* Posts by Spiracle

249 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jun 2008


The Human Genome Project will tell us who to support at Eurovision


Re: For those wowed by how much DNA they share with people from other countries

This can't be right - according to that first map Dabbs is 50% fish.

Richard Branson uses two planes to make 170km round trip


Re: Not quite as high as a SR-71

Or, in Reg standard units about 12923 Osmans

Brexit travel permits designed to avoid 7,000-lorry jams come January depend on software that won't be finished till April


Re: The other question

Do they have to get a permit, drive out of Kent to queue up to get back into Kent to join the queue for Dover?

They simply need to take a Kent Re-entry Access Permit.

50 years on: Apollo 12 failed at selfies but succeeded at dismantling a probe


Re: Bean there, done that

A reminder of how long we had to wait for decent moving images from the moon - 11 was brief, murky and black and white, 12 fried the camera, 13 didn't land at all.

We had to wait until Apollo 14 in February 1971, pretty much a year and a half after Armstrong and Aldrin, before there were watchable live pictures in colour, and even then it was mostly static in front of the LM. It really wasn't until the rovercam on the last three missions, two years after the first landing, that coverage moved away from what were effectively radio broadcasts.

Brexit: Digital border possible for Irish backstop woes, UK MPs told


Re: Passing the buck back to Europe...

It would also be sensible to impose some sort of Australian-style points system and interview each whelk individually to make sure that they're not a cockle.

What made a super high-tech home in Victorian England? Hydroelectric witchery, for starters



Despite being the most impressive thing in Grimsby I'm fairly sure that the accumulator tower isn't twice the height of the Humber Bridge.

BT 'UK's most powerful Wi-Fi'? Why, fie, for shame! – ads watchdog


Re: Depends on house structure...

I'd agree with you that power line Ethernet works better than the vendor supplied WiFi in pretty much any house with an internal brick wall, but don't imagine that the signal is neatly contained in the copper wire. Power line setups splurge HF signal in all directions, probably propagating even farther than the WiFi. I've even heard stories of leakage of domestic traffic from neighboring lampposts.

How do you solve a problem like Galileo? With a strap-on L-band payload, of course!


Re: Harumph. Away with all this satellite malarkey....

Put the transmitters on the ground


Time to party like it's 2005! Palm is coming BAAAA-ACK


Re: Blockchain Rolodex

I'm considering a pen device with an e-paper screen and e-carbon-paper behind that.

Dawn spacecraft to get up-close and personal with dwarf planet Ceres


Point of Order

Isn't it Mimas that's the Death Star look-alike?

Mirror mirror on sea wall, spot those airships, make Kaiser bawl



These were giant, cigar-shaped, helium-filled airships that unleashed the first aerial bombing campaign to hit Britain and the civilian population.

Wasn't it all hydrogen until the US frees up their supply in the 30's?

As an aside my grandmother (b. 1914) used to tell me that her first memory was of a Zeppelin caught in searchlights over Margate.

2001 set the standard for the next 50 years of hard (and some soft) sci-fi


The story I'd heard on that was that they used the classical pieces while filming to "set the mood" and the intension was that there would be music written later. But then they decided that the classical pieces really works and kept them.

Kubrick commissioned a score from Alex North (Spartacus, Cleopatra), who sweated to complete on time and only found that it had been dropped when he attended the premier. I believe it can be heard on Spotify or the like.


"But did we really need all that time of australopithecus hitting each other with clubs and making funny noises? Could we not just have a quick montage and a voiceover/explanation to tell us that the monolith was assessing/training them? And get it over with in a minute or two?"

It has to be paced like that to serve as the slow build to the best jump-cut in cinema history.


Re: Not just Siri/Google Assistant/etc

It does suffer from the Blade Runner/Neuromancer anachronism of everybody still using phone boxes though.



I could never work out where that rapidly spinning centrifuge actually was on the ship. Presumably it was mounted laterally inside the sphere at the front, but it never looked big enough.

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough


Re: The Swiss are in it

The Swiss have negotiated to pay €27m a year to be part of the development program but Swiss access to PRS (the mega-secure crypto infrastructure part) is AFAIK, after more than 10 years of negotiations, still just an aspiration. It's loss of access to PRS keys through the security treaties that will lapse when the UK leaves the EU that's preventing UK firms getting contracts.

