* Posts by Nonymous Crowd Nerd

54 posts • joined 26 Nov 2014


Thought Macbooks were expensive? Dell UK unveils the 7 meeeellion pound laptop

Nonymous Crowd Nerd


But what happens if someone accidentally buys one? I wonder what the legal position is - although, in reality, I expect Dell would be understanding.

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: There and back again

Seen this done with a pony and trap in Ireland. Apparently the guys from the pub would "help him into his seat" once he'd got tired and emotional then give pony a gentle smack and the pony would do the auto-pilot part.

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Interesting idea

Yes. Yours is ultimately the answer we're looking for, but, perhaps not all that surprisingly, it's deeply unpopular with the encumbent energy suppliers (the "Big Six").

They are, for instance, oddly challenged when it comes to measuring how much power a micro-renewable system in a domestic installation actually exports to the grid.

Another handy method they use is to worry about the capacity of local transformers and how much the local voltage will rise if more power is generated in remote locations.

European Union divided over tax on digital tech giants as some member states refuse free money

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

I don't agree that they should

"hold off on implementation until 2020, to push the OECD to agree an international version by then."

It's fairly clear that we have things that we need to pay for now. I see no reason to delay this implementation, then later, IF the OECD come up with something viable we could roll back on version and implement theirs.

Fetching in this tax now could, for instance, fill the hole that will be created by the reduced stake rule on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. In this way the FOBT stake limit can be implemented at the proper time and lives can be saved.

Chinese biz baron wants to shove his artificial moon where the sun doesn't shine – literally

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: "So, HOW BIG does that mirror need to be?"

My back of the envelope calculation runs thus.

Sun is about 400,000 times brighter than the moon.

Aiming at 8 times brighter than the moon, so looking for an area about 1/50,000 the area of Chengdu - which is big! (14,000 km²)

So about 600m diameter mirror.

Big, but not impossible.

US and UK Amazon workers get a wage hike – maybe they'll go to the movies, by themselves

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

The pay rise in the US is really significant - 36% for some people and 250,000 benefiting overall. That's much larger than the equivalent change here.

Huge credit must to Bernie Sanders and the clever piece of legislation he is suggesting. It proposes that for companies whose employees claim benefits, the employer should have to compensate the state directly for those benefits. I hope it also proposed a public register of companies doing this as a hall of infamy.

Who is championing the equivalent legislation in the UK? I suspect, nobody.

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: I honestly don't know...

"The UK is the second most welcoming country..."

Are you sure that's right? I thought Sweden was in first or second place. A reference would be interesting.

HP Ink should cough up $1.5m for bricking printers using unofficial cartridges – lawsuit

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Wait, what?

I think a round $1,000 would be more appropriate. It would also send the kind of message to the likes of HP that might prove to be a useful lesson for them.

UK.gov outsourcers must prove their 'social value' to win contracts

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

I'd like to suggest an edit: add the word "necessarily" so that it reads "This doesn't *necessarily* mean anything corrupt..."

Some of these companies are corrupt, others have developed a moral blindspot so huge that they are in effect corrupt. For instance, the outsourcer purchasing cladding for Grenfell Tower either actually knew they were contravening the regulations, or they assiduously and deliberately failed to check so as to avoid technical guilt through some kind of plausible deniability. These people belong in prison.

The only changed mentioned in the article which might help to achieve this is the extension of the Freedom of Information act to apply to outsourcers.

Schadenfreude for UK mobile networks over the tumult at Carphone

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

There are also quite a few high street second hand shops where you can go in and try before you buy (for a few minutes). Some of their phones are locked to a carrier, and some, slightly more expensive, are unlocked. These shops must also be quite significant competition to the Carphone Warehouse model.

Cold call bosses could be forced to cough up under new rules

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

While I agree with following the Money, as suggested by Jonathon Green, another effective route would be to follow the actually call back towards the offending company. In this way if the call centre operator does not pay, or cannot be located, liability passes to the line provider who delivered the call to the victim. This would make BT responsible in most cases, I guess. That would be appropriate and would eliminate most cold calls pretty rapidly, I think.

On 20th anniversary of Microsoft antitrust, US Treasury Sec calls for Google monopoly probe

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: 20 Year Anniversary - Meantime... What changed?

Even after your phone is rooted, there is a great deal that would need to be done to free it of all its links back to Google. It's my guess that very few people indeed will have done the whole job.

