* Posts by bertino

65 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Jan 2010


Twelve... classic 1980s 8-bit micros


Was there only me who had a Color Genie?

No idea why my dad bought us that machine, probably in '83, but the lack of games certainly helped bringing on the programming skills. A local computer shop sold them so a few lads in my area ended up with one. It was an upgrade from my ZX81 though.

And as I remember from the time, the TRS-80 was nicknamed the TRASH-80. (even though it was quite good!)

FAA mulls scrapping in-flight iPad, Kindle ban


As someone who may* have a clue about this....

As I design aeroplane engine control and monitoring hardware. The main problem as I can see it would be from the engine vibration sensors. These piezoelectric sensors produce a pretty weak signal in the order of 10 pico coulombs per g, which is then converted to a voltage with a high gain op amp. If you get a rogue signal early in the signal path this may indicated to the pilot that the engine is broken, i.e. a turbine blade bent because of a foreign object entering the engine etc.

Since vibration monitoring is usually DAL-C level then it is not flight critical in that there is no auto shutdown, but a dodgy reading could result in a pilot manually shutting down an engine when there in fact was no problem.

However, using a mobile phone in flight mode emits next to feck all radiation anyway and this is of no concern. Only WiFi, GSM and to a lesser extent Bluetooth could potenetially cause a problem. The probabilty of this is still probably tiny, but none the less should not be completely ignored. Millions of flight hours a year.....

Virgin Media snags London Underground Wi-Fi monopoly


Great big fat ARF!

Virgin Media and Wifi?

If any of you have to suffer the sorry excuse of wifi that comes with a 'superhub' you will understand my mirth!

Wifi drops out all the time, streaming via superhub wifi nigh on impossible. There is an obvious firmware bug with the (netgear) supplied router/modem. Has been for months, and they are yet to fix it. Try support forum and they tell you about changing channels, dropping the wifi speed etc. Load of cack, it is a bug.

You have to set up the superhub in modem mode, then connect to your own router.

And they want to supply wifi for the underground?

TuneIn Radio Pro

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Data usage depends on stream rate obviously....

Say you are using 64kbps stream,

Then in 1 hour you will use 64k*60*60 = 230.4Mb per hour (Mega BIT), or 230.4M/8 = 28.8MB (Mega BYTES) per hour.

Some of the talk stations broadcast at 32kbps, so 14MB per hour is not too bad depending on your data plan.

If using 3G signal for stream you may be better using yourmuze, as you can set the bit rate you want and the yourmuze server re-encodes it.

LOHAN's fantastical flying truss cleared for lift-off


Re: Re: Single balloon elevated

How about a rhombus shaped truss, top end attached to balloon(s), bottom end has electronics etc for stability, with the launch vehicle attached to the 'underside' of one side of the lower part of the rhombus, so it is pointing upwards, angle depending on angle of rhombus.

LOHAN's flying truss: One orb or two?


One of these might be useful...


Have a circular base section. Attach 3 balloons tethered to this base. Have the electronics in the base too for balance. Fix the bottom thick end of the pole to the circular base. The pole will then poke out above the balloons, stick launch module on top of pole, job done, vertical launch. There are then 2 questions.

1) Will weight of pole at around 800g be too much?

2) is 9.5 metres long enough, how large do the balloons get at altitude?

HP Pavilion dm1-4125ea 11.6in netbook


Re: Lenovo

The Lenovo S205 is a right pain in the clacker to get linux on. I bought mine for 240 quid sans OS (well it came with FreeDOS!). The UEFI boot does not play nice with a standard linux install. Had to jump though hoops to get ubuntu installed. Unity interface slows the machine down a bit too much for my linking, was trying to watch some online sports streams and it was dropping too many frames. Installed xubuntu desktop so I now have an option at boot time, and this works better with few dropped frames. I was suprised though, I thought this AMD CPU was much better than an ATOM, but this suggests not in a real world usage case.....

Oracle - love or hate?


Never mind that!

