* Posts by mtp

109 posts • joined 27 Sep 2009


Fortnite banana can appear in court naked says judge in Epic vs Apple legal footnote


Fruity sexual discrimination

Every banana you see in shops is sterile so this is a unacceptble intrusion into their unfortunate sexual status. Shame on the lawyers.

This drag sail could prevent spacecraft from turning into long-term orbiting junk. We spoke to its inventors ahead of launch


Re: designed to operate even if the host spacecraft is inactive

That is the only way for this to make sense. Thrusters require control but if this is a passive watchdog that eventually triggers unless a widget is powered up every day then it would work on dead spacecraft.

China's Mars rover assigned extended mission after exceeding life expectancy


Re: "China's Mars rover assigned extended mission after exceeding life expectancy"

The faster / better / cheaper triangle. Space engineering is right on the tip of the better side.

Wireless powersats promise clean, permanent, abundant energy. Sound familiar?


Sahara is the long term renewable energy source - just stop fighting and get it sorted!

If a sahara country builds a megascale solar plant then they would become the next saudi arabia but with better long tern prospects. There will be nutters who want to blow things up for no good reason but this is always the case and solar is more resiliant to this than oil.

Basically the only thing holding them back is the culture of coruption in these countries (look at Venezuela for a example). If they can get things stable then sub sahara will be the super rich of the late 2000s and will leave saudi in the messy dust but sadly I am not optimistic. Corrupt countries seem to be very hard to reform. The sahara is the engergy source of the future but sadly politics and religion look like holding it back for many decades.

UK's National Museum of Computing asks tunesmiths to recreate bleeps, bloops, and parps of retro game music


Re: Captain Pugwash theme was the best

Happy memories of tweaking BBC games to make them more convenient to load or to give infinite lives. There was a ROM called EXMON? Something like that and I disassembled everything!

OK now I am getting over enthusiastic - I have found the manual for EXMON, how can this still exist!


I think it was Frak that had some more complicated mechanism with self modifying code - but 'patching' the game was at least as much fun as playing it.

I remember a bit of 6502 that I did to allow me to play games with to the limit RAM requirements despite the space lost for the disk drivers (that was floppy disk!). It intercepted the system calls and copied the relevant bit of game RAM to video until the floppy call was completed. Level 9 adventures - anyone remember them? The only one I completed was snowball but the resistor colour codes set me up for my future career. I was totally blown away when it played Vivaldi during the long long tape load times.

Tech support scams subside somewhat, but Millennials and Gen Z think they're bulletproof and suffer


Re: "recent accident"

I normally start with

"Accident - it was not a accident..."


"It was terrible, so many bodies, limbs, blood, ...."

We don't know why it's there, we don't know what it does – all we know is that the button makes everything OK again


Re: Dummy thermostats

I have given up on explaining this to some people. The concept of a thermostat is totally alien, they visualise it as a heat more / cool more control and nothing can persuade them otherwise.

NASA's Mars helicopter spins up its blades ahead of hoped-for 12 April hover


Re: What's to stop...

The wind force on mars is tiny. It is has only 1% of the pressure that we experience so it would be like being blown over by a enraged butterfly

Prince Philip, inadvertent father of the Computer Misuse Act, dies aged 99


Re: No TV

Get yourself a robo vac (mine is a neato). Had it 5 years and I still find myself being impressed at how good it is at mapping and efficiently vacuuming a floor.

Stray shoes with laces dangling are a nemesis though.


Re: No TV

What it if was a Kardashians vacuum cleaner? Top story!

For blinkenlights sake.... RTFM! Yes. Read The Front of the Machine


Re: The Agony and No Ecstasy

I just sat down on a chair. It was a extra unexpected 10cm of drop but it has blighted me for years. I really do have a chronic injury caused by a overly soft cushion.

You can never be too paranoid about your lower back!

Airline software super-bug: Flight loads miscalculated because women using 'Miss' were treated as children


Re: Not necessarily.

Sadly the countries at the bottom of the BMI rankings are exactly those you would expect although some of this might just be genetics.

UK terror law reviewer calls for expanded police powers to imprison people who refuse to hand over passwords

Black Helicopters

Not just XKCD that is obligatory


How embarrassing: Xiaomi and Motorola show up to high school prom both wearing remote-charging tech

Thumb Down

It will never happen

Let EEVBlog tell you


What can the 1944 OSS manual teach us before we all return to sabotage the office?

Big Brother

Re: Which country are we at war with?

You are mistaken. We are at war with Oceania and always have been. EastAsia is and always will be our ally. Rejoyce in the increased chocolate ration..

