* Posts by 96percentchimp

117 posts • joined 11 Jan 2012


International space station testing Wi-Fi links with incoming craft, with an eye on autonomous docking


Re: real-time wireless video transfer between the ISS and a visiting spacecraft.

If you're talking about the SpaceX Demo-1 mission, it may be that both feeds were visible to the ground, but only to each via ground relay through the TDRS satellites, which isn't practical for the Moon or Mars.

I assume this will be more like an approaching spacecraft automatically becoming part of the station's network so it can be controlled remotely and broadcast its progress so the station's computer or occupants can judge whether they think it's safe to proceed without the go/no-go from Earth-based mission control that happens on the ISS.

Railway cables overpowered errant drone's compass and flung it back to terra firma


Re: Indeed.

"I sometimes wonder what would happen if a couple kids tried this kind of thing today ... sadly, however, at that age they aren't taught enough of the basics to even contemplate the concept, much less attempt to implement it. Sad, that ... we've lost something as a society."

You falsely posit a golden age when every 10-year-old was educated and motivated to produce innovative feats of engineering. I suggest that you're just a moaning old codger who looks at the past through rose-tinted specs. Then, as now, these bright kids represented a fraction of the total kid population, most of whom live unremarkable lives. Today, the bright kids have even more access to the knowledge they'd require to do this, but they're probably focusing their efforts on coding-based shenanigans.

Fancy watching 'Bake Off' together with mates and alone at the same time? The BBC's built a tool to do that


Re: BBC Taster

It's so typical of the BBC these days to have a site like Taster that shows off the amazing work of BBC Technology (often through international collaborations with the EBU and NHK), but not promote it because they're worried the licence fee refusenik wankers will moan about their money being wasted on something that doesn't directly benefit them.

Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket's tanks just disintegrated in Earth's orbit


Re: Elon Musk isn't helping, is he

Is he going to buy space telescopes for all the amateur stargazers whose work often contributes to the science? I look forward to the free upgrade.


Re: Honest question....

Most GEO satellites are pushed into a higher graveyard orbit at end of life, where they'll remain for a long time, but space is a hostile environment and occasionally they die before the operator can make them safe. So-called 'zomebie' sats roam in and out of GEO on increasingly inclined orbits that can be a risk to operational sats.

The rocket breakup didn't have to be caused by a collision: any spacecraft with fuel on board and no-one controlling it is basically a bomb going through regular cycles of thermal extremes that degrade pressure vessels, and radiation that can make cause sparks in defunct circuits. If it doesn't fall back to Erath or get hit by something else, chances are it will go boom one day.

Amazon settles for $11m with workers in unpaid bag-search wait lawsuit


Re: While they're at it ..

IIRC typically the lawyers' percentage is agreed when they agree to take the case, based on the probability of winning and the payout they expect. If the plaintiffs don't like it, they can shop around for a different shark...the USA seems to have no shortage of lawyers.

Prank warning: You do know your smart speaker's paired with Spotify over the internet, don't you?


Re: Spotify declined to make an on-the-record statement...

I used to live in a place with IoT heating, and it was indeed very handy to be able to adjust the heating when I was out of the house - when I wasn't going to be home at the normal time, or I'd gone away for a few days and forgotten to change the timer.

Why should the UK pensions watchdog be able to spy on your internet activities? Same reason as the Environment Agency and many more


Re: And yet

IMO this is a hopelessly naive idea.

Ireland has a high proportion of independents, who are famously corrupt and dedicate their efforts to fineagling as much as they can for their local fiefdoms so they get re-elected. On the big issues, they're absolutely hopeless because they don't care. It's no better than parties who offer a manifesto, and in some cases significantly worse.


Re: In other news

If you think Putin's Russia is a beacon of liberty then I can confirm that you're already living in a fantasy world.


Re: Sunset clauses and jury oversight are needed.

In a variation of Godwin's Law, I'm inclined to overlook any commentard who uses a loaded term like STASI in capitals.

How's your night sky looking? The Reg chats to astroboffin Mark McCaughrean about Starlink and leaving a mark


I remember when this was all (star)fields

I have great sympathy for the plight of the astronomers - particularly the amateurs who crontibute a lot to the field simply because they have a passion for it - mostly because Musk never bothered to ask - he just went a did it like the brilliant, arrogant cock that he is.

All the same, if Musk and Bezos succeed in making space travel affordable (YMMV) then Starlink is going to pale into comparison over the next 50 years as the night is filled with microsats, manufacturing hubs, hotels and habitats. The next generation will see the skies change in the same way the postwar generation saw the countryside around big cities turn into suburbia.

