* Posts by Jon Axtell

39 posts • joined 1 Jun 2007

'Angry Bird in the Sky' spotted by astronomers

Jon Axtell
Paris Hilton

I see the bright central point as the beak and the bright stars horizontally to the left and above the central part as the eyes.

So, what's the best sci-fi film never made?

Jon Axtell

Heliconia / Brian Aldiss

The trilogy of very thick books of the Heliconia series by Brian Aldiss


Or anything by Brian Aldiss

Fukushima fearmongers are stealing our Jetsons future

Jon Axtell
Thumb Up


You just have to look at the thumbs up and thumbs down counts to come to a very straightforward conclusion - many believe that nuclear power is safe.

All those getting thumbs down are the scaremongers, nutters, green party members and those who don't read articles properly. They probably skim read and insert their own opinions into the article for the bits that they didn't read or understand.

Before the iPad, there was the Newton

Jon Axtell

My first job

My first job was working on the Amstrad PenPad software at Eden Group in Macclesfield. Great times.

Bloody George's Budget: How bad is it really?

Jon Axtell

Tim Worstall

Tim is not an IT person. He's a metal person. Specifically Scandium

Boobquake fails to destroy planet

Jon Axtell

A quake DID happen


Mammoth patent troll holder snags smartphone threat

Jon Axtell


Mutally Assured Destruction.

All we can hope is that as more and more big companies get hit by patent law suits they start realising that the current scheme is unmaintainable. Then they might get round to getting rid of some of the more stupid patents, like software and business practise ones for a start.

Blighty gives Street View the bum's rush

Jon Axtell

Paris Gigapixel

A different kind of streetview available here - http://www.paris-26-gigapixels.com/index-en.html

Look for the ten (numbered) easter eggs plus the gun.

#1 Kolor logo

#2 Beaver

#3 Green Clock pi symbol

#4 Green frog playing guitar

#5 Traffic Light with 3 red lights

#6 Giant Turtle on a roof

#7 Graffiti of 10 people

#8 Kolor.com license plate.

#9 Kolor.com cheese

#10 2 UFOs

GSHP: The green tech even carbon sceptics will like

Jon Axtell
Thumb Up

Some other points

* GSHP work because the temperature of the ground about 1.5-2m down is pretty constant all year round.

* GSHPs do need a three phase supply to drive the motor as they typically need to pump a huge volume of anti-freeze through the pipes in the ground.

* The CoP for GSHPs is usually quoted as 4 but more typically its probably about 2.5-3 when you take into account the level of quality of the installation.

* If you don't have the land you can dig down, typically a 100m straight down. A bit more expensive to drill down but cheaper than buying the land!

* An alternative to GSHPs is ASHP where the A stands for Air. Basically an air-conditioner that can work in both directions. Not as efficient as GSHPs but useful in the situations where GSHPs can be installed.

* Nice idea about attaching fridges and other heat dumping equipment (air-conditioners) to the system since you could dump excess heat into the ground in summer ready to pull it out in the winter.

Collar the lot of us! The biometric delusion

Jon Axtell


Look closely at Alan Johnson's ID card in the photo on the first page. It has SAMPLE written on it. So he is NOT an early adopter.

Apple tablet spooks world of PCs

Jon Axtell


iPad sounds the best name for it, sounds like iPod.

Would you leave your child alone with a cabinet minister?

Jon Axtell

Author on BBC Breakfast this morning agreed with it

An author appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning and announced that it would be a good thing to be vetted and that he would happily apply for a check. He stated that he had regular contact with kids in that being a visiting author he wasn't just standing on a stage and reading, he was also visiting kids in the classroom, being shown around the school, etc. However he never said that he was left alone, and I suspect that he would always have a teacher with him doing the showing around stuff. However he made a nice comment at the end of the interview when he stated that because he had a fan base he had kids sending him messages on his website, and because of this he thought that he should have a check, besides the visiting school aspect. If that was a valid argument why not just forget about choosing who gets a check or not and check everybody. Hell, why not just go the whole hog and put it on the ID card.

G20 police demand ID as train staff ordered to spy on passengers

Jon Axtell
Black Helicopters

Hen/Stag parties

It's common for a group of people to wear the same shirts, have the same logo, and be themed when they are going to a hen or stag do. They will also likely to make a group booking if going by train. Are such groups going to be banned also?

