* Posts by Putters

112 posts • joined 23 Aug 2012

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While Facebook reinvents Sadville, we still dream of flying cars

Putters

Re: Flying cars? Pft.

The Russians built a big one.

Caspian Sea Monster in full "flight"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8Nu94khHoo

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Give 'bots a chance: Driverless cars to be trialled between London and Oxford

Putters

And of course is the one that has been graffitied with the inspired "Give Peas a Chance" for the last umpteen years.

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Drunk user blow-dried laptop after dog lifted its leg over the keyboard

Putters
Paris Hilton

Re: Meow

What happens in Paris stays in Paris ?

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ESA picks final two ExoMars landing site candidates

Putters

Either way, you can bet those alien organisms will refuse to speak any other language than Welsh should there be any English components in that rover ...

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If you can't beat AI, join it: Boffinry biz baron Elon Musk backs brain-machine interface biz

Putters

Pulp Sci Fi

Nice little co-incidence. Have just waded through one of those Kindle 90p Sci Fi megapacks.

One story of which seemed somewhat relevant.

Fritz Leiber 1962 : The Creature from the Cleveland Depths. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/23164/23164-h/23164-h.htm

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USA can afford golf for Trump. Can't afford .com for FBI infosec service

Putters

Re: just you wait...

Isn't that a Mike Oldfield lyric ?

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Squirrel sinks teeth into SAN cabling, drives Netadmin nuts

Putters

Re: But

Indeed - no road sense at all. Watched one run along the road in panic beside me as I started to pass it. It then managed to run under the wheels.

I was surprised given that I was on a pushbike at the time.

Thump as it went under front wheel, thump (ii) as it went under back - then it ran up a tree. Tough little buggers too ...

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'Sorry, I've forgotten my decryption password' is contempt of court, pal – US appeal judges

Putters

I may be getting old ...

... but it doesn't seem that long ago that "I don't recall" was a perfectly acceptable answer in the States - especially if you were an ex President being quizzed about sending arms and cash to hostile regimes and right wing guerrillas ...

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Uber: Please don't give our London drivers English tests. You can work out the reason why

Putters

I suspect the conversation went more like this ...

"Brixton please"

"Hokay" - or whatever 1970s-Mind-Your-Language stereotype reply you prefer.

.

.

.

"Hey, you're on the M4!"

"Pliz ?" - or whatever 1970s-Mind-Your-Language stereotype reply you prefer.

"I wanted Brixton"

"Pliz ?" - or whatever 1970s- ... you get the idea.

"Take the next exit please - I want to go to Brixton"

"Pliz ?"

.

.

.

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Doomsday Clock moves to 150 seconds before midnight. Thanks, Trump

Putters

What did they do to do that ? US nuclear testing at Johnston Atoll was the closest I could find, and that was about 1500km WSW of Hawaii.

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Putters

Why wouldn't it stop quite a few of them - most didn't have an ECU back then, but quite a lot had electronic ignition. My 1979 Chrysler Sunbeam had electronic ignition as standard - and that was certainly not a cutting edge vehicle in any respect. [Yes - I've owned a lot of crap cars, in addition to the above I can lay claim to a Fiat 127, a Morris Ital (1.3 Estate to make matters worse) and a Vauxhall Viva HC]

And the vast majority would have stopped pretty soon after with all the diodes in the alternator fried - though, I concede, not immediately. Only stuff with a dynamo and contact box controlled charging would have been unaffected. [Another aside, have seen the results on a Mini alternator of connecting the battery up backwards (the leads will reach on an estate / van) - several of the diodes hadn't just blown, they'd blown to dust leaving just the little metal legs.]

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Putters

Sirius Cybernetics Corporation?

Are they at it again ?

From "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe" (as far as I am aware the only Hitchhiker's related short story he wrote. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Zaphod_Plays_It_Safe

"Er, Designer People."

"What?"

