* Posts by Alan 6

307 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jun 2009


WORLDWIDE SELFIE: Cosmonauts finally get ISS cameras working

Alan 6

Re: UrtheCast

After reading their website it's probably both...

HP Chromebook 11 quietly slips back on Google Play shelves... but where's the FIRE?

Alan 6

Re: Interestingly

1366 x 768

1.7Ghz Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Core ARM cpu


Reading this headline? You and 9.47 million others

Alan 6

The Grauniad isn't bothered by bad language, two stories on the front page of their site yesterday had f-words in the first couple of paragraphs

MANIC MINERS: Ten Bitcoin generating machines

Alan 6

Is it just me or does this bitcoin lark not remind you of H2G2, where they new colonists of earth decide to use leaves as currency, with the consequent massive inflation as all the leaves fall in Autumn...

Someone stole your phone? Now they'll have your STARBUCKS password – the horror!

Alan 6

Re: Perfect

I think the password is for the Starbucks WiFi rather than paying for the warm milky stuff

Army spaffed millions up the wall on flawed Capita online recruiting system - report

Alan 6

Re: Capita SIMS

But Capita are relative geniuses compared to the fuckwit who programs the Collect web site for School Census data collection, and the system for requesting ULNs

That person obviously decided that every school pupil will have a UK address, forgetting all the boarding schools in the UK (yes, there are a number of state boarding schools, we have 120 students with foriegn addresses), neither the Collect site or the ULN requests will accept an address with a house number or UK format postcode.

Alan 6

Re: Capita SIMS

How about not installing Windows 8?

Seriously though, there are so many problems with SIMS that a faulty What's New page is the least of anyone's worries.

A simple way to remotely log users out so we can install the many patches that have to be installed to fix the errors in each termly release would be a start...

Furtive ebook readers push Hitler's Mein Kampf up the charts

Alan 6

Re: The bigger Question is :

"Who the hell is making money from Mein Kampf?"

I'd guess it's mostly Amazon & Apple making their customary 30%...

Space Station bags extra 10yrs of life as SOLAR STORM scrubs resupply

Alan 6

Re: Oh crap.

Man has never walked on another planet, the moon is not a planet, it's a satellite

I've seen the future of car radio - and DAB isn't in it

Alan 6

Re: Caching will only get you so far

You beat me to it, 3G outside of cities is appalling, and when moving at motorway speeds is next to non-existent.

I'll stick to 6Music and TMS on DAB and my MP3 player for everything else...

Only iPhone fondling rose at Xmas: Were non-Apple fans in a turkey coma?

Alan 6

It just demonstrates that iOS users spend more money on tat bought online, and they visit more websites that deliver shed loads of ads, like facebook for example.

Bring Your Own Disks: The Synology DS214 network storage box

Alan 6

Re: What have I missed?

Not all hard drives are the ideal for all jobs.

The WD Green drives are good in office PCs that do sporadic read / writes and are only active 8-10 hours a day, but a NAS will be running 24/7, especially if you have a torrent client running download err Linux distros for instance, for this you need a drive that's rated for 24/7 use, such as the WD Red drives, these also have a cache that is better tuned for large writing jobs like back-ups.

I used to deal with customers running large IP camera systems, with hundreds of cameras writing to multiple servers, and one customer baulked at the £200 we charged for server grade hard drives, so he bought some cheapo SATA drives from Ebuyer, and very quickly regretted it, the first of these drives he used to replace a failed drive in his 15 drive enclosure lasted less than a week

On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns

Alan 6

Re: Dear Article Author

"There's a reason their country scored twenty-eighth in the world in education."

The UK was 26th, US 36th

Drone expert: Amazon's hypetastic delivery scheme a pie in the sky

Alan 6

What kind of batteries will these drones using

The best non-military quadracopters I've seen have about 25 minutes battery life, when coupled with an airspeed of around 10m/s (22.5mph, this seems to be the speed of the priciest models I've seen) you have a 4.6 mile range at best.

Now considering most Amazon warehouses are housed well away from populated areas, just how many of their "must have this NOW" hipster customers will live within the 30 minute delivery window.

I fall into the cynical "this is just Cyber Monday marketing hype" camp...

