* Posts by Carl

43 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Jun 2007

ISS stuffed with full staff of six


Escape plan?

Have they got two Soyuzes docked then? I thought the constraint keeping them at 3 was that a Soyuz only carries 3. Or if they need to evacuate do they leave 3 behind?

Chip cooler launches liquid nitro at CPUs


Handling liquid nitrogen

No more dangerous than handling boiling water. Only issues with using it in an enclosed space is filling the whole space with gaseous nitrogen to the exclusion of all oxygen.

How to turn votes into tax free cash


John Smith's "replacement by Neil Kinnock"?

John Smith *replaced* Neil Kinnock, and was in turn replaced by Tony Blair (following a brief interlude where Margaret Beckett was acting leader).

Vodafone shows off HTC's second Android phone


European vs US market

How is the European market 'small'? Both Europe and the US are around 10 million sq km in size, and the population of Europe is at least twice that of the US.

BT does Italian Job on London traffic lights


Jobserve down?

Productivity up?

Dragons' Den winner infringed own patent, IPO rules


Choosing them over a standard cable tie

My understanding (from the programme) is that you buy them in a roll, tie up tight around your cable bundle and cut off the excess which can then be used for the next cable bundle. With a standard cable tie, you throw about 90% of it in the bin.

There's certainly no doubt it's Andy's idea -- I was at university with him 17 years ago and he was wittering on about them even then. I think he'd already filed a patent.

Apple updates full desktop Mac line-up


poxy exchange rates

My 3.06 GHz iMac was £1500 last year. Now what appears to be a very similar spec machine is £1900.

Elgato EyeTV 310 HD satellite TV tuner


more extensive list of satellites to choose from

Choosing which satellite isn't like selecting channels by doing a channel scan on a Freeview box. You have to choose one of the satellites that the dish is pointing at. So if your dish is pointing at 19.2E (I think this is the original Astra 1 constellation) then your chances of getting the Astra 2 satellites at 28.2E are zero.

Apple MacBook


Migration Assistant

My memory might be failing me, but I'm pretty sure I used the Migration Assistant over Ethernet about 6 months ago when I bought an iMac.

Lehman Excel snafu could cost Barclays dear


It doesn't surprise me

When you paste a filtered table from the Mac version of Excel into the Mac version of Word, it all appears to go swimmingly. Later you discover that whilst it looked like it had only pasted the filtered cells in, it's actually pasted the whole table.

Sounds like the same thing has happened here.

Password pants-off at Lloyds Bank


@Paul Buxton

An automated telephone system that definitely isn't "monitored or recorded for training purposes" right?

Presumably it would have some sort of voice recognition -- "did you say 'banker', that's 'b', 'a', 'n', 'k', 'e', 'r'?"


@Paul Buxton

That's great, but how would you set up a telephone banking password like that in the first place? Maybe make 3 calls to 3 different operators and give them 2 characters at a time?

Reminds me of the Python sketch where they tried to translate the world's funniest joke into German by having one person work on each word at a time. Somebody saw two words and spent several weeks in hospital.

BT seals free Digital Vault



They *are* offering to return your files to you for free. As it's a backup service you should already have a local copy. If you don't, then you have until 30th October to retrieve one from their servers.

And to those touting USB disks as an alternative: what happens if your computer and USB drive are destroyed in a fire or stolen? My kit's insured, but the data (documents, financial accounts, etc.) is irreplaceable.

Always best to use a paid-for service for important stuff. By their nature free services are best effort and liable to be withdrawn at any time.

Chinese takeaway biodiesel man in garage explosion horror



The only things you should refer to as 'Scotch' are whisky, broth, mist, pancakes and eggs.

UK's future super-stealth jumpjet 'rock solid' - Brit test pilot


@mod cons

Don't fighters have ABS? Large commercial aircraft certainly do, in fact did so long before cars.

Inside man in failed £72m electronic heist jailed


Richard Pryor?

I think it was a Ferrari 308

Google's Street View spycar clocked in London


Construction and Use?

Surely an ordinary car with a contraption that size on the roof can't be legal in the UK?

Could pen-sized GPS jammers paralyse UK shipping?


jamming GPS

Jamming civilian GPS may be easy, but jamming military GPS (P-code) is bloody hard. The people who designed the system did actually consider that it might be jammed. One of the advantages of the signal being below the background noise (you can filter the noise because you know the pseudorandom code you're looking for) is that broadband noise jamming has no effect. And what with steerable null-point antennae, Kalman filtering, etc...

DARPA pilot-ware unflappable in wing-fling damage test


Can the droids fly the F35?

They could jettison 60% of the wings before landing on the carrier. And catch the wings in a towed net.

British pilot makes first supersonic stealth jumpjet flight


@big net

Missiles and bombs tend not to get on well with saltwater.

Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth headset

Thumb Up


I have to attend a lot of audio conferences, both in the office and from home. The Jawbone 1.0 is perfect as it eliminates any background noise (although you can sound a bit like a Dalek). I even tested it by standing next to an accordion player (he was playing the accordion at the time), and no-one else on the call could hear him.

