* Posts by briesmith

132 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Mar 2011


8 years ago another billionaire ploughed millions into space to harvest solar power and beam it back down to Earth


Iceland - not the shops

Volcanic heat and hydro in vast quantities and all pretty much free once the plant costs have been written down should mean that Iceland - and similar regions/countries around the world - could become significant hydrogen gas producers similar to the methane gas producing counties in the world we already depend on for much of our imported energy.

We already have the ships and we know how to build the terminals, perhaps we could persuade some billionaire that this makes more sense than sending up 1,000s of microwave ovens into space?

All we have to do then is convert 43 million gas boilers to run on hydrogen and find a way of keeping the pesky stuff confined within our existing gas networks.

Another successful flight for SpaceX's Starship apart from the landing-in-one-piece thing


Re: Let me know when they have their next launch

Just in time for fusion power then?

The Audacity of it all: Version 3.0 of open-source audio fave boasts new file format, 160+ bug fixes


Best Pairing Ever

Audacity and MuseScore.

NASA sends nuclear tank 293 million miles to Mars, misses landing spot by just five metres. Now watch its video


Missed Opportunity?

Why didn't they put a couple of $100 drones on the lander? There is enough atmosphere for parachutes to work so I am guessing there is enough for a drone to bite on?

This one costs £99 with dimensions 29.5 x 20.5 x 9.3 cm and weighs 690 Grams. Some software revisions to make it fly patterns without control from base with automatic reconnection for recharging and you could map a whole lot more of the surface than the lander can cover. Just saying.


Brit IBM veteran wins unfair dismissal case after 2018's Global Technology Services redundancy bloodbath


What about the client?

What did Santander think about this decision (to move support to that hotbed of English language speaking, Bulgaria)? Did they run it against their own employment policies and practices? Did they carry out a risk assessment? Did they seek documented and quantised assurances from IBM before agreeing to the change?

Or did the offer of reduced costs from IBM switch off any concerns they might otherwise have had? Shipping jobs offshore should simply be banned. We will soon need every last one we can find.

NHS looks to the market for advice on one system to replace two separate, giant Oracle ERP and HR systems


Options for the NHS


NHS COVID-19 app's first weekend: With fundamental testing flaw ironed out, bugs remaining are relatively trivial


Missing Features?

How do I register my (2) antibody tests proving I have had Covid?

Keep it Together, Microsoft: New mode for vid-chat app Teams reminds everyone why Zoom rules the roost


How did we get things so wrong?

When I pick my phone up - fixed or mobile - nobody and nothing asks me for a password. I simply have access to the network and it's up to whoever I've called to operate security etc. This applies to point to point and conference calls.

That's how Teams, Zoom, Meet Google and all the rest should work. They are all massively over-engineered with user-unfriendly workflows (with the possible exception of Meet Google which is only handicapped by its pretend insistence on participants having a gmail account when it doesn't actually need one to let you in.)

As long as nobody can join a video call without the rest of the callers knowing, the phone call model works well and has done for 100 years now.

UK space firms forced to adjust their models of how the universe works as they lose out on Copernicus contracts


Tendering - Fair or Not?

I'm assuming that this article is a bit of an attempt at distraction. The UK will get contracts from the ESA commensurate with its financial contribution. That's written into the treaty that governs the workings of the organisation.

What's more important post-Brexit is the continued working of international tendering law. Is El Reg chortling at the thought of the UK not being allowed to join international competitions or, somehow, being excluded from winning any as a result of non-EU participation?

I imagine the US, Israel and not to forget Norway and Switzerland might be unhappy about that? And that's not to mention China, South Korea, Japan and so on; pretty much every country in the world which bids for big international projects.

After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good


What were they reading?

Xerox, Polaroid, Kodak, Walkmans (men?), unsmartphones (Nokias basically). The writing was on the wall although I am a little surprised because I always thought that Olympus favoured the professional/motivated amateur photographer as opposed to the consumer sector? Clearly they were in the prosumer market?