Adiós Arecibo Observatory: America's largest radio telescope faces explosive end after over 50 years of service


End of a era

Such a shame but lets hope that FAST can take over the role. Maybe some of the instruments could be moved there.

Remember when the keyboard was the computer? You can now relive those heady days with the Raspberry Pi 400


Re: Marketing has the final say

Or this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg

Former antivirus baron John McAfee collared, faces extradition to America on tax evasion, securities allegations

Black Helicopters

Re: Parallels

Servalan for supreme ruler - no compromise!

Co-inventor of the computer mouse, William English, dies


Clear evidence that it was invented hundreds of years earlier :-(

Prior art from the middle ages


Doctor, doctor, got some sad news, there's been a bad case of hacking you: UK govt investigates email fail


Re: If the Tories General Election pledge was to NOT sell of the NHS

I refer you to this documentary from the 80s


If you think you've got problems, pal, spare a thought for these boffins baffled by 'oddball' meteorites


Re: Weird objects showing signs of being both Melty and Non-melty origin?

Rocks fall through the atmosphere far too quickly to melt. They come in at a minimum speed of 11 Km/s and usually much faster but the atmosphere is only a few 10s of Km thick, more if they come in at a glancing angle but even then they don't spend enough time in the atmosphere to get hot and certainly not enough time for the middle to even get warm.

Barclays Bank appeared to be using the Wayback Machine as a 'CDN' for some Javascript


Re: I'm smarter...

Just look for your data in PI - it is in there somewhere then store the index and size for ultimate compression

GitHub to replace master with main across its services


Knock on effects

How many thousands of scripts will this break?



SDI and SDO were always poor terms from a technical point of view and undoubtedly will have caused plenty of V2 PCBs to be made. MISO and MOSI just work better in every way,

Nothing to do with SS (slave select) lines though.

Must check the mastercopy of my datasheets.

Big Brother


This kind of thing has been done before. Thomas Bowdler produced versions of Shakespeare which fitted the morals of the time


Also see


Widely regarded as laughable and pointless a few generations later


In Hamlet, the death of Ophelia was referred to as an accidental drowning, omitting the suggestions that she may have intended suicide.

"God!" as an exclamation is replaced with "Heavens!"

In Henry IV, Part 2, the prostitute Doll Tearsheet is omitted entirely; the slightly more reputable Mistress Quickly is retained.

I can easily see demands for exactly the same happening now.

Dutch spies helped Britain's GCHQ break Argentine crypto during Falklands War


Re: Pilots carrying comprising material

I highly recommend "Most Secret War by R.V. Jones's". A fascinating insight into technical skulduggery during WW2

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal


Should be open source

This is a obvious case where it should be written once and released as open source. It is bizarre (but sadly predictable) that every country is reinventing the wheel and creating loads of apps all of which are trying to do the same thing.

We all know how well government mega IT projects work out.

Iran military manages to keep a straight face while waggling miracle widget that 'can detect coronavirus from 100m away'


Pink tipped item at 1:00

I get the unobtanium shield and the divining rod but the device on the table at 1:00 looks to come from a entirely different (and more biological) industry.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2


Re: To be fair

I forgot a important password recently. After a few days of panic I decided to ignore it and wait for my fingers to type it in all by themselves and it actually worked. Luckily I was watching my fingers as they did the magic.

Sometimes just let your lizard brain take care of the problem.

SpaceX beats an engine failure to loft another 60 Starlink satellites


Paint won't stay on

These things are in low Earth orbit so they spend half their time in the dark then back into the sunlight. The dark paint will have huge temperature cycles and will rapidly flake off.

High-resolution display output or Wi-Fi: It seems you can only choose one on Raspberry Pi 4


HDMI cables are often a issue

I have EMC tested quite a few HDMI monitors and the emissions from a poor cable can be terrible. Easily 10-20 dB over the limits for a heavy industrial machine. Ferrites and such like don't help much at these frequencies so it has to be a well made cable with full 360 shielding end to end with good coupling to the connectors.

That code that could never run? Well, guess what. Now Windows thinks it's Batman


Jerkoff compatible firmware

I worked on a piston pump that could get jammed at the end of travel. The solution was to briefly go to maximum power and do a short move back into the free area. The comment on the power setting line was "atomic batteries to power" (old batman reference). The really fun bit was that I referred to this as the jerkoff function and this leaked out to support. I had people phoning me and asking if their version of firmware supported jerkoff.