Norway also contributes but doesn't get PRS.

Boeing ships its 10,000th 737


Trigger's Broom

The 737 debuted in 1967,

I wonder how many parts the original 100/200 and the Max have in common? I'd guess that even big stuff like the undercarriage castings use a different alloy these days.

The blockchain era is here but big biz, like most folk, hasn't a clue what to do with it


I read last week that it's now possible to paste anyone's face onto video of anyone else's body, a technique that is (unsurprisingly) being exploited for porn.

This will soon create the problem of nobody believing the verisimilitude of any clip of video, unless the provenance of said piece of video can be traced back to its creation through something like a blockchain.

Transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'



A modest proposal: One way to solve the golf clubs problem is to, like the very early days of motoring, split the body work from the drive train - in the early parts of the twentieth century you used to buy a chassis and get a coachbuilder to put something on top. Leave your bodywork up on bricks in your drive with your clubs in it and whistle up an autonomous drivetrain to slot itself underneath when you need it. The drives can do robot things when there's nobody aboard, when the coachworks's on top a driver's in control. On long journey's instead of waiting for charge you could just change the horses like on old coaching inn.

Take notebooks: About those new Thinkpads...


Haynes Manual

I bought a T41 second hand in 2007 which only finally gave up the ghost last year. At one point the motherboard blew so I bought a £25 replacement from eBay and replaced it myself using IBM's downloadable repair manual. It took about 40 minutes and I only had to use one screwdriver.

That was a proper ThinkPad.

Night before Xmas and all through American Airlines, not a pilot was flying, thanks to this bug

Thumb Up

+1 for gremlin

Teensy weensy space shuttle flies and lands


Re: Playmobil

Do they still sell the solid fuel Jetex engines? Made my pal's Airfix Lanchester model car fly.

'fly' or 'hurtle'?

Shhh! There's a new BlackBerry and... no, we've said too much


"The BlackBerry KEYone (left) and Motion (right) share the same design language"

If that's the case one of them must be speaking it with a very thick accent.

Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck


Re: Battery Material Source

Lithium makes up only about 10-15% of the average lithium polymer battery by weight, and it's pretty much all recycle-able.


Re: Prediction

It will have two huge ball tyres and pivot in the middle to get into hard to reach parking places. And there will be a special version for pet owners.

In my mind this is flickering between satire and plausibility like one of those duck/rabbit pictures.

Alexa and her kind let the disabled or illiterate make the web work


...voice-activated servants are going to shake things up, by removing the need for advanced literacy...

What could possibly go wrong?

Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in


Re: Jelly babies

No more Moffat, the new showrunner is Chris 'Broadchurch' Chibnall (hence the casting, I should imagine)


Re: I

She is (will be) a Time Lady, not a Lord.

Better tell the current First Lord of the Treasury.


Re: The good old days

I'm with you to a point, but it was a time-honoured tradition to announce every new Doctor/companion with an excruciatingly posed press photo taken next to the bollards outside the old TVC reception.

Amazon is to install its R&D brainboxes in Cambridge


Re: Ah

"...handy for the Botanic Gardens at lunchtime but impossible to park."

The building that they're occupying has its own underground car park (for sufficiently high-status individuals, no doubt) and is literally 15 seconds walk from the train station.

It's around the corner from MS Research and rumour has it that a certain fruit-logoed company is going to be locating itself in the under-construction building across the road (they're currently renting an anonymous office next to the Botanics gate). I'd envisage a circulation of talent around this triangle.

Oh, and Google are building 45 minutes away at the other end of the Kings Cross line as well.

Nerd Klaxon: Barbican to host Science Fiction exhibition this summer


If Pat Gyger is at the front door counting the people in is he the official Gyger Counter?

Nah, that's the Gyger that works in Human Resources. Easy to mix them up.

What should the Red Arrows' new aircraft be?


Back to the Gnat please

Because then I'll be able to get that poster that I had on my bedroom wall in 1975 out of the attic.

Failing that do the RAF currently have enough A400's to make up a display team?

Softbank promises stronger ARM: Greater overseas reach and double the UK jobs


Re: Interesting

The assets are the workforce and you cannot easily move them.