And their audio products (dictation, handheld recorders etc) market is also under pressure. Sell Olympus I suppose is the smart, obvious?, move.

Health Sec Hancock says UK will use Apple-Google API for virus contact-tracing app after all (even though Apple were right rotters)


There Really Is No Point

No Bluetooth based contact recording app will ever work reliably.

And no app will be worth the battery power expended which relies on a ping going off on a mobile phone saying, "You've been in contact somewhere unspecified with someone unnamed who has tested positive for Covid so please lock yourself away for 14 days (yes, we know this is the 9th time you've had such a contact and have hardly been outside your house in nearly 6 months, except for the odd 8 days when you bumped into a Covid sufferer but that's how it goes)."

And did someone really authorise the spending of £108 million on a single app? Really? In the few short weeks the development fiasco lasted, how many people did they persuade the government were going to be working on the project? Can we see the timesheets?

Anywhere, what is Covid infectivity anyway? I have had Covid (antibody tested twice). My wife (with whom I live etc) hasn't. What issue are we actually trying to address here?

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word


Next Opportunity for some Fascism

I'm happy with this innovation; never used two spaces since WordStar came along in the late 19th century.

What I would like to see would be the automatic excision of commas in address blocks, salutations and signature blocks.

They've been deprecated since the Second World War when the Civil Service calculated that they cost more typist hours than boot polishing cost squaddies in the army, or something like that.

Not only are they a waste of time, they are really ugly. Come on Microsoft, while you've got your fascist hat on, tackle these pointless commas.

Cloudflare goes retro with COBOL delivery service. Older coders: Who's laughing now? Turns out we're still vital



COBOL was part of a systems development mindset that basically revered error elimination. Systems were either accurately or precisely defined, sometimes both. Specifications were scrubbed until they gleamed. File definitions and record layouts were cast in stone and checked for consistency. Programmes were flowcharted before a single line was written and the flowcharts were examined for sensibility. Programmes were then, often, written in a near English language and desk checked. Then the coding started with each line commented as to its purpose, author, date etc. Compilations sometimes took hours so there was definitely no fail early, fail often attitude. And everything was documented.

So I suppose what was written was accidently massively resilient and so it has turned out.

The thing that trips up COBOL systems are the one-off programmes usually written to cater for some irregular event like the year end. These were rarely documented, were often written in extremis and constantly re-written or modified at least, every time they were run. Old hands remembered them and when to run them and when they didn't or were not around anymore, disaster often struck.

It isn't just the COBOL language that is obsolete, it is the entire development culture it was part of. Now, languages come and go at a head spinning rate, the stuff written in them has the shelf life of a summer ice cream and the systems themselves are throw-aways.

COBOL could be and has been revitalised over the years through the development of IDEs which overcome a lot of the wordiness and improve syntax and variable typing but the "get it right first time" culture it was part of will never come back. It's OK to write stuff that doesn't work these days, you just rewrite it until it does. Back in the 60s and 70s, it wasn't and programmers that did were frowned upon.

And today's developers never get to feel that stomach tightening frisson of fear that "Enter Assembler" used to produce as you wrote it on your coding pad.

COVID-19 is pretty nasty but maybe this is taking social distancing too far? Universe may not be expanding equally in all directions


I'm sorry, excuse me

I think those other universes should just get out of our way. We're the humans and our universe is the best. They should know their place.

Microsoft attempts to up its Teams game with new features while locked-down folk flock to rival Zoom... warts and all


Zooming not Easy

The difficulty Zoom users have is that their settings aren't persistent and for some reason known only to Zoom, questions have to be answered before you can join a session. I've absolutely no idea why the Zoomies consider this a "good thing".

It's also clear that they have no idea what baseline IT facility amongst the general public is. To save them doing a lot of research, I will tell them.