However, I am intelligent enough to remove the earpiece and switch it off as soon as my call is over. People who walk around with these on their ears all the time look like twats. And I certainly wouldn't make a business call from Asda!

WD pitches Firewire pocket HDD

Thumb Down

Stick with Iomega

I have a portable Iomega HD which is equally happy being powered by the Firewire port, a single USB port when plugged into a USB 2.0 port, two ports on the off chance that you need to plug it into a USB 1.1 port, or a 5V DC power adapter.

It also came with all those cables in the box, unlike my recently-acquired Epson printer which came with a power lead but no USB cable. Thinking it was a mistake, I looked at the bit of paper showing the package contents, and sure enough there was no USB cable shown.

Intel said to feed Google solid state drives


@Solid State Drive

Solid State Drive isn't really correct, as nothing is being 'driven' (no tape or disc spindle). Unless you count electrons as being 'driven'.

Apple punts 'Penryn' iMacs


graphics card

Actually the top spec model has a 512MB nVidia GeForce 8800GS

UK airports to trial face scan passport checks


It's already here...

They have this system as Lisbon airport. My current success ratio is 67%: I've been through the scanner 3 times, and it trapped me in the cubicle once. I think that was because I'm not wearing glasses in the passport photo and I was in real life.

I wouldn't park there, mate - Honda adds sat nav warnings


@Who'd steal a Honda?

I'll take one of the early NSXs with the suspension set up by Senna. But I presume they're not retrofitting to those.

NetApp changes name to NetApp


Shouldn't it be...

...go farther, faster?

Pakistan blocks YouTube



Looks like after hijacking the Youtube IP address range, they forgot to filter that range out of their BGP route announcements...

London Congestion Charge becomes CO2 tax


@Richard Porter

Are you 'sniff petrol' Richard Porter?

New Mexico bets future on promiscuous supercomputer



Actually getting rid of heat from electronics in space is harder than you think. You have one side of your spacecraft heated by the Sun, and the other side at 3K or some such. And you have a bunch of electronics that gets hot and can't get rid of the heat via convection, only radiation.

It's for this reason that IR telescopes generally carry several years' worth of liquid nitrogen.

Faster broadband through bonding


use cable and ADSL?

Would be great if you could use cable on one router and ADSL on the other, effectively using both NTL's and BT's broadband networks. That would offer proper diversity (or is it separacy, I can never remember which is which).

DfT magicians conjure a nation of car sharers


@Mark Otway

Don't you live in Edinburgh now though?

Anyway, if everyone did like you and turned up at the station early we'd be back in square 1...

Spirit discovers life on Mars


Mars or Tattooine?

Looks like a Tusken Raider to me.

The Electric Car Conspiracy ... that never was


@Neil Robertson

For many years, Peugeot sold an electric 106 which did exactly what you require. However, I don't believe they ever marketed it in the UK although it was reasonably popular in mainland Europe.

Eurostar cancels 29 Feb 2008

Thumb Up

Free holiday?

Does this mean that if you book a holiday across that date via Expedia, you get an extra day's stay for free?

Ubuntu goes 3-D


version 0.6?

0.1 to 0.6 look like beta version numbers to me...

Fossett 'may never be found'


Re: Search area

10,000 sq miles is not bigger than the UK -- by your figures it's about a tenth of the area of the UK.

10,000 sq miles is 'only' an area 100 mi x 100 mi

Virgin counting by the minute


RE: Just a way of charging for nothing in particular

@bluesxman: that much is clear. 1571 is a free service. It costs BT to provide it. Therefore at the very least it must be revenue-neutral, which means it recoups its costs through charging the ringer the minimum call charge for connecting the call. I suspect it generates a fair bit more revenue than that though...


I don't think they understand rounding...

'Rounding up' and 'rounding down' refers to what you do with the case that is exactly halfway between the boundaries (in this case, whether you bill 1 min or 2 mins for a call of 1 min 29 s).

If they're rounding up it means they should charge nothing for all calls where 0<call_duration<30 s and 1 minute for all calls where 30 s<=call_duration <1m30s

'Portable' CD player puts MP3 into a spin


500 rpm centre, 200 rpm edge

The reason for the difference is that the track goes past the head at constant linear velocity (unlike a record player). So the motor spins the disc at 500 rpm when the head is in the centre, dropping to 200 rpm as it moves towards the outside. That's why when you stick a duff disc in you can hear the motor spinning up and down as the head seeks from the inside to the outside.

MS polishes UK dialect dictionaries


regardless of the merits of -ize vs -ise...

...both are correct in (British) English. So Office shouldn't throw a wobbly if I choose to use "randomize" instead of "randomise". The only way to stop it doing this is to choose (US) English, but that has other problems.


no, I mean -ize

Check the Oxford English Dictionary, or Fowler's "Modern English Usage". -ize is the preferred form in British English, except for some specific words (e.g. advertise, advise)


correct spelling of words ending in -ize

I'm waiting for MS to realize that British ("proper") English allows, indeed prefers according to the OED, words to end in -ize rather than -ise. I have to set my dictionary to US English to avoid all those words getting little red squiggly lines under them, with the obvious effect that it puts red squiggly lines under "colour" instead.