* Posts by Chris Rowland

53 posts • joined 10 Mar 2011


Review: Renault Zoe electric car

Chris Rowland

A nice review for once, better than the usual anti-eco ranting from the Register.

And it looks like a practical car if you don't need to travel long distances all the time. I can imagine getting one, it would cope with 95% of what we use a car for and hiring something for when it can't seems to me to be better than using something that's usually far too big all the time.

As for the deniers, with their attitude we would still be using the horse and cart, "What's the point in getting one of these new motor cars? They keep on breaking down, they run on petrol! My horses use the hay I grow for myself - and they produce more horses!"

Is UK web speech regulated? No.10: Er. We’ll get back to you

Chris Rowland

The press have brought this on themselves.

Their behaviour, in lying, cheating, stealing and bribing is what has caused this. They have behaved in a totally immoral way where the only constraint is "can I get away with it".

This is not a few bad apples. It is the whole lot of them.

I can think of no other business where lying, stealing and bribing is considered normal business tactics.

Having demonstrated they are not fit to run an honest business they will be, I hope, forced to do so.

Given a choice between the government and the press I'd trust the government's honesty and integrity more than the press.

New nuke could POWER WORLD UNTIL 2083

Chris Rowland

It seems similar to the Dunning Kruger effect, the less someone knows about something the more they underestimate its difficulty.

I'd trust Andydaws opinion more than the "how hard can it be!" brigade.

But a cheap, simple, efficient, reliable and safe power generation system would be really nice.

Is world's first space tourist Dennis Tito planning a trip to Mars?

Chris Rowland

Re: Private sector needs to show the public sector how it is done

There's a free space flight simulator called Orbiter that allows you to try all this sort of thing for yourself. The default craft is seriously over endowed with delta V but even so anything more complex than getting into orbit is almost impossible without getting the computer to do the calculations.

Try a take off from the Moon and a return to Earth without using a burn calculator.

Python-lovers sling 'death threats' at UK ISP in trademark row

Chris Rowland

Re: sad all around

If you do something bad then YOU are bad. Claiming that you did something bad because someone else did so first is not acceptable. It's understandable if you are less than about 5 but still not acceptable.

It's what being civilised means.

Space station 'naut supplies Reg with overhead snap of Vulture Central

Chris Rowland

Re: You can see our house from up there!

Mine too, top left corner.

Should have got the scope out yesterday evening, it was the first clear evening for ages.


Ten 3D printers for this year's modellers

Chris Rowland

Printing in wax?

It could be useful if they were to be able to print in wax, then use the lost wax method to cast things in metal.

Do any of the 3D printers do this?

Naked intruder cracks one off in Florida rampage drama

Chris Rowland

Re: @Alfred 2 - Argument for gun ownership

Titus Technophobe: Your characterization of disabled people as "oxygen thieves" is evil. In fact it isn't just your posts, it is you. You are evil. You are scum, not fit to lick shit off my shoes. You are totally without any sort of redeeming features Your very existence is an offence against any civilized society.

This also applies to the people who up voted your reprehensible post, also evil scum.

I hope there is a hell for you to burn in for eternity.

Boeing 787 fleet grounded indefinitely as investigators stumped

Chris Rowland

Re: @bazza

I remember hearing about John Glenn using fly by wire in his Mercury capsule. I wondered why the air didn't leak out round the wires (I was only about 12 at the time).

USB 3.0 speed to DOUBLE in 2013

Chris Rowland

Re: Meh

Universal? I thought it was Unreliable.

One who's wasted far too much time with USB to RS232 interfaces.

First rigid airship since the Hindenburg enters trials

Chris Rowland

Re: 'rare and expensive helium'

It's rare and expensive on Earth.

There's plenty in Jupiter, Saturn and the Sun, all we need is a way to get it...


Boffins spot planet that could support life... just 12 light years away

Chris Rowland

Re: Mass 5 times that of earth

Assuming the same density as Earth I make it about 1.7G

Radius is the cube root of the mass 5^0.333 = 1.709 times Earth

G is then the mass divided by the radius squared - 5 / 1.7 ^ 2 = 1.73

That's not going to be comfortable long term but would do given nothing better.