It is zero, absolutely no facility, no confidence, no adaptability whatsoever. And no interest in ever acquiring any. The least question dismisseth them.

What should the workflow be? Submit correct credentials via a link? OK, you're in. No further fandango.

Regardless of its other flaws, MS Teams manages this quite well. Accept an invite and there you are, live and working.

EU tells UK: Cut the BS, sign here, and you can have access to Galileo sat's secure service


Hopes Dashed

I'd sort of hoped we would build our own duplex system so location data could be sent back via the satellite as well as being received from it. I wanted to believe we could put an end to aircraft, and ships (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Derbyshire), disappearing without trace. But never mind, at least we've got control back, haven't we.

Reaction Engines' precooler tech demo chills 1,000°C air in less than 1/20th of a second


What's the problem?

Every Star Wars director has solved this problem so I am at a loss to understand why this is even a question.

Fighters take off from the planetary surface, transition into space where they dog fight and do other retro stuff before leaping into hyperspace so they are home in time for tea.

This is true of Star Trek shuttles as well.

And there's not a teapot (or lavvy) to be seen. (Although there might be some we haven't been shown on the shuttles given they are much bigger than X fighters.) Simples evidently.

German ministry hellbent on taking back control of 'digital sovereignty', cutting dependency on Microsoft


Alfie - tell me, what's it all about?

The cloud - somebody else's computer.


Don't buy bundled software; find out what you need and buy that.

Microsoft can bully home and SME users but it can't bully big buyers like the NHS, the Police (although they're doing a good job bullying themselves with the NEP) and so on. They need to bring pressure on Microsoft and others to end bundling. In all our best interests.

COBOL: Five little letters that if put on a CV would ensure stable income for many a greybeard coder


There is one important lesson to be learned from the life-cycle of COBOL and that concerns the predatory behaviour of vested interest or, more generally, manufacturers.

COBOL's development was strangled by manufacturers and their competing agendas. They "owned" the committee that oversaw the development of COBOL and they pursued what, in their view, was a clever twin strategy.

They proclaimed that portability and backwards compatibility were essential and they used that argument to prevent anything other than glacial change in the language, for years. At the same time they made sure they wrapped their version of COBOL in all sorts of "enhancements" that destroyed any chance of portability. Job done.

Lesson to be learned; don't let anybody with a commercial interest anywhere near the management of a language's development. If you do, there won't be any.

Israeli Moon probe crashes at the last minute but SpaceX scores with Falcon Heavy launch


It's just the important bits, Sir.

Why do all these projects fail when push comes to shove?

They always fail at a transition point; all the stuff in between, the flying around making a lot smoke and noise stuff, is always OK. But try and change flight profile and bang; it's crashed.

The answer is obvious; just point the noisy, smokey things straight up and fire them off. We can then watch them for the next 40 years as they very slowly, very slowly indeed, exit the Solar System.

Basically, I'm asking, "What's the point"? It's all so marginal. They are sphincter rending dangerous. They can't carry anything. They can't bring anything back. They are snailish slow. And they cost a fortune. The Celts had the common sense not to try and build a trans-Atlantic shipping industry based on coracles. Why are we so much more stupid?

A few reasons why cops didn't immediately shoot down London Gatwick airport drone menace


The British Disease

It's been mentioned on here before but it will do no harm to revisit it. In 1942, when Britain had been at war for 3 years, the German Navy sailed most of its navy out of French ports in the Bay of Biscay, through the Channel and up the North Sea to home ports in Germany. While this 2 day voyage was going on, the British largely did nothing. And the reason for that inaction was the usual British disease of smugness; and infighting.

It will have been the same during the 2 days a drone has brought Gatwick to a halt. The warnings over the years about drones will have been ignored; that's the smug bit. We've had drones for 10 years or more, even the kind of idiot that rises to the top in British military and civil service institutions could have foreseen that problems were looming. But smugness would have been their comfort. "If it ever happens, old boy, they'll probably crash or something, get eaten by birds or simply fail to find the airport. And if it does, I'll send Barkiss down there with me Purdey to take the bastards out. Nothing to worry about, old chap, must be lunch time now surely?"

