* Posts by Neil Barnes

3771 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

The internet becomes trademarkable, sort of, with near-unanimous Supreme Court ruling on Booking.com

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We're going to need lots of popcorn.

Hey, Boeing. Don't celebrate your first post-grounding 737 Max test flight too hard. You just lost another big contract

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Re: Learn from the smaller world...

This is simple good sense. It's not a jet fighter that needs to pull high-g manoeuvres; the last thing it needs is a deliberately unstable airframe/flight mode. Relying on software to control an attitude unstable by design strikes me as not a good idea - perhaps a warning announcement/chime in the manner of stall warning or ground too close?

But the real answer is - don't build an airframe that can do that.

Someone must be bricking it: UK govt website for first-time home buyers snapped up for £40,000 after left to expire

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Aw. I wanted to use it for 'government intelligence'. You beat me to it.

You wait ages for a mid-air collision spoofing attack and along come two at once: More boffins take a crack at hoodwinking TCAS

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Why simulate the TCAS?

Can one not purchase a commercial TCAS unit and lie to it about where it is and how it's moving? (Ignoring the cost of such devices, of course).

It would seem that if one has the heavy lifting done by the unit, needing only to control its inputs should be a much simpler proposition.

Hmm. Worst case, I suppose, is a unit on an actual in-flight aircraft, either piloted or not, that sends signals that translate as 'crash on me' instead of 'run away, run away'.

Brit police's use of facial-recognition tech is lawful, no need to question us, cops' lawyer tells Court of Appeal

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This is legislation which affects everyone, immediately and continuously

It should not be decided by a judge as to whether the legal framework exists in which it can be used, but rather a citizen wide vote - and a non-vote counts against it. When 30 million or so people agree that this makes sense, then it might be considered...

Russia returns to space tourism and offers a first citizen spacewalk

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Re: The price?

Depends how you add it up: 25,000 miles every ninety minutes for a fortnight... about five and a half million miles right there :)

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The price?

Porobably of the 'if you have to ask you can't afford it' (so that's me out) but think of the airmiles!

After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good

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Re: Sadness...

I suspect that my main objection to a camera phone, after the ridiculous ergonomics of the thing, is the tiny sensor and lens - mandated by the thickness of the phone, of course - and the addition of auxillary lenses and sensors and 'AI' to try and make up for the limitations thereof - guesswork bokeh, guesswork depth of field, and the like.

No-one's changed the laws of optics, and forty year old lenses work just as well as they did when they were made (and some of my lenses are over a hundred years old). I'm not saying the results can't be good, but I think that the tool itself is no longer understood by the user.

Maybe I'm just an old Luddite.

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There goes an era - I still have, and used until a spring broke[1] a couple of years ago - an OM-1 and I have a couple of other film Olympuses; I still have an electric TTL reflex Olympus in general use. There is something about the format of the early OMs that really appealed to me as a user.

These days, film photography for me is large format - and while I do use the camera on my phone it's only if I have nothing better to hand. The ergonomics of a phone camera are dreadful...

[1] So the camera still works, but the shutter only closes if the camera is upside down. I should get it fixed; seems a shame not to, after forty-odd years.

CompSci student bitten by fox after feeding it McNuggets

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Nature documentaries

Even then, not really helped by 'but this mouse was lucky... it got away!' editing/commentary.

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Student puts hand full of food near apex predator

And is surprised when bitten... think of it as evolution in action.

Fasten your seat belts: Brave Reg hack spends a week eating airline food grounded by coronavirus crash

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Thumb Up

Lester would have been proud!

Well done, Simon - taking one for the team and indirectly choosing a quid-a-day challenge that never occured to *any* of us!

CSI: Amazon.com coming soon to a screen near you

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Is it still a counterfeit

if it's labeled/sold as 'fake rolex'?

TikTok boom: Brits spent a quarter of their waking hours in lockdown online – Ofcom

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Re: How do they specify time spent online?

Well, for me, ebooks are 100% local. But others do it differently, I believe.

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Paris Hilton

How do they specify time spent online?

I mean, there's the work computer, online eight hours a day to talk to the work servers, and the home laptop, online all the time it's turned on... might be sixteen or seventeen hours a day. Or are they just counting the time I'm actually accessing something? And if so, how do they tell?

Chime after chime: Apple restores iconic Mac boot sound removed in 2016

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Meh, sounds, animated effects, transparency

The first things to turn off when firing up a new OS/desktop.

Maybe there is hope for 2020: AI that 'predicts criminality' from faces with '80% accuracy, no bias' gets in the sea

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Seems like the authors

might benefit from a course of retrophrenology...

Hmm... didn't we use to have a hard hat icon?