"The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation were awarded a huge research grant to design and produce synthetic personalities to order. The results were uniformly disastrous. All the "people" and "personalities" turned out to be amalgams of characteristics which simply could not co-exist in naturally occurring life forms. Most of them were just poor pathetic misfits, but some were deeply, deeply dangerous. Dangerous because they didn't ring alarm bells in other people. They could walk

through situations the way that ghosts walk through walls, because no one spotted the danger.

"The most dangerous of all were three identical ones - they were put in this hold, to be blasted, with this ship, right out of this universe.

They are not evil, in fact they are rather simple and charming. But they are the most dangerous creatures that ever lived because there is nothing they will not do if allowed, and nothing they will not be allowed to do..."

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Now that's a Blue Screen of Death: Windows 10 told me to jump off a cliff

Putters

Quote

Thought I'd heard that quote before - quite a long time ago. In a cartoon. Nearly right - "Watch that first step, its a lulu." - Jack Wabbit and the Beanstalk - 1943 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BVwtPxOrNE

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Europe mulls treating robots legally as people ... but with kill switches

Putters

Will they be retrofitted to humans ? "I have a little list ..."

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Slim pickings by the Biggest Loser: A year of fitness wearables

Putters

Or, as my stepdaughter put it "For f***s sake, someone go and get David Attenborough and bubble wrap him until the New Year"

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Putters

Re: left handers

Hmmm - I've come to the conclusion I'm ambisinister - incompetent with both hands ...

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Emulating x86: Microsoft builds granny flat into Windows 10

Putters

Re: Baby... Bathwater?

Mini engine in a race car ?

http://www.classicandsportscar.com/news/csc-features/mini-twini-twin-engined-four-wheel-drive-concept-tested-in-full

OK - two mini engines, totalling 178bhp. In a mini bodyshell.

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Hell desk thought PC fire report was a first-day-on-the-job prank

Putters

Re: Can I turn it on? It's under 6 inches of water....

Or in one of our (ex) offices, by the server room being three floors below where the fire broke out.

A lot of water was involved in putting out this : http://www.highrisefirefighting.co.uk/cstelstar.html

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Putters

Very similar effect can be obtained by filling the victim's umbrella with the contents of the hole punch base ...

A fellow lodger in my student days worked in a paper factory. Came out after one night shift to find his car interior entirely filled with the trimmings.

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Lessons from the Mini: Before revamping or rebooting anything, please read this

Putters

Re: Not for my money.

If you want scary - you can get an off the shelf kit that can pop a Suzuki Hayabusa motorbike engine into a classic Mini with no body modification. http://www.vetech.co.uk/hayabusa/

From that website :

Specification

11000 RPM

190bhp (normally aspirated) through to a potential 360bhp (forced induction) at the wheels

6 speed, semi-automatic sequential box including reverse

Limited slip differential

Base engine weight less than 100kg

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Putters

Re: I am astonished

Agreed about the worse over time utterly, but not so sure about the "bad back then".

Citroen made great cars for many many years. The Traction Avant (even when built in Slough). The DS still looks a goddess today. The SM looks even better. For some reason I even have a soft spot for the old XMs.

Peugeot have had some pretty good motors over the years too. West Africa still practically runs on old 504s !

Renault have had ... um ... errr ... actually I can't think of a Renault from the 60's 70's or 80's that I'd really want to own. Some quirky Gordini creations maybe, but only maybe.

And who even remembers Simca and the wonderful three abreast seating Matra-Simca Bagheera https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matra_Bagheera

Edit - actually just remembered an older Renault that I do like - the Avantime ... its those pillarless windows and clever trick doors (OK - I'm a sick puppy ....)

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Putters

Re: I was assuming this would be a look at the mini...

You missed a trick then - the marketing brochure actually made a point that the front seats folded down too to make a bed ... http://www.aronline.co.uk/images/maxi_04.jpg

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Putters

But Smart did do the very fun Roadster version too - pity they left out the profit margin ...

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Putters

Re: I am astonished

Similarly Renault never bringing out a new version of their "Van Ordinaire" the Renault 4 - once described as a loose collection of parts that just happen to be travelling in the same direction.

