* Posts by roytrubshaw

123 posts • joined 15 Aug 2012

Tesla to stop killing drivers: Software update beamed to leccy cars


Re: Radar is well proven, why has it been ignored by Tesla ?

"My Audi is now more than five years old, and it has a driving assistance system which the manufacturer does not market as an "Autopilot", rather they call it Adaptive Cruise Control."

The VW/Audi/etc. system doesn't do autosteer AFAICS.

Since you are still steering the car you are less likely to be disengaged from the road conditions in which you are driving. (Though I find myself entering a "fugue state" on older Motorways if I am not careful.)

If I recall correctly Mercedes and BMW have "lane keeping" assistance features, so they will have some form of autosteer, does anyone know what the accident statistics for these cars are like?

Possibly the main difference between all the cars with this kind of self-drive ability is the fact that the Musk is so high profile and keeps talking about it?

Tesla driver dies after Model S hits tree


Re: own EV happens to have the exact same problem

"right, lithium being the second most chemically reactive substance in the known universe, and the most reactive of all of the metals."

Err. No. Lithium is the least reactive of the Alkali metals (Group II); in this case reactivity increases as you go down the group. So Caesium would be the most reactive of these metals.

There is an entertaining film I remember from my school days where each metal in turn is reacted with water, which demonstrates this point quite explosively

Here's a YouTube video that contains some of the scenes from that film: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvVUtpdK7xw)

Space station to get shiny new ringpiece for automatic penetration


Re: Passive?

"If it does things automagically, that makes it an active system in my book. Just sayin'"

I think the clue is in the following: "The IDA is studded with sensors that feed data to approaching spacecraft so that they can dock automatically without requiring help from inside the habitat."

Personally, I'd rather not have unexpected visitors just dropping in without me present if I was umpteen thousand miles up with nowhere to go if they're less than friendly.

Facebook deleted my post and made me confirm pics of my kids weren't sexually explicit


Re: I dumped Facebook

"And I am much happier."

As a friend of my son said, "Life is what happens to other people while you're on Facebook."

Personally I'm waiting for the announcement of the formation of GooFaceMicroTwApple which will then be followed immediately by "The Singularity".

Facebook ‘glitch’ that deleted the Philando Castile shooting vid: It was the police – sources


Re: it is not the guns

"It is also important to understand the fear that cops feel everyday on road checkpoints where anybody could fire at him asking papers."

At this point one wonders why take the risk of pulling someone over for what seems like (to my UK ears at least) an extremely trivial matter.

The NRA apparently wants to increase gun ownership, which will lead inevitably to more situations where people (the police included) will be in fear of their lives and will shoot at the slightest hint of increased danger. To quote an article from Cracked (http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-7-stupidest-arguments-against-gun-control/) "... this is a supersaturated solution of bullets crystallizing out into gravestones."

Linux letting go: 32-bit builds on the way out


"... but 64-bit Windows obviously still runs 32-bit apps."

Only because there's a full 32-bit windows emulation built into all 64-bit versions (WIW - Windows In Windows)!

Is this "two for the price of one"-deal the only time that you get more for your money than you expect from Micro$haft?


Body of evidence: Biometrics and YOU

Big Brother

Re: Biometrics all sounds great

"And that's why Biometrics should NEVER be used as a password, Which can easily be changed once it's been compromised.."

This can't be emphasised enough: Biometric identification is a username not a password!

Lester Haines: RIP

Paris Hilton


RIP Lester, looks like SpaceX has a clear run now ...

Boffins decipher manual for 2,000-year-old Ancient Greek computer


"That's because at that time the 'Amalgated Union of Professional Thinkers'* strongly opposed the idea of their work being done by machines eventually."

So was there a sudden increase in wandering academic pundits at about this time?

Was the mechanism designed to find the answer* or the question**?

(Oh all right *42, **"What do you get if you multiply six by nine?")

Geek's Guide to Britain – now a book. Permission to geek out granted


Re: What have the Britons ever done for us...