Why no hardware forum?

ps, I hate Oracle, Apple and Microsoft almost equally. No, scratch that, as it stands









On that scale.

Chip boffins demo 22-nanometer maskless wafer-baking


Re: Good point!

Whilst I admire your enthusiasm for this tech, I have just had the 80's on the phone and they want their design methods back!

Not used a schematic for chip design for at least 15 years (strangely it was the Japanese office that still used them, bizzare if you ask me!). All VHDL/VERILOG/C these days (cut down version of C) depending on the application.


Re: Potential For Superfast FPGAs

Yes, I can see this working well. For reason that you will know well I think

1) ASIC much faster than an FPGA, easier to do higher clock speeds or lower flip flop count.

2) ASIC not so prone to single event upsets, good news for space and areo sectors

3) Cheaper to a small run of a couple of wafers, all that may be needed for an aeroplane part, as you only tend to make a few thousand planes, not millions. Cost not such a big factor if only a couple of hundred dollers per chip.

If you have shares in Xilinx or Altera or Actel etc it may be a good idea to keep an eye out for this....

ViewSonic V350 dual Sim Android smartphone



So market is working. Happy days!


Dual SIM you numpty!

Not dual core! Atrix is not dual SIM.

The ZTE U960 on the other hand is, with a 1GHz processor, android 2.3 (wether it will get ICS is another matter), 2 Antennas so real dual sim dual active. 4.3" WVGA, 480 x 800, TFT-LCD/ Capacitive Touch Screen, 512MB RAM, 5MP rear, VGA front camera GPS, Bluetooth, FM radio etc.

Not that cheap as an import at ~320 quid but dual sim great when you work in a different country during the week, flying back to blighty at weekends........Just hope it works OK when it arrives next week......... on androidforums a poster states that market etc now all works.

There are some even better ones coming out soon, but you will have to wait about 6 months to get hold of one. Do a bit of searching and find them, good specs are cheap in China.....

Crack GCHQ's code and become the next James Bond

Black Helicopters

They are x86 op codes.

Someone on a blog has disassembled it and it looks reasonable code. There is a mov instruction of xDEADBEEF and a couple of compares with x41414141 etc.

See this link


I have not really looked at the instuctions yet, but maybe this xDEADBEEF is an input to a cipher and the answer is the result.

Or there is something encrypted in the image itself on the weppage and this is barking up the wrong tree!

The BBC Micro turns 30


Boo, TRS-80


I had a Color Genie after my ZX81. Since there were few games I had to write my own, in basic 1st then assembler a bit later, well acutally directly in machine code hand converted from the Z80 instruction set. Happy days!

Samsung gets a win in Oz patent battle


The best thing for the Judge to do

In a case like this where it will end up being thrown out for being a load of bollix, is to ban sales of the iPad for the same length of time that the tab has been off the shelves. That would shaft Apple good an proper pre xmas.

Using virtual particles to get real random numbers


I did actually design one back in the day....

For a company that made encryption devices.

You can amplify thermal noise in a resistor (although I was never convinced by this, the noise must also have come from within the high input Z op amp too) to a level that you can then feed into a comparator, which you then feed into a flip flop. You then sample the output of the flip flop with 2 more in series flip flops with a given clock frequency (need 2 for metastability purposes), which then gives a constant stream of random bits. This was tested heavily and proven up to the job, except when the PCB designer ran an address track right underneath the source of the thermal noise. We had a big can over this part of the circuit to shield it from this sort of stuff, silly PCB designer. I got 1Mbps of random bits out of it.

I would have much prefered to have used a reverse biased zener diode as the noise source as this was a much larger signal so more noise immune, but you had to tweak the bias in order to generate the quantum tunneling in the zener that produced the quantum random noise (like a random saw toothed wave), which meant a pot or something which is not so good for mass production and drift over time.

‘We know where dark matter is hiding’ claim boffins


Control Theory

The global economic system is just a very large control system with feedback. Are you saying that people from a control theory background (rocket scientists?) should not get involved in economics? i.e. people who can do maths should stay away, the ones that can not should carry on making a mess?

Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101

Paris Hilton

Nope, you are not the only one!

"Slip a finger into the crack between the two halves in the top edge and they part to reveal a........."

Heh Heh.

PCTV Broadway 2T network Freeview tuner



Will not do live telly over the internet though will it? At least it is not properly supported, there was a script/unofficial plugin that was supposed to work but that was years back.


What about expats?

Think this is who the products is aimed at. Just like a slingbox with built in tuner. You can only watch iPlayer etc in the UK from a UK IP address. So it is either a device like this or a proxy server.

Why do these traders get billions to play with, unchecked?



Saw some contract advertised recently that were after FPGA experts to implement the trades as they are faster than a PC for this kind of stuff. Good rates too.

This is silly and very far removed from any kind of reality.

Ofcom begins crackdown on auto-renew telco contracts


Here in Germany

They are absolute FUCKERS for this. Nearly every contract is auto renew. They do NOT send you a letter to say what your options are when you are near the end of it in most cases, they rely on you not remembering so that they can pull your pants down and shaft you again. I now have an extra year on a mobile contract (originally a 2 year contract with a 'free' mobile). They rang me 3 times trying to get me to agree to a new contract over the phone (which I would not have to sign anything for, they could do it over the phone). I told them 3 times I did not want a new contract and it would end on the last day. They renewed it anyway as in the small print you have to write them a letter to cancel it. And you have to give THREE MONTHS notice, WTF!

I am moving back to the UK soon, so will not need a mobile contract here, but according to them I have to pay up the contract IN FULL as they claim I can still use the service WTF!........... yes, I can still use the phone but it will all be roaming charges and I will not be able to use the call time and internet I am paying (a lot) for.

Absolute twatbags they are.

HP readies AMD, Intel sub-notebook


Why, if it has an AMD APU....

E.g. a CPU, GPU on same chip, does it need an external 2nd GPU? Since the APU can do full 1080p anyway, what is the point?

Green energy and jobs will cripple the UK economy


Trust an economist?

All the economist offered was speculation and what he thinks might happen. Has he done some real sums to prove his hypothesis, or is it all just words? Has he created a full mathematical model of the global financial system to show what happens when money is invested now in green tech? And the feedback effect of the jobs created/destroyed by this, and the effect of green energy on energy prices and how this feeds back into the global economy?

I am not biased with regards global warming one way or the other, as predicting global temperature over time has the same problems as the global financial system.

It is hard enough to get an electronic circuit with feedback working well, with only a few components/variables, never mind a system with thousands of variables.

HP: webOS will still run PCs and printers



This price drop of the touchpad is a GENIUS bit of marketing, allowing HP to get a foothold in the fondleslab market, and they never had any intention of ditching them.........

Slaps self with big wet fish, sorry, this is HP.....

Canonical ARMs Ubuntu for microserver wars


You have to wonder....

Why did these ARM based netbooks never really appear? Anything to do with Microsoft by any chance since they would be running Android AND/OR Proper Linux?

'You sell any ARM based netbooks and we will cut your Win7 discount'


Tiitle Tattle

I think the meant ATOM based netbooks. There is one ARM based from Toshiba, and a few other ones from small companies, but no company seems to have built one with a good enough spec that will run Linux with no issues.

Please will some company build a 10-11 inch netbook with a decent ARM/GPU, SSD, Wifi, 3G etc! I would buy one yesterday.

Google lands patent for, um, estimating shipment time


A Method To Fix The US Patent System.

I am patenting this, so if they implement it I should get money for every patent application....

The US patent office only gets paid when they REJECT the patent application. This will force them do some research and find a reason to not to grant the patent in order to get paid.

Now this may result in no patents being granted at all, but hey ho........

Trebles all round!

Reg readers ponder LOHAN's substantial globes


Simple solution

Well, simple ish. 3 balloons, pole up the middle. LOHAN has another tube on the underside with a capped end at the top. You simply place LOHAN on top of the pole using this tube. As long as the pole points above horizontal, LOHAN should stay on top of the pole. No need for any release mech as it is not technically attached. Just fire the rockets when the altitude is high enough.



