* Posts by Timbo

389 posts • joined 6 Jun 2007

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Russia tested satellite-to-satellite shooter, say UK and USA

Timbo

I can think for two instances that may give "pause for thought":

1) A "multi-shot" capable satellite could be put into a "stealth" orbit and every now and then a satellite suddenly goes dead for no apparent reason. Such a "killer satellite" could easily be used as a blackmail weapon (I know, like something out of James Bond)

2) In a similar way, what could have been fired could be more like a "harpoon" device, that pierces/attaches itself to a dead satellite and it's trajectory is changed such that it burns up in the atmosphere.

https://www.space.com/space-junk-harpoon-removedebris-satellite-video.html

I'm more thinking along the second idea, simply because we know that Russia does like "copying" other nations ideas - Tupolev Tu-144 (Concordski)? and Buran (Space Shuttle)? both spring to mind...

Fresh astro-underwear, anyone? Orbital shenanigans as Progress freighter has last-minute ISS docking wobble

Timbo

Only 3 hours?

I guess it's down to the Russian rockets launching from Baikonur but it seems very strange that they only take 3 hours to reach the ISS and yet SpaceX takes much longer (about 19 hours - eg: Crew Demo 2 launched on 30 May 2020 at 19:22:45 UTC and soft docked at 14:16 UTC on 31 May 2020.

Baikonur is at 45.965°N 63.305°E and yet Kennedy is at 28°31′27″N 80°39′03″W.

Maybe it's down to the fact that rockets leaving Kennedy are normally launched towards the East over the Atlantic on a "just in case" basis? (and not "initially" flying over built up areas).

Can someone else can elucidate?

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

Timbo

Re: Its not DAB that sucks, its the broadcasters

"Licencees squeeze the bandwidth just to push more terrible channels."

No, it's Arqiva keeping the cost of broadcasting tranmissions high (as cost is proportional to bandwidth used by each station) and of OFCOM for not releasing more frequencies for radio stations to use...and therefore more multiplexes could operate, meaning stations could broadcast in near enough CD quality (say 320kb/s stereo) as opposed to 48 or 64 kb/s mono.

Timbo

Cynical?

"Given that DAB is basically an outdated spec, and limited to the UK"

DAB was designed back in the late 1980's (as part of the Eureka project) as a way of increasing the radio spectrum, using up the "space in the ether" that was used for 405 line (B&W) TV.

At the time MP2 encoding was "de rigeur" and as such, once the format was established, the BBC started broadcasting in 1995 and carried 4 stations (IIRC) at 256 kb stereo and it was quite groundbreaking to hear music with wide bandwidth (compared to the 15 kHz HF limit on FM, due to the 19 kHz pilot tone) and no noise.

A commercial licensee came about in 1999 and they started broadcasting a number of stations some of which continue to this day.

But the issue was always one of "price" as the initial way of receiving the signal was from one of 4 different brands of hi-fi tuner (Sony, Technics, ARCAM and one other I forget) and via ONE "mains portable" made by Roberts.

Times move on and 30 years on, and DAB, when given a chance, still works very well...BUT it has been stifled by a lack of support by OFCOM (who are not keen to increase the number of licenses to broadcast) and by Arqiva (who own the transmitters) to lower their pricing structure and to widen the number of main and secondary transmitters to ensure that the Single Frequency Network can provide a good signal strength to anyone.

In the meantime, new codecs have been developed and DAB+ can carry more signals within the limited bandwidth (approx 1 Gb/s) of each multiplex frequency.

And many countries in Europe and around the world have adopted DAB/DAB+ as their "replacement" system for national radio, as FM has too many issues that cannot be worked around.

A more positive licensing strategy from OFCOM would help make DAB/DAB+ a much better system...but they do not want to move, as they are stuck in a 1980s rut of wanting to control everything. :-(

Timbo

Crazy UK idiots...

The issue from the very start has been:

a) the financial costs that Arqiva charges make for broadcasting DAB - so carrying stereo costs twice as much as carrying mono. Nett result is radio stations only trasnmit in mono to save money

b) There are 37 individual DAB multiplexs available for use within the UK - and OFCOM have licensed just three National multiplexes - so BBC, Digital One and Sound Digital. London has 3 "local" mulitplexes, but other cities/large towns might only have 1, maybe 2.

This means there is less space on each mutiplex for more stations....and about 30 multiplex frequencies are completely unused.

*IF* the idiots at OFCOM had actually licensed the remaining multiplexes, that would provide more bandwidth and so radio stations could then transmit at 320kb stereo, instead of 64kb mono (which leads to better sound). And then Arqiva need to reduce the price of transmission and make their money from having many more stations available instead of just a few.

