* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

6337 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

Research finds electric cars are silent but violent for pedestrians

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: I call BS! This research is anecdotal at best, intentionally slanted at worst

on long road-trips, kids have a new game: Spot the Tesla Driver Doing Something Stupid

You need a long road trip for that?

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Re: I hope they require a standard sound

Crazy Frog?

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

So you need a sound generator loaded with the noise of dogs barking. Maybe the odd horn and "Tally Ho!" as well?

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Imagine leisurely strolling across the street, headphones in, Taylor Swift blasting, only to be abruptly acquainted with the hood of a Prius.

I doubt such a pedestrian would even hear a tractor rumbling up behind them. Perhaps they could learn to open their eyes instead?

Another week, another leak for Boeing's Starliner crew capsule

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Re: Reminds me of one of my favourite Larson cartoons.

Never mind if you don't quite get the hardware right, we can fix it later with a software patch?

Computer sprinkled with exotic chemicals produced super-problems, not super-powers

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On call?

I can't help but think that there's a "Who, me?" story waiting to be told from the floor above.

AT&T formalizes deal for space-based cellular service on unmodified mobiles

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Re: So, 64 square meters at 500km

So, how long until a "space Banksy" shows up and graffitis them?

Forget feet and inches, latest UK units of measurement are thinking bigger

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Incommensurate units

I've always been puzzled why large wind turbines rotate on a horizontal axis, which always requires a tower taller than a blade length with the inevitable flex issues. Wouldn't it be simpler to put a cage of blades on a vertical axis, with the generator at ground level? No need then to have it pivot to follow the wind, either.

Tax helpline callers left on hold for nearly eight centuries

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Re: Not fit for purpose

Not a single issue could be solved by using the website.

This is the problem with most 'digtal helplines' - they are heavily structured into what someone expects the most likely queries to be, despite the fact that those are the queries where the websites usually do contain the necessary info and forms.

People need to ring helplines when their problem is out of the ordinary and can't be solved on the website, which is exactly when these helplines fall down.

Global EV sales continue to increase, but Plug-in Hybrid momentum is growing

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge


I presume (s)he fat fingered the p & l keys, since o and k are beside them on a qwerty keyboard. Just as I frequently get snd and fpr when I want and or for.

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Re: Plugins are a fudge, changing the drivetrain is key

I agree about the Nissan series hybrid ("range extender") model, it gives the smooth EV driving experience and good petrol economy without the public charging hassle and cost.

I disagree with you about PHEVs, though. I have one, and it covers my local driving needs on pure electric (charged at home, using it on petrol is cheaper than public charging points), and for long journeys it's an economical hybrid. It does have the disadvantage of all parallel hybrids, a complex transmission, with a DSG gearbox that is occasionally not as smooth as I'd like. The Nissan model eliminates all that. A PHEV with 40-50 miles battery range and a series architecture would be my ideal car.

Brexit border system outage puts perishable goods transport in peril

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Re: Laurel & Hardy in "Nothing but Brexit "

Sadly none of that is really down to Brexit, it's more down to incompetent civil servants and penny-pinching beancounters, who operate without any adult supervision. I'd be very surprised if that changes after the next election.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: At least the lettuces should be fine

What have the romaines ever done for us?

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Re: "dozens of lorries were being held at the government's control post... for up to 20 hours"

As a continental, I can say only one thing positive about Brexit: Good Riddance.

Funny, the Brits say the same thing about the EU. Agreement!!

Dublin debauchery derails Portal to NYC in six days flat

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FIFO with a really looooong data queue.

Reminds me of Bob Shaw's 'slow glass'.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

I find the inorganic stuff a bit crunchy.

Destroying offshore wind farms is top priority for Trump if he returns to presidency

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: What's your point?

please ensure Trump thinks *before* he talks !!!

That presupposes he has anything above the waist to think with.

Blue screen of death or Eurovision's Windows95man performance – what's less annoying?

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Re: "Not available in your country..."

You'd have been mortified to learn PAL video cassettes can't be played on NTSC equipment.