Even more so

If you use a pile cushion.


Idea for a pole.

Use a carbon fibre fishing pole. My dad has some in his shed I am sure he would donate. They weigh about 1kg for a 13M long job, So assuming you need only about 4 metres to poke above the top of the ballons, should only come in at a couple of hundred grams. They are also hollow so you could route any wires down the middle if needs be.

Google+ disk space cockup creates notification spam-storm


A hole punch is all that is required.

If memory serves! Seem to remember using a hole punch to make single sided 5 1/4 floppies into double sided? This is in BBC Micro days. Anyone else remember this?

Deep inside AMD's master plan to topple Intel


Said it before, will say it again.

All that is needed for many tasks is an FPGA co-processor. Load an FPGA image that does exactly what you want, the CPU sends whatever data is needed to the FPGA, the FPGA squirts the result out of the other end. For stuff like transcoding video this would be a PoP. You could have FPGA images in a repository, just like you do with linux packages. This is not difficult to implement. You can have several versions in the repos, one for each vendor (the synthesis and place and route for each vendor is different), just like you do with i386, x64, ARM, MIPS, PowerPC.........

Microsoft nails second Android device maker

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New laws needed

The result of any patent dispute needs to be published.

FAT should be banned from pre-formatted SD cards and the like, they should have nothing on them or, windows should be forced to support EXT4 or some such file system that is not patent encumbered.

BP world energy review: Chinese coal drives up CO2


How much of this increase in the use of coal in China...

is used to make solar panels and wind turbines etc?

Could it be more CO2 is released burning coal to make the panels than is actually saved over the lifetime of the panel? Given this, one would think that solar thermal would be better use of time and effort, given it only needs some black pipes and some oil :-)

<potters off to shed to make own solar thermal panel, using nothing more than an old garden hose, tin of black paint (matt, not gloss), some large cable clips and some radiator fluid>

IAEA: Handling of Fukushima has been exemplary


Already not main news on the BBC site.


Now then BBC, let me rewrite this for you....

4 people have died and several other have been critically injured after a fire and explosion at an oil refinery in Pembrokeshire at 1820BST on Thursday. 1,234 people are also known to have died in Wales since the time of the incident.

HTC to stop locking smartphone bootloader code


The only problem is...

That the carriers will lock the bootloader again when they put all the other branded cack on it no doubt. This will be for unbranded paid up front vanilla phones only.

Still, it is a good start, still using my HTC Hero with few problems thanks the Cyanogen and Villainrom. Got bored of waiting from the quite frankly dog eggs HTC Sense 1.5 version that came with the phone that had many many bugs. Not had the current ROM crash in a long time. Very stable since Google fixed Navi.

Samsung must cough up Android prototypes to Apple


The Grate Wall...

Maybe Apple could use some of its cash pile to build a big wall around the US, and they can stay one side of it and do what they like, whilst the rest of the world gets on with innovation.

Super-injunctions 'unfair' cos of Twitter gossip, says Cameron

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The thing is, many footballers

Use Image Rights as a way to avoid paying tax. Therefore it is in the public interest. How they manage to get away with this is for another day.

Desktop Linux: the final frontier


Browse grumble.

Without any problems


Not so hard, some of it easier

* A printer

System - Printing. Find printer on network, select type, print test page. Done. No loading crapware of a CD etc.

* A scanner

Xsane just finds the scanner on the network. Never used a USB attached one, but assume same.

* A DSL modem or router

Eh? Why should you need the crapware to set this up, which in windows XP/Vista leaves doubt as to which of the several icons on the taskbar actually control networking? How many times does it 'just stop working' on windows? Type into a browser and set it up. A bit more difficult than using a driver/installer CD but once it works less likely to break.

* A digital camera

Connect, open photo software when prompted, import new photos. Done.

* A digital video camera

Plug in via USB, Open folder when prompted, double click vid, plays with VLC or MPlayer. Easy.

