* Posts by Geoff Bin In

14 publicly visible posts • joined 31 Mar 2008

Big bang theory: Was mystery explosion over New York caused by a meteor? Dunno. By a military jet? Maybe...

Geoff Bin In

Probably just Hotblack Desiato warming up for their next gig


Why embossed credit cards are here to stay

Geoff Bin In

click clack

Hmm... click clack sounds like a Captain Beefheart track.

Anyway, I remember seeing a transaction on a train, where the man coming round taking bookings for dinner did not have a click clack machine. He had a bunch of slips that had already been impressed with the companies info. When he wanted to impress the customers info, he used an individual portion of jam! He placed the slip over the credit card and rubbed the jam pot over it to take the impression. What a wonderful use of technology.

Basic instinct: how we used to code

Geoff Bin In

My first computer

My first computer was an Elliott 803 in 1968/9-ish and we were taught to program it in Algol.

I say "my" computer, there were other people using it! We wrote the program on a coding sheet and handed it in. The punch ladies then punched it onto cards. The results were returned on tractor feed "music" ruled paper, wrapped around the cards. The turnaround time could be around 1 hour.

El Reg posts dirty pics for old computer buffs

Geoff Bin In

Re: Is this some "Comouter Purity Test"?

Paper tape?

ASR 33 Teletype?

Acoustic modem?

How else would you transfer your Fortran from an ICL 1903A to a Dec 20?

You print out you ICL program onto paper tape.

Attach the ASR33 to the acoustic coupler.

Ring up the OU's Dec 20 and then shove the handset into the acoustic coupler.

Feed the paper tape into the ASR33 and upload the program at 300 Baud.

Error correction, you ask? You disconnect the ASR 33 and connect the

VT100 and eyeball the Fortran looking for any missing commas or

whatever. Fortunately most errors tended to be bursty, but not all...


Sex with Taoist truck driver leaves woman fully satisfied

Geoff Bin In

Polysyllabic names

Still, Au Yeung (or Ouyang in Manderin) is an interesting Chinese surname, as it is one of the very few genuinely Han names which is bisyllabic, Sima being one of the others which is usually quoted. Usually they are monosyllabic, such as Mao, Li, Wang & Zhang.


'Dragon's Egg' hurlable weeble-cams for US digi-troopers

Geoff Bin In


I have no military background and no knowledge how big a platoon is, or any of the other group names which are mentioned for comparison. Some actual numbers would be useful.

El Reg space paper plane christened Vulture 1

Geoff Bin In


While I wasn't into free-flight model aircraft in my yoof, I recall that they had two methods used to trigger a modification in the aerodynamics leading to an enhanced rate of descent. One was a clockwork timer and the other was a burning fuse which passed through a rubber band. The rubber band broke when the burn reached it. The clockwork timer was more accurate, but selecting the length of the fuse appears to have provided adequate accuracy. I suspect that the fuse approach may have some difficulties in our project caused by the lack of oxygen and the cold, which might extinguish the fuse, or fail to break the rubber band, or the rubber band may be sufficiently frozen to retain its shape and hence fail to release our craft.


What's Welsh for Orange?

Geoff Bin In


I am only a Saxon, but if you are going to quote Cymraeg within some English, should you not quote the base form rather than the modified form Gymreag, which occurs after certain consonants to make a more pleasant sound. Or have I got it wrong?


NASA announces $1.5m prize for eco-plane inventors

Geoff Bin In

Early attempt

The Shuttleworth collection have an English Electric Wren built in 1923 which

achieved 87.5 mpg :-


One might hope that doubling that performance in some 80 years should

not be too difficult...


El Reg to launch space paper plane

Geoff Bin In
Black Helicopters


I like the design illustrated at :-


although as a variation you can simply not tear off the tail

and use it as a flying wing. You will need to bend down the wings

and bend up the tips as well as bending up some trailing edge

flaps to trim the flight. This flies nice and slowly.

This would require a sheet of A4, and could provide a simple

backup in case a more complex model was not 100% successful.

There doesn't seem to be an aeroplane icon...

Marie Curie voted top female boffin

Geoff Bin In


Marie Curie, the only woman to have had a unit named after her, and

then have it taken away to be replaced by the Buggerall, a unit so small

that they had to invent some new multiples.

Brits find accommodation a little uncomfortable

Geoff Bin In

i before e

If you are going to use the "i bfore e..." aid, then you need to use the full rhyme:-

i before e

except after c

when the sound is ee

This then works most of the time, e.g. field, receive & height.

Official who lost secret al-Qaeda report pleads guilty

Geoff Bin In

'My bad', says forgetful vomiter

Just where did the phrase 'My bad', come from and what is it supposed to mean?

I have only seen it in recent years and have always supposed that it was used by

non-native speakers who had not yet got to grips with the language. Our author

does, however, seem to have some facility with the language. Can the use here

be ironic or has this phrase passed into everyday use?

OOXML approved as international standard?

Geoff Bin In

IP by carrier pigeon anybody?

Please see RFC 1149 :-