* Posts by Neil Barnes

5908 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

Bids for ISS demolition rights are now open, NASA declares

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: I know it's old, and I know it's wearing out...

Well indeed - we've already done the hard stuff. I wonder where we'd be if NASA had followed on with its idea to take the shuttle external fuel tanks to orbit and park them there.

Just wistful thinking!

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I know it's old, and I know it's wearing out...

but with all that effort expended to get the thing up there, I can't help feeling it might be nice to push it up out of the way somewhere rather than down to a watery grave, just in case we might find a use for it later.

(Also, it's pretty when it flies overhead every now and then!)

Bermuda, your data, Google's gonna take your US data

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Estimating the bandwidth

It's surely important to remember that brontosauruses (brontosauri?) are thin and one end, fat in the middle, and thin again at the other [(c)Monty Python]

Perhaps the fat bit could be used for temporary buffering, or to provide alternate routes for two-way messages to pass each other.

The home Wi-Fi upgrade we never asked for is coming. The one we need is not

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Re: Too pessimistic - Not always

Probably. I just bought the house next door, with a three month overlap while the rental notice on this one works itself out, so there might be a bit of careful placement of WiFi units on windowsills to stretch the signal until it all changes over.

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Re: Too pessimistic - Not always

Curiously - in this German 'Massiv' house the walls and ground floor are cast concrete: Wifi doesn't always want to work through the cellar roof but the phones, albeit showing a low signal level, are fine.

No joke: Cloudflare takes aim at Google Fonts with ROFL

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Re: An idea

Not quite everyone... people seem to have forgotten that html is a content delivery system, not a typesetting system.

OSIRIS-REx succesfully delivers NASA's first asteroid sample

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Re: 11mph (18km/h)

Mr Barnes is sadly on the cusp of requiring a smaller wing (he doesn't want to spend the cash until this one's all worn out) but by chute is supposed to land me at 4.5m/s - at ten kilos more than I weigh.

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11mph (18km/h)

Also known as 5m/s in proper units.

Slightly faster than my emergency chute is rated to land me :)

Europe wants easy default browser selection screens. Mozilla is already sounding the alarm on dirty tricks

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Deja vu, all over again...

I'm sure we had this argument around ten years ago, and after an initial thrashing around it all disappeared quietly into the morning mist...

"Best viewed with"/"Only works with"... it's almost as if there were no such thing as web standards.

(Though there is the point that a choice for an uniformed user is no more than a lottery: how does he rate one over another?)

US military F-35 readiness problems highlighted in aptly timed report

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Black Helicopters

Isn't the F35 supposed to be

a plane capable of managing its own maintenance schedule? To the extent of ringing up Digikey or Pratt and Whitney and placing the order itself?

FAA wants rocket jockeys to clean up after their space launch parties

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Re: 25 <b>YEARS</b> sounds a bit long

I was contemplating whether this would be handled by requiring a bloody great pile of money in escrow for twenty-five years, or by the companies involved dissolving and reinventing themselves every twenty years?

The iPhone 15 has a Goldilocks issue: Too big or too small. Maybe a case will make it just right

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Re: Recovering fanboy here.

Having to wait an unspecified amount of time to _not_ purchase an iPhone? Sounds good to me; still waiting to not purchase mine.

Now IBM sued for age discrim by its own HR veterans

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Re: HR...

HR = people are plug-in replaceable parts.

Personel Dept = at least some pretense that we care about the people.

At what point does a company suddenly realise that it is not simply a quarterly profit and loss account but an essential part of a community?

Beneath Microsoft's Surface event, AI spreads everywhere

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If you've seen my posts you'll know I'm not usually moved to crude language

but just what is the fucking point of this?

95% of NFTs now totally worthless, say researchers

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Re: “Now”?

Curious, how "whose investments are now worthless" sounds _so_ much better than "who lost their bet".

Isn't there an old proverb about 'fools and money'?

Lawsuit claims Google Maps led dad of two over collapsed bridge to his death

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Re: So answer this.

It'd be a bugger if they did that sort of thing with the airspace maps!

Singapore may split liability for phishing losses between banks and victims

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who is responsible?

The scammers.

Who have spent - in various incarnations - centuries learning how to con people out of their money. If someone falls for it, is it their fault? If a bank has reason to believe that they're giving money to the right person, and they're not, is it their fault?

As it happens, I moved a lot of money from the UK to a foreign account recently. My bank required me to be there in person to approve it, irrespective of the fact that they pay smaller amounts to the same account every month. It was a pain, but I think a worthwhile one.