Chester Cathedral smites net in Wi-Fi SMUT OUTRAGE

Alan 6

On a side note

I didn't know Waterstones had free wi-fi, that means I can go showrooming in there, find a good book and download it onto my Kindle without leaving the store...

Vietnam tightens noose on web freedoms with new decrees

Alan 6

I notice that the UK is 29th in the press freddoms chart, down one on last year.

With rumours of certain ministers putting pressure on broadcasters and the press over the reporting of protests and the past misdemeanours of high ranking cabinet members then I fully expect a much lower position next year

Swollen Reg reader recounts FALSE WIDOW spider HORROR

Alan 6

Spiders normally only bite once

A spider has to expend so much energy making venom that they only bite when threatened.

The Tarantula for instance usually just waves its front legs to scare off potential predators, and will bite as a last resort.

As this poor lady's foot shows multiple bites I'd guess either centipede or ants, or she was unlucky enough to be biten by several spiders, one of which then hid in the waste basket to take the rap whilst the rest of the family moved to cause havoc elsewhere.

Undercover BBC man exposes Amazon worker drone's daily 11-mile trek

Alan 6

This seems normal for a warehouse job

When I worked for Index (like Argos but a bit shitter) I used to pick across two floors for up to 12 hours a day at christmas - yeah try running up & down a set of stairs for 12 hours, a set of stairs with 4 twists.

I did that for 13 years, I wonder why my knees are fucked?

Microsoft bags another glamorous Office 365 customer

Alan 6

They're not wrong about Notes

It's a big pile of shit.

I remember when I worked in a certain large computer assembler in the North West, we used Notes and Smart Suite, Notes was appalling, especially at handling external email.

Parts of Smart Suite were OK though, as long as nobody sent you a Word document to amend...

Alan 6

Re: "single price discount retailer"

that's how Poundland styles itself, and you can't say they're lying...

'F-CK YOU GOOGLE+' ukelele missy scoops BIG WAD of $$ - for Google

Alan 6

Re: yea google F*ck you

based on the quality of comments attached to your average You Tube video, making it harder to leave comments can only be a good thing...

Big Beardie's watching: Alan Sugar robots spy on Tesco petrol queue

Alan 6

Re: This of course complies with all the necessary consents and legislation:

The image isn't stored for longer than it takes the software (which I think is a part of Verint's Retail Intelligence package) to decide your gender & age.

This is just another reason to avoid Tesco, I drive past a couple of them to get to Asda, who somehow manage to keep their prices lower without the need to sell my purchasing habits to anyone who wants them...

Alan 6

"It's just a ploy to encourage shopping from home."

So Tesco Direct now sell petrol...

Brew me up, bro: 11-year-old plans to make BEER IN SPACE

Alan 6

Not a distillery yet, but Ardbeg sent up a batch of their scotch to compare how the tarpenes react in near zero gravity.

They've also stored control samples in Houston and Islay....

Beat this, cloud giants! Musk rocket flings 1TB hard drive into SPAAACE

Alan 6

Not sure why chain stores would need something like this for pricing updates, we used to manage OK with 4 bonded ISDN lines, which managed the overnight price updates and the offsite backup.

Even the bi-annual product file update for 10,000 product lines was only a 3mb CSV file, surely you could squirt a file like that to even the most remote places using existing technology...

Rare gold iPhone 5s goes up against 50 caliber high precision rifle

Alan 6

Re: But does it blend?

"What's the point of shooting that calibre of gun to esplode* some bit of tech in super-slo-mo if it isn't frame-filling and from multiple angles"

Simple answer, the 50,000 fps super-slow motion camera they use is 192 x 96 resolution, so won't fill the frame, and costs around $50k, so even renting more than one would cost a fortune.

Highways Agency tracks Brits' every move by their mobes: THE TRUTH

Alan 6

Same with voting slips, the code on the slip matches the code on the stub, your voter ID is written on the stub.

Both are kept, but in different locations, so theoretically it's possible to find out who you voted for, but it would be a complete ball-ache, so unless it's really really important nobody bothers...

Cisco email accidentally sent to 1000s of employees causes message list MAYHEM

Alan 6

Everyone wasn't able to use it, the first reply all ripped the names from the list and put them all in to To: box, all 200,000 or so of them...

