* Posts by Annihilator

3801 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Speed limiters arrive for all new cars in the European Union

Annihilator

Re: Good

The roads don't - the drivers do. How else do you explain the variation in speeds on a british motorway? Sure, road conditions will change things, but risk aversion varies by person.

I'm more reacting to the OP who thinks that a driver will have to be constantly braking to meet an "unnatural" speed, which is just nonsense. Or indicative of a poor driver. As evidenced by the two examples I've given where huge stretches of the M4 can be slowed to 50mph limits with average speed checks even without the roadworks being set up yet, or driving with a spacer wheel. In neither example do I find myself accidentally speeding up to an imaginary "natural" speed of the road.

Annihilator

Re: DO NOT WANT

"speed camera warning signs increased instead"

I reckon upwards of 95% of those signs are bollocks though, to the point that they're not even noted by drivers any more, particularly given the prevalence of them - they're just background noise now. Increasing the number of them would likely amplify that effect.

Annihilator

Re: Good

"As an experiment try driving at 55mph on a road that's designed for rather higher speeds, say on a 12 mile long downhill stretch of I-15. You end up riding the brakes a lot.. Roads have natural speed limits, speeds at which drivers tend to travel at."

What utter tripe. Roads do not have "natural" speed limits - how on earth would such a thing exist? It's perfectly feasible to drive at any speed (below the idling speed in 1st is tricky I'll grant you), if you can't, then you don't know how to control the car.

Your experiment is around people's habits, nothing more - so yes, travelling at 55 on a road you normally do 70 on, you may find tricky or find yourself drifting back to where you're accustomed. But a very real example of your experiment is driving with a spare/spacer tyre which has a speed limit of 50mph on a 70 road. Done this plenty of times, and no, I didn't find myself riding the brakes. Similarly through average speed checks on a motorway during roadworks in the UK - the speed limit changes to 50 from 70. People don't need to ride the brakes to achieve this.

Now there are some "natural" speeds of cars - the idling speed in each gear (manual or automatic) will give a fixed pull when you're not touching the throttle. But all of that is entirely variable in the real world, dependent on head/tailwind conditions, resistance of the road, tyre pressures and road gradients.

ITER delays first plasma for world's biggest fusion power rig by a decade

Annihilator

Re: hopefully with all the subsequent spin offs

If nothing else, you know it'll be really hot.

Annihilator

Re: Optional

Yeah I assumed this was just them resetting the clock from 8 years ago.

55 years ago, Apollo 10's crew turned the airwaves blue

Annihilator

Re: Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end...

You're quite mistaken. Apollo was famously risk averse (except for a blip where they considered that the risk analysis was too pessimistic and so should be abandoned), particularly off the back of the Apollo 1 disaster - Congress instructed them to bring back their risk based approach as a higher priority than "get there before 1969" directive. It's also argued that this approach to risk management is what made Apollo 11 the success that it was.

Following that, the mathematical risk analysis was quietly discontinued for the Space Shuttle programme, leading NASA to mistakenly believe their chance of fatal failure of a mission was 1 in 100,000 (based on "engineering judgement"), when in reality it was more like 1 in 100 (based on Probabilistic Risk Analysis, that was over-ridden by the "engineering judgement"), as witnessed during the Challenger disaster.

Fascinating paper here:

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20190002249/downloads/20190002249.pdf

Good news: The iPad Pro 13 is a bit more repairable

Annihilator

"It has often been said that Apple's genius was in persuading customers that it was OK to have a device that needed daily recharging. Similarly, the company also persuaded customers that making a consumable like the battery very difficult to get at was OK if it meant the hardware could become ever-thinner."

Like has been said elsewhere, daily charging was already a thing. My Sony Ericsson W810 was getting charged once a day regardless, particularly as I was using it as a music player as well, much like people use their iphones now.

As for batteries, I don't think I've ever replaced a phone battery in my life, maybe a laptop battery once? Interchangeable batteries are a hangover from an evolution of a world where batteries died and had to be replaced, to rechargeable batteries that had to be removed to be charged, to rechargable batteries that could be charged by the device.

It's only just dawning on me that my first device with an in-place chargeable battery was a Sony Minidisc player in 1998/99. I never replaced that battery either.

