* Posts by Laurence Blunt

26 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Apr 2009

London tenders for speed cameras

Laurence Blunt
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I couldn't care less what you have...

...and I have nothing against driving fast cars at speed in the right places.

But if you think spinning your tyes and active like an idiot in the busy streets of the city is normal, you probably have some other issues your compensating for.

I think your rather wierd interpretation says more about you AC.

Laurence Blunt

RE: Tailgaters

Some years back someone created a particular type camera system to pick up on these idiots. The thing is there are no laws to enforce in most countries, so apart from embarrassing drivers there is little point install them.

All I do is slow down until the idiot either backs off or passes.

One (I think it was the M4?) they did something similar ans reduced the speed limit at peak times. Much to the annoyance of some TV/Radio twits. However the real effect as actually recorded in experiments was that the average speed increased and the number of road closers due to accident went down significantly.

The reason being that it reduced the ripple effect; where one car breaks and that causes a reflex over reaction in the car behind and so on. This is something I have seen many times on the M25 with the outside lane running at about 75 nose-to-tail and then suddenly coming to a complete halt for no obvious reason.

The main issue that irritates me on motorways are the centre lane hogging drones; who may pass that HGV that is a few hundred yards ahead in ten minutes or so, but will not pull in and let others pass. Forcing everyone to cram into the outside lane or break the law and overtake on the inside.

Laurence Blunt

I could not agree more.

"..and really annoy angry middle-aged males with very small willies. Sounds like an excellent way to annoy Clarkson Club to me, bring it on."

I often refer to drivers as suffering from DDS or "Clarkson's Disease":

- DDS = Dinky Dick Syndrome (actual size is not relevant, it's the self image that counts)

- Clarkson's Disease = DDS plus a form of Tourette syndrome, where they have to shout "POWER!" when ever an engine is revved.

A number of years ago...

I was walking through Finsbury Square when a certain German sports pulled away from the lights in front of me; the engine was revved high, the tyres squealed, and about 30yard on the brakes were applied hard to stop again at the road works which had been at red the whole time.

The first thought that went through my head was: "My god, he must have an incredibly tiny penis". It wasn't until I heard two women standing behind me snigger, that realised I had also said it out loud.

Laurence Blunt

No they are (mostly) NOTrevenue streams...

...that's why the current gov. don't like them as they cost money to run!

There are some cameras that are placed to catch drivers out, and most of those are the ones just over the brow of hills and such.

The vast majority are placed in places where speed has been an issue due to pedestrians or side turnings with poor visibility.

Average speed systems are much better in that they stop the ass-holes who ignore the speed limits and just slam on the brakes at cameras. While not necessarily penalising the driver who 'just' breaks the limit due to a slight downward gradient in the road. Also road “black spots” are rarely just a spot, they are usually longer stretches of road (100yards or or more), such are around schools or the typical rat runs through housing estates.

It would be nice if there was legislation that required all data from these systems to be automatically discarded/destroyed (say within 24 hours) unless an offence has been committed, and that would include MOT, TAX and Insurgence checks.

I do agree with you in that a single fine is not that great as a deterrent, and I would effeminately agree with the logging of all offences on a register so that insurers could hike the rates, and would add points to the license. There are those who disagree, saying that driver must be identified, I would say that the owner should always be responsible for who they let drive their car, and that they should take the points or identify the driver in question.

Personally I would love to have these in the village I live in, where there are a number of side turnings with limited visibility due to buildings, parked cards and one "protected" tree make puling out onto the main road hazardous. Where the drivers are within the speed limit of 30 there is no real problem, but the shits doing anywhere from 40 to 60 cause regular accidents.

PS: Personally I think if someone manages to get caught by enough speed cameras to lose their license that probably means they are driving well beyond their ability, as they have proven they drive so fast that they are incapable of seeing the warning signs, the big yellow box on a pole and markings on the road.

Ballmer's 'lost generation' note finds resonance

Laurence Blunt

Re: Windows != real computer

perception is everything...

I started work using VAX/VMS when Unix was a backward little 1960's, 16bit OS that was no match for even the PDP OS's it was run alongside.

I still look at ?nix OS platforms as the ancient and unfriendly, lacking the most basic features that a REAL operating system should have.

You know little things like:-

A single mechanism/API to access and control print and batch jobs/queues. No forking off and running command shells of hopeing the right print manager was installed.

