* Posts by Simon Martin

15 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

Leica M9 rangefinder camera

Simon Martin

I don't get it

I have always been slightly annoyed by the slight parallax that comes with rangefinder cameras (and TLRs for that matter). I like to work quite close up and this can be a problem. Why didn't Leica move to a system that puts an image from the sensor into the view finder? There are AMOLED screens available that would give a much better impression of what the camera will record (including DOF).

Still, given the price tag, this is a pretty academic issue:(

Sony pulls plug on cabled power

Simon Martin

An invisible cable

I presume the thinking behind this idea goes: people like wandering around their houses/ cafes etc with wireless devices (laptops etc). The trouble is those toys tend to have a lousy battery life. So wouldn't be neat if they could get their power wirelessly as well? The answer to that question is yes.

However the problem is to get anything like efficient transfer (and Sony's claimed efficiencies are pretty good) you need a carefully tuned set up. The transmitter and receiver need to be very specific shapes and need to be located with great precision. This is where the idea falls down. You cannot simultaneously wander around with something and keep that something in a precise place.

Yes I know Sony are talking about this as a TV supply, but thats a bonkers idea commercially (who wanders round their house with a 22 inch TV?) I guess they used that because the TV was the smallest device that their tuned antenna would fit into...

Yamaha TSX-130 iPod dock

Simon Martin
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Baa humbug - call that a stereo

How can anybody pay that much money for a system that will not give stereo sound unless you stick your head about 50cm from it?

Microsoft's Silverlight for mobile to muscle iPhone

Simon Martin
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El Reg bought by the dark side?

The other day Apple got hammered by a Reg hack for improving their iPhone OS. Microdross talk about bringing to WM (a truly dreadful PoS) a couple of features that might be sort of useful and it gets billed as an iPhone beater.

Seems a bit biased to me...

ISS astronauts lose 'alarming' amounts of hipbone strength

Simon Martin


Centripetal and centrifugal forces are both real, but which term you use depends whether you are on the outside looking or actually in the spinny-thing.

XKCD has explored this in a much more entertaining way than I could hope to: http://xkcd.com/123/

Sharp shows first 'zero-emission' telly

Simon Martin


I believe a typical house consumes a few hundred kWh per month. So presumably the number on the poster is to do with maximum annual production/consumption.

BTW even in Scotland (the inhabited bits) the amount of solar energy that hits a house is something like 5 times the amount used inside it. The real issue is converting it into useful energy and storing it.

New Van Gogh pic discovered using German atom-smasher

Simon Martin


DESY has systems for particle physics and systems for X-ray science. I think you will find that no particle physics was harmed during the discovery of the hidden picture.

Irate sysadmin locks San Francisco officials out of network

Simon Martin


"It should be easy for someone familiar enough with the systems who has physical access."

If the sensitive data is encrypted (as it should be) then getting at it without the password will not be easy.

Robb is right, it sounds as though there is a procedural failure here.

Japan to fund creation of 40W, 40in OLED TV

Simon Martin

How much?

£3.3m over five years is not going to go very far - the display business works in £billions. Has somebody dropped a factor of a thousand or so?

Cambridge woman in £90m 'leccy bill shocker

Simon Martin
Paris Hilton

Domestic blast furnace?

How many of El-reg's readers have a blast furnace at home? Not many I suspect.

Also, is the Blast Furnace the approved unit of consumption? Surely there is a unit based on the number of the number of sheep that can be sheared or similar?

Paris - because even she could have worked out that the bill was wrong.

UK physics chief next for the chop in funding bloodbath?

Simon Martin
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Bloody politicians

In the nineties the Science and Engineering Research Council was split into:

the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC);

the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);

the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);

the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC).

One of the primary drivers behind this was the vulnerability of the SERC to funding miss-haps from being exposed to exchange rate issues and uncontrollable cost over spends - a particular problem with astronomy and particle physics projects.

PPARC and CCLRC have been remerged to make the STFC (unaffectionately known as Swindon Town Football Club). The EPSRC and BBSRC depend heavily on the big labs now run by STFC. So now on top of the funding shortfall at the setup of STFC UK science is hostage once more to the problems of working on big international projects. Well done New Labour!

German amateur code breaker defeats Colossus

Simon Martin

Programming Dentists? A pedant enquires....

ADA is the American Dental Association

I think the language used was Ada (after Ada Lovelace)

Boeing trumpets 'relevant battlefield laser' raygun

Simon Martin

Marking territory

Yes, this weapon is pretty useless in its current state. However, those good ole Pentagon people have got a project to develop a 50kW solid state laser underway - I guess Boeing want to make it look as though they have a vehicle ready to go once the laser is ready.

Its a few years off though - the laser should have been ready by 2004.

BTW this weapon cannot be for blinding people as this is banned under a Geneva convention and there is no way that the US military would consider contravening one of those!

Microsoft shouts 'Long Live XP'

Simon Martin

Just how bad can the Vista experience be?

I am forced to use XP for some things at work I really struggle to come to terms with the concept of preferring XP over another OS.

Ethanol cars unhealthier than petrol ones?

Simon Martin

More of a troll than a gorilla

I get a bit fed up to see nuclear pushed as the "only" way out of the energy generation problem. The disingenuous nature of the arguments put forward by the nuclear industry and its supporters really annoys me. just look at the amount of CO2 generated in extracting the fuel from ore and the problems with disposing of the worn out power stations (let alone the spent fuel.)

If we'd invested the money squandered on nuclear solutions on technologies such as geo-thermal, solar, and wave energy then the future would be looking a lot brighter (and cheaper.)