* Posts by Sandy Scott

16 posts • joined 26 Sep 2007

Have you ever seen one of these, son? Ricoh spins off 360° camera boffins to debut neuralyzer-shaped snapper

Sandy Scott

360 video support not needed for this to be useful!

" ...most social media sites don't support the kind of immersive footage Vecnos's gear will ultimately produce."

That isn't the point - the benefit of a 360 camera is you can do stupid things with it, with with moving any way you like, then create a stable video feed from it afterwards. Most of the drops that the How Ridiculous crew do are accompanied by a 360 camera on a tether, so the virtual camera can track whatever it needs to. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5f5IV0Bf79YLp_p9nfInRA

This isn't Boeing very well... Faulty timer knackers Starliner cargo capsule on its way to International Space Station

Sandy Scott

Not actually in a stable orbit

A little technical correction - the spacecraft isn't in a stable orbit - by design. The low point of the "orbit" is 71 km, which is low enough that atmosphere will slow you down and bring you back to Earth without needing another burn. Which sounds like a very sensible safety decision.

Microsoft Teams: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Sandy Scott

Best conferencing app we've used

My organisation has recently rolled out Teams, and the biggest improvement I've noticed over other communication platforms is a far better audio/video conferencing experience*, particularly when taking with China (I visit frequently for work). In the past, Skype or Skype for Business has been unusably bad, so we used regular phones. Nowadays WeChat seems to be the most reliable system by a nose, but Teams calls have less delay and better audio quality, so you can actually have a conversation instead of the usual garbled and stuttering meetings. Usable screen sharing is a welcome bonus.

* I realise this is surprisng, given that Teams is basically just a branding wrapper for Skype for Business. However, MS have definitely done something better, maybe just giving the system an larger amount of bandwidth & resources until they've got everyone hooked.

Lights, camera, AI-ction! Robo-drones turned into spies, er, filmmakers

Sandy Scott

Awesome, except it's already been done

This would be amazing research, except that there's already a (pricey) consumer product out there which can do this: Skydio R1 https://www.skydio.com/product/.

Flite Test reviewed it (https://www.flitetest.com/articles/skydio-r1-review), and the results are super-impressive - following a person running through woodland, and didn't crash once.

How Ford has slammed the door on Silicon Valley's autonomous vehicles drive

Sandy Scott

Waze running out of pateince with Android Auto

I've got a shiny new Ford Escape (aka Kuga) and the strange mixed personality of the infotainment system is a bit of a disappointment. If I'm in the standard system, all the voice commands for audio controls work great, but I haven't got the navigation package. In Android Auto, I've got google maps, but that breaks all the all the voice control for car audio - which is necesary for Sirus with the ridiculous number of stations available. Also I'd really like the phone to be able to use the car's compass - one of the biggest things that phone maps always seem to get wrong with driving directions is getting you to turn the correct way into the street when you first set off - usually because it's got confused about which way the phone's pointing, or misread your reversing out of a parking space as setting off - I've never had that problem with a dedicated (built-in or standalone) sat-nav.

I'm not sure how the dynamic between Waze and Google/Alphabet works, but I bet the lack of openness in Android Auto has strained things - Waze are probably losing tech-savvy motorists to Maps in Android Auto, with very little sign of Google opening up that platform to anyone other than music & chat apps.

Spotted: Bizarre SpaceX rocket-snatching machine that looks like it belongs on Robot Wars

Sandy Scott

Iain M Bank books

I've loved everything I've read so far from Iain M Banks, but "The Use of Weapons" stands out above other others as an absolute materpiece, with one of the greatest twists ever written. It's one of the least sci-fi-ey of them, with less focus on the technology. If you love that side of Sci-Fi, maybe try "Matter" first.

I haven't read any of the Non-SF, but I've heard that "The Wasp Factory" is considered a modern classic.

Adobe Flash fix FAIL exposes world's most popular sites

Sandy Scott

Re: Last week I finally uninstalled Flash across our office

Out of interest, does that also include disabling the built-in flash plugin in Chrome?

AT&T to allow unlocking of out-of-contract iPhones

Sandy Scott

Re: Phony Economics

The problem with your argument is that the the deal your comparing ($110/mo over 2) years is completely bonkers.

