back to article Return of the flying car, just when we all need to escape

Did you enjoy World Pasta Day? It was last Sunday. Me, I made a big bowl of it and tucked in along with my mates Mark Arony and Al Dente. "World Pasta Day" indeed. I have so many questions. Who invents this nonsense? How does one go about registering such a pivotal moment in human endeavour? Who approves it? Some bewigged …

  1. Warm Braw Silver badge

    We piggyback the 4G from our mobile phones

    I'm doing much the same right now in my Covid/Brexit exile, despite there being a FTTH port on the wall: it's only cost effective to connect it if you take a 24 month contract. And frankly, I don't believe the "W" in "WFH" is going to last that long. At which point, pasta day is going to be pretty much a permanent state of being.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: We piggyback the 4G from our mobile phones

      I'm doing the opposite, I'm piggybacking my 4G smartphone (Vodafone "up to" 500mbps LTE contract) onto wi-fi to get any sort of internet connection.

      At work, LTE is reporting 0.001mbps, so slow that the providers speedtest app claims there is no internet connection. I've switched provider, when the contract runs out, but the switch will have to wait until January. The new contract is "only" 50mbps, but at work I know I will get between 10 and 30mbps.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: We piggyback the 4G from our mobile phones

      Just got back from Cannes, and suffering 14 days isolation with SWMBO claiming that the Quarantine Stasi are watching me or tracking my mobile every time I take the dogs out for a walk. Tried "working from home" there and it was a complete shambles with the WiFi du Ville broadband fluctuating from 0.2 through to 3Mbps. 4G wouldn't be so bad if the blasted connection did not keep changing from Orange FR to Free to SFR and to Bouygues every few minutes. Gave up after 10 days and drove back to UK, enduring National Border police checking to see if I had any Afghani refugees in the 3 cubit ft boot of my car.

      I want that flying car so badly.

      1. Dr_N Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: We piggyback the 4G from our mobile phones

        macjules>blasted connection did not keep changing from Orange FR to Free to SFR and to Bouygues every few minutes.

        Don't exaggerate. No one ever gets a Bouygues signal.

        I have to say I don't recognise this portrayal of French connection. I have rock solid 4G and DSL at home and work. Fibre available but feel no need to pay for it. And my phone is almost never on WiFi. (And if it is I use FON which is free with the DSL/4G bundle.)

        The only time I had an issue was when I got my first Xiaomi (Redmi 3 Pro) and it was a proper grey import one without all the EU 4G bands supported.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: We piggyback the 4G from our mobile phones

        "Just got back from Cannes, and suffering 14 days isolation with SWMBO claiming that the Quarantine Stasi are watching me or tracking my mobile every time I take the dogs out for a walk."

        Quarantine...I take the dogs out for a walk. Something doesn't compute.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: We piggyback the 4G from our mobile phones

          Wow! At least one person thinks quarantine or self-isolation means you can still go out and walk the streets? No wonder we're in the position we are! Were you at the rave in Bristol too? Or partying with the students in Nottingham?

      3. Stork Silver badge

        Re: We piggyback the 4G from our mobile phones

        Why not leave the phone home when walking dogs?

        1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: We piggyback the 4G from our mobile phones

          > Why not leave the phone home when walking dogs?

          More fun to attach the phone to the dog and let it out to go for a walk on its own. If the track & trace people do ever complain you can say you were making use of the "find my dog and bone" feature. :-)

          Thank-you, thank-you. I'm here all night. (Thanks to self-isolation.)

  2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    "A dash by Parisians to either escape the new national lockdown or scramble back to the French capital to prepare for the restrictions caused record traffic jams on Thursday night"

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/30/paris-region-sees-record-traffic-jams-ahead-of-lockdown

    One day... Parisians in Flying Cars - what could possibly go wrong?

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      One day... Parisians in Flying Cars - what could possibly go wrong?

      To them or to the rest of the world?

