* Posts by Robin Baker

32 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Jan 2008

KABOOOM! Space-faring dwarf's galactic pile-up snapped by X-ray boffins

Robin Baker

Degrees etc

.I am a bit late to the degrees argument but persons of my (mature) years were educated when degrees Kelvin was the accepted terminology, the degree bit was dropped later to conform with other SI (spit!) unit nomenclature. When you have spent years writing degrees Kelvin remembering not to put degrees in there is difficult.


Dark matter researchers think they've got a signal

Robin Baker


whatever happened to Rankine?

Android users more likely to put out

Robin Baker

So that explains

why, since I have had my Blackberry, I haven`t struck lucky at all.

Where can I get a blow-up android from??

NASA Legonauts set for Jupiter voyage

Robin Baker

Not just me then...

I thought the thing Juno has in her hand was a frying pan...


Boeing customers spy distant Dreamliner

Robin Baker

James Bond might get one

the B747, it was in Casino Royale, just a non-flying prop. It had been the City of Birmingham beforehand according to aeroweb.


Magnetic vortices research uncovers a cool place to put data

Robin Baker

Whenever I hear of a new memory technology

alittle demon sniggers "MS FND in a LBRY".

Vulture 1 Mk 2 release mech prepped for testing

Robin Baker
Thumb Up

should go to Specsavers..

Oh, SNagged, with my old monitor and even older eyes S's and H's look very similar.

But all hail to Vulture Central for keeping alive British stick and string aircraft manufacture, I've been in the industry for nigh on 40 years and this loks like the most interesting thing going at the moment.


Historian slams 'absolutely crazy' UK time zone

Robin Baker

the sun come up... the sun go down

Does it make any difference at all what time we call the hour.

The Scottish farmers should work to the hours of available daylight and ignore clocks.

So should we all.

Ralph Lauren says sorry for incredible shrinking pelvis

Robin Baker

lazy designers?

I have always thought that is just easier to design clothes that fit someone (M or F) who has no curves.

Think about the complexity of a curvy woman's body ...I'll give you a minute or two ... now think about trying to wrap that closely in fabric... I'll give you another minute or two...

All those ins and outs, humps and bumps, it's bloody difficult, needs lots of darts and inserts and the flats (technical term for the pattern used to cut the cloth) quickly become complicated.

So in our age of instant satisfaction it's simpler to ignore real people and pretend everyone is straight up and down.


(by straight I mean linearly straight not not gay)

Nationwide Freeview tune-up takes place today

Robin Baker
Thumb Down

Bricks indeed

My first box ceased to work when Sutton Coldfield changed multiplexes over a year ago, even the BBC are saying up to 20000 more will cease to work at all and they link to a pdf list (sorry I didn't copy it) with the types and fail modes.

So how much unsubstantaition do you need?

NASA: Extraterrestrial sample holds ingredient for alien life

Robin Baker

@colin miller

The quote I have is 'Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us', but you did give me an answer to a crossword clue in the IHT!

Fujifilm confirms 'world's first' 3D stills and films compact

Robin Baker


Just that really - they never sold many either!

Windfarm Britain means (very) expensive electricity

Robin Baker

Never Enough

It all goes round and round: The electricity companies are promoting Economy 7 like power again, Ffestiniog and Dinorwig are mentioned (even the Scots are talking of new pump store schemes) The problem is the sheer scale of it all.

Dinorwig took about 12 years to build and now think of the NIMBYism that would accompany the planning of a new one. It only provides 1320 MW for a limited time, to help with peak lopping where would you put the lakes for all the others we are going to need?

Also remember why the two Welsh sites were chosen, Ffestiniog as base load for Trawsffynnth and Dinorwig for Wylfa - both nuclear plants that really like to be going 24/7 and steadily.

I don't know an answer let alone a quick political fix. Stock up on candles and wind-up radios, cook over a hearth with a log fire. 1300 here we come again.

RIP Personal Computer World

Robin Baker


...was indeed Newbear, not Newbury.

I got one off a geeky friend together with a second memory card and interface unit. All of 256K bytes. Never worked though...

Yorkshire man wakes up Irish after brain surgery

Robin Baker

it's not unusual...

My friend's nephew got swiped off his bike on his way home and came out of a coma with a Scottish accent. Born in Birmingham, this can best be described as a happy outcome.

They never did get the scrote in the 4x4 that hit him though.

Gov: High-tech engineering (car making) will save Blighty

Robin Baker

And of course... the money

There's little point training for years and then being stuffed because there's no real money in production. Us engineers have seen an effective pay freeze for the last decade or so in real terms while we watch the 'city types' walk away with the loot.

Bitter, me, no not at all.


Bletchley's Colossus makes beautiful music

Robin Baker


You are right about the 803 being able to play 'music' via its built-in speaker. When I was at Bletchley Park in the 70s we used their 803 to play carols at Christmas - someone had produced a paper tape with a selection of tunes on it.

Note: the 803 that is in the museum is not the 803 that was in 'D' Block, I still wonder what happened to that one.


Storage breakthrough could bust density record

Robin Baker

ms fnd in a lbry

anyone thinking the same?