Maybe the UK is different in this regard, but I bought by Desire HD (the best HTC you could buy at the time) for £21.50/mo over 2 years, with plenty of calls, unlimited texts and a data limit I've only breached while staying for a week in a hotel with no wi-fi!

Even if I could find a comparable sim-only deal, most start at £10/mo, which means the phone has cost me under £300 on top of the plan - bargain, especially when you consider the cost of credit

You also miss out on the superior customer service you'll get from a operator if/when it breaks. - When my microphone failed, I had a replacement phone in my hand by 10 am the following morning, for cost whatsoever to me.

In short, you can get a great deal by going though an telco - just don't get mugged by a salesman in a shop - www.dialaphone.co.uk is a great place to start for UK based customers.

Solarcars: meet road trains

Sandy Scott

More Plucky Brits

Any chance of even a little mention the the other British Team, Cambridge University Eco Racing? www.cuer.co.uk

Endeavour en route to ISS

Sandy Scott

Not completely incorrect.

Firstly, NASA press releases are written for the press, and therefore the public, who are probably capable of telling the difference between a "pound force" (commonly used American unit of force) and "pound mass" by the context without becoming pedantic about semantics. As the quote says "weigh", we are clearly talking about force, not mass.

Also, "weightlessness", or "zero-gravity" are complete misnomers, gravity is still pulling on you quite hard (at the orbit of the ISS, it's about 90% of what we're used to on the ground). The difference is that in orbit you're in free fall towards the earth, as is the spacecraft you're traveling in, so you think you're weightless because there's nothing pushing you back (as the ground does when you're on Earth). Incidentally, free falling is fine, because you're traveling so fast sideways that you effectively keep "missing" the ground.

The only problem with the statement is that NASA seem to have calibrated their base unit of force at ISS orbit, rather than on the ground, so an 1 pound/force in ISS units is 90% of 1 pound force at the earth's surface, which, admittedly is confusing.

NASA flying-car man designs electric VTOL podcraft

Sandy Scott

RE: Looks OK...

You can see all 4 tail surfaces move - remember that these will have plenty of air flowing over them from the downwash of the propellors - more than enough to initiate the transition.

Designer pitches flat-pack power plug

Sandy Scott

Removal Force

I like that the plug also seems to have solved another "issue" with the UK plug - those with weaker fingers can't grip it tightly enough to remove it - the hole in the main body should make that much easier. Though if removing a plug is an issue for you I guess the fiddly folding mechanism won't be much easier.

National Express to 'ban' trainspotting

Sandy Scott

Platform tickets

Platform tickets are definitely still around - when I last asked if I could go onto the platform to meet someone (admittedly at a South West Trains station) I was just given a grubby grey ticket by the attendant, for free, no further questions asked.

Ten of the Best... laptop stands

Sandy Scott

Logitech Alto Cordless

"If [Logitech] bundled the Alto [Connect] with its entry-level EX100 wireless keyboard and mouse combo for £60, it would be a very compelling purchase indeed."

Or you could just get an Alto Cordless, which is pretty much exactly that, only less pretty, and raises the laptop up at a steeper angle (great if you're tall like me). As an added bonus, my wirelss mouse works perfectly with it, so that's one less receiver I need to have on my desk.

Branson unveils Virgin Galactic mothership

Sandy Scott


'However, amid claims that fatigue would be a problem for its all-composite fuselage and wing design, Rutan said: “Fatigue is not an issue at all.”'

The whole point of using composites is to avoid fatigue - using composites for applications where fatigue is not a critical design consideration is usually pointless* - for the vast majority of cases, metals, particularly steels & aluminium alloys, are better and cheaper.

It's only for applications with massive variations in stress (e.g WK2) or large numbers of cyles (wind turbine blades) do composities become a cost-effective option.


What's 77.1 x 850? Don't ask Excel 2007

Sandy Scott

RE: Err, the MS bloke is wrong

Not exactly, if you test it a little further, and put in A4 ="A2 *2" you get 131,072, which actually shows that excel is using a fairly neat shortcut to reduce the display time, by only modifying the relavant digit when it needs to, but recognises that most other operations will modify all of the digits, so those results are calculated the slow way, by working up the formula tree.


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