"Unfortunately, also John Maynard Keynes and the Fired Mars Bar."

Oy! Without "Keynes" there would be only be three North Towers at Essex University, and where would we be then? On second thoughts I'd have had not so far to walk to get to William Morris... (any chance of discrediting R. H. Tawney? :) )

Meanwhile I'm not sure about "Fired Mars Bar", is this referring to the possible creation of a confectionery shooting device (a whole new meaning to fast food), or perhaps some kind of ceramic coating...

Universe's shock rapidly expanding waistline may squash Einstein flat


Re: Too early to tell.

"It's not about assumptions, it's about theories. And it's always time to re-evaluate theories in the light of new information; we call this process "science"."

Strictly speaking it's about hypotheses, not theories; and just because new information may cause us to expand an existing theory it doesn't stop us continuing to use the old theory as long as its predictions are still useful.

Einstein's General Relativity may have superseded Newton, but Newton's theories are still good enough for NASA successfully to compute the orbits for the Voyager missions for example, and when something replaces General Relativty, our GPS systems will continue to work in spite of that.

Review legacy code: Waking dragons is risk worth taking, says Trainline ops head

Paris Hilton

Re: Business model?

"So, no, not seeing the USP."

It even worse than you think.

I'm pretty certain that all of the TOCs and other ticket selling entities all use the same codebase.

Because of this it's almost always possible to buy *all* of your tickets from a single source, so it's worthwhile "shopping around" for a site that doesn't - for example - charge you postage if you want an actual ticket as opposed to a paper printout or e-ticket.

In any case, it's almost always possible to improve on a single through-ticket price by breaking your journey at the appropriate boundaries though you do have to be careful that the train on which you are travelling does actually stop at the boundary station(s) you have chosen!

I wonder why there are no automated tools to inform the buyer what the actual cheapest options are?

F-35s failed 'scramble test' because of buggy software


Re: I think there is a wonderfull message behind this


Bloody hell! 221 Rules (plus a few extra .1 versions)!

Is it irony on Bjarne's part that there are more "rules" than the maximum number of lines of code allowed in a function or method?

Good grief it's a wonder that any software has been developed at all.

SpaceX is go for US military GPS sat launch, smashes ULA monopoly


"SpaceX can launch its standard rocket, the Falcon 9, for $80 to $90 million"

According to the SpaceX website, the standard launch cost for 4,850Kg to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) is $61.2 million (that's for the Falcon 9)


The $90 million is the projected cost for the Falcon Heavy.

Interesting times ahead - especially once the re-usable first stage becomes more commonplace.

Dropping 1,000 cats from 32km: How practical is that?


Acceleration pedantry

"Imagine if you will a thick blanket of 1,000 wailing felines, claws deployed, descending at an immense rate of knots as you desperately attempt to defend yourself with a garden hose."


knots - as any fule no - is already a rate i.e. nautical miles per hour, so a "rate of knots" is an acceleration - which is accurate, well for the initial part of the drop until terminal velocity is reached anyway - in any case it's g or 68,579 kn/h (which - I'm surprised to find - does appear to qualify as "immense" :) )


Kudos for "kilocat" and also for bringing "kilokitten" to a wider public!

PC World's cloudy backup failed when exposed to ransomware


Re: "years of work and important documents"

"oh and both servers are RAID five."

After several near misses and a catastrophe* I have come to the conclusion that if one has only three drives then RAID 5 is a waste of time and leads one into a sense of false security. With today's large discs >4TB the time to rebuild a RAID 5 array after a single disc failure is longer than the MTBF of the drives themselves, thus there is a real possibility that one can have a second drive fail during the rebuild and thereby causing an unrecoverable error condition in the RAID.

Personally I take the hit on disc space and with only three drives set up RAID 1 (mirroring) and a warm spare.

One should use RAID 6 (at least) if one has more than 3 drives and some version of RAIDed and mirrored drives if you have 6 or more.