BMW driver follows satnav to edge of cliff

Jon Axtell


As someone who lives just below where his car got stuck I can testify that he is a prat of the upmost. There is no reason why he disbelieved his eyes and kept going along a path which was obviously not a road. As for being a "professional driver" and trusting his satnav, words fail me.

One thing I am glad about the case is that the police are going to charge him with driving without due care and attention. It's about time such stupid actions were publicised so that fewer drivers make such mistakes - especially truck drivers.

More pictures on the Halifax Courier website and elsewhere



HM Treasury website traffic goes into recession

Jon Axtell

Skew the results

It's tempting to visit some of these obscure sites and do a Ctrl-F5 repeatedly for a few minutes. They'll get mighty confused thinking they got all popular all of a sudden. And knowing how much they probably know about IT, they won't recognise that all the hits are from a single IP! :-)

Protostar steers out Lampo 'leccy sportster

Jon Axtell


If you squint a bit, the front looks like a big happy grinning face, and the rear a scowling face with down turned lips.

Small biz still struggling for funding as RBS flounders

Jon Axtell

@John A Blackley

"an immediate end to the disgusting payment of bonuses to abject failures."

Not if you see the bonuses and large salaries paid to some civil servants. All that would happen is that there would be more red tape to ensure "targets" are met. Also, the people who would be put in charge would be in the boys club not people who actually have experience. Part of the problem with this sorry mess is that the people at the top didn't know how to run a bank - a shop yes, a bank no.

Yes! It's the cardboard PC!

Jon Axtell

Which way is up?

I'm just a bit concerned about the "this way up" signs in the bigger picture at the bottom. Seems that the PC is designed to be upside down.

Apple's latest patent brilliance: the iGlove

Jon Axtell
Paris Hilton

High tech version

Surprised they didn't go for a high tech version using some haptic feedback on the finger tips to confirm a touch. Place a sensor on the outside of the glove finger wired to a piezo widget on the inside. The piezo vibrates a bit when the sensor registers a touch. A small button battery on the back of the glove. Job done! :-)

Paris cause she knows something about vibrations!

Counter-terror police arrest Tory frontbencher

Jon Axtell
Black Helicopters

@Reid Malenfant

Taking into account that CT officers routinely perform all searches and that they could be OAP search officers, why does the MET call them CT officers.

Anyway, even if you throw that emotive aspect out, it still doesn't answer the question about why a search was necessary in the first place rather than a request for him to attend the police station. The "crime" he is aledged to have committed is a common law one, not one that is criminal as far as I can gather.

Also, why did the police enter his parliment office. That is supposed to be pretty much sacrosanct and needs a really high level of illegality before the police (and even then it I gather, ICBW, that it should be parlimentary officers) can search it.

Most likely a cock up by a civil servant who called in the police and cock up by the police who followed the request without checking procedures. However conspiracy is still hanging in the air due to the timing and lack of fore knowledge by ministers who you would have expected would be told as a matter of courtsey.

PS. Are you the person who lives thousands of years and saves the galaxy? [Space by Stephen Baxter]

Das überdatabase: Inside Wacky Jacqui's motherbrain

Jon Axtell
Black Helicopters

Old fashioned methods

When all electronic communication becomes monitored, guess what method of communication the never-do-wells will use. Hint, it's not electronic.







Good all fashioned snail mail. Pretty untraceable, no backups, and you can tell if it's been opened in transit.

Marketing body condemns 'draconian' Olympic law

Jon Axtell

Two Zero One Two

Since 'Two thousand and twelve', '2012' and 'Twenty twelve' have been specified as illegal words (newspeak?) there are some other combinations which can still be used. Such as Two Zero One Two, or 2oI2 (letters o and i).

As is usual with laws now-a-days, they get too specfic which means they can't cover everything and tend to be too draconian in their attemps to cover everything. A general law of no advertising allowed which implies a connection with the Olympics without any payment to the London Olympics should cover just about everything. There can be exceptions like that for the health benefits of sport due to the Olympics. If small companies want to use the Olympics, then all they need to do is pay a bit extra to the London Olympics, if caught out because they didn't know about it (as it usual with over 20,000 new laws being added every day), then they just have to pay the amount required anyway - not a fine. Only if it's obvious and proven that they willinging flouted the law should they get fined.