FCC urges rethink of aircraft personal-electronics blackout

Chris Rowland

The anecdote I have is of a 747 that was gently rocking from side to side in the cruise (on autopilot of course).

There was a guy in the first row of first class playing a CD player. They got him to turn it off - no rocking - on - rocking.

I'm sure that a lot of electronics are no problem but I don't think that anyone can guarantee that ALL electronics are no problem. Maybe the flight attendants can have a list of approved equipment and go through the cabin checking what devices people want to use and letting them know ot it's OK or not.

Leveson tells media to set up independent regulator or bow to Ofcom

Chris Rowland

Paying attention to what the press say about this seems to me like asking the criminals what sentence should be imposed - and even what counts as a crime.

Hurricane Sandy blows US pirate-pestering plan into 2013

Chris Rowland

Re: Yarr!

Not kill, not kidnap.

Rob yes. Like shoplifting.

Patent trolling to go under anti-trust spotlight

Chris Rowland

Is there anything fundamentally wrong about having a patent and licensing it to the people who wish to use it?

It seems to me that the problem is that it is too easy to patent something that is obvious.

Humans becoming steadily STUPIDER, says brainiac boffin

Chris Rowland

Re: Except...

Well - I've seen quite a lot of innovation generated as a way to work round patents.

One example is the aileron. The Wright brothers invented and patented wing warping as a way pf controlling roll in aeroplanes. People didn't want to pay for using wing warping so they invented ailerons - and it was a much better way. When was the last time you flew in an aeroplane with wing warping? The only current example I can think of is paragliders.

Google, Amazon, Starbucks are 'immoral' and 'ridiculous' over UK tax

Chris Rowland

I wonder if a turnover tax would work, maybe at about 1%

Companies would pay tax either on their profit or on their turnover, whichever is higher.

This isn't the same as VAT because that's only paid on the change in value.

Sky rudely barges TalkTalk off the top-three UK ISP podium

Chris Rowland

I'm another leaver of TT. I moved from them to BT because it was cheaper and faster - 36 times faster!

Their system had worked with no problems for me and I left with no animosity.

Then I discovered that they were still debiting my DD. The process of contacting then to sort this out was so awful that it turned me from someone who would have gone back if things had changed to someone who will not only never go back but will encourage people to avoid them. As I said on their customer satisfaction survey I entered zero only because there were no negative values available.

Habitable HEAVY GRAVITY WORLD found just 42 light-years away

Chris Rowland

Re: Several g is about 2g if HD40307g has the same density as Earth

Given those assumptions the velocity for low orbit will be about 14.5 km/sec and escape velocity about 20.5 km/sec.

For Earth these are 7.8 and 11.kps respectively,

That's going to make getting into space from the surface a bit difficult.

Torvalds: I want to be nice, and curse less, but it's just not in me

Chris Rowland

The problem seems to me that when someone as influential as Linus is rude and abusive, using profanity and personal attacks instead of rational discussion, it tends to set the tone of the whole community.

Chris Rowland

What this means is that the only people you are expecting to use KDE are the people who are expert programmers who have the time and interest to learn how the code works so they can modify it.

A history of personal computing in 20 objects part 1

Chris Rowland

0. The Antikythera mechanism?

SpaceX satellite burns up on re-entry after Falcon FAIL

Chris Rowland

Re: It's an intersting position.

There's no such thing as a free launch.

Whopping supersonic-car rocket rattles idyllic Cornwall

Chris Rowland

Re: Why the car engine?

It drives the pump that forces the HTP into the rocket. 30l/sec at a pressure of up to 1100 lb/ft sq ( or whatever that is in pascals) takes a lot of power. An F1 engine is a good, light, compact power source that can deliver that power, not sure what else could do that job.

UK to hold public consultation on social-media troll prosecutions

Chris Rowland

Re: @Chris Rowland

It's one thing for people to say things to their friends that would be insulting or abusive when directed at a stranger, if you know someone you should understand what's acceptable to them.

But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about abusing total strangers, such as some of those who responded to my previous post. They don't know me, I don't know them, but they think that insulting me somehow invalidates my argument. It doesn't. It reinforces it because they demonstrate that they have no opposing argument.