(*R-studio was a godsend allowing me to reconstruct a virtual RAID from the "ashes" of my failed array!)

Bash on Windows. Repeat, Microsoft demos Bash on Windows


Re: Hell is indeed freezing over

"mines the one with a copy of Dante's Inferno in the pocket"


The final circle of hell is a frozen lake. Just sayin'


Mine's the one with the well thumbed copies of Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise

Here's a great idea: Let's make a gun that looks like a mobile phone


Re: I can make sense of it...

"Interlekchal Property"?

Surely that's "Interlekchewell"?

(Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Oops, I called you Shirley! :)

You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors


Re: Apple's cut'n'paste blunder

... the young whipper snappers today know nothing of the "One True Language" ...

I.e. BCPL!

Types?? Types are for wimps!

True programmers know what offset to add to a function so that they can skip passed the sub-routine entry code with a goto!

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


Re: Nice to know.. @ Mike Richards

"Especially Slough."

"Come friendly bombs, and fall on Slough!

It isn't fit for humans now.


Slough - John Betjeman

Was Alistair in a slough of despond?

Leaving now...

'Unikernels will send us back to the DOS era' – DTrace guru Bryan Cantrill speaks out


Re: "Operating systems these days..."

"... and in other OSs like DEC RSX-11 and VAX/VMS, and probably a host of other OSs from the same era.

Even in the Microsoft world, Windows/NT must be 20 years old at least. ..."


Not surprising - really - that they all share this feature (among others), as Dave Cutler was responsible for RSX-11M, VAX/VMS and then moved to Micro$haft to create Windows/NT! (Cool or what?)


US rapper slams Earth is Round conspiracy in Twitter marathon


Re: It is flat...

I can see a turtle's arse from my bedroom window.

And before anyone asks; in the immortal words of the little old lady:

"It's turtles all the way down!"

'You're updated!' Drupal says, with fingers crossed behind back


My main problem is with the article itself, there's no real detail behind "borked update process" and following the link to the blog item leads to a piece apparently predicated on the success of a CSRF attack based on "http://yoursite/?q=admin/reports/updates/check".

I've just tried this on a couple of drupal sites, and in each case I get the "Access denied" error in some guise or other. (As I would expect as I'm not logged in with admin privileges.)

It's been some time since I've seen a Drupal URL that includes "?q=..." so thanks for the trip down memory lane anyway!


... Drupal is only loved by the handful of masochists ...

They must be pretty prolific masochists then, each of them being responsible for 200K+ sites each. (Assuming handful = 5)

I'm not sure why the rabid anti-Drupal sentiment, I've worked with Wordpress (espn.co.uk), Drupal (southbankcentre.co.uk) and some home-brewed MVC frameworks (travelodge.co.uk - though there is Drupal there as well) they all have their advantages and disadvantages.

A million or more sites can't all be wrong surely?

All large sites will use CDN/Varnish/nginx as a matter of course and why on earth would you run PHP without opcode caching?

Periodic table enjoys elemental engorgement


Re: Unobtainium...


No! I say and thrice more No!

This is the element that Dyson Spheres are probably built from (though not Ringworlds - I think that's "Scrith") and is probably what powers light-sabres, hyperdrives, makes micro-fusion possible and a host of other things that we should - in the Red Queen's words - believe in before breakfast.

And since all of these elements have pretty short half-lives there's no way any of them can actually be Unobtainium.

Anyway I'm off before the nice men and women in those bright, white lab...


EE recalls all 'Power Bar' USB batteries due to 'fire safety risk'


Re: EE managing the situation

"Section 2.3 for the 18 months period."

My wife spotted this and when she returned the power bar (as part of the first 50,000 recall) she suggested that they could highlight this particular condition to the next wave of punters claiming their free power bars. The manager was very surprised about the 18-month time limit as neither he - nor any of his staff - were aware of the actual Ts & Cs.

On the plus side we did get two £20 vouchers as she returned her mother's power bar at the same time.

It's just a pity that EE's accessory shop/site is both dire and over-priced.

