* Posts by Snow Hill Island

40 posts • joined 12 Oct 2011

Humans may be able to live on Mars within halls of aerogel – a wonder material that can trap heat and block radiation

Snow Hill Island

Re: Why not test it on earth?

"Glass is more transparent and a lot cheaper"

....and many types of glass are strong enough to be used as a pressure vessel to withstand one atmosphere of pressure, as anyone who's owned a traditional thermos flask or a CRT TV can attest. You can also give glass coatings to reflect or absorb UV light which barely weigh anything because they're only a few microns thick.

That's Numberwang! Google Cloud staffer breaks record for most accurate Pi calculation

Snow Hill Island

Pi day

With apologies to the large part of the world who don't write dates the way we do in the UK:-

"And now let's rotate the date format..."

UK should set its own tax on tech giants if international deal isn't reached – Chancellor

Snow Hill Island

Re: A thought experiment

"Facebook is dying a natural death anyway."

Clearly you're not in a circle of parents with school aged children. The kids all communicate with apps other than facebook, but the parents still use facebook to find out whether their little darlings have forgotten about the latest bit of history homework, or whether the teacher really hasn't set any this term...

Brit transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'

Snow Hill Island

Re: It appears from the article that Mr. Wolmar is a railway enthusiast...

"Why in God's name would I want to spend £20,000+ on something I'm not going to use much?"

Because otherwise you'll have to leave for work at 6 am and come home at 8 pm, because you'll find that the fleet of pods is mysteriously difficult to book during the rush hour.

The company buying the pods doesn't want to spend £20,000+ on something you're not going to use either...

While USA is distracted by its President's antics, China is busy breaking another fusion record

Snow Hill Island

Re: Who still uses farenheight for things like this ?

"Or I suppose I could do KCal, Ne(w)tons, and Celcius"

Make life easier for yourself, use Joules instead of KCal. And if you're working with steam tables, bare in mind you may well be using Kelvin rather than Celcius, or you might get some rather surprising answers...

Ex-NASA bod on Gwyneth Paltrow site's 'healing' stickers: 'Wow. What a load of BS'

Snow Hill Island

"I use cheap cable (£7 for 30m)"

I use twin and earth cable, because it's what I had hanging round in the garage, but cheap doorbell wire would probably have been good enough. And I'd bet that no matter what I spend on cables, it won't sound any better despite them being the analogue part of the path in my setup. Once you've got a decent cross section of copper in your speaker wire, it's the quality of your DAC, amplifier and speakers that matter, so long as you route the speaker cables sensibly, and remember not to wire them into the mains... :-)

Coming to the big screen: Sci-fi epic Dune – no wait, wait, wait, this one might be good

Snow Hill Island

Re: I am obviously alone in this.

I enjoyed the film too.

Even though I found the "Weirding Modules" pretty irritating, they still somehow managed to not ruin the film for me. Saying that, I've tried (and failed) to enjoy other David Lynch films...

WTF? Francis Ford Coppola crowdsources Apocalypse Now game

Snow Hill Island


or possibly more appropriately, "Naqoyqatsi"...

Happy days for second-hand smartphone sales

Snow Hill Island

Re: Market saturation again

We have definitely reached market saturation. We're now in the situation where the consumer has to pay a large premium for a small increment in performance. as far as I can tell, the biggest bang per buck improvement is between the £20 to £30 android phones to the £50 to £100 phones, with the user experience only improving in small increments for each £50 spent above that. Even a landfill android phone that costs £20 on PAYG is OK for some use cases.

Given the above, what I don't understand is why the second hand phone market is so bouyant, apart from for iphones, where no "budget" model is (or is ever likely to be) available.

R2D2 delivery robots to scurry through the streets of San Francisco

Snow Hill Island

I must be getting old...

I read this article, and my immeadiate thought was that the prior art for this dates back to the 1980's.

Has someone *really* just got start up funding to reinvent Big Trak?

Filmmaker Werner Herzog interviews Elon Musk for internet doco

Snow Hill Island

"After making five films with Klaus Kinski, what else is there?"