The problem with FM is that the BBC have multiple frequencies spaced apart by a few 00s of kHz for just 4 radio stations (1 through 4) as these are needed to prevent nearby transmitters "beating" interference.....a problem that DAB doesn't have as nearby DAB transmitters create a mesh to improve the signal....which leaves little space for any NEW radio stations, esp those who want a national presence.

As is usual with UK "controlling" instituitions is that they just don't have a clue how to make the most of the technology.

If there's a lesson to be learned in these torrid times, it's that civilisation is fleeting – but Windows XP is eternal

Timbo

Samsung monitor w/embedded Win XP?

The photo used seems to show a Samsing monitor, displaying Windows XP.

What's the betting that is actually a Samsung Pro monitor, that has built in (embedded) Win XP ?

The 320MXN-2 (for instance, and it's siblings) could be booted off it's internal 4Gb FDM which ran Embedded XP and could be used for displaying PowerPoint or other slideshows/video on it's built in media player, so ideal for use in shops and with it's built in ethernet port it could display live info from a local or web-connected server.

https://www.samsung.com/ph/support/model/LH32MGULBC/XD/

Hey, Boeing. Don't celebrate your first post-grounding 737 Max test flight too hard. You just lost another big contract

Timbo

Re: One question

"I'm pretty confident it will have a sterling safety record as no bugger will fly in it."

But the problem is that in some cases, passengers don't know what plane they are going to fly in, until they either get to the "Gate" or they are on board and browsing the safety info cards.

(Though I know that some airlines disclose which plane they use if you are lucky enough to book specific seats on the plane).

Even so, many passengers simply might not have a choice if they need to get to a particular destination...even if flying on a 737 Max is no guarantee of getting there in one piece !!

Intel outside: Chip king Keller quits x86 giant immediately 'for personal reasons'

Timbo

"After a couple of years the new strategy isn't working - which apparently it didn't in the previous companies either. As the board don't want to admit their mistake in public - a golden handshake - and after a suitable period of gardening leave a move to another company touting the same pet strategy. Eventually the lieutenants will follow - while the company recruits another person from the charmed circle who has a pet strategy."

This sort of employment strategy is also prevalent in other areas - such as (Association) Football. There are countless Premier (and other league) managers who are on a constant merry-go-round with their own set of coaching staff and "back-room physios" being appointed to certain clubs and within months/a couple of years they move on...due to their apparent failure to win enough games.

And I've even seen this in another industry, where a success-proven "sales rep" would be enticed to switch firms - and they would then recruit some of their former colleagues to the new company...they would stay a few years and then one of them would be enticed somewhere else...and so it goes on.

Speaker for yourself: Looks like 5 patents are table stakes as Google countersues Sonos

Timbo

Re: Invention?

"B&O were selling for consumers (like Sonos) and the small multiroom wall control units could redirect audio from your central Radio/CD/Vinyl/Cassette players to a specific room."

I used to sell and install B&O systems, back in the 1980's and the system to which you refer was called a Master Control Link...it was a remote control unit fitted in other rooms, which allowed you to select the source, change the volume and switch that rooms speakers on and off.

It comprised a small panel that contained an infra-red remote "eye" for each room, that was fitted in a slim plastic box that could be fitted on a wall which was linked by a multicore cable to a speaker switch box that was placed out of sight within each room - and that is where the speakers in that room plugged into. This switch box was then connected by a thicker multi-conductor cable back to the B&O receiver/amplifier or music centre.

In other words it was a very elaborate remote control speaker switching system and you could only select ONE source to play at a time - and that was the only one that could be "played" over the entire system...if someone wanted the radio on, in another room, you couldn't play a CD in your room at the same time.

At least with the Sonos system, you can have multiple sources playing all at once in diffferent rooms, via different Sonos products placed in each room and all working over a wireless connection.

Saturn's largest satellite, Titan, is drifting away from its planet 100 times faster than previously thought

Timbo

"maybe it is actually Titan's inhabitants desperately moving their moon closer to sun to warm up ?"

As Titan is in orbit around Saturn, it is highy unlikely that Titan would be moving closer to the Sun.

Titan might get 11 cm closer to the Sun (each year) IF apogee AND Titan eclipsing Saturn occured at the same time.

And when Saturn eclipses Titan, Titan would of course be getting FURTHER away from the Sun, by a whole 11 cm.

(One assumes it is the mean radius of Titans orbit that is increasing at 11 cm per year).

Repair store faces hefty legal bill after losing David and Goliath fight with Apple over replacement iPhone screens

Timbo

Re: Mine!

