* Posts by Tom Cooke

141 publicly visible posts • joined 17 May 2007


Get your WELLIES to MARS: Red Planet reveals its FROZEN BOTTOM

Tom Cooke

Re: Every inhabitant of Barsoom

Alice, is it possible that everything's true? The fairy tales and horror stories? Is it possible that there isn't anything sane and normal at all?

UK air traffic mega cockup: BOTH server channels failed - report

Tom Cooke

So surprised nobody has mentioned the Ramans. Or have we worn that reference out in posts about redundancy by now?

NASA greenlights SpaceX and Boeing to carry crew to ISS in 2017

Tom Cooke


Is it my imagination or does that shot of the ISS against the Moon just look a teensy bit like the Starship Enterprise (Captain Kirk version :)

Euro mobile standards chiefs eye tiny beauty: It's the KEY to 5G

Tom Cooke

Large numbers of small cells

Vernor Vinge's "localisers", anyone?

NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

Tom Cooke

Re: Paradigms

In reply to "Sorry, but that is a load of bull. Relativity did not have any problem to get accepted. Quantum mechanics, too. Because these things were proven conclusively and repeatedly. Sure, there were probably people who did not "believe" until their deaths, but actually most of the academic world quickly catched up."

Ironically, Albert Einstein had serious theoretical issues with quantum mechanics and tried for many years to disprove or modify it. If *he* wasn't sure at first, I don't see any grounds for anyone to be smug. The modern academic world does - and should, objectively - continue to challenge new hypotheses, and there will always be those who fail to be convinced.

Tom Cooke


I'm not saying I believe this experiment - though sooner or later somebody *will* find a large-scale engineering solution to exploit quantum relativistic effects, and I bet they get all the same flak as this one.

But to quote someone from another field altogether - 'new paradigms don't become accepted when they're proven; they get accepted when the people who believed the previous one all get old and die, and nobody is left who *didn't* think the new paradigm worked'.


Tom Cooke

Re: That's not the north!

>Northumbria used to stretch from Edinburgh down to Sheffield. I'd think anyone in that vicinity could be forgiven for calling themselves Northern!

Upvote for reminding of a piece of history that gets far too little coverage these days IMO.

Edit: There's a place very near my old home in Sheffield, called "Dore", which I understand really was the *door* to Northumbria from whichever other Anglo-Saxon kingdom was adjacent.

EE - Website updated

Tom Cooke

EE - Website updated

Well, this made me laugh. EE have updated their Website for managing your mobile account online. Myself and several colleagues have EE phones, and without exception we all now have in our personal details the title "Captain", as opposed to Mr etc.

As my surname's Cooke, this got a few chuckles.

In some ways the site is an improvement, but in some ways not, e.g. since the upgrade it's forgotten that I have an iPhone, and clicking 'Why is my device unknown' takes you nowhere useful - there appears to be nowhere on the new site to reinstate this information...

Mastercard, Syniverse target holiday payment security with mobile verification system

Tom Cooke

My credit card providers regularly used to p*ss me off with this - I'd faithfully call them to say I was going abroad, "Yes, no problem, sir". My card would then be declined in the ATM at my destination, and my mobile (assuming I'd taken it) would start ringing with some t*t in the UK going "Sir, sir, your card may be being used fraudulently in XYZ country". As I didn't want to pay the hefty charge to receive an international call, I'd not answer, and that card was then trashed for the rest of my trip.

Fortunately I have several cards, and not all of them have such cocked-up fraud systems. The same provider regularly blocks my card when I try and send money abroad, e.g. through Western Union, even though I do this regularly so it's not 'unusual activity' on my account. I've tried telling their fraud team, but the answer I get is 'it's an automated system, we can't stop it even if you tell us you're going to use your card in this way'.

Guess who isn't going to get all the juicy commission and exchange rate charges for me using my card abroad? They may not even get my UK business if I get annoyed enough.

GPs slam NHS England for poor publicity of data grab plan

Tom Cooke

No leaflet

... and I've been into my surgery recently, as has my wife and my Mum, no publicity etc etc.

Plastic iPhone 5Cs? Nah, we'll flog India our OLD iPhone 4 models - report

Tom Cooke


What my Indian friends always say they'd like is any *3GS* model - they're almost indestructible compared to the more fragile 4/4S/5...