Also probably the only front wheel drive car to have a longitudinal engine with the gearbox on the front end ... hence the strange linkage under the bonnet ... http://cdn.pinthiscars.com/images/renault-4-engine-wallpaper-4.jpg

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Putters

Re: Uppercase and mixed case names

FIAT should really be all capitals - Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino.

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Putters

Re: I was assuming this would be a look at the mini...

Harsh. Very harsh. Have fond memories of the the dear old Maxis. Tough workhorses that were no worse than their competitors at the time in any area (other than possibly the early cable operated gearboxes) and certainly streets ahead in terms of interior space and versatility.

Oh - and the original Mini certainly had a facelift mid life with the Clubman front end.

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Meet the slimeballs who are openly sabotaging Virgin Media

Putters

Zapped Mouse

Back in the days when Metronet were the PPP contractor for maintaining a large chunk of the London Underground, we suffered a major signal main failure at South Kensington.

On removing a cover from the transformer a very very frazzled and very very deceased mouse (of the four legged variety, not the unitesticular variety that then were attached to the PCs) was revealed.

I remember the incident well, being the bod that worked out the £679k it cost them in contractual penalties ...

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Command line coffee machine: Hacker shuns app so he can stay at the keyboard for longer

Putters

Re: Extrapolating...

He's freely spending his time hacking his coffee machine so he can order it what to do from the command line and you think he has a girlfriend ?!?

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'Please label things so I can tell the difference between a mouse and a microphone'

Putters

Re: Engineers!

Oh gods, been there. You know it's going to be a long day training someone to use a complex corporate project management / reporting package when they fail to log in because they don't know where the Return key is (circa 1989 - the guy was a very intelligent / competent project manager, just hadn't had any real exposure to computers)

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UK will build new nuclear bomb subs, says Defence Secretary

Putters

Sir Humphrey said it far better than I could

Sir Humphrey: With Trident we could obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe.

Jim Hacker: I don't want to obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe.

Sir Humphrey: It's a deterrent.

Jim Hacker: It's a bluff. I probably wouldn't use it.

Sir Humphrey: Yes, but they don't know that you probably wouldn't.

Jim Hacker: They probably do.

Sir Humphrey: Yes, they probably know that you probably wouldn't. But they can't certainly know.

Jim Hacker: They probably certainly know that I probably wouldn't.

Sir Humphrey: Yes, but even though they probably certainly know that you probably wouldn't, they don't certainly know that, although you probably wouldn't, there is no probability that you certainly would.

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Super Cali: Be realistic, 'autopilot' is bogus – even though the sound of it is something quite precocious

Putters

Re: self driving in Europe != success

Actually this just sounds like some high up wonk from Philips bod out of Eindhoven going to their research place on the Science Park in Cambridge.who is very unused to driving on the left hand side of the road - being leery of the curb which feels far closer than normal, not being able to see past the car in front etc.

Back in the days when I worked for Philips (in late 1980's when they had four sites - at least - in Cambridge), such wonks would have flown from Eindhoven to Cambridge direct rather than the ferry and the dreaded A14.

*Wonk - although the OED has this as originating in the 1920s :

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/wonk ,

I'm forever reminded of some childhood hand-me-down books that I'm happily still in possession of - sadly not in this condition though

http://www.ladybird-books.com/books/muriel-levy/the-adventures-of-wonk-fireworks-709017/1310190

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Portsmouth bomb about to be detonated

Putters

Re: Design Parameters

We can only hope that American explosives from the same era are just as crap ...

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

"According to a survey conducted in 2000 by the United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency,[1] the wreck still held munitions containing approximately 1,400 tonnes (1,500 short tons) of TNT high explosive.[1] These comprise the following items of ordnance:

286 × 2,000 lb (910 kg) high explosive "Blockbuster" bombs[9]

4,439 × 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs of various types

1,925 × 500 lb (230 kg) bombs

2,815 fragmentation bombs and bomb clusters

Various explosive booster charges

Various smoke bombs, including white phosphorus bombs

Various pyrotechnic signals

An investigation by New Scientist magazine concluded in 2004, based partly on government documents released in 2004, that the cargo was still deadly, and could be detonated by a collision, an attack, or even shifting of the cargo in the tide. The bad condition of the bombs is such that they could explode spontaneously"

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BBC to demand logins for iPlayer in early 2017

Putters

Phone No. Too

01 811 8055 burnt into the next field in the brain.