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Mushroom

      The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy has this to say about the subject of "Parisians in Flying Cars:"

      A short and tragic yet strangely hilarious period of the ape-descended bipeds (a species so amazingly primitive they still think the flying car is a pretty neat idea) of the planet Earth (q.v.) involved providing the citizens of Paris with the aforementioned flying cars. One appalling week later, the experiment was finally abandoned due to the prevalence of smoking wreckage throughout the city as well as the national strikes by the French National Strikers' Union, who saw the introduction of the flying car as a threat to their traditional way of life.

      1. macjules Silver badge
        Pint

        Have a beer sir ->

      2. EVP
        Pint

        Standing ovation time!

  3. Dr_N Silver badge

    5G

    5G is the answer. French politicos (the mayor of Grenoble) have stated it'll enable everyone to watch YouPr0n in lifts. Marvelous!

    Chin Up Mr Dabbs. At least there is plenty of papier cul this time around.

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: 5G

      The local Greens are trying to get a moritorium placed on the 5G roll-out by Orange. I don't mind them worrying about such things: worrying is good, it helps keeps us safe. But it is frustrating to have politicians tell me to telework while deliberately hamstringing my ability to do so. I'd settle for mediocre fibre.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: 5G

        That would make a lovely news story in itself.

        I suspect that if you wrote an article fit for a tabloid and then sent them a copy and asked if they would like to comment before it's printed then they might grow up a bit and adopt either one policy or another.

        But maybe not; if people were rational they wouldn't be opposing 5G because of a conspiracy theory!

        1. Dr_N Silver badge

          Re: 5G

          The French Greens. Or as they are known by some here: Les Pastèques. (Watermelons) Green on the outside, communist red on the inside.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 5G

          On the other hand plonking 60 foot high masts onto suburban side streets, blocking the pavement, may not be the way to win hearts and minds ( cf: planning application in Edinburgh ).

      2. A. Coatsworth
        Coat

        Re: 5G

        Greens can scream until they are blue in the face, but won't win this agaist Orange.

        May raise some red flags, though.

        ... no need to shove, I can find the door myself!

      3. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: 5G

        Oh, and mediocre fibre sounds like a Carrefour own-brand breakfast cereal.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 5G

      French politicos (the mayor of Grenoble) have stated it'll enable everyone to watch YouPr0n in lifts

      Or cars. Grenoble mayor (Piolle) & his car-hating Green friends have made getting into Grenoble and parking such a painful process that you need something to do in the traffic jams. For a while, anyway. The town centre is now dying slowly as people take their business elsewhere, and the lockdown will probably kill the last few small shops.

  4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Alert

    Video Conferencing

    YouPorn/PornHub could diversify and offer a service to rival Zoom

    1. David Neil

      Re: Video Conferencing

      I believe that's called Chaturbate

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Video Conferencing

      That's TalkTalk's new video service: DidoTime. Feel free to add the missing 'L'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Video Conferencing

        > That's TalkTalk's new video service: DidoTime. Feel free to add the missing 'L'.

        LidoTime? Is this new video service splash proof?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Video Conferencing

        DidLoTime: Served jail sentence in a single story prison?

  5. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Justice?

    "Some of them are even under investigation by the justice system for their failings during the initial COVID-19 outbreak."

    That could never happen in good ol' Blighty. Here we just let them keep killing and bunging billions to their mates. All perfectly legal. And now they can kill people legally if it's "in the national economic interest"

    Tories. Donncha luv em.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Justice?

      Tories. Donncha luv em.

      Certainly more than the alternatives. I'm stocking up on popcorn for the Labour civil war. Nice of them to provide lockdown entertainment.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Justice?

      Imagine if Labour had won. Bear in mind who would be the PM today in that case. Hint, there would not have been a leadership election.

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: Justice?

        Yes. UK seems keen on proving over and over again that the worst that can happen to a government (or perhaps the country) is to have an unelectable opposition.

        1. swm Silver badge

          Re: Justice?

          Same with the US.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Justice?

          "have an unelectable opposition" and incumbant.

          FTFY

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Justice?

        You don't want to go there. There would have been chaos with Ed Milliband.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Justice?