It's fair to say that replaceable batteries is probably a niche requirement, and 95% (or more) of users would prefer a smaller device.

Annihilator

Is there really a massive difference between carrying a spare battery, and carrying a battery pack?

Annihilator

Most mobile phones weren't much more than a keypad and a 176×220 screen though... Smartphones existed, but they needed charging once a day too.

Just checked, my last pre-smartphone phone was a Sony Ericsson W810, and I was charging that once a day already. My Nokia phones were probably 3-4 days charge required, but again, I'd be mostly charging overnight regardless.

Thinking about it, that W810 had a flaw where you needed to wedge a bit of card in the battery compartment to stop the battery rattling around and occasionally disconnecting...

Hubble Space Telescope hasn't had any visitors for 15 years

Annihilator

Re: The cost isn't the reboost - it's supporting all the scientist working on the data.

Exactly that. Voyager, for example, still retains a budget of about $7m each year to operate. It's a lot of wooden dollars though, as per your description of infrastructure costs - they all will be spent regardless, it's how you're apportioning out that cost to the usage of it.

iFixit hails replaceable LPCAMM2 laptop memory as a 'big deal'

Annihilator

Re: Laptops don't have upgradeable RAM? Since when?

Probably the reason that a lot of manufacturers aren't making things like memory a serviceable item. Like you, I've got a 5 year old laptop that has SODIMM slots - and not once have I utilised that feature. I've upgraded a laptop's HDD in the past, but only to replace it with an SSD.

When they start soldering memory and storage onto a desktop motherboard, that's when I'll get angsty. Until then, I'll accept that laptops are more and more becoming commodity items.

Miss your morning iPhone alarm? It's not just you, and Apple is looking into it

Annihilator

Re: Ironic...

The irony is either linked to the article being about alarm clocks, or the fact you've just bought an alarm clock...

Japan's space junk cleaner prototype closes in on its target

Annihilator

"Sadly, the project relies on automated and/or remote-control equipment: at this time there are no plans for garbage removal jobs in space."

Just as well. Trying to figure out what day your rocket is due to be de-orbited around the christmas period would be a nightmare to try and figure out. Probably best just to leave your rocket in orbit for the whole festive period and hope it isn't kicked over by merry miscreants on their way home from the pub.

Tesla slashes vehicle and self-driving-ish software prices as shares plummet

Annihilator

And that is the new reduced price... I'm genuinely staggered to discover this is a chargeable extra.

I'm trying to work out if I sold my car, how much I'd rack up in taxi costs as an alternative. I wouldn't imagine it would be massively higher than 8K to be honest.

Some smart meters won't be smart at all once 2/3G networks mothballed

Annihilator

Re: So, smart meter joy is continuing

There are a few providers offering dynamic tariffs now. Essentially more advanced versions of the Economy tariffs where you'd get two rates - one off peak, one peak, and allow you to fill your storage heaters over night, run washing machines/driers etc.

Now, it's mostly for charging EVs during off-peak times where there's a power surplus on the Grid.

Frankly, this is what I've been waiting for, and what I was promised with smart meters.

Annihilator

Because ultimately the consumers pay for the operating costs of the company, that's how markets work. I'm also not sure sacking the CEO who's probably the 3rd or 4th successor to the guy at the helm when the roll-out started is going to help - particularly when the government were the ones mandating it happen.

NASA will send astronauts to patch up leaky ISS telescope

Annihilator

Re: So how did it "develop a leak" ?

Same reason that if you leave a Hoover in the remotest woods, it'll just disappear one day. Because nature abhors a vacuum.

Annihilator

Father Ted

You have used 3 inches of sticky tape, God bless you

Mars helicopter sends final message, but will keep collecting data

Annihilator

Re: Mars helicopter sends final message

My God... it's full of stars

Microsoft hikes Dynamics 365 prices by around ten percent or more

Annihilator

Like the article says, because inflation and operating costs will have increased for Microsoft - if nothing else, COLA will play a factor in the fleshy resources (and have a knock-on impact to the non-fleshy resources).