Alan 6

I used to work for a small division of Honeywell, a company with a couple of hundred thousand employees worldwide.

Last year somebody managed to send an email newsletter to everyone in the company, the all users group address is limited access with only very senior IT personnel allow to use it, so how this message got out is anyone's guess. One person replied to all, asking to be removed from the email list, this prompted other people to do the same, then more and more, it took the best part of a week for the IT bods to finally remove the emails clogging up all the company's email servers worldwide...

London Underground cleaners to refuse fingerprint clock-on

Alan 6

Re: punch card?

T & A stands for Time & Attendance, usually an add-on package to the access control system that automatically clocks people in & out as they enter and leave the building.

They're very useful for roll calls during fire drills as they have a record of all the people in the building without having to decipher the clock cards that may have been entered upside down, back to front, clocked in twice and not clocked out etc....

Alan 6

I can't say I travel on the underground much, but whenever I have I would never accuse it of being "totally filthy"

Alan 6

Re: Faces

Facial recognition is not perfect by any means, and is incredibly susceptible to changes of expression, false mustaches etc, whereas fingerprint readers are getting more and more accurate

Alan 6

Re: punch card?

A standard punch card clock machine runs to about £500 these days, but that's only the start of the costs.

You need to add on the cost of clock cards, the cost to collect them from the hundreds of LU sites, then the time to check and cross check them for staff that work multiple sites and I think you can see that a £300 fingerprint scanner at each site, networked to a central T&A database starts to make sense, escpecially when you consider what others have already said regarding the ease of abuse of older style systems.

btw the good quality fingerprint scanners actually read below the surface of the skin, so are not suceptable to misreads caused by cuts and muck on the scanner, and many now even have a little spray attached to squirt the reader with antibacterial foam

Google Nexus 7 2013: Fondledroids, THE 7-inch slab has arrived

Alan 6

Re: Best Tablet in the World?


Alan 6

Re: Eh?

The Nexus 7 is manufactured and branded by Asus, this is clearly indicated in the article and on the pictures of the box.

Beat the UK's incoming smut filter: Pre-censor your grumble flicks

Alan 6

Reminds me of the 80's

Reminds me of my student days when I worked in a video library in the evenings, the top row of adult movies where seriously crap, featuring titles such as "Waves of Lust", these movies were simply taped from German satellite channels with all the interesting parts edited out, some even had the channel logos.

Nowadays I think these films would sail through with a 15 certificate

Brit music body BPI lobbies hard for 'UK file-sharers database'

Alan 6

Re: Recorded music has no value

I suppose you don't buy books either, prefering that the author pops round to your house and reads it to you...

Meet the world's one-of-a-kind ENORMO barge-bowling bridge of Falkirk

Alan 6

Excellent article

I was just thinking about this boat lift the other day when I saw a leaflet for the Anderton Boat Lift at my dada's house


Perhaps a similar article about this marvel of Victorian engineering is in order

Violent Hamlet 'bard' by British Library Wi-Fi filters

Alan 6

So he's sat in the British Library, but trying to access a book on the MIT website, he didn't think about getting off his arse and fetching a real dead tree copy of the book off their shelves

Bloke in shed starts own DAB radio station - with Ofcom's blessing

Alan 6

Re: DAB? I'll just get out of my car first...

The bubbling mud effect is handled well in my Mini, as soon as the error rate reaches a certain level it just cuts out, but it's happening less & less as the transmitter power is being pumped up.

As for them not being supplied in cars, this is a real issue. I was at Carfest over the weekend and each car I checked had no DAB as standard, this applies across the range from Kia to Bentley (there was no Rolls stand, so I couldn't check them).

If you want one as standard it's just Mini and some Fords, the rest range from £150 to £7500 options. Yep, if you want DAB in a Bentley you have to opt for the NAIM audio pack which costs more than a new Dacia Sandero...

Alan 6

Re: Why bother

It's not so limited at home any more, digital; listening at home is increasing rapidly.

Where it is limited though is in cars, there's still too few cars with DAB as standard, they only seem to come as massively overpriced options.

I sat in many, many expensive cars at the weekend and hardly any had a DAB radio fitted as standard kit, as far as I'm aware it seems to be just Mini, who've been fitting them as standard since 08 reg, and Ford who are leading the way.