How to build a real lightsabre


Pedantry ahead!

"...while the red lightsabers of the Sith villains could be made of helium, which mostly emits in the red-to-violet region of the spectrum."

Call me picky, but isn't red-to-violet pretty much the entire visible spectrum? Perhaps you could narrow it down a bit?

SpaceX starts nine-day countdown to first flight of the new Falcon

Thumb Up

Re: Just Read The Instructions

and don't forget "Of Course I Still Love You".

(Is it really more than two years? Seems like only yesterday)

US Navy's newest ship sets sail with Captain James Kirk at the bridge


Re: One missile hit and it's all over.

"How fitting if Captain Kirk gets the command of the under construction USS Enterprise (CVN-80) in 2025."

I would guess that, if he is still serving, they will give him command (whatever his rank as the commander of a ship is always 'Captain' when in command) just so that they have a Captain Kirk in command of the Enterprise.

Hello Barbie controversy re-ignited with insecurity claims


Re: The whole problem is the cloud mentality

... a little hat on her head to keep the signals from probing her little brain ...

Paranoid Barbie!

I love it.

And I'm fairly sure it's possible to implement a version of "Parry" in the gargantuan 2Mbytes of firmware which would eliminate the need for communications of any sort...

What the world needs now is Pi, sweet $5 Raspberry Pi Zero


Re: Overpriced

"Informal Reg pole"

Is that, like, an over-familiar, Polish guy called Reg?

Randall Munroe spoke to The Reg again. We're habit-forming that way

Paris Hilton

Re: Biannual

Isn't biannual when you like both normal years and leap years?


<pedant>There was much discussion on Explain XKCD (http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1602) about this.

I think - maybe - the confusion should have been between biannual and biennial. Biannual and semi-annual both mean the same thing i.e. twice a year. Biennial means once every two years.</pedant>

Mostly harmless: Berlin boffins bleat post epic TrueCrypt audit feat

Thumb Up

Re: Tin foil

"They got the idea from a series of short stories by Bob Shaw..."

Slow glass! I haven't thought about that for ages.

Now I come to think about it, my copy of "Other Days, Other Eyes" went missing I wonder if the subject matter was too close to "the truth"?

Shall we Drupal 8? Hint: it's not a verb, but the 8th version of Drupal


Re: No update

Forcing people to update from Drupal 6 to 7 first is an unnecessary hurdle.


Also Drupal 8 is (apologies for the buzzwords) a major paradigm shift, being based as it is on Symfony 2.

I am not looking forward to migrating. I'm seriously looking at Backdrop (https://backdropcms.org/) which may turn out to be the answer for small to medium sites.

iPad data entry errors caused plane to strike runway during takeoff


Re: Using toys as tools...

And weight - you weigh in each piece of baggage and you know how much fuel has been filled in. You know the empty weight of the aircraft. Those three can be calculated automatically. Add an industrial scale on the boarding ramp...

Or you could just have strain gauges with transponders on the undercarriage, which would - at the very least - allow for a sanity-check of the total weight figure being entered.

Aircraft laser strikes hit new record with 20 incidents in one night


Re: Time for boffins...

...to figure out how to limit the range the light can travel from a laser pointer. And then make the column of light fully visible, and a bit thicker, give them a nice big handle to hold it with, and maybe give it a nice wooshing sound as it scythes through the air.

<pedant>More of a 60Hz A/C hum I think.</pedant>

So how's this:

<geek>The handle contains a reel of a mono-filament wire of some kind (probably carbon), which ends in a disc. The disc and the handle are both charged to repel each other and thus hold the filament taut. The charge is transferred to the disc at the end via ionisation caused by a powerful laser beam; as a side of effect of the extreme voltages generated there is a St. Elmo's fire effect going at that makes the ionisation path visible, this acts to tell you where the mono-filament is. It's the mono-filament that does the cutting, not the laser, though the beam and the controlled lightning effect will cauterise - to some extent - wounds caused by the wire.</geek>

And there you have it: 3-weeks worth of undergraduate discussion (in 1977) on how to construct a working light-sabre.