A file system that is totally reliable, allows guaranteed record and file level locking, and provides more than a simple stream of bytes (ISAM functionality from any language including DCL). Plus a feature that is missing from every other OS; file versions numbers.

An integrated lock manager that works locally and across nodes in a cluster environment.

Networking integrated so that you don't have to use funny little applications.

A standard command language interpreter that allows all application to use a common command line interface, and provides parameter and qualifier parsing BEFORE the application even sees it saving time developing code.

A standard backup system that allows full disk image and/or directory backup and restore, so when disaster does strike a system restore is easy!

These along with many more features missing from Win_D!Ohs and the nixes are the reason it is still used today and has system availability records the others cannot even come close to. One example being 14+ years for the Irish railways, with zero system down time, yet 100's of system software and hardware upgrades, including going from Vax to Alpha.

Unfortunately I have to spen my days developing software for MS kit, as decades of neglect and the worst sales team to crawl across the earth have made this wonderful OS a small niche market, for those who simple cannot afford down time.

If only Compac had ignored Intel's lies about the wonderous Merced (itanium) and kept Alpha while porting VMS to the AMD64 platform. Hell on x86-64 kit it would probably still make a mint, the best ever selling VAX was the MicroVAX used by smaller business to run just about everything.

UK ICT classes killing kids' interest in tech

Laurence Blunt

This reminds me of school aged about 7...

...when decimalisation came.

All the old teachers thought is was a big deal and had to teach us kids how the new units worked.

The fact that I and most other kids of that era had never had more than a sixpence to spend, the fact that the pound had fewer pence and coins all had obvious numeric values in place of shillings, crowns and guineas wasn't an issue.

The same thing happened with calculators around 1980, and now its the turn of PC's in schools.

Most of these classes are about a necessary as a GCSE in how to use the program guide on a Sky Box.

Laurence Blunt

No. 1 problem with this is

where the hell do you think they would get anyone who has the slightest ides of how to program a computer?

I persoannly beleive that other than a basic computer skill course (at primary school?), we need to get rid of most IT in schools and actually teach real subjects.

As it is the real scienses have been dumbed down to the level that when my mother read though a Physics GCSE paper a few years ago she managed to over 90% correct. Not bad for lady in 70's who never studied Physics (or any other science), left school at 14 and had significant interuptions in her education due to Germans dropping bombs on her school!

And they have managed to make them even easier now!

Laurence Blunt

I'm guessing I am a tad older...

...as my school didn't get a BBC-B until the year after I left.

The only reason I got into computers was my 1st job after leaving school in 1982 as a trainee computer operator. Before that I had never even seen a computer bigger than a TI Scientific calculator.

Although I don't quite believe these statistics; it is now possible to get the "equivalent of" 4 (maybe more) GCSEs in ICT. They are used by many schools to inflate the rankings as even those students who can hardly read and count on their fingers can pass some of them. With lots of help with course work and no requirement to understand the I the C or the T.

I have said for years that the ICT in schools should be renamed: "Basic Secretarial" studies - or just BS for short.

The problem is just about every politician and those in education, don't understand the first thing about computers, “so it must be hard and must be worthwhile teaching!”. But what would you expect from a bunch of “can't do so teach” types that cannot even spell IT.

Posted AC, as I'm related to a teacher and don't want to risk causing them trouble.

UK.gov smiles and nods at commentards

Laurence Blunt

Electoral reform...

I find it quite funny that so many liberal voters are so up in arms that Clegg decided to join in a coalition with the most popular party at the election (both in votes and seats). They bitch about the deals that were done, and that “They didn't vote for this!!!!”.

Yet these same twats insists that PR is the only way to allow votes to be counted; guaranteeing that every government from then on would be a coalition requiring back room deals to get parties that don't generally agree to make a government.

Personally I would love to see a new voting system. Keep the first past the post system but add a 20 question multiple choice test with it, then use number of correct answerers as the vote tally.

The questions would be regulated to ensure they were all true tests of education, such as quite basic maths and English comprehension, but absolutely no recalling of “well known facts” like what happened on Eastenders last night.

This would mean that your average Daily Star/Sports reader could save time by not turning up. The average Sun reader may get vote or two, and so on all the way up to RegReaders who would of cause get lots of votes :)

Satnav leaves family stranded in Outback for three days

Laurence Blunt

live updates....what would be the point

I don't have a sat-nav but when ever I have something delivered I always tell the couriers to ignore them and not to take "School Lane". The reason is this is a road for about 20yards then a foot path.