At the airport, the management will have been transfixed because no one has told them what to do or what to do it with. After all you don't get multi-million pound salaries for making decisions, well, definitely none that can be traced back to you. The police will be trying to find the right crime code on their reporting system while all the time saying it's the job of the RAF surely and advising that until they get a human rights decision from the CPS their hands are tied. The Army will be saying they could bring an artillery unit down in a week or so - probably get one back from Germany or something - and that'll be that. The RAF would help but they don't really want anything to do with drones, "No pilots, you see, not our sort of thing, old boy".

And all the various services will have stood around, each waiting for the other to take ownership of the problem so they can immediately start to brief against them on the grounds that they told them their plan wouldn't work and only a fool would have ever contemplated doing that.

Whoever the idiot with the drone is, he should have waited until early Sunday morning (like the Germans in 1942). If he'd done that, he could probably have shut Gatwick down until the new year. Pretty much anybody at any kind of senor level in British political, military or public service life will have been long gone for the Christmas break by the time Sunday rolls round.

In case it helps, the contact number for the West Sussex Council's Resilience and Emergencies team is 033 022 22400. Resilience and Emergencies advisers are on call 24 hours a day. Apparently.

Stroppy Google runs rings round Brussels with Android remedy


Re: UK needs the EU

Mrs May chooses her cleaner; that doesn't make him or her elected.

UK space comes to an 'understanding' with Australia as Brexit looms


Re: RE: Mooseman

It really is so very good of you to take so much trouble to explain things to us; we are truly grateful and I am sorry that you are finding it fatiguing. When I told my doctor that it hurt to lift my arm over my head she told me to stop doing it. Perhaps there's a message there?

As for all the things we weren't asked when we voted to leave in 2016 - ie no longer be a member of the EU - can I assume with any confidence that when the next referendum comes round asking us to (re)join the EU, all the things that weren't mentioned in 1975 - "ever closer union", the euro, Schengen, EU passports, EU army, EU foreign service, EU government (qualified majority voting as opposed to member sovereignty/veto) and so on - will all be on the voting paper?

And just why exactly would a Common Market need an army?

Britain mulls 'complete shutdown' of 4G net for emergency services


Obvious Madness

When I first heard they were contemplating using mobile - cell - technology for emergency services comms I thought, they're mad.

You need only listen to a phone-in programme for a few minutes to hear just how uselessly unreliable mobile telecoms is.

Blighty's super-duper F-35B fighter jets are due to arrive in a few weeks


Re: Perfect for the job?

No, they would have agreed to pay a figure - probably twice the original construction cost - to fix it. Apparently this is what happened when we found out we didn't have a warm water capable destroyer.

Windrush immigration papers scandal is a big fat GDPR fail for UK.gov


How much?

My bet is they asked those lovely companies that methodically strip the taxpayer of billions a year - you know the ones I mean - while giving very little in return for a quote for microfilming/microfiching the slips, got quotes for several million so decided it would be cheaper to just shred them.

One of the companies that strip etc probably received only marginally less for shredding them than they would have got for filming them but, hey ho, look at the money we saved.

For any buyer other than a government department the cost of filming the slips would have been trivial, a few thousand or thereabouts. My theory as to why such a relatively simple administrative task wasn't done is all too likely. Sadly.

Total WIPOut: IT chief finds his own job advertised


Old Ways are the Best Ways

This is the way to do it.


Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough


Re: The Swiss are in it

I don't think someone who wants Scotland to leave the UK after 400 years can have anything sensible to say about the UK wanting to leave the EU after 40.