Segway to Heaven: Mega-hyped wonder-scooter that was going to remake city transport to cease production

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Re: Image and price problems

Yes, but for the first bikes and motorbikes, people also said '...and I want one.'

With the segway people said, 'hmm, I wonder how they do that?' and went back to their lives.

Coming live from Next@Acer in Taipei: Hardware refreshes, new ruggedised line – and, er, an energy drink

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I didn't see mention of the screen resolution

Is it a fairly pointless 1376 wide, or something a bit more chunky?

I have to admit I loved the idea of the chromebooks, right up until I started using one (a very nice toshiba iirc) but at the time the inability to do any of the things I actually did, as opposed to the google office stuff - code writing, schematic and PCB cad - and the very limited storage space turned out to be killers; I ended up sticking linux on (natively, not Crouton) which helped a lot but even then storage space was an issue and I had to be careful what I installed.

This unit with a decent sized drive seems worth considering, but I'd probably still be looking at linux conversion.

Korean boffins build COVID-bot to shove a swab right up your hooter

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I can confirm your humble hack's thesis

The throat swab is ok, but the nose swap is - literally - a pain.

But at least I don't have CV19 (or didn't, last week).

Belief in 5G conspiracy theories goes hand-in-hand with small explosions of rage, paranoia and violence, researchers claim

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Re: Something else to consider.

I know my place.

CERN puts two new atom-smashers on its shopping list. One to make Higgs Bosons, then a next-gen model six times more energetic than the LHC

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A hundred TeV here, a hundred TeV there...

Soon you're talking *real* energies!

What does London's number 65 bus have to hide? OS caught on camera setting fire to '22,000 illegal file(s)!!'

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Re: I'm more interested in the source


By emptying offices, coronavirus has hastened the paperless office

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One might wonder

If the amount of carbon trapped in pointless paperwork is of benefit to the planet? Or whether it might be better if, say, it was left in a tree.

Inquiring minds want to know!

Hey is trying a new take on email – but maker complains of 'outrageous' demands after Apple rejects iOS app

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Re: or Pine

Perhaps worse - and certainly highly irritating - is the corporate habit of sending emails which are carefully formatted to look as if they are on the company headed paper and are too wide to fit in the viewing window of the company mandated viewer... and naturally, won't reflow as text ought to.

A triumph of style over substance - though it's only in rare cases that the substance is anything to worry about...

Only true boffins will be able to grasp Blighty's new legal definitions of the humble metre and kilogram

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299,792,458 m/s

It's not just a limit - it's the law!

Meet the dog that's all byte and no bark: Boston Dynamics touts robo-pooch Spot with $75k-a-pop price tag

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Spot should always be operated at least two meters away from people

Built in social distancing, then. That's thinking with the times.

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements

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whether "whitespace” could be replaced with “blanks.”

Oh no! It's the old 'tabs vs. spaces' fight again!

p.s. have they looked at a piece of text on paper?

GitHub to replace master with main across its services

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There are an awful lot of SPI interfaces out there which for years have used 'MISO' and 'MOSI' for the data between the controller and the device. I wonder when we'll be seeing lots of datasheets being reissued?

'One rule for me, another for them' is all well and good until it sinks the entire company's ability to receive emails

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I thought the approved document transfer protocol was to snap a picture of your computer screen with the phone, and then send that photo as a mail/message attachment...

Japan to test self-destructing satellite to shrink space junk with string and an inanimate carbon blob

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Yes. There's a long and detailed Wikipedia article on the subject, which cleared up some confusion for me.

It would be handy though if there were a way to get current from one end of the tether to the other without that return conductor being influenced by the magnetic field without having to rely on a plasma to transfer electrons... I wondered about a coaxial cable, in which the current might be induced in the outer but not the inner, but that's way outside my area of expertise.

Smart fridges are cool, but after a few short years you could be stuck with a big frosty brick in the kitchen

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Solutions for problems that don't exist

What is it exactly that kitchen equipment with 'smart' is supposed to solve?

Fridge says no. If you insist on overriding Fridge, Fridge will be forced to talk to your health insurance. If Insurance says no...

Signal goes Gaussian to take privacy to the next level: All your faces don't belong to us

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I'd use Signal a lot more than I do

if only I could persuade more of my correspondents of the advantages of it... everyone wants to use WhatsApp 'cos it's encrypted, innit?'.

Hooray, space boffins have finally got InSight lander's heat probe back into Martian ground again

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Marvin, that thing's coming through the ceiling again. I don't know what it is, but perhaps you could get your hammer and knock it back up? Then whatever it is might stop doing it!