I should have pointed out that I don't go in for social media very much. I don't use Twitter or Facebook. I do subscribe to some groups that discuss things I'm interested in. Most of them are friendly, polite places where people can discuss things and disagree in an adult manner.

But not always. The sites I mentioned were also sites intended for technical discussion. I was hoping to be abble to learn and contribute, but was not prepared to put up with the abuse, not neccessarily of me but of many people. It made the sites unpleasant places to be.

Chris Rowland

Re: Oh, really?

The Internet is part of the real world. The consequences of abuse on the internet should be just the same as in the real world. People's actions on the internet have real world consequences.

Saying something in a public place on the internet should be the same as saying it in public elsewhere.

Suggesting that a group should police itself does not work. I have seen groups destroyed by lack of moderation. I have withdrawn from groups because I can't stand the trolls. In at least one case the moderators were the worst offenders.

Why should reasonable people be driven off the internet because of the actions of people who seem to think it funny to abuse people? Why should we be punished for their actions?

OLYMPIC SECRETS to stay locked up for 15 YEARS

Chris Rowland

I can just imagine it in 15 years...

"Does anyone know how to read these 15 year old disks?"

"Let's see - - no, we haven't used those for ages, I think the last reader died about 5 years ago".

Fanboys order 2m iPhone 5s in 24 hours

Chris Rowland

Re: Same old, same old...

Yes! A good step on the way to C...

Apache man disables Internet Explorer 10 privacy setting

Chris Rowland

Re: What a prat...

AIUI Apache will ignore the DNT setting if you are using IE10 regardless of how it's set.

I wonder who made the change to the draft standard after IE10 escaped. It looks as if that change was made to try to put MS in the wrong. Nobody seems to be saying though.

Raspberry Pi production back in Blighty

Chris Rowland

Re: Can't bloody wait for mine....

My reading of the article is that Farnell are going to be manufacturing in the UK but that RS are not.

So if you are waiting on RS it will be coming from China.

'Nutjob' serves half-baked Raspberry PI scam

Chris Rowland

They did give some away

Early on, Eben took a load of them to a school and the kids kept them. IIRC complete with keyboard, mouse and SD card. Maybe PSU and cables.

One kid put it on eBay, there was a bit of a fuss on the Pi group and Eben said that it was a gift and they were free to do what they liked with it.

That doesn't excuse this guy though.

US 'space warplane' may be spying on Chinese spacelab

Chris Rowland

From a look at the orbital elements published on the Heavens Above site the X37B and Tiangong-1 are not even visible to one another. The orbit inclination is the same but the longitudes of the ascending node for the two craft are over 100 degrees different. If the orbital periods are about the same then I think it will stay like that unless something pretty significant is done.

Backyard astronomer snaps Beta Pictoris dust disk

Chris Rowland

He's got some seriously clear skies to manage that.

He made the scope as well.

No chance now to save Phobos-Grunt Mars mission

Chris Rowland

The fuel on board should give it enough delta V to be able to slow it down enough that it doesn't need a heat shield. After all it's enough to get it to Mars and get into orbit there.

But doing a soft landing - at least soft enough that parts can be reused - seems a bit optimistic, especially as the reason it's stuck here is that they can't control the motors.

It's a shame.

Man sues boss for 'condemning him to eternal damnation'

Chris Rowland

I'm saddened to see how many people think that a person who has a belief different to theirs should be fired.

I originally thought surprised but then realised where this is and that intolerance and general nastiness was no surprise at all.

Hope the guy gets a job with a better employer.

Web czar: 'Drag your nan online'

Chris Rowland

I got my late father on the internet; he gave up at about 89, six months before he died.

He could cope with email fairly well but the www was more of a problem.

He couldn't find links, mostly because creative people would design web pages with their own slyle. Saying that you can tell where the links are because they are in blue and underlined just didn't work reliably. He needed that sort of simple rule and there aren't any.

As people say, it's more than an hour's work. The sort of thing you will do for your close family.

Corning launches can-stand-the-heat Lotus glass for phones

Chris Rowland

It's a ratio. Ratios don't have units.

Stallman: Android evil, Apple and Microsoft worse

Chris Rowland

That's essentially free as in beer as well then.