Cow turds fuel Blighty's hydrogen filling station embrace

Jon Axtell

The best way

The best way to cut back on all the pollution and green house gases caused by motoring is to cut back on the motoring. More public transport, less individual cars. Better designed housing estates and villages/towns making it easier and convenient to walk to do your shopping/working and therefore less car journeys.

Also, another point electrically splitting hydrogen wouldn't be too bad if it was split at a central depot and shipped to the stations as no power would be lost in it's transportation as opposed to the energy losses currently experienced in the national grid. But then there is the problem of keeping the hydrogen since it will leak out slowly. Fill a hydrogen car up and don't use it - in a few weeks time you'll have no fuel! You might find yourself talking in a very high pitched voice when standing around at a hydrogen station!

OFT sends out scam texts

Jon Axtell

Is it just me?

Is it just me or does the name of the regulator seem to have more in common with scammers and other dodgy companies rather than a regulator. Most regulators seem to have a name like of Office Of XYZ, XYZ regulator, etc. PhonePayPlus just does not come across as an authoritarian name in any way. In fact it sounds more like a company you could use to pay for things rather than one which regulates the way phones are used to pay for things.

Calls to ban hoodie-busting sonic weapon

Jon Axtell


The Mosquito are legal as far as I can tell since they probably come under the same classification as house alarms in terms of noise generation. House alarms can only make a noise for 20 minutes max. As far I can gather reading other reports, the Mosquito has a 20min time limit as well.

Now if they went off all the time, then they are illegal and indescriminate. However if they only go off after a manual trigger or due to a IR sensor then it only affects pople in the immediate area and is not an indiscriminate attack on all young people, only those hanging around interfering with the human rights of the general population to shop (or whatever) freely without feeling harased or intiminated.

Europe hails foothold in space

Jon Axtell

Telephone kiosks

>>Columbus boasts space for ten "International Standard Payload Racks"

>>(ISPRs), roughly the size of a telephone kiosk

So if BT is getting rid of all it's old red boxes, maybe they can throw them up into space? A bit of recycling and the ISS gets larger!

Oil rig dream bomb taxpayer bill 'astronomical'

Jon Axtell

@astronomical costs?

Plus the fact that the rig wasn't producing any oil during the emergency. Anyway, helicopters aren't cheap to hire/run. Take into account also, that rigs tend to cost 100 of thousands of pouinds per day to run.

Fire icon because there wasn't any.

The 'blem wit' error messages

Jon Axtell

Not terse!

A certain genealogy program I use has the opposite of a terse error message!

"Find in Diagram" does nothing when you are viewing a diagram. To use it, switch to another window, but without actually closing the Diagram Window. Select a record in the other window and click on "Find in Diagram". You will be switched back to the Diagram Window, and the selected record will be located (if it exists in the diagram).

Pheeeeewooh! Oh, and there is only an OK button, and when you click the OK button all those nice instructions disappear so you better have a good memory!

Spirit discovers life on Mars

Jon Axtell
Paris Hilton


If you look at the big picture and see how far away the "figure" is from Spirit, you'll find that it's not that far. Therefore the "figure" is probably only inches^h^h^h^h^h^h centimeters high. Not just brown martians, but eensy-weensy-tiny brown martians.

[Paris because she probably on mars, her mind seems to be at least!]

Tories offer NHS IT rescue plan after major patient data losses

Jon Axtell

@Richard Laval

Yes, they might be 6 times as many DBAs, but the problem when (note, that I say when not if) it occurs will be less. Rather than potentially losing all records, the potential will be only be 1/6 of the number of records. If split even further, the proportion will be even less. Also, it will be extemely unlikely that all 6 DBA (or more) will all have the same problem at the same time, as opposed to it only needing 1 DBA* to make a mistake to affect every single record on the database.

National access is probably required for some uses, but transfer those via electronic wires rather than sneakernet/snailmail in the limited circumstances necessary.

The best solution though is transparent access like the Estonian method where people's access is not hidden but displayed openly so no sneaky accesses can be carried out. Access controls can limit the number of people accessing the data, but a bit of social engineering can easily break that. And then who is monitoring the accesses and checking that they are appropriate? Some civil servant who doesn't know the reletionship between accessor and accessee? The best person to judge if access was appropriate is the person the record pertains to as they will know all the circumstances.