* An MP3 player

Sync with Rhythmbox automagically.

* A smartphone

Drag and drop stuff to it, easy. Much easier than using iTunes. Easier to get photos off an iPhone too.

Of course this comes with a couple of assumptions,

1) You installed a distro with all codecs installed.

2) All hardware is supported. A lot is these days out of the box, so is in fact easier to use than on windows. When the hardware is not quite working it does take a bit of tweaking to get it working, but then there are similar intallation problems with windows too.

The main problem is that you have to start messing under the hood sometimes, e.g. mousepad is unusable, disable tapping of it in order to be able to use it. Which means hand editing config files. Or changing boot parameters so that you get something other than a black screen etc. I would like to say that once fixed in linux it stayed fixed, but this is not the case anymore. The EEPC901 wifi driver needs to be recompiled from source with every new kernel for instance, which for a non techie means no chance!

So, to sum up, if you get lucky or buy wisely, then it is EASIER with linux. If not it is probably more difficult.

Linutop feeds mini-PC fans tiny Tux box

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A title is required

An Asus one that had a PCI slot (not PCIe), it was the only one I could find with PCI, as I already had a DVB-S2 card which cost a lot......


You need to tweek linux to use hardware accel for flash (basically add a file in the right place with a line in it to swtich it on!)

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I built my own

Dual core atom with nvidia ION mobo, 2GB RAM, 64GB SSD, DVD drive, miniITX case for about 200 quid, mythbuntu, and it WILL do full HD, even plays 1080p flash videos.

Digital player maker 'incited consumers to break the law', says ASA

Paris Hilton

So, if I buy a CD or DVD etc.

Play it for 6 months, then it fails, can I get a new copy from the rights holder at cost+small admin fee?

Paris, because she likes it both ways.

Ten... on-ear headphones


How about a review of bluetooth cans?

I would like to purchase a set of cans that connect via bluetooth. Is it worth it sound quality wise? How long would the battery last? Easy to connect to mobile/PC/tablet or anything else with a bluetooth connnection....?

Sapphire Edge HD



I have an older 50" Plasma TV that has a DVI input for HD connection, that connects with my Sky HD box just fine at 1080i (or 720p? not checked!) via HDMI-DVI. When I connect my HTPC to it via HDMI (with a HDMI-DVI converter) I can NOT get it to work. Works fine via VGA. I have to start arsing about with editing xorg.conf to try to get it to work. This is with *buntu, using the nVidia drivers.

SHOCK research reveals Wi-Fi not as nippy as Ethernet


Err, not really.

As mentioned above, it is an environment problem.

Using wireless G at 54Meg, I get a throughput from my VDSL (50Mbps) net connection of around 22Mbps, so in this case yes, it is slower. With wired ethernet I can at off peak times get the full wack 50Mbps!. If I use wireless N I can also get the full wack 50Mbps.

I have changed the channel on the Wifi, as I live in a building in the 'innenhof', a building in the middle of a square inside an outer block of apartments, so many other AP's visible.

It is fantastic broadband though, off peak I have downloaded Ubuntu live CD's in 2 minutes.

ECJ asked to rule on re-sale of software licences


One off fee

If you pay X pounds for some software that has no fixed term, e.g. time unlimited, then you should be able to sell it on at any point. Even for a year on year license, if you have 6 months left you do not need you should still be able to sell that on for the remaining 6 months.

Apple iOS dominates Euro smartphone usage


Do iPhones really outnumber Android phones 3-1 in Europe?

Not sure, working in a techy environment skews my perception, where android is probably level.

How many people have the Android web browser (Dolphin in my case, not sure if you can change the stock browser) set to desktop though, so that you see the full web page instead of a mobile version? And if so does this count towards the stats?

Nvidia four-core chip to power quad-res Apple iPad


What I want to know is...

When is someone going to build a miniITX board with a quad core ARM and nVidia GPU on it?

Sounds perfect for an ultra low power MythTV backend/frontend.....