'Leaked' iPhone 6 pics will make cool fanbois WEEP - it's a PHABLET

Tom Cooke

Everything's an iPhone

I visited friends overseas recently, and one them said, "Oh, I got a new iPhone." He then pulled out what was obviously a Sony Xperia. Clearly in some places, any large touchscreen phone is automatically 'an iPhone'.

Sound of Sony's brand team weeping into their beer.....

World's first astro-bot sends greetings from International Space Station

Tom Cooke

"But you can call me Brian"

Am I the only person who instantly thought of the confused.com advert :)

400 million Chinese people can't speak Chinese: Official

Tom Cooke


Branching out a bit; I believe it's true that following Indian independence, the Indian parliament debated what language to designate as the 'official' one for government purposes. But because Hindi is primarily spoken in the North, and one or more of the other proposed languages (escapes me temporarily which ones) were predominantly in use in the South, they couldn't agree on an 'indigenous' language for the whole country, so went back to English.

Happy to be corrected on how this went down by others more knowledgeable.

WTF is … Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks?

Tom Cooke


Vernor Vinge. Localisers. That's all. (Google it :-)

She's a beauty! Super WATER-RICH Mars rock FOUND

Tom Cooke

Extraterrestrial H20

How much d'you think they'd charge for a glass of that? (like Mr Branson's suborbital flights but you don't have to leave your armchair ;-)

Leaping hedgehog probes planned for Martian moon Phobos

Tom Cooke

Video games

I call Sonic!!!

The Lord of the Rings saga lies hidden deep in your Mac

Tom Cooke

Deeper magic?

Nice to get a Narnia reference thrown in the mix just to cause a millisecond pause - "Where in LOTR is that? Is it something Galadriel said once?"

Asteroid miners hunt for platinum, leave all common sense in glovebox

Tom Cooke

Hannefin Metals

I for one welcome our new Motie overlords!

SpaceX Dragon podule back from ISS, successful Pacific splashdown

Tom Cooke

OK, what was the point of the flashing light? Did it have a "This vehicle is reversing" sound too???

Next it'll be compulsory to have a guy in a spacesuit with a red flag space-walking in front of it ;-)

Dawn probe slips Vesta's grip, heads for icy dwarf planet

Tom Cooke


Can't resist - Heinlein's "Rolling Stones", every sci-fi asteroid mining ref ever. Where's Klondike Pete on his rocket scooter?

Twelve... classic 1980s 8-bit micros

Tom Cooke


and MZ80B.

SpaceX Dragon gets green-light for launch to Space Station

Tom Cooke

I'm going to dust off my copy of Heinlein's "Rolling Stones" in homage to this.

Goosebumps - seriously.

ARM's ultra-low-power fridge-puter chips: Just what the CIA ordered

Tom Cooke

Reality catches up with sci-fi

Vernor Vinge - "A Deepness in the Sky" - one of the best portraits of what this technology will bring.

Virgin Media boards the 4G train

Tom Cooke

Business model

Hmm, this is where all those words come in like "frenemy" and "compartnitor" (think I might have made that one up just, actually ;-)

OLPC shows off XO 3 tablet running Android or Linux

Tom Cooke


Perhaps I missed something, but if the area where these are targeted is so remote you can only get there by helicopter, and the infrastructure is so basic you have to power the laptop from solar cells, how do they 'learn to use the Internet'? Satellite modem???

Angry iPhone users bring antitrust class action against Apple

Tom Cooke

Angry iPhone users

Thought it was going to be a new game - like Angry Birds...

Apple’s Siri gets sweary with British child

Tom Cooke

Bid for oldest instance of this

OK, sad I know, but my earliest experience of this was with a Sharp MZ80K running BASIC from tape in RAM, and we got (heaven only knows where!) a memory map for it which allowed this exact thing. Really cool part was, you could write the hacked BASIC back to tape, so everyone had their own boot tape with their favourite messages.


Japanese boffins crack arse-based ID recognizer

Tom Cooke

@Reason for visit "Imperialism"

Likely apocryphal, but I guess many of us have heard the story of the guy filling in an Australian port-of-entry form; under "Criminal record:" he wrote "I didn't think one was still required".

Story goes he was put back on the plane.....

Bah, humbug! Virgin Media censors Charles D**kens

Tom Cooke


I can't look at the Website for this program because our firewall counts it as "Weapons" :)))))

NASA rover finds evidence of water flowing on Mars

Tom Cooke

@Rover Lifespans

I have to say this gets to me every time - probably I'm not the only one who was watching the MSL launch last weekend shouting "Yes!" at the screen when we saw the fantastic live video of separation from the booster. Don't forget to keep following the story about the efforts to reactivate Prospero...................