The number of times they still turn up late having gone the wrong way!

I actually made the effort to find the web site of the company that makes most of these sat-nav maps, and used the online update system to tell them about this issue - that was 7 years ago!

Last week I used multi-map to get an idea of the distance to some place and a suggested route, the instructions were : 1. Depart from... 2. Turn left into "School Lane" !

If they cannot be bothered to fix the vast number of errors in the maps they currently use, why would they magically add local/temporary alterations.

Brits trump Ruskies with flying horse

Laurence Blunt

Yes it was called "Lake Placid"

But it seems both of you failed to realise that the whole thing was a Comedy/Spoof of all the crap monsters/piranhas/snakes/sharks in the water films that preceeded it.

For future reference the movie “Scream” was also a spoof; despite there being another Hollywood spoof made of that film by people who didn't get it.

Software emulation copyright case bumped to ECJ

Laurence Blunt

The problem with software patents is two fold...

First there is the issue of developing truly unique ideas and using them, but patents are expensive to get and to keep (ie: legal fees for both). Where as simply expressing a copyright notice in source code with the name and date is enough, you don't need lawyers until someone breaks your copyright.

The number one real problem with patents is the bloody US patent office; who will grant patents for anything from the wheel (it was done) to things that don't even exist, and then expect everyone to fight it out in court. Also with the US legal system it nearly always works out that the team with the most cash wins.

The one area where SAS may have a real claim is that they say some of their documentation was copied, as documents are usually copyrighted.

Samsung UE46C8000 3D TV

Laurence Blunt
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Your only half right, and therefore also half wrong...

There are a lot of TV's being advertised as LED which are LCD with LED back-lights. The effect is much better than the old back lights and give much better contrast and blacks.

There are also OLED screens that are made from real RGB LED's on the glass. Unfortunately the ones I saw last year were quite simply - crap. There seemed to only be about 32 (maybe 64) shades for each colour as the intensity can only be altered by the switching frequence.

This has also been used for dodgy adverts claiming 600Mhz refresh, which is rather pointless for a image that only updates 50 or 60 times a second.

The overal effect was like looking at a some badly compressed images with a 256 colour pallet, or like viewing images on a 20year old PC.

3D films fall flat

Laurence Blunt

Hopefully G.L. learned his lesson last time...

When he spent lots of dosh to add CGI to the original Star Wars movies. It was almost unnoticable for most of them and in one or two places it was just awfull.

If he was to try another re-hash for 3D he will probably do it to the CGI TV stuff, of he should sod about with the last 3 pic's as noone will care.

Laurence Blunt

Seconded again.

I couldn't agree more, most of this 3D stuff is just the latest way of making naff films a bit more marketable.

Just as for the last few years we have seen countless crap movies sold on CGI explosions, this is just another cheap trick, and a lot easier than actually getting a good script to start with. When I see remakes described with a phrase like: "re-envisioned for modern audience", I instantly know it crap.

The problem with Hollywood and most TV these days is that we have “seen it all before”, and when once every year or two something different does come out, the format gets copied a dozen or more times until the audience is sick to death of it.

A lot of this raving over 3D reminds me of a fellow I once worked with who thought he was a movie buff. When he asked me what my favourite movie was; I said there couldn't be just one, but any list would have to include classics like "Some Like It Hot", "Stalag 17" and "The Apartment". He didn't recognise any of them, and when I said they were in "black and white" his response was that he didn't what anything in B&W!

To me he instantly was no movies buff, just a follower of fashion.

(The Terminator because the special effects were needed to tell the story; they were not the story.)

MPs call for crackdown on pre-paid credit cards

Laurence Blunt

I am not certain but...

I will admit I have never used one of these, as I just have a couple of cards, one in my wallet, and one with a relatively low credit limit which never leaves the house and is only ever used online.

I believe some of these cards may be termed "credit cards" even though no debt is permitted as credit cards come under different legislation.

Debit cards are usually linked to a bank account (current or savings), but there should be not charges made to the holder or retailer when using them to buy things. The retailer only has to pay the equivalent of rental on the equipment.

Credit cards provide much more protection than Debit cards, as the issuer imposes charges on the retailer, which is why you sometimes get charged more for using them.

Those retailer charges is the main reason why AmericanExpress is not accepted in most UK retailers as AmEx charge ~5%, compared with the more typically charge ~3% of the others.

Daily Mail promotes 'the new Betamax'

Laurence Blunt

Strangely for me it was the other way around...