For those that think, going forward, there's nothing to fear about the EU, have a read of this:


All the EU has to offer is ever more nepotism and corruption as its elite - whose total grip on the EU's bureaucracy means they are the masters, today, tomorrow and for the future - share out the spoils.

At the same time as we have the EU's chief clerk appointing his successor, he is writing letters (to Putin) as though he were not an unelected civil servant but a head of state in his own right.


Happy as Larry: Why Oracle won the Google Java Android case



What's Oracle worth these days?

The figures say that Google's cap value is more than $700Bn while Oracle's is less than $200Bn.

Perhaps Google should buy it, grant itself the licence it needs then sell it on?

Might be cheaper than all the legal fees/compensation awards and so on? They might even make a profit?

One final observation. How do you find a lawyer who can persuade a chief executive of a near trillion dollar company - Google - that fair use as a defence to a claim that it's lifeblood, game changing, Android the Microsoft Killer OS relies on somebody's else's software - will fly? And how do you find that chief executive who believes them?

"Yeah, we used your software to build our OS. Yeah, it's made us billions and will make us even more billions in the future. Yeah, it's gonna change the world. What, you want us to pay for using your software? Nah, not gonna. We just used a little bit, stuff that was just lying around. All perfectly fair, no biggie." Really?

Stephen Elop and the fall of Nokia revisited


Microsoft will rue the day they abandoned their own phone. It will emerge as one of the worst corporate decisions ever made.

The smartphone is heading towards sonic screwdriver status; not to have your own screwdriver is simply crazy.

And we return to Munich's migration back to Windows – it's going to cost what now?! €100m!


Acceptance is Hard

It is clear from comments here and elsewhere that there is massive reluctance to ever admit the sheer quality of Microsoft office tools.

They simply work very well, on their own and together. Windows is a much better, smoother experience than Android or any version of Linux and Office 365 is a much better, smoother experience than any of its competitors.

Some of the other MS products - SharePoint for example - are very poor and sometimes MS gets Nokiad as with the current internal competition between OneDrive Enterprise (SharePoint) and OneDrive (Personal) teams. And leaving WORD, for what must be getting on for 20 years now, with no reliable document preview function is unforgivable. But, on the whole, their stuff works and works reliably with a consistency of look and feel that open source software ensembles can never match.

That's why users like the Microsoft experience, an experience they continue to prefer even though it is further and further away from their smartphone experience. They seem very happy to work in two, distinct worlds. As long as none of them is Linux.

HMS Frigatey Mcfrigateface given her official name


Naval Humour

Old jolly Jack Tar didn't think much of his officers in the Second World War; with huge justification. We had two ships, cruisers, in the Med - where we threw away ship after ship as we fought a futile battle against aircraft which sort of reinforced the correct view our sailors had of the officer class - one was called Penelope and the other was called Antelope.

To show their disdain, our salty types insisted that Penelope was pronounced Penny lope and Antelope as Anti lopey. Just a small piece of pointed diissing of a failed officer corps. (A corps that continues to fail to this day). It is mentioned that Glasgow was hit by a bomb that failed to explode but doesn't go on to mention that pretty much every ship in the Falklands Task Force was similarly struck; and similarly fortunate. Still it's ships that take captains to sea; why on Earth would they need to have weapons as well?


Re: Towns again....

And don't forget "Compass Rose".

Slower US F-35A purchases piles $27bn onto total fighter jet bill


Re: How many hospitals is that ?

You are right, it's about £2Bn a week. Latest government figures put public spending on the NHS at £108Bn annually. Add in the £20Bn or so that's private medical spending and we're up to £3Bn a week.

Here's how the missile-free Royal Navy can sink enemy ships after 2018


Re: Arthur C. Clarke's "Superiority"

When we launched a Swordfish squadron of 6 aircraft against the Nazi "Channel dash" fleet in 1942, the German gunners shot them all down. Some described sending them - led by a hero of the earlier Bismark chase and sinking, Lieutenant Commander Eugene Esmonde - as nothing less than murder. (See http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2017/february/14/170214-heroic-channel-dash-aircrew-remembered-after-75-years and other refs.)