"I have no intention of ever buying Apple stuff, it is over priced.....(but I admit they do look pretty)"

I overheard pretty much a similar story from a couple in a hi-fi shop some time ago. The shop sold both typical black-faced (or silver-faced) Far Eastern manufactured hi-fi kit as well as Bang & Olufsen (made in Denmark).

The wife liked the B&O as it was simple to operate, and looked "pretty" - while the man said he had no intention of buying B&O as it was over-priced, and wasn't "good value" and other brands "sounded better and were cheaper".

So, not a lot of diffference...

Brit MP demands answers from Fujitsu about Horizon IT system after Post Office staff jailed over accounting errors

Timbo

Re: Any chance

"A short drive gave him confidence to drive back to London and go back to work."

*IF* he was unsure of his eyesight, then why didn't his WIFE drive them back to London - she can drive and has a driving licence.

PS: She also wrote an article in the Spectator magazine that implied she was in London observing "lockdown" rules, when in fact she was in Durham...

Cummins has basically been "caught out" by not following Govt guidelines and wants to deflect attention away from his "control" over BoJo. The little arse didn't even apologise or show any remorse whilst giving his statement...

Hoverbikes, Hyperloops and sub-orbital hijinks: Yes, the '3rd, 4th and 5th Dimensions of Travel' are coming soon

Timbo

Re: Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

It's all well and good these futurists predicting high speed travel, whether it be via HyperLoop, Maglev, HS2 or some soon to be developed tech, invented by some billionaire.

But the fundamental issue is not so much about travelling fast...but the issue(s) arising once you get to that speed...and then have to stop... as a failure to stop "under control" could lead to significant health issues for the travellers. :-(

(Stopping "out of control" is easy..but you will not get any repeat customers).

Timbo

Re: Future travel predictions

"Where's my bloody Jet Pack?"

That would be Willy - he has it !!

TCL 10L: Remember the white goods flinger that had a licence to make BlackBerrys? It made a new own-name phone

Timbo

TCL 10 Pro ?

By chance I saw on ITV tonight that Idealworld.tv are offering the TCL 10 Pro for £399 + a free TCL 32" Android based TV...

https://www.idealworld.tv/gb/pp/tcl-10-pro-6-47inch-smartphone-quad-rear-camera-with-free-32inch-tv-by-redemption--514897

It looks like an impressive mobile: 4500mAh battery, 4 cameras (one of which is 64MPixel) Quick charging and 4G.

(Dsiclaimer - I have absolutely nothing to do with idealworld or TCL)

The Last J-Freighter: HTV-9 arrives at the ISS as ESA inks a deal for a third Moon-bound service module

Timbo

"£1m, what a bold move."

Indeed - that's just about enough to hold some post-lockdown, post social-distancing meetings in a few sun-drenched, far-off beach resorts, where a few buddies can sit around a pool, drinking some nice cocktails and enjoying the best of times, and come up with a hypothetical plan for capturing small pieces of former satellites and/or rockets, travelling at >20,000 mph.

My betting is they will capture Musks old Tesla car and then drive around in various Earth orbits, armed with a butterfly net and a fishing rod with a magnet on the end. :-)

Dude, where's my laser?

Timbo

Re: Not unbelievable

"The 70s were still early stage development for lasers."

I'm sorry but James Bond (and his manly bits) nearly copped it in 1964 at the hand of Auric Goldfinger and his laser...and in 1971 when Blofeld used a space laser to blackmail governments...and in 1974 Scaramanger had a working laser that could destroy small planes...

The above "historical documentaries" are available to view on the BBC at various times, so they must be TRUE.

So, it's clear that US of A had some working lasers before the "70s" that (obviously) some foreign powers hacked into the computers storing the designs and the plans were then sold off to the likes of SPECTRE and SMERSH !!

NASA's Human Spaceflight boss hits eject a week before SpaceX crew launch

Timbo

Re: Going while the going's good

It had occured to me some time ago, that what NASA should have been building were both Earth and Moon orbiting space stations.

Then cheap flights (using re-usable boosters) up to the Earth station could take place. An Earth-Moon transiting "shuttle" could then do the 250m mile journey back and forth between them and at Moon Station, a lunar lander could be stationed that heads to the surface and comes back again.

One could then have a second Lunar lander as a rescue vehicle in case Lander #1 failed.

All of this would be a lot cheaper than building one very large SLS, the majority of which is "lost" after launch...and hence this is a very costly exercise that only benefits the builder of the craft (as they will get repeat orders).