This may, considering the number of non-UK national engineers currently working at ARM, ultimately depend on political decisions taken about the free-movement of labour and just how welcome people feel. I mean, where would you rather spend a wet Tuesday in February - The Fens or Sophia-Antipolis?

Mushroom farm PC left in the dark and fed … you know the rest


Re: Not paid in, but...

"One of the authors being a New York Times best seller many times over"

Somewhere in the Library of Babel there's a shelf reserved for all of the masterpieces that disappeared into bad sectors.


Re: Fast Typing is a MUST.

the soles of you shoes would melt.

Another problem that can be fixed by a simple re-boot.

Apple's iOS updates brick iPads


Re: Doesn't really matter

Yep, mine now sits tethered to an amp providing music streaming, at which it's just about usable. Anything much else, loading another app or even swiping the home screen, is painful.

I really don't know which of its background tasks are important enough to sabotage basic UI functions.

How Remix's Android will eat the world


Isn't this exactly Google's plan?

Isn't the forthcoming Android 'N', with snappable windows and a test version of an overlapping window manager supposed to be the stepping stone to Android 'O' where Android and Chrome OS merge? I'd imagine that that'll look very much like Remix OS.

Is Facebook about to get a Virtual Reality check?


On each of the three occasions that I've donned an Occulus I've felt as sick as a dog after five minutes, so the bathroom might be a better bet than the living room.

Brit censors endure 10-hour Paint Drying movie epic


Re: Sequel

Is it a sequel to Primer?

Mozilla looses Firefox 43, including Windows 64-bit variant


I downloaded the 64-bit version and let it upgrade upon which it installed the 64-bit executables into C:\Program Files (x86). This kicked off my OCD. Luckily a fresh install seems to put them in the right place.

Brit 'naut Tim Peake will run the London Marathon – in space


A couple of questions spring to mind

-Will it be possible for him to start dead on the gun?

-Will he need to be debited a fraction of a second on account of frame dragging?

(Edit: thanks for doing the maths Egghead)

Chrome OS is not dead, insists Google veep in charge of Chrome OS


Providing a common kernel and Chrome browser application would have pretty much the same effect as merging the OSs - they've been doing some work towards this with Chrome Custom Tabs and the like already.

If they produce a desktop style launcher and overlapping window manager for Android then that could be their consumer laptop OS of choice, benefiting from the brand transfer from phones and tablets. ChromeOS could march on in the education sector as 'Google Schoolbook' or something similar.

Future civilisations won't know how the universe formed


It's also statistically unlikely that anyone'll win the lottery this week.

Blighty's Bloodhound 1,000mph rocket car unveiled ahead of record attempt


Re: Awesome :-)

Relax - it's got the lowest tailpipe emissions of any 1000mph car on the market.

Shattered Skype slowly staggers to its feet after 15-HOUR outage outrage


Re: You don't realise how important Skype is until ....

I think it goes to show that the area of the Venn diagram containing techies that have managed to reproduce is still surprisingly small.

Video calling would have been a godsend when my kids were pre-schoolers. Sadly yet another thing for which I seem to have been born a decade or so too early.

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua 4G: The Android smartie that can take its drink


Re: SD Storage question

Depends on the app but some of them may not be moving their cache out of main memory - some music streaming apps, for example, may not shift previously downloaded songs without manual intervention. Try clearing the cache in the system and app settings and re-starting everything. Failing that find out which apps are the main memory hogs in settings, delete and re-install from the store.

This whopping 16-bit computer processor is being built by hand, transistor by transistor


Re: That's quite a bit of work

He should do. He sounds fairly down to earth...


Re: Completely and utterly bonkers

If they'll take it in at the Cambridge museum he'll be able to throw a couple of spools of solder into his bike basket and cycle down to finish (or, more likely, mend) it.

Sharing Economy latest: Women's breast milk is the new 'liquid gold' of the internet


Scarcity economics

Women's BREAST MILK is the new 'liquid GOLD' of the internet

So men's breast milk should command an even greater premium then.

Testing Windows 10 on Surface 3: Perfect combo or buggy embuggerance?


It's changed already

Windows 10 technical preview build 10074 installed smoothly

Build 10130, currently on the fast update loop, changes the menu and 'Metro' interfaces quite significantly from the one illustrated and is much more 8.1-like. Whether or not it's representative of the final release is anyone's guess though.