I know there's been a lot of tongue in cheek stuff flying around here about methods we could adopt in extremis because our navy has pretty much ceased to exist, but when I read the comments I can't help recalling how our guys tied general purpose machine guns to the rails of our ships in the Falklands in 1982 in an attempt to engage the Argentine air force and all because their navy bigwigs had decided they could once again engage aircraft with ships - only this time, unlike all the previous times, successfully - and, no, they didn't need CIWS.

40 years earlier Cunningham had basically guaranteed defeat by the Japanese by offering up the only modern ships we then had to oppose them with, to the German air force in the Mediterranean in an early try-out of the Monty Python Black Night strategy. To see that repeated in the Falklands, and to know it will happen again whenever serious conflict returns, sort of takes the edge of the humour here.


It's Not Always Funny

I'm glad you mentioned Esmonde (lost with his entire squadron in about 5 minutes trying to stop the sailing of the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and other German naval units past Dover in broad daylight) who was, in fact, the hero of the Fleet Air Arm attack launched from the Ark Royal which crippled the Bismark and which allowed the Royal Navy time to concentrate sufficient ships - about 30 or so were deemed enough - to give the solitary German battleship a final seeing to.

Glad because, without being too po faced about everything, it reminds us that when politicians, knavish contractors and an incompetent military get things wrong, young men (or people these days I suppose) get killed.

The Swordfish was an embarrassment when it was introduced into service; open cockpits, no comms to speak off and no navigation or other aids, it was obsolete before it shipped. And this reality has come to pass over and over again since with our hopeless ships, armoured fighting vehicles, and missiles as well as our aircraft.

Electric driverless cars could make petrol and diesel motors 'socially unacceptable'


The Easier Way

Is diverting the R&D spend of the motor industry into electric vehicles a mistake? We know or, at least, I think we know that current battery technology cannot work; the batteries don't last long enough to be cost effective. And charging is an impossibility because the only methods we have currently can't scale.

We can have electric milk floats, and Harrods vans, because they can build depots with sufficient charging endurance - they are lead/acid not li on - and servicing/maintenance capabilities. Those of us in multi-occupancy buildings will never have access to our "own" charging point and the thought of throwing away a perfectly good vehicle after 5 years because it wasn't cost effective to replace the batteries is never going to fly with the motoring public.

Shouldn't the effort be going into removing the polluting parts of the internal combustion engine process? Solving that seems to be to be so much easier that making battery driven cars work. The fuel technologists, the carburation technologists, the engine technologists, the exhaust system technologists all working together must be odds on to solve the pollution aspect surely?

Heavy lorries with diesel engines (both the very latest designs and those retrofitted with emissions controls) are already pollution free pretty much. Cars could follow if the inefficiency of the method used on lorries could be reduced. Is this not the road we should be going down?

'Clearance sale' shows Apple's iPad is over. It's done


Re: Education PC seller says Apple is no good in that market

Edd China leaving Wheeler Dealers? WTF? When did that happen?

US Navy runs into snags with aircraft carrier's electric plane-slingshot


Take a running jump...

Why can't these very sophisticated aircraft taxi slowly on to the electrical thingy which then, and while they are still moving, throws them off the ship? I mean, it's not as though they can change their minds, the pilots that is, is it? They're going.

Alternatively, use some kind of variable clutch hooked into a system that weighs the plane as it lumbers up? My VW Passat had an electric clutch and an electric steering system. And it didn't crash that often.

Just what Europe needs – another bungled exit: Mars lander goes AWOL


Speaking of Matt Damon...

When the entry tube/airlock thing blows up wiping out the entire Martian ecology, the explosion is presaged by a few frames of film showing a whitish jet of something coming into the tube.

Is this explicable or just a cock-up/necessary error (if the jet went out of the tube, as it surely would, we film-goers wouldn't see it).?