Consent, datasets and avoiding a visit from the information commissioner

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Have you seen the credit reference parasites' answer to this?

"What do you propose as an alternative to credit reference agencies?"

The world somehow turned before there were credit reference agencies didn't it? They aren't that magical. What they enable in essence is lending without face to face contact - without trust in other words. Look, for instance, at the world conjured up by the Nationwide advert of a family in the 1880s getting a mortgage for their first house for 6 bob a week (30p in new money). I don't think any credit reference agency was involved there, was it?

UK.gov: Here's £8.8m to plough into hydrogen-powered car tech

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: ' Toyota have already thought about the safety angle... '

That with safety test with the various sorts of ammo is all very well but... With a cylindrical tank you would almost never get a "direct" hit with the rounds glancing off to one side or the other. What about fixing the tank at about bumper height next to a concrete wall - as it might be in a car crashed against a motorway central barrier. Then take a thirty tonne truck and drive straight into it at forty or fifty mph. I don't think there would be many Toyota "geeks" keen on standing anywhere nearby would there? Of course the petrol or diesel tank would blow up under these circumstances too but it would be interesting to see the difference.

Vodafone is UK's mobile ping king

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Somthing odd about those device stats

Also the older phones seem to be better - Note 2 apparently miles ahead of Note 5. Or have I read it wrong?

Salesforce courts the great un-CRMed with 'Essentials'

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

On- ramp?

Really? Is "on-ramping" a thing?

About twenty years back I used to occasionally on-ramp my car before slithering underneath to access various oily and muddy components. The oil and mud then formed a fun shower that spread over my clothes, body and hair. Great. Thought I'd seen the end of on-ramping to be honest but now you're introducing it as a computery thing.

Not sure.

Special delivery: Pizza, parcel-slinging drones inch closer to reality

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: ... what damage can be done ...

Clearly these examples you've given are worst case scenarios and would be very unlikely - perhaps around one in a thousand drones dropped on a playground would do that much damage, especially since the average package would be well below the maximum weight. On many occasions, it's also so dark, cold or rainy that even British children might not be in the playground. There have not been many injuries reported from recreational done accidents. That said, it would still be worth routing the drones away from places like playgrounds and, yes, insurance is essential.

Millions of moaners vindicated: Man flu is 'a thing', says researcher, and big TVs are cure

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Vindication at last

"Never trust a man named Sue"

Particularly Kylie Sue. Could possibly be a country singer in his spare time.

London mayor: Self-driving cars? Not without jacked-up taxes, you don't!

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: What about the downsides?

Very interesting @Alan Brown...

"5-7 billion is spent on roads each year"

Is that the national figure - including maintenance and all three repeat announcements of road "improvements". Do you know the source(s) for your figures?

Android at 10: How Google won the smartphone wars

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: 'they come, they go... '

"... they come they go, some thrive, then fade. None live forever..."

Really excellent points here. But we should not be complacent. I think there is something to be concerned about. Yes, the East India Company was huge - so were Standard Oil and Bell Telephones - and yes, all these declined. But they weren't truly multinational ("globalised") in the way that Google and Facebook et al are today. The US was able act to split Bell into baby Bells. But the same trick in today's circumstances is starting to look unlikely.

While the issues of undue political influence and the erosion of the corporate tax base are widely acknowledged, western powers are looking disturbingly impotent, constantly divided and distracted and beset by lobbying. Nothing is being done to counter the threat. Nothing really viable seems even to be in the pipeline. Very soon it might be to late. Perhaps it already is.

F-35s grounded by spares shortage

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"My goodness, the TSR-2! I remember making up a cardboard model of that..."

I wonder if your cardboard model was more reliable than the real thing.

Brit bank fined £75k over 1.5 million text and email spamhammer

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

£1 per text minimum

We don't want to see text messages become unusable like many personal land lines have. This practice does need to be stamped out by proper concerted action. I agree with "Cynical Observer" that fines like this should be transferable to the directors if the company doesn't pay. The carrier should also share some liability as the gate keeper that has allowed a million plus spam texts onto the the system.

Dome, sweet dome: UAE mulls Martian city here on Earth ahead of Red Planet colonization

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: 600,000

Yes. This figure in the order of 1,000 is a lot more realistic. It would probably be sensible to have around 3 semi-autonomous communities of this size in case of some form of infection / natural disaster / depressurisation / fire wiping out a community altogether.

And to be practical, rather than fashionable, we should, of course, start on the moon for fairly obvious reasons.