Getting stuff into space is expensive if it is large (and hecne needs heavy lift rockets)...but once it is IN space, it is re-useable and cost-effective.

Meteorite's tiny secrets reveal Solar System's sodium-rich, alkaline liquid past – a clue to formation of life

Timbo

So, perhaps the Drake equation...

...can now be further extrapolated along the lines of...

"N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible (i.e. which are on our current past light cone);

and

R∗ = the average rate of star formation in our galaxy

fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets

ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets

fl = the fraction of planets that could support life that actually develop life at some point

fi = the fraction of planets with life that actually go on to develop intelligent life (civilizations)

fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space

L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space"

So, perhaps we need to add in:

a) = the fraction of dust particles that have an alkaline composition that turn into clumps of material

b) = the fraction of clumps of material that have sufficient water within it

c) = the fraction of water-laden alkaline clumps that just happen to land on a primordial world in an area of space where water is liquid

It truly does begin to look like we do live in a very "Goldilocks" zone, where despite all the likelihood of life NOT forming, on Earth it did.

It's official! Space travel increases the brain size of astronauts, even when they're back on Mother Earth

Timbo

"I heard having a brain the size of a planet makes you depressed."

Maybe being depressed makes your brain the size of a planet !!

Timbo

and there was me thinking of Tefal man...

This is quite amusing...Ms Vorderman, a young-ish Kelly Brook and Harry Enfield in a quirky Tefal advert....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKodMvfpKPI

and one for Tefal steam irons - watch out for the tea lady who's a chess grandmaster !!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2r7XfhTKRMw

Oh Hell. Remember the glory days of Demon Internet? Well, now would be a good time to pick a new email address

Timbo

Old names from the past

There's some old names re-surfacing here: Turnpike and Freeserve being two. No mention of the early Netscape browser, which surprises me.

I cut my teeth on Prestel (going back a long way) and then various BBS's, until, eventually I had accounts with CIS and CIX amd then Telewest and their Blueyonder service (essentially early broadband via cable - a pre-cursor to Virgin nowadays).

BY gave easy and free access to many Newsgroups (inc binaries - I was most interested in shareware programs as CDs given away with magazines were always very limited, though a few "useful" full and unrestricted versions of some programs could be had on cover-mounts ).

I would spend a couple of hours over a weekend using Outlook Express to mark any files I wanted to download without being watched over - at that time, large files were split into multiple messages, which could be stiched together and then be saved on a local HDD).

I used an early (shgreware) HTML editor called HotDog, which was great and made i much easier to code website pages - this is in the days of HTML 1.x !!

Ah, such sweet and happy times.

Doom Eternal: Reboot sequel is cluttered but we're only here for the rippin' and the tearin'

Timbo

"Isn't "Doom Eternal" kind of an oxymoron?"

Maybe it's a nod of the head to Duke Nukem Forever (the sequel to Duke Nukem 3D) ?

Timbo

Re: I prefer the original

"I also wrote numerous add-on levels for Doom 2 which my colleagues had fun playing."

But did you release them into the wild, or keep them for your co-workers.

I still have maybe half a dozen CDROMs, (bought from Unica who I think was based in Stockport?) of shareware Doom WAD levels...some were pretty good and some were very simple....

There were even a few compy magazines from the time that "gave away" WADs on their cover mounted CDROMs.

Timbo

"Also, I wouldn't call Duke 3d a clone. It brought a level of dimensionality that was sorely missing in the original Doom"

Yup - and don't forget about the half-naked strippers in the nightclub...and if you found the right hidden section, Duke could be found singing "Born to be wild" with sound coing through the speakers...

Duke also spoke many humerous phrases at various times through the game, something that Doomguy didn't get to do properly.

Ofcom waves DAB radio licences under local broadcasters' noses as FM switchoff debate smoulders again

Timbo

Re: It's political.

"There is no other use for FM. Community stations would still be on FM."

This can only occur if there is a spare FM frequency available...and in some areas, licenced community stations could easily get drowned out by stupid pirate radio stations broadcasting at high SPLs to a few hundred of their followers.

Quite why FM pirates till exist is beyond me as they could easily set up an internet streaming service and they wouldn't cause so much hassle on FM.

Timbo

Re: They need to stop

"DAB fills a need that doesn't exist, and never did exist."

Errr..not quite

The issue is the FM band (if one is talking about receiving good quality, non-fading radio broadcasts. (hence discounting AM, inc MW, LW and DW).

The problem with FM is that there is a limited bandwidth (88-98 MHz originally and it was widened to 88-108 MHz when the emergency services were moved off FM to a higher frequency (which also solved the issues of prisoners in jail only being allowed to use AM-only radios which became increasingly difficult to buy in the late 1980s).