Along with (if you're a fan old old British films) WHItehall 1212 (Scotland Yard)

And for trivia fans, the TfL helpline (in the building over the road) was WHItehall 1234 and is (0343 222 )1234 to this day ...

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What wedding cake would an engineer make? A LEGO one

Putters

Remember a friends missus commenting (in their early days) that she realised what it meant to be involved with an engineer when her Valentine's Day gift came lovingly wrapped, but the wrapping taped up with insulating tape.

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Watch the world's biggest 'flying bum' go arse over tit in a crash

Putters

Re: Martha Gwyn ?

Bizarrely I missed the first item in the search.

Can only think of two reasons for that.

1) Automatically assumed it was an Ad and not a proper search response.

2) Failing eyesight - whatever the cause ...

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Putters
Windows

Martha Gwyn ?

A quick google doesn't reveal the source, but I think could be quite 'fun' to meet the Martha Gwyn that inspired the name ...

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London's 'automatic' Tube trains suffered 750 computer failures last year

Putters

LUL average 460 ish trains in service at any one time (higher in peak, lower off peak). Number of trips up and down the line vary by line, but if you assume somewhere in the 5-6000 area won't be far out. Multiply up by, say 300 or so to allow for this, that, planned closures, weekends, Xmas day etc and so on and you get somewhere in the 1.7M range ...

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Putters

Most by trip and reset of the ATO / ATP system (see earlier reply). For length of delay, also see earlier reply

Not Fail Safe is EXTREMELY rare - even an alleged wrong side failure causes real ructions in the Signalling Team.

NOTE : A train running a red light and stopping is not Not Fail Safe. It is the system working as it should in a failure (human or machine) situation. A train running a red light and Not Stopping is definitely Not Fail Safe. There is always* a section that is unoccupied between trains. So you get section occupied by train, empty section, section occupied by back of next train, section occupied by front of next train.

* the only exception is when there is a dead train and one is drawn up behind it to push it out. Then the driver has detrain the passengers beforehand, and approach under direction at extreme caution speed, applying The Rule for passing a signal at danger.

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Putters

Only the central control system - the on train systems that cause nearly all of the delays are a trip and reset (see earlier reply)

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Putters

Re: Wrong conclusion

The Central central system very rarely falls over - it has happened, but it is pretty rare. Most ATO failures are as a result of the onboard ATO or ATP controllers locking up - or not talking to each other. Most of the time the delay is the time it takes to trip the ATP MCB, trip the ATO MCB, reset the ATO MCB and reset the ATP MCB. In that order. Getting it wrong makes for a longer delay.

The main problem with ATO in wet weather is that the braking rate is too much for the low rail adhesion. So the wheel slide protection cuts in (like ABS on a car) and stops the train in the shortest possible distance. Which tends to be longer than the dry stopping distance. So the train overruns the platform (a SPAD in ATO if it passes a red signal which is a pain and a 7 mins delay and pisses everyone off; if a green signal the train can continue to the next station which only pisses off the people who wanted to get off).

To avoid this, Central Line normally derates back to mk1 eyeball, manual control and "defensive driving".

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Putters

Re: Wrong conclusion

Can help you put that number in perspective. Central Line plans to puts 79 trains into service every day. They make an average of 11 trips per day. They stop at around 40 stations per trip.

So, for the Central Line alone (the oldest and least reliable ATO currently on London Undergound) the number of times a train stops in ATO per day is somewhere in the low 30k area.

And that's just Central Line.

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

Putters

Re: Blown bulbs?

The safety case for LEDs in signal lamps took ages to get though (changing anything in safety critical kit is a right royal PITA).

Also there's one hell of a lot of bulbs out there to be changed. Simpler to wait for them to die and change on a casualty basis.