¡Dios mío! Spain blocks DNS to hush Catalonian independence vote sites

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

The European Court doesn't to be doing too well at protecting free speech for the Catalonians does it?

Europe seeks company to monitor Google's algorithm in €10m deal

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Seems a little small

The striking price of €10m for actually "doing the monitoring" seems very small indeed when set against the size of the fines involved, the Google company and the markets affected by their search algorithm.

Dodge this: Fiat-Chrysler gets diesel-fuelled sueball from DoJ

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Have you a reference, please?

Tablets become feebleslabs as sales spiral down

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Everybody who wants one, got one

Yes, this is true. Also, there's less to go wrong on a tablet than a PC. There are fewer parts and fragile connectors involved and fewer moving parts like the hinges of a laptop or the spinning disks of the old desktops that are now coming to the end of their lives. Despite this, market pundits and manufacturers are hoping for the shorter product life cycle that they've grown used to with PCs.

'Grey technology' should be the new black

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Thank you for a thoughtful article

Calling BT. In a way this is off-topic, but in a way it's not. Some way into a call to BT I once had occasion to point out to the guy that I'd recorded his not-so-accurate comments from earlier in the call. He got very cross, accused me of criminally recording him without a formal message to that effect and rang off. Therefore ... in response to "Please say in a few words..." I always start my response with "Broadband problems - I record my calls." And several times this has come in handy later on. And there is way this is on-topic, because this and many other little tricks for handling call centre staff are totally alien to my parents who always approach these people with what might be seen as either niceness or naivety. Sometimes this works, of course, but at other times they get fobbed off with a second class service. It's not just the machine user interface that is sometimes more difficult to cope with than it used to be.

BT's profits plunge 37% following Italian Job

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

But there hasn't been a a change of rules has there? The subsidiary started in Italy and that's still where it is. And the whole point of the story really is that the size of the loss (relative to the Italian business) while it could conceivably have been some kind of error / accounting feature at £145m... But at £500+million it's definitely fraud.

Google loses Android friends with Pixel exclusivity

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

> It is worrying that virtually all phone and desktop operating systems are American

Not to mention database, ecommerce and social networking platforms. The Americans seem to hold all the cards with only half-hearted and desperately slow response from the likes of the EU Competition Commission.

Is! Yahoo! dead?! Why! web! biz! will! rename! to! Altaba! – the! truth!

Nonymous Crowd Nerd


I hope you Alt-tab guys have also noticed how these companies (quite by chance?) are all crowding to the beginning of the alphabet. Look, for instance at Alphabet. I'm guessing that private (expensive) research has shown that this has benefits. Think we should soon expect to see Aardvark, Aaron and AAA Taxis heading for NasDaq listings.

Renewed calls for Tesla to scrap Autopilot after number of crashes

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: 98%

Breeded? Or perhaps bread?

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: 98%

My car radio has a handy feature... About 45 seconds after the engines fires up and as I'm turning out onto the main road, a screen full of smallish type appears ordering me to RTFM and not to get distracted by small things on the screen. Below the text is a small screen OK button. By tapping this button I agree that I will never look for things on the screen as small as this button. Perhaps I should turn onto the main road, stop the car, tap the button, then move off again. If I stall the engine, the sequence restarts from the beginning.

EU announces common corporate tax plan

Nonymous Crowd Nerd


Is Luxembourg smaller than Leeds?

Clinton, Trump actually agree on something – blocking AT&T's Time Warner mega-buy

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Clinton cannot decide until AT&T sends a large donation

Exactly. This hits the nail on the head. And it is displays of Clinton's "experience of power" like this that really grate with a large portion of the electorate. Unless she bucks up her ideas rather than getting complacent, Trump could yet win.

Apple's car is driving nowhere

Nonymous Crowd Nerd


But in a similar vein, do you remember that one of these cars on trial encountered a woman on a motability scooter driving round and round in the middle of the road waving her stick about - because she was trying to round up her escaped geese.

Elon Musk: I'm gonna turn Mars into a $10bn death-dealing interplanetary gas station

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Average temperature -55C, atmosphere almost 100% CO2.

@Schultz - I think you'd have to send solar panels and robots in advance of the people to build the kit that would collect the energy. It would take a great deal of patience. It would be interesting to know if SpaceX are working on calculating how much patience.