My late father was scammed years ago - in a complex scam at the time which took account of him calling the bank back and then disabling his phone line so the bank couldn't contact him. The bank refunded him fifty grand or so... (we implemented a new protocol where he would call someone he knew, like me, in future similar events).

Google Bard can now tap into your Gmail, Docs, more

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Big Brother

Am I the only one


Textbook publishers sue shadow library LibGen for copyright infringement

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Re: The usual lies

It's certainly a bit odd that the printers claim that there is no demand for something, yet complain when someone else provides it.

I've noticed that (official) e-books of current works often display the noise signatures typical of OCR of scanned pages. You'd think they'd have the material in the original electronic form somewhere around the place... nonetheless, I wonder if publishers have heard of publish on demand?

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: They are blocked in France

As an aside: at a language school where I am currently trying to learn German, the school requires you to purchase a couple of books every two months to follow the course, but have absolutely no objection to a noticeboard outside the office where the new books are sold containing many offers by past students to sell their used books rather more cheaply.

World's most powerful free-electron laser upgraded to fire a million X-rays per second

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Re: I do hope it's shielded

yeah, but that's just the usual aliens.

Getting to the bottom of BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure

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Re: coccyx-centered comforts in cold climes

The only thing I would like to rent instead of owning --->

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Re: Moving House

Nobody can stop me watching a DVD I physically own. Nobody can stop me listening to a CD I own. Nobody can stop me reading a paper book I own. At least, not without knocking the door down first, which might cause the neighbours to raise their collective eyebrow.

As I recall, all those things that people though they owned as electronic leased copies have disappeared at the whim of the subscription company.

(As it happens, I choose to use electronic copies of those items in most cases. But they're copies made by me of physical media.)

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Black Helicopters

coccyx-centered comforts in cold climes

Just wanted to appreciate that phrase again :)

But I can't help feeling that the whole 'own nothing' culture has a fundamental issue: sooner or later, _somebody_ has to own the stuff. And that seems likely to be fewer and fewer people (companies, of course) as time goes by.

When everything you use and need is owned by a handful of companies, you can forget goverment: you are effectively in the control of those few companies: what you see, what you buy, what you use, everything about you will be mandated by them. And of course the majority of the people simply will neither notice nor care about this.

Already we have a handful of individuals who control more money than some fairly large countries...

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Nine letters. Begins with C.

Capitalism... no, wait, that's ten. Bugger.

Probe reveals previously secret Israeli spyware that infects targets via ads

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Re: Head in the sand

You may have misspelt 'burning'.

Google throws California $93M to make location tracking lawsuit disappear

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I'm wondering how long it will be before we see Google (and the other big tech companies) broken up the same way Bell was. Though... did that actually achieve anything?

HP reveals bonkers $5k foldable tablet/laptop/desktop

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Re: Laptop, schmaptop - I say flaptop

And parenthetically just a hundred years since flappers were all the rage!

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Or indeed a bicycle...

Techie labelled 'disgusting filth merchant' by disgusting hypocrite

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Less of a grammar and more of a style, I might suggest? Nonetheless, it's good to see it done properly!

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Oh Sir! You absolute rotter, Sir!

Google promises eternity of updates for Chromebooks – that's a decade for everyone else

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Re: Chromebook Your-Personal-Lifetime Software Updates for Free

Every chromebook I ever had lacked a delete key. This was an annoyance; I use it a lot.

But chromeos was not for me; I installed various linuxes by various routes.

Airbus takes its long, thin, plane on a ten-day test campaign

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: in a 3-3 economy class configuration.

It's almost as if no-one's noticed the average size of a human these days is somewhat in excess of 1.50 metres and 50kg... the people that design economy class cabins should be required to live and work in them for a month. Or more.

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: "leaving airlines to decide if they want to cram passengers in"

'Premium' has so many meanings... is this the 'inexpensive' meaning, or the 'expensive' one?

Neil Barnes Silver badge

in a 3-3 economy class configuration.

Ah, the configuration in which your shoulders and elbows share space with your neighbours to the side, your knees are rammed into the back of the seat in front (complete with hard knobbly bits just where it hurts), the seats can't be reclined, and the table is is no practical use whatever?

No thanks.

Scientists spot startlingly close black holes in Hyades star cluster

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Re: The Asylum has shown the way

we all die a horribly stretched and spaghettificated death.

Bless his noodly appendages, quick, while there's still time!