And so trying to fit multiple FM broadcasts into a 20 Mhz bandwidth is tricky esp given that the BBC (as a national broadcaster) has mutliple frequencies allocated to it (hence Radio 2 is broadcast on 88-92 Mhz and depending on where you live - ditto with Radios 1, 3 and 4). These alone swallow up lots of frequencies and hence local stations have to somehow "fit in" between the BBC allocations.

Allocating the same (or very similar frequencies) to competing broadcasts causes "beating" and you get unsatisfactory covereage of both...esp if the "selectivity" of cheap FM radios is quite poor.

So, DAB was invented as a way to help solve the issue of having a limited bandwidth (and hence limited range of stations), plus the way the DAB signal is transmitted is that "beating" does not occur and instead DAB radios are designed to work by receiving different signals from different transmitters operating on the SAME frequency, as the combined signal gives you better reception.

DAB thus solved the issues of:

1) Better sound and no "hiss" (if they all broadcast at CD quality, which they don't in practice due to transmission costs)

2) More choice of stations (but limited by Arqiva charging very high rates) and limited by OFCOM for not awarding licences freely)

3) Better use of available frequencies as not only was Band 3 VHF set aside for DAB but also L band was available too - ideal for local DAB stations due to the limited transmission range of broadcasts and therefore Band 3 could be kept for National broadcasters and L-band just for local use.

4) DAB can also carry other types of information on the carrier - some DAB tuners actually have a digital output socket that could have been used to carry visual information, such as subtitles, travel information for those on the move, or graphical information about the station or even the lyrics to the music being played....but this has not been championed by anyone.

FM is still plagued by the same issues as it was back in 1992 when DAB launched...hissy broadcasts, and limited range of station choice and interference due to beating or from pirate FM radio stations in many cities (London, Birmingham and Manchester for instance).

Timbo

OFCOM really have screwed DAB in the UK

The issues are thus:

1) There are a total of 37 multiplex frequencies available for DAB in the UK and so far OFCOM have licenced 3 nationally: BBC, Digital One and Sound Sigital which was only awarded it's licence in the last 2 or so years. OFCOM have deluded themselves in terms of making licences freely available since 1999 when Digital One launched (and 1995 when the BBC launched their DAB services). 25 years on and at last OFCOM think they might solve the issue....hahahahaha

2) Arqiva who own 99% of all the UK transmitters (it's essentialy a monopoly if you want to broadcast on DAB nationally) want to keep their shareholders so their fees are based on the amount of data their customers want to bradcsat at - so a radio station transmitting in stereo and using 128kb will cost about twice that of one transmitting with the same quality but in mono.

So, many stations want to be on DAB but are put off by the cost and hence they will transmit at the lower bitrate...so they have a presence and can earn some advertising bucks, but don't have to pay lots. And this situtation is compunded by the trend for radio manufacturers to make DAB radios fitted with ONE speaker (even if the electronics support stereo, so stereo headhones would still work on a stereo signal).

And the quote about "cross-channel interference" from Arqiva - that would only happen if the "local" DAB transmitter was awarded a frequency that was already in local use by Arqive - but with 34 others to choose from that's hardly likely...

3) The roll out of new transmitters to cover a wider area (and to fill in the patchy DAB reception in some areas) has not happened. DAB transmitters are using the same masts as what was used for the old UK B&W 405 line TV service. But where there were multiple local transmitters (to give good TV coverage), not all of these have been converted to cover DAB and new transmitters are not being erected to cover areas where new houses have been built and where B&W TV was never required.

4) The new DAB+ system just makes it worse as Arqiva are filling up the available bandwidth (approx 1Mb per multiplex) with lots of mono radio stations broadcasting at lower bitrates and sounding not much better than lower bitrate DAB stations.

The one station that is still offering a great service is Radio 3 which mostly broadcasts at 192kb in stereo although sometimes it drops to 160kb to allow other BBC broadcasts to air, for certain times (ie Radio 5 Live Sport extra).

So, the entire DAB rollout of offering "digital sound quality" has been completing messed up by the commercial aims of Arqiva and by the intransigence of OFCOM to actually open up the airwaves and allow more stations to broadcast at CD quality and at reasonable costs...

Things that go crump in the night: Watch Musk's mighty missile go foom

Timbo

Re: Does it open at the front?

"Slightly trickier in reality than on paper"

Indeed - many sats have outrigger type solar panels that will need to be discarded/detached some how or retracted.