Not at all, which is why I had (still have somewhere, I think) a multistandard VCR to play 525-line NTSC tapes in the UK. They were available in the US as well, popular with european expats. The bigger problem wasn't the VCR, but finding a TV that could handle the 625-line PAL output. Probably why they used a projector, they tended to be more flexible. DVDs did make it easier.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Hmm.

Australia has even less justification for being there, but the Eurovision "song" context is no longer about the songs. It's just a circus, and is more about the spectacle.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Who's the target audience?

Oh dear...

I think jdow is still around on whatever replaced BIX.

How I feel ----->

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: "Not available in your country..."

I have American friends in California who used to eagerly await their mailed VHS tape of Eurovision, they then had a party/BBQ and showed it on a big screen...

(where's the "no accounting for taste" icon?)

One bank's brilliant upgrade was another bank's crash

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: "Users would type into an X-terminal"

Maybe xterm rather than X-terminal?

Tesla devotee tests Cybertruck safety with his own finger – and fails

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Re: Similar but very different:

Which is why I was the only male in the sewing class

A skill that probably comes in handy when you stick a chisel in your hand :)

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Similar but very different:

You've heard about the butcher who accidentally leaned back against the bacon slicer?

He got a little behind with the orders.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: "The frunk is powered and shouldn't be closed manually"

My car has a powered boot lid. If I were to operate it as it was supplied in my garage or a multistorey car park it would bang into the upper surface and damage the paint. In consequence I have to adjust the stop point so that it doesn't fully open. The result of that is that it doesn't open fully in exterior places but remains at just the right height to crack my head on the protruding lock mechanism if I forget to manually force it to max (and the book says not to do that).

All my previous cars had a nice, simple, manual lift which I could gently open, against a strategically placed pad if required, with no risk of damage to car or head. It's just another example of an annoying gadget fitted "because we can", and not to meet any real need.

Rivian crawls out covered in $1.5B of red ink, panting that it's still alive

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Nice cars

I suppose that when you're driving it you can't see the what it looks like from the outside.

UK opens investigation of MoD payroll contractor after confirming attack

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

the "strongest action" will be taken if SSCL is found to have been negligent.

Oooh, smacked on both wrists...

Council claims database pain forced it to drop apostrophes from street names

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Re: Up here just north of Southport...

And is it pronounced Ralf or Rafe?

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Re: I've seen worse

There's an area near the University in Belfast with street names Cairo Street, Carmel Street, Damascus Street, Jerusalem Street and Palestine Street. It's long been known as "The Holy Land", even BBC news uses the description.

AI Catholic 'priest' defrocked after recommending Gatorade baptism

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Re: Mathew 22:37-40...

It's so varied and ambiguous that you can find justification for almost any behaviour, good or bad, in the bible. That's why the church was so upset by the reformation. Allowing ordinary people to read the bible, in their own language, would stop the priests from interpreting it as they wanted to, and remove their control over people's lives (and money).

Starlink geofence appears to have some gaping holes

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Another headache in the making

Is it even necessary to get that sophisticated? The satellites are in LEO, and must know which country they are over. If a satellite over Ukraine gets a connection request from a customer registered in, say, the UK, it's got to be pretty clear that it's not legit.

NASA's Psyche hits 25 Mbps from 140 million miles away – enough for Ultra HD Netflix

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

There's also the additional noise that will appear on the channel as the amount of space it has to cross increases, so the usual Shannon theory will still hold.

Atlassian loses half its CEOs, but customers stay solid after Server products exit support

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: So another CEO that doesn't talk to customers?

Along with usability, performance, ...

DARPA's latest toy is a 20-foot, 12-ton tank that drives itself

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This is what Waymo needs, a cannon on the front to deal with those pesky pedestrians and unicyclists before they impede progress.

Strong electric car sales expected for 2024, but charging grid needs work

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Re: Cheaper

on long journeys the car beats my bladder.

Now, if only we could usefully fuel our cars from that source...

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The Dacia claims 137 miles range, so real-world that's 100 miles. Fine for a city runabout, but it certainly wouldn't work for me except as a second car.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Maybe, if you ignore the upfront cost of solar panels.