He was also the funniest joke at the fringe in 2009 when he refused to share.

Pimp your ride with new Linux for cars and an rPi under the hood

Snow Hill Island

Re: Ok, shoot me...

I'm really excited about this, and hope all the usual computer hardware vendors get involved.

Normal levels of linux hardware support from manufacturers will mean that it will be driverless long before any other vehicle OS.

EU cybersecurity directive will reach Britain, come what May

Snow Hill Island

Re: Yes. We've always known the Internet is inherently insecure

With apologies to Douglas Adams:-

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly how to make the internet secure in a way which satisfies everyone, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

Some people argue that this has already happened.

Asteroid-sampling spacecraft prepped for September launch

Snow Hill Island

Re: "oops, there goes Vienna".....

Reviews of the video footage of the destruction of Vienna will show that it was, in fact, Birmingham which was destroyed, much to the relief of anyone who has had to change trains in a hurry in the recently renovated New Street Station.

Brits seek rousing name for polar research vessel

Snow Hill Island


Forget the rum ration, it'll be Pimm's on ice every day.

El Reg celebrates Back to the Future Day

Snow Hill Island

"No dad, I didn't mean you, I'm playing Grand Theft Auto today."

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Snow Hill Island

I'm getting a new agent, I bet Julie didn't have to do this to sell that EEE pc.

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Snow Hill Island

I don't care how funny you think your name for it is, I'm calling it a "Trackpoint Style Pointer."

Snow Hill Island

Oh come on, I auditioned for Snakes on a Back Plane. WTF kind of server is this?

Another chance to win a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive

Snow Hill Island


Spider: wget --quiet --execute host:fangs/victim

SHOCK! Robot cars do CRASH. Because other cars have human drivers

Snow Hill Island

Re: "doing a 1 km deviation up a ravine "

It was shown in a documentary about 30 years ago that you still need the fleshy human to press the "Turbo Boost" button. Things haven't changed that much since then, apart from the Hoff getting older.

Bridge, ship 'n' tunnel – the Brunels' hidden Thames trip

Snow Hill Island

For the engineers out there, also visit...

Another "must see" for anyone visiting London with an interest in engineering is the Kirkaldy Testing Museum in Southwark Street. The main feature of the museum is the (still functioning) test machine which takes up most of the ground floor.

The testing museum marks a change in approach from "seat of the pants" guesstimates of material strength to proper engineering testing.


PICTURE-TASTIC: Microsoft woos devs to HoloLens virtuo-goggs

Snow Hill Island
Thumb Up

So the "B" in B15 stands for...

Blugblatter Beast. Put a towel over your head so that you can't see it, and then it can't see you. Had to use a thumb, because the icon for the sub-ether sens-o-matic is mysteriously missing.

Flying giant octopus menaces New York

Snow Hill Island

For the bicycle nerds out there...

50 kg is about the weight of a long wheelbase bakfiets.nl cargobike. (Note:- Not the electric assist version, and minus rider, passengers and the junk you keep forgetting to take out of the box...)

BBC releases MYSTERY RIDDLE poster for Doctor Who anniversary episode

Snow Hill Island

Re: Old who

I quite liked Sylvester McCoy as Dr Who and Sophie Aldridge as "Ace". First assistant I actually liked after Adric.

Intel reveals 14nm PC, declares Moore's Law 'alive and well'

Snow Hill Island

Dark Dark Dark Dark

There's only one thing that I know how to do well

And I've often been told that you only can do

What you know how to do well

To keep Moore's law

Shrink process size

Be like yourself

And so I'm having a wonderful time

But I'd rather be whistling in the dark

Boffin snatches control of colleague's body with remote control brain hat

Snow Hill Island

ssh person@kitchen

sudo make me a sandwich

BILLION DOLLAR BALLMER: Microsoft chief makes $1bn simply by quitting

Snow Hill Island

Re: How about...

Hmmmm.... On the same lines as "You're not the Boss of Me", how about:-

"Someone keeps moving my chair"

or better still:-

"Don't Lets Start".