Oh look at the men in the smart, white lab-coats...

AMD sued: Number of Bulldozer cores in its chips is a lie, allegedly


"The cores haven't been native x86 for a _very_ long time (486 days or earlier)"

Have an upvote as it saved me from having to say exactly the same thing!

However: <pedant>I think the "big break" occurred between the Pentium and the Pentium Pro.</pedant>

It used to make me smile that the Pentium was marketed as this huge change, when it was basically just two 486DXs on the same die, but the Pentium Pro which was a HUGE change in basic architecture (micro instructions, out of order execution, pipelining, branch prediction etc etc.) was marketed as just a "better" Pentium.

Lithium-air: A battery breakthrough explained


Re: Boom AND Bust

"And have you every seen what happens if you short out a lead-acid battery with a spanner?"

Yes. Very exciting!

Cash injection fuels SABRE spaceplane engine


Re: Why is it curved?

"The top part was made with ESA funding and is measured in meters, the bottom in yards but if you push hard enough it still fits."

Have a pint!

Though I think it's more likely that it's something to do with slowing down the incoming air so the cooler thing has a chance to work and the turbines don't have to deal with supersonic airflows...

Now VW air-pollution cheatware 'found in Audis and Porsches'


Re: Parvenu.

"Douglas Adams skewered this one in one of the HHGG books, in which someone claims his accountant told him to buy a Porsche, but Arthur Dent knows that this is the opposite of the truth."


More likely to be the package "Reason" created by the character Richard MacDuff in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency...


Activision to buy Candy Crush developer King


"Fair play to the original owners - they are just doing the right thing and taking the money and running"

I thought I'd seen the ultimate in chutzpah when he sued the original creator of the game that he copied, but £5.9billion must take the biscuit!

Bracken assembles old GDS crew for Co-op


Re: Oh dear god

<AOL>Me too!</AOL>

Lotus F1: 38°C? Sand in your Vblocks? Must be building a data center in Bahrain again

Thumb Up

Re: re robots

... and active (blown) ground effect

Ahh, the Brabham BT46B.

"Nah, guv' it's not sucking the car onto the track! It's for cooling..."

Not sure how effective the ground-effect was, but it sure cleaned the driving line quite well, and there aren't many 200MPH vacuum cleaners in the world!

Made you jump! Space to give Earth an asteroid Halloween scare


Re: Warning shot...

... we'll still be in the dark when the next one slams into us dead centre....

That's because, "All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaints and its far too late to start making a fuss about it now." (Douglas Adams THHGTTG)

I wonder where the "service station" will be on the hyperspace bypass?

Digital Services to be killed off early next year, Gov.uk confirms


Is it just me?

DOS = Denial Of Service

The "real" meaning of the acronym seems much more contrived... is someone in GDS trying to warn us of something?

Blighty's Bloodhound 1,000mph rocket car unveiled ahead of record attempt


Re: Fantastic engineering

"... but I do think that using a jet engine to get a land speed record is cheating a ..."

<pendant>From the article it seems that the jet engine doesn't even take it up to the Bluebird land-speed record.


The rocket engine is a different story though... :)</pendant>

Vanished global warming may not return – UK Met Office


Re: Proposal

If the climate models are correct the most "denier" states in USA will be hit hardest. Texas will be under flood water that's for sure.

I'm never sure where this extra water is coming from.

It doesn't matter how much of the Arctic ice-cap melts, because it's floating it won't make an iota of difference to the sea-level and the last report I read:

Antarctic sea ice reaches new record maximum

seems to suggest that the Antarctic ice-cap isn't going to melt any time soon.

Just askin'

Well, what d'you know: Raising e-book prices doesn't raise sales


Re: If you're selling a book priced at $5...

"(btw what is the opposite of an oxymoron ?...)"

Pleonasm, or - less plausibly - tautology?

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