Around 1997-2001 I used to do the CD copying thing, but when I first started commuting to London back on 2001, I got a very nice MD player/recorder (with ATRAC-4 support) as a leaving gift from my old firm. I always liked the fact that one AAA battery would last me a whole month (~40hours) and it was much smaller than the portable CD players and just over half the size of the original iPod which came out 6 months or so later.

I later purchased a Sony CD/MD combo unit which made copying CDs to MD real easy, just put in both disks choose recording mode (I always use ATRAC-4 which gives ~300min's/4+CD's, in stereo at near CD quality), an press one of copy buttons (Normal speed+playback or High Speed).

When I later replaced a broken tape deck in the car (about 2002) I put a MD player in there – a Kenwood 4x25Watt unit.

That has since been moved into my current car as it is so much better then the CD+radio thing that VW installed. I was amazed at the sound improvement when I installed the unit, I think the standard VW one just didn't have enough power to drive the factory standard 6 speakers.

Although the portable unit still works, I use my Nintendo DSi on the train as that also plays games, but the in car system still sounds excellent and the CD/MD player/records sites in my home office/PC/Games room plugged into a small Morantz Amp with an very old pair of Technics speakers.

Budget to cost over a million jobs: Official

Laurence Blunt
Big Brother


Public sector jobs in 1997: 5.2m

Public sector jobs in 2010: 6.1M

Around 1991 the numbers are almost the same as today (about 6M), but that did include the likes of: British Steel, BT, BL, BR and all the utilities that were later sold off.

So we had a 20% increase in the number of public sector workers, but I for sure don't see bugger all improvement in services (excluding the NHS which has got a bit better).

Perhaps the reason the roads are all broken down like your average 3rd world country is due to the money all going on those salaries and massive pensions.

There was a time when public sector jobs had relatively low pay compared to the private sector, so the generous pensions were perhaps OK, but recent statistics showed the average public sector wage is £470/week, while the average private sector wage is now £430/week.

Big Bro; as that was Moron Browns dream.

Prof: Carbon sequestration 'as bad as nuclear waste'

Laurence Blunt

Totaly agree with population control...

Personally I would like to see a requirement for everyone living off of benefits to be required to be on long term contraceptives. Stop those who don't contrivute breeding on the state, this would also guarantee the "Child Poverty" statistics would go down.

PS: Actually I don't believe the bulk of the “Child Poverty” in the UK;-

Primarily, it is almost all due to the parents breeding beyond their means, so giving them more money just mean they breed more.

Secondly the fact that most of the rules used for measuring poverty in the UK are ridiculous. One I saw used children who didn't have a play-station, computer and TV in their bedroom as a measure of poverty!

All those mean are: a) their not as wealthy as some others, but that will always be true no matter how much money you give them, or b) their parents have a clue and decided to control access to the toys.

Laurence Blunt
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Chemistry's probably not your strongest subject...

But I think you will find the most efficient and cheap way to convert CO2 to fuels is to grow plants.

Pretty much anything else would use much more power than it was worth, even growing your fuel can be pointless. A good example of pointless is the conversion of Maze->Alcohol as done in the US, were the fossil fuels for farm machinery and transport added to vast amounts of fertilisers (made from oil/gas) makes for ~0% net return.

'Industry giant' fragged UK games developer tax break

Laurence Blunt
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So what about every other industry that could leave the UK if its not given an TAX break!

There is nothing special about computer games, one could easily argue that writing business software would help the economy far more.

The UK was a pioneer, but that was 20 years ago when the "BBC model B" and "Sinclair Spectrum" were king.

ToryDems add up bill for Labour's ID scheme

Laurence Blunt
Big Brother

Hail AC!!

Got your black shirt back from the dry cleaners.

Stephen Fry's truly terrible mistake

Laurence Blunt

What about Freeview radio?

I have not tried one, but there are a bunch of Freeview/USB devices for TV on your PC around that have quite small uni-directional antennas.

If that's good enough to get a picture, surely it must be possible to make a dedicated radio?

Greatest Living Briton loses £30m

Laurence Blunt

@Tom 38

Just a minor correction to your post:

Gormless Brown; didn't just spend an extra £156B over and above TAX revenue.

He spent the surplus of when they came to power, and then over the next 13 years spent everything, and then carried on spending until the national debt is now £900B.

The £156B is just for the last year!!!!

Even before the excuse of: "It's not my fault the World went into recession", Brown had built up about half a trillion quid of debt.