And don't underestimate the cost of getting drawings updated. Real example, from my Central Line days again. There was an error in the fuse discrimination (ie a higher level fuse blowing before some lower level one, taking out more kit than necessary) for some of the new (this was back in the 1990s) Westinghouse kit. ~50 Signal Equipment rooms to have fuses changed - about 50 quids worth of kit + 50x 5mins for a Technical Officer. Peanuts in cost. Cost for Westinghouse to update master and prints for 50 Signal Equipment rooms - a cool £1M quoted ...

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Putters

The main reason for not fully automating is that the bored bloody drivers main purpose on the train is not to drive it (as the ATO does that perfectly well when it is working) but to be there as when the train fails to proceed. A significant part of the training is for technical fault finding. When you have a train stopped in a tunnel that has no real access for someone else to get to it (no side footway - or a long time to get there) you need a competent person on board. Preferably one who can diagnose the fault and is not fazed by then going back though a 1000 pissed off punters to effect an isolation or cut out to get a train moving to the next station. Even the DLR has the train captains for the same reason.

Drivers on ATO lines are a bit like nuclear power station control room staff and airline pilots - you want them to be doing nothing as much as possible ...

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Putters

Re: Pathetic

The best incident I ever came across (and I used to see the details of quite a few being involved in Incident Attribution - basically assigning who was responsible) was one where a bloke ran into Hyde Park Corner Station to get staff to call for an ambulance as his mate was impaled and caught by the scrotum after slipping whilst attempting to climb the railings of the park ...

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Putters

Re: You know...

Indeed - back in the mid 1990's when the Central Line ATO was being implemented, the failure rate was horrendous (about 6 failures a day IIRC).

I was asked to provide some idea of how long we (I worked for Central Line Line Engineering - no that is not a double type) would have to run a test train to prove the system sufficiently reliable (they actually wanted somewhere around 1 a week)

A quick calc of the number of times a Central Line trains stops each day gave 72 trains (the max service at the time) * an average of 11 trips per day * 40 station stops average per trip. 6 failures a day meant the unreliable system was 99.98% reliable. 1 failure a week was 99.9995% reliable ...

I had to report that running a single test train with a reliable version meant that they would have to wait somewhere around a year for a failure :O)

Oh - and you know when your train is delayed for defective doors ? On the Central Line alone with it's current service levels, there are about 3.3 million individual door operations a day ...

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Render crashing PCs back to their component silicon: They deserve it

Putters

Re: I've said it before, I'll say it again

Sorry - not stupidity, that's accidental. This is deliberate and malign !

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Putters
Devil

I've said it before, I'll say it again

Artificial Intelligence is in its infancy, but Artificial Bloody Mindedness was perfected years ago ...

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Cats, dogs starve as web-connected chow chute PetNet plays dead

Putters

Re: More dead cats :)

Over the last 30 years or so behind the wheel I've managed to hit a few of our feathered friends. Though probably few enough to count on the digits of one hand.

I am, however, one of what I suspect is a pretty small group of people who have managed to run over a squirrel whilst riding a pushbike (me on the bike, not the squirrel, obviously) ...

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Tesla's Model S autonomous mode may have saved a life

Putters

"Tesla's sensors are pretty basic as they appear to be unable to tell the difference between a car and a person"

And exactly how do you want the car to behave differently in each case ? Not stop for one fo them ???

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Putters

Re: @Bazza: PR stunt

Err. Blind bend? Rural road ? Yes you should be going round it at 20mph if that is the speed you need to be going to stop when you come round the blind bend on a rural road and see a stupid cyclist in black with no lights in the middle of the lane.

Simply because it's the same speed you need to be going to stop when you come round the same bend and find a sensible cyclist laying in the road because a front spoke has just given and stopped the front wheel dead (yep - been there, done that, it hurts !). Or a damn great piece of farm machinery coming the other way scraping both hedgerows (been there, done that, learned to drive in rural Norfolk, there damn great combine harvesters come down the road scraping both hedgerows !).

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