Microsoft and Facebook, swimming in the sea,

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Meanwhile

I think there's an error in those dates. If he'd meant that it's to complete the build between August and October 2017 - just 3 months, I think that's what he'd have said. Guess that it's planned for 15 months - starting this year or finishing 2018.

Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Just a little more needed!

While it's quite impressive that the power generated is sufficient to keep Wales going for five and a half hours, I'm afraid we need a little more than that to be able to get all our power from renewable sources. To cover a spell of windless dark days in mid winter would need about five and a half weeks power for the whole of the UK.

Nerds make it rain in Nevada. The Las Vegas strip? No, cloud-seeding drones over the desert

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Shifting rains?

Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam system certainly need any help that's available. They're close to their all-time low water levels with little obvious sign of relief any time soon. The daily status is here


(Although it's not too easy to follow)

This is a classic slow-motion train crash. So slow that the 5-year electoral cycle allows problems to be swept under the carpet for a few years yet, but their apocalypse does seem to be coming. Cloud seeding might really help - for a while.

NASA's mighty SLS to burn 1.215 Olympic-sized pools

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Pool depth

Quite like a piece of string then?

Airbus' Mars plane precursor survives pressure test

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Forward view

Perhaps they should pop to SpecSavers in their lunch break before going

Tesla PowerWall is a good deal if you don't mind a 25-year payback

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Australian tax

Fitting, though, has to be done in part by the Distribution Network Operator. That's how it works in the UK anyway. This organisation is a monopoly who does not want you to generate power locally rather than getting through their grid. For this reason you have little option but to pay sometimes grossly unfair prices for connection. In our case, we paid £5,000 to move a single low-voltage wire from one connector to the one just next to it on a transformer like the one in this picture. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mtr736/8585238931

Company in shambles, marriages ruined. My work here is done, says Ashley Madison CEO

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Maybe it would muffle the sound of all those weasel words they trot out to avoid every serious question that's ever addressed to them!

Why do driverless car makers have this insatiable need for speed?

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: The end of any driving pleasure

Think I wouldn't put the car on the train, but have a robot remove all my stuff from the car and replace it in a different, but identical car at the other end.

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: The end of any driving pleasure

Although they don't seem to have caught on, the battery swop systems that have been proposed would deliver KWh to the car very fast.

It's my guess that what has really good wrong here is the failure of any big auto company to adopt anyone else's idea to the extent of building compatible batteries to fit a common slot in the car and use a common delivery mechanism.

Progress source replenishes international space station

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: El Reg units...

I believe that NASA have experienced many pounds of egg on face over this in the past. Maybe apocryphal, but I think I remember a lander going straight passed Mars as it failed to cope with dodgy unit conversions on the fly in its on-board micro-computer.... And a mirror that was supposed to reflect a laser beam back to earth but sadly aligned itself looking straight out into space owing to a similar error.

I think hell will have dropped to a temperature of well below 32°F before NASA adopt any sensible units!

Understanding the network energy efficiency challenge

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: It was THIS big, honest...

What on earth does the number supposedly mean anyway? "Efficiency savings that could reduce consumption by - say - 25% from current levels" - that would be a sensible figure. And a sensible way to present it!

POD RACING: SpaceX will build the Hyperloop railgun tube-way – you bring the ride

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

What speeds up also needs to slow down.

Maybe I'm missing something, but surely the test vehicle will have to stop, and if it fails to stop on it's own, there'll will need to be a way to stop it without killing the occupants, whether these are just guinea pigs, or guinea pigs of the human variety. How on earth can this be achieved on a track only a mile long?

Add to this the fact that the technology is likely to result in an acceleration that is totally pants (a technical term that I'm guessing Mr Musk will be familiar with).

And the result I'm predicting will be some rather embarrassingly slow tests. Or a decision quite soon to spend a few millions on a longer track.

Oz battery bossmen: Fingers will be burned in the Tesla goldrush

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Cost Per kWh

Good to see someone getting to the actual numbers. For some people the numbers come out better than you suggest though, I think. For us in the UK, for instance, electricity costs rather more than the price you imply. And for someone with enough renewable power that they're close to being able to go off-grid, there's the standing charge that can also be avoided. Numbers like these also help to apply a ceiling to the prices that the grid suppliers can charge in the longer run. If they know that the substantial increases that were being predicted a few years ago would lead to many people going off-grid, then the prices for grid electricity aren't likely to rise too much. In turn this helps to cap the wholesale price of gas and ultimately of crude oil.


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