* Posts by Craig Graham

9 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Feb 2008

Take a hammer to your hard drive, shrieks Which?

Craig Graham

Pure personal practicality

Most people already have a hammer. Even if they don't, a hammer is probably cheaper to buy than a disk wiper, and is likely to be used far more often, and represents a much sounder investment. If someone really wants to stop someone else getting hold of data from an unwanted PC, it seems much more likely they'll take a hammer to the drive rather than go out and pay money that they won't see any return on.

I've done it myself on a couple of drives, though they've been failed ones and I've just been venting my frustration.

Berkeley boffins save Moore's Law

Craig Graham


5nm is about 10 silicon atoms. Okay they can make it, but at some point things just aren't gonna work any more- for a start they'll leak. More fundamentally, band structure is assumed for bulk semiconductor and emerges from the large scale periodicity of the lattice. Make the lattice very small and I suspect you won't be able to make a transistor any more. Might bring in interesting things like quantum wire interconnect.

Sharp shows first 'zero-emission' telly

Craig Graham


So what on earth do you mean by 220kWh? Total available electrical energy delivered over the entire life of the thing?

ELSPA chief lays into UK censor over games ratings

Craig Graham


That's interesting- until half way down I was thinking that yeah, ELSPA would want to be the definitive ratings body so they could rate games more favourably and get more sales. It's the ELSPA guy who claims the BBFC consistently reduces the game ratings- making them more available than ELSPA considers appropriate, so maybe there's not the whole story there. Does anyone know of somewhere this can be checked?

Tikitag lets anyone become Big Brother

Craig Graham
Dead Vulture

Too short range and nothing new

4cm read range. The key finding and kid tracking applications are more suited to longer range RFID- a few metres is common. Kid tracking based on RFID has been used for some time in at least one theme park (Legoland) and nurseries and enclosed play areas in pubs often have clothing-based exit alarm systems that I wouldn't be suprised to see using RFID.

Even these short range things are already out there in the field as RFID based access control- in ID cards for office doors and key fobs for disabled toilets for instance.

If it could use the human body as an antenna it may be interesting- a wristwatch type device that tells you if you've dropped or left something out of your pocket would be neat. But it's highly unlikely to, since the RF that gets to the tag has to be powerful enough to power the tag, and I woudln't be happy with that on me.

Eurofighter at last able to drop bombs, but only 'austerely'

Craig Graham


I for one would rather not be entirely dependent on a foreign power for protection. My view is Europe needs to retain sufficient capability that it costs a foreign power to attack us or something of ours. That foreign power could be the US or China or someone else- who knows what the political situation will be 5,10 years down the line, especially if there are shortages biting in energy, food and water, and if climate change is causing mass migration of people- refugees- to a bunch of countries who each would like to have to take in as few as possible and would like the other countries to do as much as possible.

A good design is long lived and has lots of room for enhancement. The Harrier, for instance, lasted years and went through loads of revisions yet I don't recall any derisive comments of them "not getting it right yet". This article is presented as an aircraft that has not yet met its design spec- yet it seems the aircraft talked about is already in version 2 (if that's what Tranche 2 means). So version 1 is done and in use and they're finding things to make better- why is that seen as such a bad thing? I was noseying around one of the aircraft a year or so ago and an example of one of the future upgrades that's been deliberately left open in the design is vectored thrust, which in conjunction with more engine power will allow the aircraft to do tail slides, like the SU-27. That kind of maneuverability seems very useful in combat, and though it wasn't asked for at the time it's at least one way in which a future revision will be better than the present. Will that be presented in the same light- they've "finally" got it working? Even though it wasn't something originally specced and can only be done because of foresight?

People here should be well aware that when you're engineering with new kit, things go wrong and take longer than expected. There's always snags, and salespeople and financiers- because of the way our system works- will always underplay the length of time needed and the risk of overrun. Certainly there's *cough chinook* cockups and mismanagement, but not every missed milestone and budget overrun is an indication of that.

Gawd, I could go on for ages now about how perceptions here towards engineering and technology have changed and how it's letting the far east get into a position to leave us really screwed but I need to stop somewhere.

CERN declares Large Hadron Collider perfectly safe

Craig Graham
Black Helicopters

Flash in the pan

The most convincing argument to me that this is safe is that we have cosmic rays bombarding us from space which have been observed to have energies of one hundred million times the energy of the particles in the LHC. If anything was going to happen, it already would have. Anyone seriously think the conditions inside the LHC are anything whatsoever on the natural fireworks elsewhere in the universe that kick shrapnel our way all the time?

Black helicopter because I'm obviously part of the conspiracy.

Hard drive replacement sparks singed disk situation

Craig Graham


There seems to be rather a lot of solder on there. It's not like there's a reservoir inside to leak out when the chip pops..

Sun will swallow Earth: Official

Craig Graham

Spaceship Earth

By that point, if we're still around, I'd guess we'll have the ability to slowly increase and decrease the orbital speed of the Earth, hence controlling the distance from the sun and letting us regulate the temperature both in the initial stages and as the sun cools and dies.