no slowdown from contention for the FPU, probably minor slowdown relatively but obscured by a clock speed jump, of course.

Boss regrets pointing finger at chilled out techie who finished upgrade early

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

I use prepaid gift cards in restaurants esp while travelling, and for monthly type payments which you might want to drop. They *always* get declined when the money is gone. Like an Oyster card: no money, no ride.

Cryptography is the Bombe: Britain's Enigma-cracker on display in new home

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

History Facepalm

George Santayana said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to get the dates wrong".

Or something like that, I think. But I can't remember....

Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.

User fired IT support company for a 'typo' that was actually a real word

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Re: If you get a bit twitchy ....

I saw what you did there!

Veddy British wot? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink

UK Court of Appeal settles reseller's question: Is software a good?

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Goods, Services and Products

In Ontario, the Sale of Goods Act has a definition: goods are chattels personal.

Which would include a licence to use (even if restricted, encumbered or castrated).

Is there a definition of 'product' under the Consumer Protection Act?

Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Magnetic Tape and Magnetized Razor Blade

I notice you do not report on the efficacy of your splices.

Using a razor blade that has been stored on a magnet, means that you are using a magnetized razor blade, on magnetic tape.

That produces loud bang, or pop noises in the resulting tape

But then I note that you only referred to your work there on the one day.

Drunk canoeing no longer driving offence in Canada

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

"It's high time."

I saw what you did there!

Linus Torvalds may have damned systemd with faint praise

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Re: It's a phase young programmers go through

"And this is how we get things like DBUS, ConsoleKit, PulseAudio and SystemD."

The last three of which were "brain-children" of on Leonart Poettering....

Microsoft loves Linux so much, its OneDrive web app runs like a dog on Windows OS rivals

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Razors Galore

Napoleon Bonaparte: Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

Heinlein's Law :"Never ascribe to malice that which may be explained by stupidity."

Clarke's Law : "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Grey's Law :"Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice. "

Newbury's Corollary : "Any sufficiently advanced malice is indistinguishable from incompetence. "

In this case, I vote for my corollary.

BT hauled into Old Bailey after engineer's 7-metre fall broke both his ankles

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Re: More than reported here?

"Makes me glad I work in a nice warm, non-moving office where the biggest threat is tripping over an ethernet cable..":


HI I'm LARCEN E. WHIPSNADE, one of the trail lawyers at Dewey Cheatem and Howe LLP and I can help you recover the damages to which you are entitled! Your injuries are important to us! Do not suffer in silence any longer. Contact us now! And remember, you don't pay a cent until we recover for you. Contact us at contingencyfeesarefirst@do-we-cheat.com!

Good thing this dev quit. I'd have fired him. Out of a cannon. Into the sun

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Re: Let me guess, that last one was an academic?

I am pretty sure that Fortran started out to use only 1-72. The ability to add line-numbers in columns 73-80 came a little later.... If memory serves ( but sometimes it can only volley at all well) the changeover was about 1970 or so. Since I can remember writing line numbers on the cards and only later being able to use the end columns..... Dropped a box containing a ~4000 line program down a stairwell once. Luckily it was AFTER numbered columns were available...

Long ago in a galaxy far far away....

BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Re: admin obverhead

"I know you too well. You've got a fucking script written to stuff the timesheet database automatically on a Friday afternoon, haven't you?".

To which the only proper reply would be:

You might think that. I couldn't possibly comment.

LOHAN test flight: Results in from Oz jury

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Re: Units


Must write a food reminder to never let you navigate at sea, if you are going to use Glover's as a reference.

A British statute mile is exactly 5280 feet. A US mile is 5280.01056002 feet. (The history of THAT must be interesting! And I did not know that until today.)

But a nautical mile is NOT the same as a British statute mile. A nautical mile was for at least a couple of centuries a 'sea mile' equal to one minute of latitude. And of course, one minute of latitude actually varies with latitude as the earth is not spherical. Generally it was taken as 6080 feet. From about 1890 the British admiralty and the US differently defined a nautical mile to equal one minute of arc of a great circle on Clarke's spheroid (of 1866) approximation of the shape of the earth: 6080 and 6080.2 feet respectively. Both eventually gave that up, and now use the International Hydrographic standard (of 1929) , of exactly 1852 meters or .6076.1154 feet. (Amazing stuff hidden in a copy of Bowditch!)

Brit balloon bod Bodnar circumnavigates planet

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Countries Crossed

I make it 21 countries to and including Sweden:

England, France Italy Albania Macedonia Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, North Korea, Japan, USA, Canada, Greenland, Holland, Denmark and Sweden.

With a fair short at including Finland...

And it could have clipped a corner of German territory between Holland and Denmark.

Amazing and astounding. ELEVEN GRAM PAYLOAD!


Survey: Patent litigation skyrocketing, trolls top 10 sueball chuckers

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

I've seen that graph before.

You Idiots! You stole that graph from Michael Mann. I've seen the hockey stick. It means we're all gonna DIE!!!!!!

LOHAN slowly strips lens caps off hi-def imaging arsenal

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Probably the easiest way to stop misting would be to flood the case under a stream of (dry) nitrogen while closing the case. No water vapour, no misting.

Most watch repair shops will have a nitrogen setup: They flood the case of a waterproof watch with nitrogen after doing a battery change, before closing the back.

Or close everything up on a low humidity day ( yeah... in the UK...right!).

Mmmm, TOE jam: Trev shoves Intel's NICs in his bonkers test lab

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Sufficiently vitriolic phrase

" I consider it a professional failing as a writer that I cannot create a sufficiently vitriolic phrase to encompass the depth of my discontent with that product. I simply lack the words."