BP snips IT contractor rates

Robin Baker

Falling or Static?

As a long-time contractor, although not in the oil industry, I have not seen any rate increase for about seven years so the thought of taking less is disturbing. This smacks of HR taking advantage of the panic over the financial situation and blackmailing their workers by threats of replacement.

It would be good to see contractors acting in unison for once and standing up to this but I have in the past found that someone will do it for less, either from necessity or sharp-practice. It's very difficult to get more once you have accepted less.


Beta-blocker 'erases' unpleasant memories

Robin Baker

I wonder?

I was prescribed beta-blockers after a particularly stressful time in my life. Recently I have been asked to remember various things that happened around then (1996/7 ish) and have found it very difficult to do so. Perhaps this is the reason/excuse I need to explain why?

Iranian rocket puts satellite into orbit

Robin Baker

@AC 'we beat you... sort of'

I f you count non-indigenously developed launcher rockets, try looking up Ariel-1, 1962 was it??

The whole idea was you had to do all of it in country (except the lighting the blue touch paper bit where you really need to be as close to the equator as possible, thanks for 'lending' us Woomera!!!)

My first ever real job was on this programme, it's been downhill ever since.


Beeb reprieves Xmas Top of the Pops

Robin Baker

Oh Goody,

I will be away in the frozen north, so I won't be able to see Fearne bl**dy Cotton b&££$ up another show, and this other chap, who he???

Plasma rocket space drive in key test milestone

Robin Baker

round and round...

re-inventing another wheel? Lunar cargo ship with ion propulsion, even the 'wings' llok the same!


Times: US about to deploy Space Marines

Robin Baker

Move along now...

Just take a look at http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/ithacus.htm, nothing new about this concept is there?

V-22 Osprey combo-copter hits fresh tech snags

Robin Baker


They tried tying a radar to a balloon a long time back, look for Blue Joker or AMES 87.

Heathrow 777 crash: 'No anomalies in the major aircraft systems'

Robin Baker

@AC - re avionics

Reading all the words in the latest report - the fuel metering unit valves, that is the mechanical bits, were fully open so there was no avionic system overriding the command for more fuel as far as I can see.

This is a conundrum for all at the moment and I hope the AAIB are close to finding the real answer for two reasons 1) I was involved with the FADEC software and 2) I am flying on holiday on a 777 fairly soon and the rest of the family are pretty nervous at the best of times...

English language succumbs to Symbiotic Ephemeralization

Robin Baker

I just had to...

babelise it:

Symbioti Ephemeralization, in the context of this offers, with of

Community-of-practical the independent one goes, therefore, exactly if

in him only the preoccupations of the cooperation of the advice of

ephemeralization of product one to him of hypercycle.

...that's a lot better, can I go to the pub now ?

Autothrottle problems suspected in Heathrow 777 crash

Robin Baker

Sorry - my mistake:

Quite right LUCOL it is, and it is translated not interpreted and its overhead in timing and memory is far lower than compiled languages. The typical box it runs in is a hansom cab compared to a PC being an F1 car. And ADA (I can do that too) is complicated, was trendy and could have been excellent, but only a sub-set is really safe enouigh to fly with (IMHO, of course).

Personally, I don't need to G**GLE for LUCOL or Dolman, though I did try last night just out of interest, but as AC reports above you tend to get results that point you at restricted sites. Should I want information I can read my own notes (should have done that first, would have got over the interpreted/translated error) or have a beer or two with the guys who really wrote LUCOL that I am still in touch with.

I was around when it first flew, I still am and I intend to be around for quite a while longer thanks, but if Goodrich get their way my 67p might appear over-generous!

Robin Baker

EMC canard - dead duck?

The FADECs are under investigation, not fried, still functional, as far as I know.

Robin Baker

...OK - just a bit more info...

The FADECs on the B777 are the last generation to use a modular assembler language developed specially for engine systems by Lucas Aerospace. It has no assocation with ADA, no need for any ADA complier, it has its own unique interpreter. I am not sure that there are definitive papers on this but I will try to find something that may satisfy.

The design was done using Yourdon methodology with Teamwork and a lot of sweat and tears.

The picket line doesn't apply to me but I will get a Lucas pension in 2012 - should be 67p a year!

Robin Baker

...extra info...

Just to add what I know about the systems:

The AIMS and FADECs are only linked at the throttle levers, AIMS drives servos and resolvers determine the angle selected for the FADEC thrust setting.

The FADECs on the B777, R-R engines are NOT programmed in ADA - most of the rest of the plane is, true, but not those particular items.

The teams that developed the software for the FADEC are VERY experienced professionals who have had safety-critical training. Not that we can't make mistakes just the same, just not very likely.

(anyone spot the 'we' there - oh, what a give away!!!)

I am not second guessing the AAIB, I will leave that to the PPRUNE massive, who seem to have attracted even more speculators than a gold-rush. And, I do post there too, trying to keep the arguements to the facts, though it's an uphill struggle.

at which point, pass my anorak and show me the door

Starbucks mocha clocked at 628 calories

Robin Baker

I guess everythings bigger where you are


British pedant/

I thought 16 fl oz = pint = 470mL

/British pedant