Barmy ban on businesses, Brits based in Blighty bearing or buying .eu domains is back: Cut-off date is Jan 1, 2021

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And will .co.uk domains be restricted to UK residents only?

Or is it already so?

SpaceX is about to launch its first Starlink internet satellite sporting a sun visor following complaints by astronomers

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Have I got this right?

I'm assuming that the satellites are solar powered, and therefore need to keep a flat surface pointing at or close to the sun? And further assuming that they're annoyingly visible around local dusk and dawn: in daylight you're probably not looking much at the stars (except that big close one) and when they're in eclipse, they're in shadow anyway and are merely briefly in the way?

So as I see it in daylight they need to point flat to the sun to charge batteries; as they approach local dusk and dawn they have to twist sideways to the sun; and in the dark bit they don't care and can point where they like? All while keeping data antennae pointing in the right direction?

I'm impressed. No doubt a simple bit of programming with a clock, but nonetheless, I'm impressed. Have a beer, guys, if it works.

The UK's favourite lockdown cheese is Big and Red but doesn't require a stinking great audit after consumption

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Re: Cheddar why?

The words you are looking for may be 'extruded cheese product'.

(As a born'n'bred Yorkshireman, it shames me slightly to admit that my preferred English cheeses are Lancashire, white Stilton, and Wensleydale, probably in that order.)

BBC voice assistant promises to summon streams even if you're just a little bit Brahms and Liszt

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Not 100% convinced

If the need for another, indeed any, live mic as a way to control a computer. I look forward to the day when someone asking 'what's the weather, computer?' will be told 'open the bloody curtains and look outside, you moron!'.

I have colleagues, and they seem on the whole sane and balanced people, who swear by these things - to the extent of having multiple instances in the same room 'for stereo' - so there must be something in it... but I fear I am not the target audience.

You're 3 billion years too late to see Mars' impressive ring system. The next one will be along in 40 million years or so

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Wagner? Didn't he write the immortal lyrics: 'Cause if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it?

75 million smartphone sales up in smoke in Q1: Let's drill down into which brands took the most pain

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It's hard to see how a phone differentiates itself

They're pretty much like fridges or washing machines these days: no significant difference between them, and advertisers orgasming over fractions of a millimetre or pointless pixel counts, and all working like mad as to who can have the most irrelevant but expensive adverts...

the one with the 'pointlessly overpowered for its basic function' phone in the pocket, thanks --->

SpaceX Crew Dragon docks at International Space Station

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Re: this is only half the trip

From up, the only direction available is 'down'.

They've only gone and bloody done it! NASA, SpaceX send two fellas off to the International Space Station

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Kudos to the guys

Nice to hear that final 'docking is complete'.

It seems, though, that NASA is a little overwhelmed: spotthestation.nasa.gov has been mostly out to lunch for the last six hours or so... which is a shame, as I'd like to give a little wave when it flies over next time!

Pablo Escobar's big bro and former accountant sues Apple for $2.6bn over FaceTime bug

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Poor fella.

One's sympathy is all that it should be.

Unmanned drones to slash NHS delivery times to one-fifth of road 'n' rail transport

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I'm curious to know what it has by way of sensing other aircraft

The CAA are pretty keen at the moment to have everything carry Electronic Conspicuity transcievers, but there's an awful lot of GA stuff out there that doesn't (including, I guess, pretty much every drone).

Still, one can hope that the GA pilots read the NOTAMs.

Microsoft brings WinUI to desktop apps: It's a landmark for Windows development, but it has taken far too long

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And here was me thinking

that there might be a time when every application on a W10 desktop would have the same look and feel, the same set of windows decorations, the same UI elements. And it might even look good.

Er, sorry, was in a parallel universe for a moment there. Blame the painkillers.

Runaway Latvian drone found meditating in tree after shutting down nation's skies

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Black Helicopters

It's spring, right?

Obviously nesting season.

Well, that's something boffins haven't seen before: A strange alien streaks around Jupiter

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It's probably full of Moties

Once the astronomers discover it was *moved* to the Trojans, they'll lose all interest...

Vodafone woes far from over for Xiaomi Mi 9 owners amid complaints of leaky batteries and voicemails in Romanian

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At what point

Do phone service providers realise that people probably neither need nor want 'brand differentiation'; and may indeed ask themselves why, for example, a given network inhibits functionality that other networks might allow?

NASA renames dark-energy telescope after its first Chief of Astronomy and Mother of Hubble: Nancy Grace Roman

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Re: "The Coronagraphic Instrument is an exoplanet hunter"

Surely this is a coronagraphic? --->

Azure-hosted AI for finding code defects emitted – but does it work?

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"47,000 developers generate nearly 30 thousand bugs a month,"

Each, or in total?


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