DAB in cars is mostly OK, I live in the arse end of Lancashire, and my DAB equipped Mini copes pretty well in most areas I drive, although it always drops out as I drive past Lancaster Uni on the M6, I don't know if it's caused by the thick stand of trees by the side of the road, or some dodgy kit they're running in the Uni

BOFH: Don't be afraid - we won't hurt your delicate, flimsy inkjet printer

Alan 6

I remember once at college, we decided to race a Epson FX80 dot matrix printer and an IBM golf ball printer. Very techincal, just ran this little bit of code on the RM 480z computers they were connected to

10 For X = 1 to 1000000

20 Print X

30 Next X

Everyone reckoned the FX80 would win by miles, but it didn't, the IBM was so violent it actually shook the Epson off the desk, it didn't break the printer, but it did rip the serial cable out, so we declared the IBM the winner

Dead STEVE JOBS was a CROOK – judge

Alan 6

Re: The brave brave Judge

"I bet he wouldn't have said a word if Jobs had been alive....."

A very brave judge if he's male and goes by the name of Denise...

"District Judge Denise Cote stayed true to her initial impressions of the case, and ruled that Apple had colluded with Macmillan, Hachette, Penguin, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster on digital …"

Inventor lobs spherical, throwable camera

Alan 6

Re: Nice idea but

And I've seen demonstrations of Flir K-series kit being used for just this purpose, they can read up to 650°C and are normally used for finding the hot spots of a fire to see where to attack first.

Alan 6

Re: Nice idea but

You sure about that?

Thermal cameras show differences in temperature, the wall will be pretty hot due to the fire, and the stream of water will be cold, leading to a huge difference in temperature, which will show through the wall, it won't be a high resolution image, but it will show if the water is hitting in the right place.

Disaster recovery teams use thermal cameras to find survivors after earthquakes and building collapses, a living person will show through a fairly big pile of rubble when using a cooled sensor thermal camera...

Alan 6

Nice idea but

most fire brigades would just point a thermal camera in the direction of the fire and it'll see right through the walls and show where the cooler water is dropping onto the hot flames.

Sleek Nokia Lumia details EXPOSED ahead of Thursday's disrobing

Alan 6

Re: Lens Resolution

The image files will be 5mp or 8mp most likely, as they'll be using pixel binning to give better low-light performance - basically the opposite to interpolation

New material enables 1,000-meter super-skyscrapers

Alan 6

Re: hmm

There are many problems with the construction of tall towers that people just don't consider, and many of them are down to Pointy Haired Boss.

A few years ago I was working on a project in a tower in London, planning the CCTV installation, there were 1000 cameras in and around the building, needing to store 60 days standard def footage at a mixture of 12.5 and 25fps, we're talking over 1pb of capacity here, around 16tb a day, with RAID 6 redundancy it's a lot of storage.

Then the CEO of the building's owners decides he'd like a mirror of the live feeds in his office close to the top floor, and he'd also like mirrored storage up there as well.

Problem #1 there was absolutely no capacity in the cable ducts for a new fibre for the amount of data that would need to be zoomed up the the top floors, so we had to run an 8-core armoured fibre down the lift shafts and hope for the best, and #2 the system that we'd just spent almost £100k on didn't allow for mirrored recording, and he was insistant, so we ripped that out, spent £250k on a new system and my boss had £100k worth of CCTV recording kit he could sell to someone else...

You've seen the Large Hadron Collider. Now comes the HUGE Hadron Collider

Alan 6


I'm sure these boffins have already thought of this, but is it wise to dig a huge tunnel and site a massively expensive piece of scientific kit in a country prone to earthquakes?

A Bluetooth door lock that puts the kettle on? NOW we're in the future

Alan 6

OK if you don't care about insurance

You need a proper lock with a physical key on all outside doors of a property or your insurance won't pay out.

Even office buildings with electrionic locks also have to have a keyed locked.

If you do go the electronic lock route and to hell with insurance you need to make the decision whether to have your lock as fail safe, so if the power goes the lock springs open, or fail secure so the lock is fastened when the power goes (this is what would have happened in the real world to the vault in Die Hard). One way all your valuables disappear during a powercut, the other way you die when fire breaks out and your fuses blow.