If Britain is so bothered by China, why do these .gov.uk sites use Chinese ad brokers?

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: ".... reasonable to assume most UK citizens wouldn't ....,"

Yes, we are "subjects" of our monarch, not "citizens" of our country.)

Incorrect. We are subject to the laws of our country (as are almost all people to their respective countries, worldwide), and since the Sovereign is Head of State we're technically subject to them, but they don't have supreme authority. That lies with Parliament, due to a long chain of constitutional events from Magna Carta onwards. We are all, also, citizens of the UK, that status is clearly reflected in the wording of our passports, among other things.

Your trainee just took down our business and has no idea how or why

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Re: My most memorable mistake

We had somewhat larger motor-generator sets in the Uni basement lab. The motors were fed by 200v DC via a rheostat, which was used to bring them slowly up to full speed. When you switched off, the rheostat holding magnet was supposed to release & drop the rheostat back to zero for the next restart.

One student didn't notice that their magnet hadn't released, and so re-powered-on the motor at 0 ohms. The very thick cables all sagged noticeably, the fuses surprisingly didn't blow as the motor went from zero to several thousand RPM in under a second. The two things I remember were watching the thick steel case of the motor visibly flex under the torque (but remain attached to the floor) and the deafening tortured scream from inside it which brought staff running from the adjoining lab. I suppose we were lucky it didn't detach from the floor & exit via a wall. No-one ever dared to try it again.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: I did something similar as a rookie

a recovery from tape for the Arthur Andersen annual audit. It didn't work. The data was scrambled and unrecoverable.

Ah, the days when people just put busy loops in the code to get timing intervals right for tapes...

Whistleblower cries foul over alleged fuselage gaps in Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: All the best words have at least two meanings

As in "This needs more oversight", or "This was due to an oversight" ?

Microsoft to tackle spam by restricting Exchange Online bulk email

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Fine, if they've opted-in to being told. Otherwise it's spam and the sender should be nuked from orbit.

CISA in a flap as Chirp smart door locks can be trivially unlocked remotely

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Re: You're still using electronic locks?

Sounds like you may have a potential weather-related vulnerability there.

Support contract required techie to lounge around in a $5,000/night hotel room

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Re: Sod Monaco!

The only parts of Monaco he saw was from the taxi, going to & from the airport

He probably saw most of it, then.

Digital Realty ditches diesel for salad dressing in US to cut datacenter emissions

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Re: Does HVO really reduce emissions ?

I think that the petrol issue is more likely that 95RON (E10) can contain up to 10% ethanol, but Super only max 5%. As always the key phrase is "up to", some E10 fuel has much less than 10% ethanol.

Intel CEO suggests AI can help to create a one-person Unicorn

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Re: Generating business reports with AI

So, just like an AI?

A cheeky intern nearly turned MS-DOS into NSFW-DOS

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The good old days

When MS did code reviews, and spotted undesirable changes before the product shipped...

Malicious xz backdoor reveals fragility of open source

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Re: Some OSS development introspection needed

It highlights the same old problem, no programs (and especially not security-critical ones like SSH) should link to other code unless the code linked to has had at least the same level of review and scrutiny as the main program. This was found because someone did the due diligence, but many others don't. In both the companies I worked for where open source was used we were required to prove that we'd done such review before we were allowed to ship a product.

Do not touch that computer. Not even while wearing gloves. It is a biohazard

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Re: Burned Cow Bones

It isn't just the Underground, it's London in general.

I remember a training course in London years ago, where I spent the day in the centre but stayed in slightly greener suburbs. Each evening I'd get back to the hotel and think "ah, fresh air at last". Then I got off the plane home in Belfast (Aldergrove, way out in the country) and remembered what fresh air was really like.

Hillary Clinton: 2024 will be 'ground zero' for AI election manipulation

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Re: Photo ID in UK

Photo ID was introduced in N. Ireland 20 years ago. The general view of the electoral authorities is that it has had no effect on blocking any particular group from voting, with one exception. The number of dead people voting has dropped by 90%.