Damon says he blew up the tube but did he?

She cannae take it, Captain Kirk! USS Zumwalt breaks down


Re: OK it looks small to radar

Or a ten quid drone to fly over and have a look?

Web meltdown: BT feels heat from angry punters


What's the fucking point?

Millions, if not indeed billions, are spent on (advertising) network resilience yet still server centres and other installations fall over, go "off grid", suffer "outages" or "unplanned downtime".

Is it simply impossible to prevent these occurrences? Is all the advertising about resilience etc complete dishonest bollocks?

Or are the PoP operators just lying to us on the grounds that it is so much cheaper to be a crook than try and actually build in genuine resilience?

And what about all these certificates they display so proudly on their websites? Are these all lies as well? Are the awarding bodies just in on the scam and taking the dosh while they can? Shouldn't an operator suffering one of these unexpected "inconveniences" lose their accreditation? And what about some com-pen-pay-shun?

Stop resetting your passwords, says UK govt's spy network


Re: Distopia UK

Pass the Bacofoil, Mother.

Look out, Windows Phone 8 users – yes, both of you – here's ... Windows 10 Mobile


When There Were Three

There were these three systems you see: VHS, BetaMax and LaserDisc.VHS relied on terrible technology - a real lash up - to encode its tapes which came in really big cassettes making the players similarly huge. The picture quality and sound were awful and the tapes kept breaking. Betamax used really clever encoding technology which rendered really well with brilliant sound and came in neat small cassettes which rarely entangled or failed. The Laserdiscs were very expensive but the best in terms of picture/sound quality, offered random access and because they were old 33.3rpm LP record sized, could be stacked very economically on shelves etc. The players - also pricey - were thin while pretty large in plan area but, peculiarly, no bigger than the VHS players which seemed to contain a lot of air (because of the enormous loader mechanism I suppose).

Anyway, Android won and Windows 10 and iOS disappeared.

Uncle Sam's boffins stumble upon battery storage holy grail


Re: @uncle sjohie (and others)

I don't want to plan my day around where I can refuel my car. Sorry. I've got better things to do and they've got this miracle fuel which is cheap, energy dense like you wouldn't believe and in such easy supply that its price has been falling for the last few years. I think they call it petrol or gasoline or something.

How will Ofcom reduce our reliance on BT if it won't break them up?


Sometimes we can be arsed

We installed Radio Relay nationally while we were finishing a war and were basically bankrupt and I'm told the installation standard/wiring etc quality was far higher than any fibre installer - and there has been a shitload of them - ever achieved.

Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car


Perpetual Motion Again

Something wrong with all this?

Regardless of the chemistry used, the energy cost of splitting hydrogen away from its accompanying atom (probably oxygen - there is no free hydrogen around I know of, well, not within 93m miles or so) is at least equivalent to the energy value of re-combining it in an engine to create motive power.

How will that basic thermodynamic equation ever change?

And if that is the case how is it conceivable that the hydrogen energy equation can ever stack up against petrol/lpg which is now so cheap and likely to remain so as other uses of oil fade away?

Were petrol/lpg getting more expensive then hydrogen might have a chance but with it reducing in price how can it ever work? Particularly when its energy density and portability are factored in?

I think petrol will remain unchallenged until such time as our understanding of batteries improves to the extent there is a step change in their performance (cost, weight, recycling time etc) or we get fusion engines for vehicles.


Re: Who's the target audience?

It's a Citroen surely?

Music lovers move to block Phil Collins' rebirth


Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear

Phil Collins can't sing. He has a really poor voice. It's obvious his A&R man never liked him and gave an already thin, lacking in musicality, voice a hard metallic edge that makes it pretty much unlistenable.

Phil Collins doesn't play the drums. He uses his wealth to buy lots of hittable things and then he sits down and hits them. All of them; loudly and frequently.

Where do I sign?