Likewise if the sat is coming back for servicing then each one will require a slightly different "docking" connector onto which the Musk rocket will need to align itself and then lock onto. (otherwise the sat will be rattling around inside the return vehicle and cause damage).

Then the issue will be the re-entry as the sat will need to be protected from the high temperatures generated when it comes back - opening/closing "jaws" (a la James Bond) or some form of shroud around the Musk rocket will help but it'll just make things trickier.

Given the cost of putting the sats up there in the first place, surely a better option is to place them into a "parking orbit" so that at a later date, an orbiting "recycling station" can be put into space which can re-use the metal - or at least reduce the "volume" of the sat and return precious/expensive materials back to earth.

Any surplus materials can be shredded. put into a captured old 2nd or 3rd stage rocket (and there's plenty in orbit to choose from) along with any hazardous materials - Then attach a small Payload Assist Module send it to the Sun (not the former Murdock old chip-wrapping red top).

Under pressure: K3 to put loss-making UK Microsoft Dynamics reseller biz into administration

Timbo

"I'm not really sure how a MS dynamis reseller can run out of cash."

Justa guess, but maybe they pay low salaries and high commission rates based on the number of licenses each person can sell?

So, a successful year leads to high overheads, which is great if the licensee stays for the long term, but in a growth period, commission payments could easily outweigh license fees?

NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

Timbo

"Designed by America's finest in the 1960s!"

I think you might find that certain Europeans, Werner von Braun and Kurt H Debus, might take exception to that assumption.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_V

Timbo

Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

"Also significant parts of the engineering drawings have been lost as well. So a re-start of the program would be a redesign pretty much from the ground up. The only advantage over the original program would be that it was known to work from the start."

I'm pretty sure you can get a Haynes manual to cover it.

Haynes did one for the Millenium Falcon, so you just know that this manual was used to re-furb the MF as it hadn't been used (for space flight, rather than as a museum piece) since 1983 so it could appear in 2005. I believe they had to service it again as it has been in service for the last 3 years.

They've also done them for the LEM, Apollo 11 and 13, the Gemini capsules, the Lunar Rover and if NASA have any 3rd stages left, they could convert one into a updated Skylab.

In fact, send the old Saturn V parts to Musk - and he could make them re-useable which would save even more money as you'd only need the one "First" Stage - it's only used in flight for less than 10 minutes, so once it flies back to Kennedy, they could re-furbish it in about a day via a trip to the local gas station for a re-fuelling.

Announcing the official Reg-approved measure of social distancing: The Osman

Timbo

Re: "two metres (six and a half feet)"

You can always tell when the Yanks get involved...and start imposing "their" ways on everyone else.

It's not 2 meters - it's 2 metres...for gawds sake...the clue was in the title of this post !! Where will it end?

So, FYI: A METRE is an SI measurement of distance.

A METER is an actual physical device for measuring say a weight or a voltage or a current (for example).

PC owners borg into the most powerful computer the world has ever known – all in the search for coronavirus cure

Timbo

Re: Can't get the work (units)

Just be aware that Folding @home and BOINC are two quite different systems - so both need to be installed separately.

Folding allows you to pick certain tasks although any one can be downloaded to your PC for crunching.

[url]https://foldingathome.org/iamoneinamillion/[/url]

BOINC supports many different projects, of which two are making efforts to tackle Covid-19 issues - Rosetta@home is already up and running and TN-Grid will be doing something similar. Both can be chosen to be installed via the BOINC Manager interface that needs to be installed.

[url]https://boinc.berkeley.edu/[/url]

[url]http://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/[/url]

[url]http://gene.disi.unitn.it/test/[/url]

You've duked it out with OS/2 – but how to deal with these troublesome users? Nukem

Timbo

Re: Expensive

...but do you remember the night club scene with the strippers and Duke singing "Born to be Wild"...now THAT was enough to keep me playing. I seem to recall playing DN on a PC having an Intel 486DX33 CPU with 16 Mb of RAM.

I've still got the original CDROM somewhere, assuming it hasn't got "CD rot".

Computer, deactivate self-destruct system requirement, says Sonos... were it on a starship in space, and not a smart-speaker slinger

Timbo

Re: Surprised Sonos survive? @Jason

"Well, if you were an audiophile, you definitely wound not buy Sonos equipment, except maybe for lift or background music."

I like to think of myself as an audiophile and while the Sonos Play speakers are nothing to brag about, they do have other solutions that work pretty damn well.

The Sonos Connect and Sonos Connect: Amp work very well and can be used to connect a music based NAS box (loaded with high bit rate MP3's) to your conventional, non-Bluetooth, non-Wifi audio system with pretty good results.