        >>Imagine if Labour had won

        This has to be the best get-out/excuse for/from this Tory shower, "Yes, but in some imaginary alternate history the other lot may have been worse." Pathetic bunch of self-serving charlatans. As are their supporters.

  6. navidier

    Mark Arony and Al Dente?

    What about Nick Teen and Al K. Hall? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Djz-XizAEmI&ab_channel=Rikkyhardo

    (Sorry, first link I found; not sure if anyone not already in jail also recorded it.)

    Oh, and Dabsy, if you think 4 Mbps is poor, you should visit me in downtown Uxbridge where I'm surrounded by high-rise (i.e. 3 stories) buildings and my 4G MiFi modem struggles to maintain less than a fourth of that!)

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: Mark Arony and Al Dente?

      No chance of syphoning off the pipe going in to Stockley Park?

      1. navidier

        Re: Mark Arony and Al Dente?

        > No chance of syphoning off the pipe going in to Stockley Park?

        A bit far away, but we do have at least 40 Gbps into campus. Unfortunately I was _literally_ locked out of my office for six months after lockdown. Tried to download an episode of University Challenge at one point, gave up with 20% received after an hour; logged in to one of my work servers with a 1 Gbps pipe and got the whole thing in 49 seconds! Still took a lifetime to to transfer it back to my flat.

  7. JClouseau

    Thanks

    Thanks for writing in this time of doom, gloom, and many other totally unfunny things.

    Re: where you live, my parents live there and have cable internet. Granted, it's SFR, but kind of works and it's fast.

    Or perhaps just like most of your compatriots you chose to buy a rundown (but charming, with plenty of character) old manor in some obscure outskirts of M, that you will spend the rest of your life playing "Rénovation impossible" (Flip N move) with. :D

    With a one-pair copper cable barely reaching the house. And behind a big hill that hides the nearest cell tower.

    You guys are weird, but at least thanks to you we can sell our rundown houses located in desert places. And then someone buy a rundown café nearby and opens an English pub. And that's cool.

    Thanks as well for the surreal "chat" between ministers, I didn't see that, it didn't make much noise in the press (strangely).

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: Thanks

      I'm in a town house in a built-up city suburb filled with modern developments of new flats. I can *walk* into the city centre from my front door in 35 minutes. Orange (i.e. France Telecom) has a map that shows the suburb is fully fibre-cabled but it certainly is not. Everybody I know here is the same as me, stuck trying to telework on DSL. There's a co-working space round the corner that has cable but of course it's closed due to the lockdown.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thanks

      I'm just outside France's 16th largest city. 3Mbit DSL on a good day, despite there being a shiny new optical fibre node 150m away from my house. Built in our commune last year but apparently designed to serve the commune next door initially. 4G on my phone manages 35 down/10 up, though, which is good for the big downloads. Too unstable for Zoom & the like, though.

  8. Shadow Systems

    I love pasta day!

    Cheap, stringy, nutritionally null & void, horrid Ramen by the gigaton! May His Noodly Appendage bless you all --Raaaamen.

    *Genuflects the Sign of the Holy Noodle & bows in reverence to His Noodliness*

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I love pasta day!

      Every Friday is a holy day for Pastafarians

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

  9. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

    Me, I'd get swifter comms by sending smoke signals from the roof.

    You can't go burning stuff Dabbsy, think of the carbon footprint. What you need is IPoAC (RFC 1149) or RFC 6214 if you prefer.

  10. Franco Silver badge

    The thing that really scares me about flying cars is when they eventually go mainstream as with normal cars the local population who like to tinker with their cars when they aren't buying Argos jewellery.

    Also Facebook will buy the company and make you have one of their accursed accounts just to drive the bloody thing, much as they have shafted anyone who bought an Oculus VR headset (thankfully not me) after promising that they wouldn't.

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      These days I tend to interpret a Facebook promise in exactly the opposite manner as it's intended.

      I.e. If they promise they won't do something, it's almost guaranteed that they will do it, probably within the next 2 years.

      I can't think of a single promise they've made that they haven't broken. "We'll do better" has been broken several times over.

