* Posts by dr48

12 posts • joined 22 Feb 2010

Google sued over – yes – Android location tracking


That's quite the infestation

What an awful lot of bugs Apple seem to have discovered that resulted in unpopular device behaviour.

The cache not getting flushed sounds like a fairly plausible bug, but continuing to transmit all the information when the feature is turned off sounds like more than a bug. And the combination of these things?

It could be the time to invoke Hanlon's razor, but it smells like too much of a convenient mistruth.

Motorola uncloaks 10.1-inch Xoom fondleslab



GPS can be a bit ropey with altitude readings, and consumer versions certainly aren't accurate enough for working out which floor of a building you're on.

Some interesting stuff is being done combining GPS and barometers to allow for internal navigation of buildings/complexes*, as well as general improvement by making more data available (e.g. working out you're on the exit ramp of the flyover, rather than continuing along the motorway).

*Though GPS is of course quite likely to fall over inside most buildings with many floors of concrete, or surrounded by particularly leafy trees...

Yorks cops charge Segway rider under 1835 road law


bikes and scooters

Those questioning the use of electric bikes on the pavement - cycling on the pavement is an offence in itself. Though if we're going to get specific, kids under 10 can't be prosecuted as they're below the age of criminal responsibility.

And on the 4mph mobility scooter front, the 2007 revision of the Highway code says: "Powered wheelchairs and scooters must not travel faster than 4 mph (6 km/h) on pavements or in pedestrian areas". Law UICHR 1988 reg 4.

Shame nothing seems to get done about either.

Russian spy ring bust uncovers tech toolkit


Carrie Fisher?

More like Jenna Fischer

Top-killing, crisp spam and cooling the Tube



With regards to the comments over heat, there is a large difference in how useful large amounts of low-level heat (e.g. just above room temperature) and the sort of heat levels used to heat water, or generate steam for electricity generation.

With regards to using the heat from tube tunnels to warm local buildings, I can assure you it's not something that has passed the Cooling the Tube team by. Unfortunately there are a number of fairly serious reasons against it. Such as running however many miles of pipework about from tunnels underground, with buildings covering them, to somewhere useful. Then there's also the heating systems used in modern buildings, I believe they are more distributed now rather than a single boiler room in a basement, which means the complexity of piping the heat about the buildings also becomes massively more complicated and expensive. Heat re-use solutions simply haven't stood up to the analysis, being impractical or far too expensive.

Saving £2 a week on the radiator bills doesn't justify the hundreds of millions (if not more) widespread adoption of such a scheme would cost to implement.

London Underground are serious about climate change, as well as making the temperature of the network more bearable in summer. The Cooling the Tube team have been investing serious time and money assessing real-world solutions, unfortunately so many of the 'ideal' suggestions simply collapse upon scratching the surface.

One of the best things being done to cool the tube is by reducing the amount heat being generated, the traction system (friction braking and traction rail losses) is a major heat-source (passenger body heat is fairly negligible by comparison) - so they're looking at reducing this heat generation by increasing the use of regenerative braking and lower-loss conductor rails. Better to stop making the heat in the first place than then have to try and get rid of it.

Greatest Living Briton loses £30m


ECS, Southampton

As someone who has been through the Harlem Globetrotters of getting grants (which is specifically the School of Electronics and Computer Science [ECS], University of Southampton) I can tell you that an awful lot comes out of the School.

Obviously my viewpoint is sullied, but those I've spoken to who've seen ECS and other tech departments in the UK, and Europe, say it's head and shoulders above.

They may win a lot of research grants, but they also produce an awful lot of good work (much wider than the new-media-darlings' semantic web). It's the UK's MIT.

You paid €20m for UN mobe-fear - and that's just the start


Before we all get carried away

Before we all get carried away, it's not as clear cut as some may paint.

Firstly, there are some proposed non-thermal non-ionising mechanisms of interaction.

Secondly, the Interphone result taking stopped in 2004 - the report authors have been fighting amongst themselves on what conclusions can be drawn.

Thirdly, the other serious epidemiological study (by the Hardell group in Sweden) found statistically significant increased occurrences of some cancers in the brain. Not massive increased in risk (roughly doubling I think for some). Twice a very small risk is still a very small risk, but it still raises more questions than it answers.

Fourthly, both Interphone and Hardell studies have many, many failings, neither is anywhere near conclusive.

Fifthly, the latency of existing studies has not necessarily been long enough for anything to show up with statistical significance. Hardell seems to have risk increasing with exposure latency.

Barring anything revelatory (of which there has been none), the conclusions of the widely approved Stewart Report should be followed. Keep exposure as low as reasonably possible, and try to minimise children's use of mobile phones (numerous scientific reasons mean if there is an effect they will experience it far worse).

In conclusion? We need to keep an eye on things, as billions of people worldwide could be affected. It's probably worth paying less than a penny per person who would be affected, to reach a stronger conclusion than "we don't know, but we aren't panicked".

There are numerous reports available from scientific journals (PubMed, sciencedirect etc) that provide detail. I'm yet to see any good coverage of these Interphone results in the media. Sorry El Reg, normal standards not adhered to here.

(Personally I'm not worried by mobile phone use, but too many people are overly dismissive without being familiar with the conclusions in the scientific reports. See comments above, and no doubt, below.)

Ubuntu open to greater touch


Re: Sceptical of all this

That's not an issue in the embedded market though.

And on a side note, the Texas OMAPs are rather good bits of kit.

Election losers? Our clapped-out parties


Re: This is why PR is SO bad

"PR would have meant that the local issues of Northern Ireland were forgotten"

Not if we went for AV+ like the Jenkins commission recommended when PR was assessed. You'd get MPs elected on the local issues, and then a proportional vote to top up the house to the popular vote percentages.

Home Secretary swats away calls for Mosquito ban


Noise Pollution

Would there be a mechanism to do current users under noise pollution regs, like you can annoying neighbours?

WD shipping consumer SSDs



The operational lifespan is said to be unlimited for reads and 42.1GB/day for writes with the 256GB version, 21GB/day for the 128GB model, and 10.5GB/day for the 64GB product.

For how many days? I'm guessing just the 3 year warranty, which wouldn't be that great.

MPs obsess about expenses, ignore data security


A lot of fuss over very little

It seems like a fair assumption that you could get more work done in first class - there's more space for a start (not guaranteed any flat surface in standard, let alone one actually large enough to work on) and it will almost certainly be less disturbing.

It's quite common practice in the commercial world to estimate how much an individual's time is worth - and if an extra hour or two's work is worth more than the cost of upgrading to first class travel - then to pay for it.

The 'scandalous' behaviour of MPs is largely hot air and media brouhaha - some of them most certainly did wrong, but what is quite reasonable behaviour by others (or what is common practice in the real world) is being pointlessly criticised.

Would I rather my MP put in another 2 hours work on my behalf, and was more informed about the parliamentary debate he was attending? Absolutely. If they can justify the cost, then there's no problem. An outright ban would be counter-productive.


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