As for why some have gone up more than others, I'd imagine because growth in the services is different, so different economies of scale will exist compared to 5 years ago for each service.

For the anti-cloud mob (and I probably count myself as one.. or certainly in the "cloud fixes everything" approach), TCO for on-prem will have gone up in the last 5 years too.

San Francisco's light rail to upgrade from floppy disks

Annihilator

Re: San Francisco's light rail to upgrade from floppy disks

All of my MD media is still perfectly playable after 25 years. The player (an MZ-R35) can no longer "write" to media (or it can, but it destroys it and renders it unusable - funnily enough I haven't tried again since) but playback is perfect. Battery is shot too, but replacements are available.

Wasn't a fancy-dan Net-MD, but did have optical-in so could record CDs pretty flawlessly (ATRAC was a brilliant format). I miss it in a way.

Annihilator

"The agency noted that its system was installed in 1998, when floppies were still in common use and, er, "computers didn't have hard drives." That doesn't exactly match reality, since hard drives were already very common at the time"

Not only that, but I'm fairly sure 1998 was around the time that Apple started removing floppies from their machines.

Vodafone, Three hustle to tie knot before regulators crash wedding

Annihilator

Re: No brainer

Who's realistically going to buy either of them though? The costs of providing national infrastructure is getting larger and larger, particularly when you consider 5G works with smaller and smaller cell range and therefore more towers/infrastructure in place. Unless they're of a scale that's able to pay for all of that, it's a losing business.

This is the crux of the argument - both companies have been steadily declining over the years, and continuing that trend will see them evaporate. The only thing left will be assets - mainly spectrum which the surviving EE and O2 will likely snap up for lack of anyone else.

Arguably there's a case to be made for pseudo-nationalising the infrastructure. In rural locations, O2/Three/Vodafone already mast-share as it is.

Annihilator

To be fair, I'm not sure it was the telco's who promised that. It was Jacob Rees-Mogg and his fellow criers of "fearmongering!".

NASA's FY2025 budget request means tough times ahead for Chandra and Hubble

Annihilator

Presumably a lot of this is Wooden Dollars time. For example: "the budget request for the veteran Voyager spacecraft is set to increase from $6.5 million to $7 million for FY2025, increasing to $7.6 million in FY2029." I'm guessing they've not actually got (say), a team of 100 scientists on $65K pa working full time on it, it's more that's primarily time required on the deep space network which has a notional value attached to it?

HP print rental service seeks more users to become subscription addicts

Annihilator

Re: RE: wise choice

HP doesn't have the clogging issue primarily because their printheads are within the cartridges. Ironically, the biggest issue I had during a (sort of) free trial of HP Ink was my light usage, meaning that a cartridge would get clogged, but HP refused to replace it as the levels still showed high.

HP also dcked me off with their free ink trial. Bought the printer with "2 years free Instant Ink!" emblazoned on the box. What that meant in reality was "£120 credit, signed up to the £5 a month plan". When that subsequently went up to a £7 a month plan, suddenly £120 doesn't buy 2 years anymore... Good luck arguing that with HP though.

Hold up world, HP's all-in-one print subscription's about to land, and don't forget AI PCs

Annihilator

Re: Customers are happy with subscriptions?

It's self-fulfilling prophecy though. Subscribers wouldn't subscribe if they weren't happy with the subscription. (well broadly anyway, there will always be some idiots merrily continuing)

Now, if they were to measure subscriber satisfaction past and present, that might be a different score. But equally probably still higher than the people who'd look at this service and laugh at it before moving along.

Staff say Dell's return to office mandate is a stealth layoff, especially for women

Annihilator

Nope, my manager and my visibility have nothing to do with it. It's the *commute* as I've already explained.

If I'm working at home, I can drop my kids off at school and be at my desk before 9. If I'm forced to an office, I'd be there by 10am.

If I'm working at home, I can pick my kids up at 4 (but usually 5 due to after-school activities like tennis etc) and be missing from my desk for 15 minutes. If I'm in an office, I'd need to leave at 3pm to achieve that.

PS - I love that you've created this account fully to make this argument.