Timbo

"I get that obviously. Maybe if they can afford to sell stuff for 30% less they should just charge 30% less and sell more stock then work out a better method of brand loyalty."

Don't forget that by selling new kit at a 30% discount they are effectively cutting out their dealer channel (unless said deal has been extended to their resellers - I don't know about that).

And the dealer makes a profit margin, so by going the "direct" route is costing Sonos not a lot...and they are selling to their existing customers who no doubt like the products and will be happy to get 30% off.

After 1.5 million days of computer time, SETI@home heads home to probe potential signs of alien civilizations

Timbo

Re: Oh, let me give it a try...

"Our futile attempt to find intelligence in the cosmos has contributed to the damage that has been caused to our own atmosphere, so in effect our search for life out there has endangered our existence down here."

What you say is true of course...all those home (and sometimes work) computers, crunching away, using up electricity and adding to the global warming effect - and I can vouch for the fact that the room where my PC is, I have the radiator switched off as the room is nice and cosy without the central heating being on.

But, if one extends this argument some more: Over the last 20 years or so, (since the internet took off) I would guess that the thousands of servers being used in data centres around the world has actually had a bigger impact than a few home PCs - all these websites, e-commerce shops, government departments, social media platforms, free email services, cloud based storage solutions, etc etc have all made a far bigger contribution.

And I've not even included all the Bitcoin warehouses in China spewing all their excess heat into the atmos !!

We're also now talking about electric cars, trucks, buses, probably motor bikes, tractors, ships, etc becoming electrically powered - and I doubt that the process of providing that can be met with just solar/wind/hydro...so there'll be a further increase in global warming, generating the extra energy the world will need as it goes fully "electric", as other sources will not be 100% efficient (ie whatever power stations need to run their turbines, whether it is gas/coal/oil/nuclear etc.

Timbo

Re: Small window of time

The amount of broadcast TV and radio from large ground based transmitters has reduced quite a bit as more are receiving such broadcasts via satellite (which beams the stuff down to the earth, rather than it being beamed in most directions from the likes of Crystal Palace or Holme Moss and their ilk).

And those TV signals are now digitised in UK and other countries.

So the idea of extra terrestrials seeing images from the Berlin Olympic Games (c 1936) as shown in the film version of "Contact" (and of any other UK TV broadcast until analogue TV was shut down) may hold true for a while...but on-going, there will be far less clear and identifiable radio frequencies being sent out from Earth.

And if NASA can prove that "light" is better than "radio" for interplanetary comms (as they will be experimenting with soon) then even space to earth comms will not be easily picked up by little green men...

Timbo

BOINC stats

The actual "spare" computing power going into this project is pretty spectacular - approx 1,155,782.9 GigaFLOPS / 1,155.783 TeraFLOPS (that's per SECOND).

There are over 146,000 hosts (ie computers) currently active on SETI project from 92,000 user accounts - though there are over 1.8m accounts that have joined - but maybe didn't complete any tasks or if they did, they've stopped now.

https://classic.boincstats.com/en/stats/0/project/detail/

The current total of BOINC credits earned is 602,560,356,680 over 16 years (and not taking into account the original SETI@home screensaver version that started in 1999 and ran until about 2004).

As a guide, my PC (using its modest but pretty good NVidia GPU) earns about 100 credits for 550 seconds of computing time.

So, in actual REAL time spent computing, that credit total works out at about 105,000 years of compute time of my single GPU.

It's a real shame that SETI@home is going into hibernation - but there are plenty of other worthy BOINC projects that are still going, if you want to dip into the concept of volunteer distributed computing.

https://classic.boincstats.com/en/stats/projectStatsInfo

If you're struggling to keep new year resolutions, try NGTS-10b, a mere 1,000 LY away. One year is just 18 hrs

Timbo

Re: Short-lived

Of course being Jupiter sized, it must also have a Jupiter type gravity, which coud be enough to keep itself intact....

But over time, it's local star (being bigger/heavier) will no doubt win the battle.

I suspect that we're living at a time after which this Jupiter-like planet has moved orbit towards its Sun but unlike our Solar System, there's not been any other celestial body" around to fling it back outwards.

Life in plastic, with a classic: Polymer £20 notes released into wild sporting Turner art

Timbo

Brexit note?

I'm really surprised that the govt didn't issue a Brexit-flavoured £20 note....

It's one thing to issue 3 million 50p coins....which many remainers suggest should be tucked away in a drawer/money box to prevent them entering circulation (or in case Brexiteers wanted to keep them to show how "they" won the referendum/election/whatever).

But 2 billion plastic £20 note would be very difficult to keep out of circulation....!!