      1. Muscleguy

        It’s a bit like Project Fear during the Scottish Indyref. They scared us with stuff they were thinking of doing. Many of them have therefore come true despite the fact we voted Nay. Like Brexit for eg. They claimed we would be kicked out of the EU. So what happened? we got dragged out of the EU despite voting very strongly to Remain.

        This thing we are scaring you with if you don’t behave is the thing we are thinking of introducing regardless.

  11. rmv
    Pirate

    Challau?

    "a system that lets you teleport into remotely controlled robots [...] For the next couple of weeks at least, you can remote-control your own Challau robot"

    Someone else obviously played Cholo by Firebird Software, circa 1985!

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Challau?

      "Suspended: A Cryogenic Nightmare", Infocom, 1983...

  12. vtcodger Silver badge

    Thanks

    Thank you Mr Dabbs. For years, I've been led to believe that massive misrepresentation of broadband speeds is a phenomenon unique to the US. The official statistics were described by FCC commissioner Michael Copps as "Stunningly meaningless" in 2008 and I can't see that things have changed much in the years since. Now I see that it's not just us. Maybe it's everyone. I'm not sure why that makes me feel better. But it does.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Thanks

      It isn't everyone (here in the Netherlands the representation is reasonably correct), but the misrepresentation in (some parts of) the UK is proverbial.

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: Thanks

        Here in semirural Algarve, our contract say 24Mbit ADSL and on a good day we measure about 12, sometimes only 8, but that is not the worry.

        The problem is latency, which is not mentioned anywhere in the papers. Sometimes 12ms, some days over 200. With two boys doing online school this spring I did hear some complaining.

  13. druck Silver badge

    What about the flying car?

    The KleinVision looks great, but I'd want jet power and the ability use the road engine to get past v1, and go vertical on reheat.

    1. Giles C Silver badge

      Re: What about the flying car?

      That is the first flying car I have seen which both looks good on the road (reminds me of the pe mans prototype class) and still works, hopefully there is a decent road engine to enable the ground performance to match the looks.

      And it performs as a plane.

      As you say it is a shame it isn’t vtol but you can’t have everything

  14. Teiwaz

    Roll on 5G, I say

    We'll be looking at barely a quarter coverage before something else, such as 6G will be touted, and it'll start over again.

    1. onemark03

      6G

      I'd be interested to know what 6G might look like, even if it is speculative.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: 6G

        Smoke signals and carrier pigeon in a post-apocalyptic smouldering ruin.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: 6G

          Nah, Semaphore towers alongside the rotting roads. About 1000 characters an hour but that won't stop /social media addicts from clogging up the system.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, given that most of the talk is about Cedric ..

    .. and the topic is, well, a frequent on in IT and the author now resides in France, is this now

    L'Histoire d'O?

    :)

    (it's not often you get all the elements directly leading to that conclusion handed on a plate :) ).

  16. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    Tesla-Vision

    Musk could buy Klein Vision - then quite rightly have a "proper" "Auto Pilot" on a Tesla vehicle (albeit once airborne)

  17. Anomalous Cowshed

    Boot of 3 cubits

    My son, blessed be thy chariot and its boot of 3 cubits!

  18. fpx
    Devil

    Yay, another flying car prototype. This one looks fairly similar to the Terrafugia Transition, which had its maiden flight in 2009 and is still awaiting certification.

    The flying car has a lot of disadvantages, some regulatory, some convenience. You need a pilot's certificate. You can only take off and land at airfields, when they are open. Because they are so different from regular aircraft, the companies try to certify them as lightweights, which severely restricts their weight. The Transition has a "useful load" of 227 kg, counting pilot, passenger, luggage and fuel. Night-time or IFR flight is not possible -- so if there is a risk of bad weather between you and your destination, you'll have to stay on the road. And if there is any ding to the aerodynamic surfaces -- which includes the entire body of the car, it's back to the shop to check whether it's still airworthy.

    All that for a price that buys you a car, an ultralight plane or a small used aircraft, and limo service from any remote airport to a destination, many times over.

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