Annihilator

So, consider school starts at 08:45 and finishes about 16:00. I can do drop off and be back at my remote desk way before 09:00. I can't do that if I'm being forced back to an office. Similarly pickup - I can pick them up and be back at my desk before anyone would ever notice, and they can then take care of themselves in the house while I'm there - they're broadly self-sufficient. 3 times out of 5, they'd be in some sort of after-school club or activity anyway, so pickup is closer to 17:00. But again, I can't do that if I have to leave an office and commute an hour to get to the school.

So yes, it sadly disproportionately affects women more than men, as currently, the societal "norm" is that women are usually the primary care-givers and men are usually the higher earners, therefore the ones least likely to give up a job when pushed into this scenario. The wage gap for *the same roles* is currently around 10%, and has been for a while. There are a number of reasons for this, one of the biggest being maternity vs paternity disparity, pushing women out of work for 6-12 months when having a child. Biomechanics also mean this is a more likely outcome.

Flexible working, remote working etc has been one of the biggest levers to level the playing field across the gender divide. While this situation exists, policies such as this one will disproportionately affect women.

Trident missile test a damp squib after rocket goes 'plop,' fails to ignite

Annihilator

One of the great jobs must be a nuclear bomb salesman. You can just say "aw it's a cracker this one... As a matter of fact Mrs Thatcher, this is the only one that cockroaches are frightened of." You could fill it with doughnuts. Because they're not gonna say "well let's go out to the carpark and see if it works". It could be full of sandshoes and sweeties.

- Billy Connolly.

Annihilator
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Grant Shapps was on board..

I laughed harder than I should have at this. It was the AwooGa that probably pushed me over the edge.

Hackers mod a Sony PlayStation Portal to run PSP games

Annihilator

Back when the PS4 launched this service (remote play has been a thing for a while now), I tried it out from an office location and it was surprisingly good. The app is PSRemotePlay and is available for iOS devices and I assume Android ones. PS4 controllers can be paired to iPads/iPhones, so essentially you could play with your normal PS controller and using the iPad as a remote screen. Was hard pushed to tell the difference.

Annihilator

"many of which were originally stored on optical Universal Media Disks capable of holding 900MB or 1.8GB of storage"

The PSP went through a major homebrew/hacking era too, and it turns out that the images of the UMDs were relatively compressible into .cso files. Just checked my backups and my 36 games takes up about 16GB. Was a boon for taking multiple games on holiday etc, as I'd easily fit a reasonable collection onto an (at the time) enormous 8GB Memory Stick. Loaded much faster too.

Sounds like there's a reasonable amount of space on PS Portal too then.

Must admit though if I was spending money on this stuff any more, I'd be buying a Backbone One controller for half the price that basically straps onto your phone to allow you to remote play your PS4/5.

Apple makes it official: No Home Screen web apps in European Union

Annihilator

Was anyone really using this feature though?

Frankly I'm fed up of the appification of what is essentially websites. Sites like Reddit and others constantly badger me to use the app instead of the browser (and even bar you from accessing it via the web if there's a hint of adult content about it - I never know if there is, I just don't read that page).

Imagine theregister launched an app and nagged you to use that instead of visiting the website.

CERN seeks €20B to build a bigger, faster, particle accelerator

Annihilator

Re: Black hole time!!!

Or for additional London-centric scale, the equivalent would sit somewhere between the north/south circular and the M25.

Annihilator

Re: Best name?

To be fair, Family Guy have already got a great song ready to go. I would happily sign-up to calling it the Freakin' FCC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu6K6uclU54

Annihilator

Re: Priorities

Absolutely. I'm utterly fed up of the "but what about..." arguments for any science funding. Space exploration gets battered by it too. There are always "better" things to spend money on. Curing cancer, ending poverty, etc etc.

Meanwhile, the world collectively spends around $2.2 trillion annually on various militaries. The US contributing 40% of that alone. As you say, perhaps for just one year they could spend $2.18 trillion instead. They could even spend $2.119 trillion over the next 20 years if it's easier - call it $2.2 for simplicity.