Think the Tories missed a trick there !!

Microsoft crack habit reports: User claims Surface Laptop 3 screen fractured again after repair

Timbo

Re: Seven hundred Quid?

Actually the article states:

"Another user who had not paid for the extended warranty was told to be prepared to stump up an eye-watering $700 to get the thing fixed."

So, it was $700 (not "quid", though the exchange rate makes it almost 1:1) and they didn't have the extended warranty.

One assumes it was free if the extended warranty was taken up, at least for the first instance of a cracked screen...

I'm sorry, Elon. I'm afraid I can't do that... SpaceX touts robo-rides for orbital vacations, lift-off in 2021-ish

Timbo

Autonomous?

Is Elon Musk really trying to put people out of work?

Tesla are/have developed autonomous himan carrying cars.

SpaceX are developing an autonomous human carrying spaceship.

What next? Autonomous aeroplanes? Autonomous government?

Maybe Musk should trademark Autonomous everything?

Not a Genius move after all: Apple must cough up $$$ in back pay for store staff forced to wait for bag searches

Timbo

Why not have a locker in the shop staff room?

Surely, all they need is locker for each employee, where they can put their bag and personal possessions, then be "frisked" by security when they leave the shop floor to go back to the staff room? It won't take up much space and it saves so much time when leaving the store at the end of each shift.

MWC now means 'Mostly Without Companies', as Nokia, HMD Global, Facebook, and BT drop out

Timbo

Re: It's gone

Yup - the BBC website has posted this:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51474116

NASA's Christina Koch returns to Earth as the longest-serving woman astronaut – after spending 328 days in space

Timbo

Re: Question : What's more import ?

"Nearly sixty years of manned off-world flights and not once have mating, pregnancy and birth been tested for viability during long flights.

Nor have any of them even been tested under low gravity, for example that of the lunar surface."

May I respectfully ask to be considered for these tests?

Going into space +1

Going to the moon +2

Both the above AND some nooky with a Lois Chiles lookalike a la "Moonraker" (looks like he's going for re-entry") + 1000

Latest battery bruiser Android from budget Moto G range appears ahead of MWC after an Amazon whoopsie

Timbo

If only the battery was removeable or easily user-replaceable...but otherwise a really nice feature list.

It'll be sure to raise the bar to the opposition. Just have to get one before the £ sterling sinks against the US$

It’s not true no one wants .uk domains – just look at all these Bulgarians who signed up to nab expired addresses

Timbo

Re: 0845 anyone?

Ofcom have messed up on a number of occasions...

The other "biggie" which many people here might not know, is how they have ensured that Arqiva make a killing on broadcasting DAB in the UK.

So, Eureka 147 (the original DAB project) allowed each country to allocate space in the RF for multiple ensembles (or multiplexes). In the UK and with the space in the Band III RF spectrum, it allowed for 41 different multiplexes (ref: http://www.wohnort.org/dab/freqs.html )

Each multiplex could contain within it about 1 Mb/s of "radio" which allowed for say 4x radio statiosn transmitting at 256 kb/s - which is nearly CD quality and in stereo. Or you could have 8 stations using 128 kb/s but they would be in mono.

So, out of 41 possible multiplexes, how many did Ofcom licence....?

TWO nationally and a max of 4 for local operators: One for Auntie Beeb and one for commerical operator Digital One and then the others were spread around the country and in such a way that no frequencies could overlap such that they caused mutual interference...

And due to the limited number of multiplexes available, this has forced radio broadcasters to pay premium rates to Arqiva as there aren't enough licences available. *Thank you Ofcom)

If Ofcom had pulled their finger out, Arqiva would not have had a monopoly and we'd have far more radio stations broadcasting in high quality stereo across the entire country.

Instead we have a limited number of stations broadcasting at low bits rates (as Arqiva charge based on the amount of data they broadcast) and in MONO !!

(PS Arqiva now own most of the TV/radio broadcast sites in the UK, making it a monopoly - the BBC sold off it's Crown Castle entity in 1997).

Thunderbird is go: Mozilla's email client lands in a new nest

Timbo

Other email clients?

So, from the article:

Mozilla email client accounted for just 0.5 per cent of all email opened across all devices in Q1 2019...Outlook's 9.2 per cent...Apple Mail's 7.8 per cent.

That's 17.5% - what other email clients are there to make up the other 82.5%

SeaMonkey?

Outlook Express? (I thought that was well past it's sell by date? ;-)

GMail? But it's surely not an "email client" - more like a website viewed from a browser (on desktop PCs) (unless one is now counting mobile apps).

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