Error message

I once wrote a X,Y stage controller with the error message "Insufficient user IQ" if it was asked to do something blatantly stupid that would damage the hardware.

Also had "Insufficient coffee - user halted" as a timeout message.

This was just for use inside the lab so I could get away with it.

Another long time lurker that eventually paid of was

reading = 0xffff; // With a nice chianti

That caused a laugh about a year later when the person next to me was adding some new features.

Crypto exchange in court: It owes $190m to netizens after founder 'dies without telling anyone vault passwords'


Tangible value of currency

Much like GB pounds or any other currency not backed up by a vault full of gold. A currency only has value is if you think other people (including bank managers) will take them as if these bits of paper with £10 written on the front are a real asset.

I recommend reading "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" for some interesting observations on this kind of thing.

The Register translates VMware's VMworld Europe 2018 news into plain English – our free guide for every reader


But can it Encabulate?


Wasted worker wasps wanna know – oi! – who are you looking at?


Re: Wasps

When I was about 10 I trod on a underground wasps nest. I remember the ground sinking a bit then was enveloped by a cloud of wasps. I did the world record sprint probably being followed by a comic strip style --> arrow of wasps. I was pulling handfuls of wasps out of my clothing. Must have had hundreds of stings.

Clearly I am not allergic but it was not a fun day.

Ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm kicks crisis meeting into long grass


You win some and loose some

Sounds just like the Noke U-Lock that I backed many years ago. Shipping was supposed to be Sept 2015. They post occasional updates but nothing happens, it seems very unlikely that the lock will ever appear.

You win some and loose some with this kind of project.

At least I got a LOHAN patch and pint glass from my most recent kickstart.

UK drone collision study didn't show airliner window penetration


Weight vs Mass

"weigh more than 250g". Sloppy terminology. For measuring onions in a market with a balance then you can get away with calling mass weight (although physicists cringe) but for a drone that flies up and down and could be anywhere in the world then there is no universal way to convert mass (g) to weight (N).

Is there a standard acceleration to convert mass to weight? If so what happens if you live somewhere at one of the extremes where this varies? Can you buy gold at the equator (low g) and sell it at high latitude (high g) ? Mass is the same but weight will be different. This gives me a idea...!

There are industries where you can get away with this kind of sloppiness but aviation is not one of them.

At Christmas, do you give peas a chance? Go cold turkey? What is the perfect festive feast?



12 days to go and you are all making me very hungry.

But I now plan to go out and buy a goose for the first time.

Drunk canoeing no longer driving offence in Canada


Re: sounds like a joke but...


Forgotten your Myspace password? Just a name, username, DoB will get you in – and into anyone else's, too

Big Brother

Re: Wells that me never being able to access my account ever again

Personally I always enter a DOB of 1/1/1900. If you are going to fake it then it is only polite to make it a obvious fake.

I have often wondered if this is related to my spam which is mostly death related - release the value in your home, pre paid funeral plans ETC.

For more details phone me on 0123456789 or come and visit my lovely village of Gypping in the marsh, I am usually to be found at the earthworm sanctuary.

Super-cool sysadmin fixes PCs with gravity, or his fists


Faith healing

I once came across a monitor that I knew had a dodgy connection on the VGA connector. I clasped my hands on either side of the monitor (quite vigorously) and loudly proclaimed "you are healed!".

The screen immediately came to life and I left feeling smug with some very surprised people behind me.

Three certainties in life: Death, taxes and the speed of light – wait no, maybe not that last one



Always wondered why Maxwell did not discover special relativity. In hindsight he was so close, just one more logical step and he would have been there.

He will have to put up with the T shirt instead.


United States Air Force grounds F-35As after cooling kit cracks up


Re: Hang on a minute...

Probably electrical insulation.

The developer died 14 years ago, here's a print out of his source code


Re: Portrayal of computer tech guys in films/tv. @Jamie Jones

Don't forget the Red Dwarf "Enhance" scene


LOHAN chews the fat with US TV station over Spaceport's FAA-ilure


50 foot rocket approved

If these people can launch a 50 foot rocket then what are they doing that Lohan cannot?


Muttering quiet blasphemies at the gods of red tape ( as opposed to blue tape which would be just fine ).

FAA introduces unworkable drone registration rules in time for Christmas


Re: Lohan loophole

It still has mass but I stick with the -ve weight

Apply online to go to Mars. No, seriously


Re 'average pay' beware casual statistics


There must be a good applying for the role of Tarzan joke here somewhere but it is too late at night to work out the details. "I have nothing against your right leg - the problem is that neither have you".

Beware poorly sourced statistics.



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