Apple Vision Pro has densest display iFixit's ever seen, and almost-OK repairability

Annihilator

Re: Surprised the PPD is that low

It's.... complicated. Apple's is a significant step up in terms of pixel density and PPD. For example, the Quest 2 and PSVR2 are both around 20 PPD of vision, but various things make the difference, such as gaps between pixels etc in terms of the screen door effect, how the lens distributes the pixels. I'd imagine the effective PPD in the centre of the screen is higher than the peripheral views - you tend not to look only with your eyes to the extremes of what you can actually make your eyes do.

Using a PSVR2 I was blown away at the detail I was able to see, but then I was impressed with the original PSVR too (despite knowing I was looking at a screen). I imagine that the Apple one will equally be a "wow" moment.

It's the balance between pixel density and size of the device. They could have achieved 60PPD if they'd made smaller pixels (probably not possible yet), or a bigger display (same density, more pixels) but further away from the eye, making a bigger set of ski goggles.

iFixit tears Apple's Vision Pro to pieces

Annihilator

Re: Cnnot use with glasses so need prescription lens inserts

There are lenses in front of the displays though - my optical physics is as rusty as my own eye-sight, but I'd wager that having them moveable would do the trick. Much like I can use a pair of binoculars without my glasses.

Or, even more simply, just have room inside the headset to wear your own glasses - like others do.

Apple's Vision Pro costs big bucks to buy and repair ... just don't mention the box design

Annihilator

Re: Haven't <> Aren't

While it’s true that the Vision device can run iPad apps, the developer can specifically opt out. And tellingly, both Netflix and YouTube have done just that, as well as saying they won’t be creating a native app.

So unsurprisingly, you won’t be able to stream Apple TV’s competitors content while wearing a Vision Pro. I expect they’ll have a change of heart if those sales numbers go up though.

UK merger of Vodafone and Three in competition watchdog's crosshairs

Annihilator

“Oh, and Vodafone also looking to move their systems to the cloud too. Coincidence?“

To be fair, it feels like every FTSE250 company is. Particularly the dinosaur ones who are just jumping on the bandwagon just as everyone else appears to be jumping off.

Microsoft braces for automatic AI takeover with Copilot at Windows startup

Annihilator

How TomTom remains in business is beyond me

Annihilator

I misread this as Microsoft were sticking Copilot in charge of an experimental new version of Windows and genuinely thought “ah well, it couldn’t be worse…”

Annoyingly for me, Copilot is also the name of a brilliant satnav app for smartphones (before apple and Google did turn-by-turn directions) and I still have a fondness for the name. Not for much longer I reckon.

Nvidia slowed RTX 4090 GPU by 11 percent, to make it 100 percent legal for export to China

Annihilator

Re: Slower Version

Yep. Most if not all CPUs were manufactured in this way, especially in the earlier days when all that defined a CPU was its base clock speed and multipliers. Essentially all Pentiums were created on the same die, tested to see how it performed and then badged at the correct clock speed. The higher cost was primarily down to the rarity and low yields - a P200 was identical to a P133 off the production line, just one was more stable than the other.

Similarly with cores as you mentioned, they'd sell 3-core processors. Realistically, no one was ever going to design a 3-core CPU, but a defective core on a quad-core device was fairly common. AMD did this with the Phenom range - Toliman (3-core Phenom) was an Agena chip with a defective core.

Bank boss hated IT, loved the beach, was clueless about ports and politeness

Annihilator

Re: bullshit detected

Yeah but we in the IT industry have a perverse definition of "fitting". We'll scoff at someone plugging an RJ11 into an RJ45 socket, but at the same time have the PCI-E spec which allows for x1, x4 and x8 cards to happily sit in a x16 slot. From memory you can also make a x16 card run at reduced bandwidth in a x4 slot, but I might be misremembering that bit (plus who would actually do it).

NASA's Psyche spacecraft beams back a 'Hello' from 10 million miles away

Annihilator
Coat

Re: well, that explains it...

And sadly a pilot trying to land at Heathrow was momentarily blinded.

Software is listening for the options you want it to offer, and it's about time

Annihilator

Re: Not just Apple

My Samsung TV came with a "magic" remote that has about 6 buttons on it. Doing anything on it is a multi-click nightmare.

LG is better in that it has 30+ buttons, but it's also a wavy magic wand remote that moves a cursor (badly) on screen.