Argh.... the earworms have got me!

Review: HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook

Snow Hill Island

Are Chromebooks the new "No OS supplied" option?

Looks like a decent spec for a "general use" laptop, but I wouldn't want Chrome OS or Ubuntu on there myself. How difficult is it to completely wipe off Chrome OS and get any given Linux distro installed?

Are there any UEFI nasties, or can you boot a UEFI aware install disk via an external optical drive, and just wipe the disk and install the distro of your choice? (Probably Sabayon in my case)

Ten ancestors of the netbook

Snow Hill Island

Too long lived... for the manufacturers

Bought an eee 4G at Christmas after it's first release. Had Xandros on it, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Puppy, then Gentoo. I'd still be using it now if I hadn't got someone else's eee 900 when they bought a newer Samsung netbook, but that eee 900 is my main computer for home use. At work I've got access to machines with 16 cores, zippy SSDs and 128GB memory, but I don't need that at home.

Saying that, I would have bought an OLPC XO instead of the eee, if you didn't have to have a US mailing address to use "buy one give one" at the time. I'd still buy one or maybe two now, if they were generally available to the public. C'mon OLPC, how about it?


Chinese e-cars to turn London cabs green

Snow Hill Island

Re: Where will the power come from?

Hasn't Boris heard? Ofgem already thinks there's a risk of power shortages risk by 2015. So by 2020 there will be a risk of not being able to get a cab home and you'll have to walk home along the unlit streets. On the bright side, it won't be all that late, because the nightclubs will be dark and quiet. On an even brighter note, if the power's out, all the beer will come from a proper hand pump....

Jam today: Raspberry Pi Ram doubled

Snow Hill Island
Thumb Up

Pi and chips

Oh well, the price for getting a piece of the pi early means that you get a different filling with your pi and chips.


Thumbs up for the previous revision (putting mounting holes in the PCB...) Now I have even less reasons for not buying a second pi.

'$199' Surface tablets: So crazy it might work, or just crazy?

Snow Hill Island

Do these things have a built in 3G or 4G connection?

If so, then $199 might make sense when bought with an expensive data contract...? (Not that I'll be buying one though...)

Review: Raspberry Pi

Snow Hill Island

Waiting for Accelerated Xorg drivers

Well, I'm reserving judgement until:-

1. my Pi arrives

2. Accelerated Xorg drivers become available.

HUD's up! Ubuntu creates menu-free GUI

Snow Hill Island

Ubuntu, now a synonym for Unnovation

Ubuntu used to mean "Brown", but thanks to our ever evolving language now means "Unnovation" (i.e. the art of coming up with new, original ideas which are no better than the current status quo.)

Parasites spark swarm of zombie bees

Snow Hill Island

Simple TV for Zombies?


Boffins build bionic battery

Snow Hill Island

So... It looses 50% of it's capacity in 150 charges....

Or at least, that's the case if it starts out at 10 X normal capacity, and ends up on 5X.

"...which would be one year or more of operation, the battery is still five times more effective than lithium-ion batteries on the market today," Kung claimed."

So how long before it drops to 1/10th of it's capacity then? Is it an exponential drop off in capacity, or linear with number of charge cycles?

Asus prices up five-core Eee Pad Android tablet

Snow Hill Island

I wouldn't hold my breath for an ASUS update.

As the owner of a first generation linux based eee-pc, I've managed to keep that up to date and still use it.... No thanks to Asus though.

First problems showed up in less than a year when the (out of date at launch) awful version of Xandros Linux couldn't be easily updated to provide a Flash plugin that worked, due to the use of old/incompatible system libraries.

At that point, I just gave up, wiped the SSD and stuck a better Linux distro on there:- Gentoo, believe it or not. Still got that installation on it now, and it's still up to date, although the regular re-compiles of Chromium to keep it up to date take a loooooong time.

Which actor should play Steve in upcoming biopic?

Snow Hill Island

Surely there's only one thespian who has all the passion required to do the Jobs properly...

Stephen Fry!


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