Doesn't it mean that a developer who spends some time developing an application would then sell it to someone who requires the source and publishes it so everyone can replicate the application. The original developer now has no more sales and so no income.

Even developers need to eat.

Chris Rowland

Just a thought experiment:

If I were to develop some software and sell the compiled code with terms that state that the source was available for an additional payment could that be licensed under the GPL?

It's obviously not free as in beer but the customer has the right to buy the source so it's free as in speech - isn't it?

This code would, of course, not depend on any code licensed under any other scheme.

Hunt for long-lost Apollo 10 moon lander adrift in space

Chris Rowland

For quite a lot of the trip from the Moon to the Earth the dominant gravitational force is the Sun, not the Earth or Moon. So it's likely to be in a solar orbit that's similar to the Earth's. There are several Saturn upper stages in the same situation, they were used to get the capsule, lander and service module on the way to the Moon, then jettisoned.

There's an excellent space flight simulator on the web - Orbiter. It's the closest most of us will get to doing this.

MPs blast dole-office-online plans

Chris Rowland

Would be great but they are closing the libraries.

LOHAN rival to inflate bulging orbs with hydrogen

Chris Rowland

@missing something

Yes, Google.

Boffins shine 800Mbps wireless network from flashlight

Chris Rowland

I did it in the 60s

A school friend and I had some fun doing this in the 1960s, using a torch bulb as the source and a photo transistor as the detector - an OCP71 IIRC.

Not quite so fast but we got speech transmission.

LOHAN spaceplane project starting to shape up nicely

Chris Rowland


A few thoughts:

Could the aircraft be suspended directly from the balloon with the suspension arranged to give the 45 deg launch angle? This would avoid the additional mass of a separate module attached to the balloon.

I wonder if the release method could be by running the attachment cable through the rocket exhaust so that when the rocket is fired the cable is burnt through and the craft is released.

The suggested multi rocket design seems to be vulnerable to problems if the rockets don't all start at the same time.

Are folding wings neccessary? It's additional complexity and there aren't any narrow spaces it has to fit through.

Jupiter spacecraft mounted atop bloody big rocket

Chris Rowland

No it's dark

No light but AFAIK it does generate more heat that it receives. So does the Earth.

Jupiter would need to be considerably more massive to get hot enough to shine.

Google dumps all 11+ million .co.cc sites from its results

Chris Rowland

No Ambition

A forum I moderate has blocked *.cn

The number of spam registrations dropped to almost nothing.

Terrafugia flying car gets road-safety exemptions

Chris Rowland

Just don't fill it up!

They did say fully fuelled...

All you have to do is not fill it up; trade range for carrying capacity.

And my glider takes off and lands on one wheel.

The real reason most source is closed? Open is hard

Chris Rowland

Re: Standing naked in the gym

I don't see this. Most of the open source software I've seen is poorly documented, some has terrible design at the function level; the lack of any overview description makes it impossible to tell if the overall architecture is any good - or even correct.

Usually it's just a load of source files and a make file.

I'm not saying it's all like this, some bits may be better, with tribes of enthusiastic developers and reviewers who keep the code clean, tidy and well documented.

It seems to me that it's no better - or worse - than other code.

IATA: this iPad could BRING DOWN A PLANE

Chris Rowland

I hope I never fly with you lot

It's not the deliberate RF emissions that are the problem, it's the noise from all the digital electronics.

A friend of mine (retired from a senior position in a company making RF shielding) tells the story of a 747 in the cruise, on autopilot, that was gently rocking from side to side. After some investigating they found somebody in the first class cabin, just behind the flight deck, who was using a CD player. They got him to turn it off - aeroplane flew straight - on - plane wobbled. Better keep that off.

There's no real control over the emission levels of consumer devices, and when they are in the plane they are inside the planes Faraday cage so the level of attenuation is much less than for things outside. Most things outside are further away as well.

Maybe most devices are OK, but which ones? How does the airline tell? Even if there was a list of acceptable devices can you imagine the mayhem if the cabin staff were trying to explain that some devices were OK but others were not.

And to those who think they know better than the airlines, how many of your friends are you prepared to sacrifice to determine exactly what the risk is?



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