Panasonic to punt smartphones in Europe

Tom Cooke

RE-launch, shurely?

OK, so it's only nearly a decade since we had Panasonic GSM phones in the UK (somebody check GSMArena) but they actually weren't bad for the time.

NASA's nuclear laser tank will hunt down any life on Mars

Tom Cooke

@Graham Dawson

Love the Cosmic Trilogy reference - Lewis's best book/s, bar none.

Space station resupply 'nauts avoid fiery death

Tom Cooke


This Dragon mission must be a first of some kind - surely worth a bigger fanfare?

Fujitsu boffins send DAN into storage fight

Tom Cooke

Er, computer?

Clearly I don't understand the technical issues here, as my first thought was 'disk drives attached to CPU and memory, er, isn't that just a "computer"?' :):)

Chinese orbital docking starts long march to space station

Tom Cooke

Prospero - British satellite program

Thought there was something about this at RAF Cosford (went there a year or so back) but can't immediately find it on the Web site.

ARM specs out first 64-bit RISC chips

Tom Cooke

iPhone 8, anyone?

Someone had to say it...

HP has another crack at fondleslab market

Tom Cooke

Getting a sense of dejavu here - 'a couple of months in is not too late'? Unless I am in a parallel universe, iPads have been out way longer than a couple of months...

Let me into the asylum...

Blighty's official Space Agency starts up on 1 April

Tom Cooke

"Rockets in Ursa Major"

... and the headquarters has to be at Mildenhall ;-)

First 'cryovolcano' discovered on Titan, ice moon of Saturn

Tom Cooke

Um, pedantic I know...

... but technically, anything that happens on another body in the Solar System can't be "geological" or "subterranean" as both of these mean stuff on our own planet. Hence terms like 'selenology', 'areology'. I have no idea what the corresponding terms are for Titan, if they've even been invented.

Boffins baffled by mysterious Martian crater

Tom Cooke

Impact craters

I think if you try this out with flour and ball bearings, you can prove that *all* impact craters are circular regardless of the angle of impact. (If it's not an impact, more of a 'skip', I guess this doesn't apply).

NSA setting up secret 'Perfect Citizen' spy system

Tom Cooke

"Rainbows End"

Read this to see the logical outcome - another great book from Vernor Vinge.

Russian spy ring bust uncovers tech toolkit

Tom Cooke

@John Smith

Indeed - "Colonel Wilma" - this and Flash Gordon (the one with the washing up liquid bottles covered in silver foil with fireworks tied to the back) were my favourites....

Tom Cooke


Anyone else think she looks like Carrie Fisher (back in the day)?

Production problems push back white iPhone 4 release

Tom Cooke


Hmm, possible. Pigment = chemical; different pigment = different chemical; different chemical plus same case plastic = different properties; case cracks during assembly?

You never know...

Rainbow plane warps in from gay dimension

Tom Cooke

Street name

Anyone notice that it's flying over Enola Drive? Clearly this is a US heavy bomber returning from nuking Nagasaki that has been time-warped by the radiation.............. Philadelphia Experiment, anyone?

SpaceX Falcon 9 achieves orbit on maiden flight

Tom Cooke

@Neil Barnes

Great Heinlein reference.

Historic day.

That's all.

The emerging cloud alternative

Tom Cooke


Surely the last thing it's about is 'where do you want to run your stuff'? Does anyone care - or know - where the reservoir is that holds your water supply? Or which power station is generating your electricity at any given moment? The real questions are; is it there when you turn the tap switch? Who's responsible for making sure? How much do you pay, and how much choice do you have over cost versus service? What if something goes wrong, do you trust somebody else to fix it? I use a battery in my digital camera because I want portability and I can buy batteries in the supermarket when I need to; but I plug my TV into the mains because I don't carry it about with me. Surely these are the things cloud computing is supposed to be about, not 'where'?

Next-gen iPhone pegged with 320ppi display

Tom Cooke

Never mind the quality, feel the width

That second to last one looks like the pinstripe on my suit trousers - anyone think so too?

Atlantis bows out with Kennedy touchdown

Tom Cooke

D**m I feel old

This is making me depressed. Flew into Paris last month, saw the Concorde on its podium, and now this. I remember the first Shuttle flight, remember the tragedies (you know how you can picture exactly where you were when you got shocking news?), now seeing the last landing....