Or you can go thg other route: understatement. As in:

" I find it difficult to express with appropriate moderation my disagreement with the proposition...."

Lord Hoffman L.J. at para 46 Tomlinson v Congleton Borough Council [2003] UKHL 47 or online at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200203/ldjudgmt/jd030731/tomlin-1.htm

LOHAN starts to feel the barometric pressure

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

GPS Altitude

It appears that a GPS derived altitude is the only method which would give any sort of precision in regard to exactly what altitude the launch takes place. Here is a very small GPS unit which interfaces through an SD card slot:


Very cool little thing, and quite possibly exactly what you want. A quick troll through the SPB/LOHAN archive reveals no information about the nature and capabilities of the "Avionics Package". Maybe another article with specs will cloudsource some amendments to the present design?

Pair of double-As give you cheap, quick charge

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Better Solution

A much better solution-in-advance, a Brookstone external battery:


Or check out Casemate's offerings: a case with included battery:


Casemate also make phone 'holsters' which charge the phone whenever it is 'holstered'.

LOHAN to straddle meaty titanium rod

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Simpler Still

Sorry to invite you back to the drawing board., but there IS a better way.

Invert the truss (again!) and make the lowest rail (bottom apex) from a strip of delrin shaped as an inverted keyhole. The truss' structural rods are inserted into holes drilled in the top section of the strip. LOHAN rides along the bottom rounded section. The lower truss then carries out both truss and launcher duties.

You do not need a separte alu plate nor a titanium rod. In the present design, the plate must support the entire load of the rod and LOHAN and hopefully keep them in alignment. Good luck with that.

With a shaped delrin truss tube, the static load of the LOHAN is spread throughout the length of the truss since the delrin is structurally strong. Any torque loads induced by the launch of LOHAN are immediately transmitted into the truss, and the alignment of the LOHAN vis-a-vis the truss is retained. The titanium rod however can bend the plate mounting under load. You need only place a small bolt through the keyhole head to stop LOHAN from sliding off 'backwards.

And delrin because it is light, strong, easly machined, has useful high-temperature characteristics (needs a couple of hundred degrees before it deforms), has basically a nil co-efficent of thermal expansion and has an incredibly low coefficient of friction. In friction terms, its more slippery than ice. And ice is not likely to form on it due to its low thermal conductivity. Only problem is that it IS hard to glue: you do need two part epoxy, but then you probably need that to glue the carbon tubes together anyway.

Attempted ASCII art description of the shape of the delrin truss:


\ /

\ /


Well I hope you get the idea! A variant would be to use an upside down T shape which might be easier to construct. Some passes with a router if constructing from a bar shape, or small screws to fix the 'head' of the T onto the shaft if constructiing from sheet material.

LOHAN fires up sizzling thruster

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon


sed s/Also Sprach Zarathurstra/Also Sprach Zarathustra/

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

Loved the opening of the video, Nice work, Good practice for the upcoming main feature.

But the sound effects have to go.... that sounded like a puny 4 cylinder Cessna 152 flying by.

If you are going to do sound, then it should at least be a jet.

Try this: http://www.therecordist.com/assets/sound/mp3_09/Jet_A10_Warthog_Pass1.mp3\

Or maybe steal the audio from here, and substitute 'Lohan' where necessary.


Plus of course, it should start with the opening bars of 'Also Sprach Zarathurstra',

I mean, gee, get with the program, guys!

Can you handle LOHAN's substantial globes?

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

3 balloons or 1

Using 3 balloons and a 'tube' through which the LOHAN launches, would mean a very large tube! You could instead have a reasonably small carbonfibre tube, held vertically between the 3 balloons, with the LOHAN mounted on the top...head on a pike style. The whole thing is stabilized by having the rest of the payload hung from the bottom of the tube.. Pro: Results in vertical launch Con: Needs 3 balloons and careful bracing to support the tube at the right place. Probably would need some sort of net around the balloons to attach the tube to, and a very long tube...-> extra weight *But 3 balloons gives greater lifting capability. Launch will likely destroy the balloons. If one explodes prematurely, the remaining 2 might just support the weight, albeit at an angle. Complex and difficult.


Use one balloon and a very long tether, so that the launch package is far enough below the balloon that the launch can be substantially vertical. The balloon subtends just under 20 degrees from 30 metres (Asin 10/30 = 20 degrees), Use 2.5 mm Dyneema line which has a 1600lb tensile strength at only 150gm per 30m (see http://www.apsltd.com/c-1492-amsteel-blue-samson.aspx for an example). Launch the LOHAN from a tube, tilted 15 degrees from vertical. The payload at the bottom of the launcher stabilizes the orienation (except for spin). Using a pipe removes any need for a release mechanism: just fire the rockets. The interior of the LOHAN can have a circular double helix structural spar up the middle, like the 3D-printed nylon plane from a few days ago. Use a carbon fiber tube for light weight and stiffness epoxied into the payload box at the correct angle. Suspend the payload from a bridle to ensure the correct orientation.

Canada? The computer vendor says no

Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

What to do.

Trevor, if the Nook Color is a no-brainer, you should look up a lawyer in Great Falls, Montana, talk to him/her, and send them $300 to cover the purchase of Nook at B&N, and shipping to Edmonton by Fedex, plus a little left over for lunch. I doubt it would take too many calls to find someone who would do that for you. (Get them to put a letter in the box, and describe it as 'legal documents'!!! for customs).

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