* It's unlikely to be one person, but the 1 DBA term is still stands if assigned to a small team of people.

Wishing you an EMF-free Christmas

Jon Axtell

Radiation Protectors

Available from Amazon (or rather through Amazon), fantastic mobile phone radiation protectors. You can get them in round or oval shapes. Search for ASIN B00118V5Z4 or search for seller greenhills23 and see all the rest of the "useful" stuff.

To quote

"Protect you & your family from HARMFUL radiation. Mobile phones generate Electromagnetic Waves that are transmitted directly from our ear canal to the brain. Frequent use over an extended period of time can be hazardous to one's HEALTH, (especially children & teenagers).

Safe Guard is able to filter up to 99% of the harmful Electromagnetic Waves emitted from the ear piece of mobile phones. It is made of special ceramics and conductive materials to absorb and eliminate HARMFUL electromagnetic waves.

Fits ALL phones & attaches in seconds, the oval protector has a soft/comfort cushion & fits on the main phone body (over the receiver) & the 2nd round one will fit onto any hands free Bluetooth earphones & headphones.

The Safe Guard Absorbs up to 99% of induced electromagnetic waves and actually improves reception sensitivity during phone use. Components were tested by Allgon Mobile Communications from Sweden with excellent results. Additional testing was performed E.M.C. Ltd. supervised by The Israeli Standards Institute, also with excellent results. "

Canadian cable giant slips Yahoo! name onto Google home page

Jon Axtell

It's not about Google

What Roberts are doing is inserting a message onto ANY page that one of their customers is viewing. So this is not being targeted at Google. It just so happens that the example shows a Google page. It could have been any page on the 'net.

The medium is different, but it's not any different to receiving an email letting you know you're reaching your bandwidth limit - at least here you can see when you're reaching it rather than wait for an email to wing it's way to your account and by the time you read it, it might be too late. An alternative system (maybe I should patent it :-) ) would be to send their customers a SMS message when they're reaching their limit. Doesn't interfere with their web browsing of pron then! :-)

What Roberts should have done is updated their T&Cs first, then there wouldn't be any case to answer. Also, letting their customers know beforehand about this change in service. Though knowing journos, the fact that customers might have been notified doesn't stop them using it for a juicy story about how busy-body-interferring-high-handed ISPs are destroying "our" precious 'net as we know it.

So long as they stick to vital announcements then I don't see a problem with it. The moment it turns into advertising, THEN bring the full force of the blogging public down on them.

Remembering the Commodore PET 2001

Jon Axtell

Egg advert

I bet anyone whose remotely geeky has seen the Egg adverts with the hamsters and will have noticed the Pet in one of them. The other advert has the Tandy TRS-80. My wife definately thought I was a geek when I noticed the computers and could identify them! ;-)

I remember using the Pet when I was in 6th form. I also worked on a product for pharmcists that would run on the Tandy TRS-80. Ahh, great times then. :-)

Can't wait for the Sharp MZ-80K to be featured. I've still got mine in the attic!

Cops pull plugs on TV-links, claim 'facilitation of infringement'

Jon Axtell


So is FACT going down the same road as RIAA and end up being the laughing stock of the world!?

NASA mulls strap-on astronaut carrier

Jon Axtell


The other nice thing about the external suits is that it stops the astronauts bringing in the fine lunar dust into the module. The lunar dust is quite likely to cause problems in confined spaces as it will get everywhere.

Mars rovers roving again, for now

Jon Axtell

700Wh per sol

For those concerned about the energy figures, for comparison NASA says that the normal figure for the rovers is 700Wh per sol (martian day).


Uranus strikes a pose for Hubble's camera

Jon Axtell

42 years not 894

No, it is every 42 years when we on Earth can see Uranus' rings edge on.

See http://www.eso.org/public/outreach/press-rel/pr-2007/pr-37-07.html

BBC shows Olympic logo the door

Jon Axtell


Squint your eyes and look carefully at the logo. Does it spell something out? A four letter word possibly? Something to do with defacation, or possibly a statement on the state of the Olympics? :-)

ET fires laser weapon on Google Maps

Jon Axtell


The camera was mounted on top of a vehicle not in the back - note the 360 degree view and height above other cars. Therefore the camera must either have been rotating or a fisheye with image correction. The ET object is most likely a sun flare which the image correction process converts into a vertical line.


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