Ford, BMW, Honda to steer bidirectional EV charging standard

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Re: "because if you unplug your car, your house goes dark"

Surely a dedicated battery system is cheaper than a second vehicle?

Microsoft Edge still forcing itself on users in Europe

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but include a button for opening the page in the associated app instead.

Some websites (youtube, google maps, duolingo for example) would much rather you opened in the app than in the browser (android), and slap a big button over the website. As far as I can see this comes from the website, not the OS, but of course I could be mistaken.

What's the great advantage of an app, apart from the inability to kill the adverts?

Arm's lawyers want to check assembly expert's book for trademark missteps

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Is this not "nominative fair use"?

Like you, I have not read the book in question - but pretty much any technical book I have read in the last fifty years includes phrasing early in the introduction or colophon similar to 'trademarks are the property of their respective owners'.

Yes, a company has to defend its trademarks and branding, but when you're defending, better I think that the guns should be pointing outwards and not at your own feet...

Billions of 'custobots' are coming online. Marketers may need to learn SEO for AI

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what the algorithm is to get into your shopping basket

Easy. Given that most basic foods are essentially indistinguishable out of their packets - think potatoes, rice, pasta, beans, frozen peas - the algorithm is 'reduce the price'.

I find it fascinating that my local (DE) supermarket has its own brand beans at 69c, it's expensive brand at 99c, 'outside' brands around 1.99, and Heinz for 2.59 or thereabouts. For some reason, the own brand shelves empty first and most frequently. The same applies to the various rice brands available, the various pastas and so on.

Long-lost 1977 Star Wars X-Wing prop discovered – lock s-foils in bid position

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Re: I mostly want

"A monster's work is never done..."

Watt's the worst thing you can do to a datacenter? Failing to RTFM, electrically

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Re: Silly Mistakes

A lecturer of ours explained the expensive way why you shouldn't try to measure the impedance of the mains supply...

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Re: Plus ca change....

The BBC used to use widely an XLR mains connector. It was considered pretty safe, until someone playing around discovered it was just possible to force a connection to a nominally non-compatible audio XLR connector... a certain amount of scope for mischief was available. Even after they were banned, five pin xlrs were still used to provide (via different pins) various SELV voltages.

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Re: But surely

I feel this pun may have volted the fence...

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But surely

An ohm is the place an amp lives?

BMW deems drivers worthy of warmth, ends heated car seat subscription

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Re: a £25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras

Why? Do you not adhere to the speed limit?

Neil Barnes Silver badge

I'm with you on this. The French Thing[tm] puts on the brake whenever you turn off the engine, or if you lift the switch. But it only takes it off again if you start to move forwards or backwards (usually a second or two later than you'd like it to) or if you lift the switch a second time, but only if you have your foot on the brake. Which removes any element of finesse from e.g. a hill start and requires extra automation to achieve it.

Instead of a cable and lever (y'know, like since forever) we now have an electronic system talking to the ECU, a couple of extra motors out there in the mud and rain, and brake pads which can't be changed without the appropriate (dealer) controller to release the calipers... putting the switch to enable the cruise control immediately behind the brake switch, so it is regularly hit by mistake, is merely a courtesy detail.

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

Thank you for saving me from pointing out what everybody should know, but many don't.

I suspect the reason for using 12V for 'legacy' systems is that the components of those systems are already out there, debugged, tested, and readily available. And spares are easily available off the shelf from a high street motor factor. 48V seems a logical choice: it's high enough that the thickness of the current carrying conductors can be reduced by half (i.e. a quarter total cross-sectional area) while not getting into any of those tricksy high voltage regulations - 48V is still considered SELV in most jurisdictions, I believe, so e.g. double insulation isn't required.

Have you seen the thickness of the main leads from the battery on a car to e.g. the engine earth or the starter motor? Thick as your thumb, these days...

Neil Barnes Silver badge

connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

Or in other words, we hate just selling you an overpriced car for a one-off payment, and we want to skin you a little at a time forever. And connected services looks like a nice easy way to do it, because data, right?

I wonder how we even managed to live without such beneficial semi-deities micromanaging every aspect of our lives?

Mozilla calls cars from 25 automakers 'data privacy nightmares on wheels'

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Big Brother

My French Thing[tm] vehicle occasionally starts beeping at me and instructing me in large red letters to stop the engine... when the engine is already stopped. I have not yet found out why.

Curiously, my thirty year old Italian Thing suffers only from proper faults: most recently a leak in a fuel pump and a sad contactor in a starter motor. Oddly enough, any connectivity in that vehicle is amazingly well hidden...