'Tis, perhaps, the inevitable price of something that may or may not fit your definition of progress.

Trello! It is me... you locked the door? User warns of single sign-on risk after barring self from own account


I find your lack of empathy disturbing

I'm surprised at how many commentards think this guy deserves no sympathy for his situation. He attempted to remove his former employer from his Trello account, but the second email couldn't be removed. That's particularly bad in this case, when the ability to work through multiple emails is touted as a feature of the service - the onus lies entirely on the operator to enable the user to manage their account fully.

Sure, he shouldn't have mixed work and personal data, but life is rarely that simple and few people are capable of achieving the levels of anally retentive pedantry on which many top Reg commentards pride themselves. The superiority you feel might just be hubris waiting to bite you where it hurts.

Choose your own thrill ride: A Florida slidewire or catching a rocket by helicopter


Re: You missed the mail-in lawsuit

Downvote because WTF has that got to do with spaaaaace?

If at first you don't succeed, fly, fly again: Boeing to repeat CST-100 test, Russia preps another ISS taxi


Re: "Not enough pressure in the LOX tank ullage to maintain stability"

Falcon's pretty much a mature product now, rarely failing to deliver the payload and regularly landing unless they push the envelope (which they like to do).

Starship looks a lot like the early days of Falcon now - build one, blow it up, build a better one - but a 2STO interplanetary vehicle is orders of magnitude more difficult than Falcon 9/Heavy. Conventional wisdom said that was impossible, so who knows how long it will take Starship to go from prototypes to product. I predict a lot of enjoyable RUDs, a lot of naysayers, and Starship will still fly around the Moon before SLS.

From Amanda Holden to petrol-filled water guns: It has been a weird week for 5G


Re: Indictment of education system

I was reassured by the volume of righteous commentards who leapt on Holden's tweet, and do sterling work to fight the fires of other idiocy, such as anti-vaxxing, AGW-denial and Brexitteering (some on these very pages). There are many bright minds out there.

The problem is that the idiots won't shut up, there's always a small fetid corner of the interwebs where they can find other fools of their ilk (some of them pushing more sinister agendas for which regular stupidity is an excellent shill). They reassure each other that the fight must be fought, recharge and return to poison the well for everyone with a gram of common sense.

Over time, it's like a drip of water cutting into the bedrock of sensible thought, until one day a fucking great sinkhole opens up, and you realise the whole edifice has been undermined and you're all teetering on the brink of national, regional or global stupidity.


Re: Nut jobs

Then they'll become martyrs to stupidity, and if there's one thing stupid people love, it's a martyr.

Zoom vows to spend next 90 days thinking hard about its security and privacy after rough week, meeting ID war-dialing tool emerges


Re: 90 Days?

Don't worry, Cummings Wyrmtongue will soon have Boris (or Raab if the Poundland Churchill expires) erase all of those pesky H&S laws. Impediment to the free market, All Hail Sant Margret of Grantham etc etc

Internet Archive justifies its vast 'copyright infringing' National Emergency Library of 1.4 million books by pointing out that libraries are closed


Re: It has been pointed out ...

Very few authors earn a lot of money, or very much at all, althought he publishers might, but mostof that is down to sheer economies of scale.

Authors advances are typically <£30k for a novel that might take 1-2 years to write and another 3 years to go through the publishing process. >90% of novels never "earn out" their advance - they don't make enough to pay the advance back. Some 2-3% of novels make all of the money, and apart from a few high-profile authors whose success has become self-perpetuating, picking a successful novel is, publishers tell me, like trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

Copyright might be abused on a corporate level, but at the level of individual creators, it's a vital protection to their livelihood and creative freedom.

Soichi to join three-spaceship club, SpaceX is going to the Moon (no, really), and rocket boffins step up COVID-19 fight


Re: Space junk?

IIRC, Musk's satellites are designed to safely deorbit for end of life or on-orbit failure, and one of the early tests was to ensure this would work as planned.

World's smallest violin to be played for opportunistic sellers banned from eBay and Amazon for price gouging


Re: Anti Bacterial agents

In the USA many of the buyers were reported to be from Asian-Americans who feared being targeted (with some justification) because the Orange Turd has been trying to whip up anti-Chinese sentiment.

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


My PC is *THIS* big!

I had no idea this would turn into such a cock-waving contest!

But seriously, well done everyone, and don't forget you can still give blood during the crisis. They need it just as much as ever - and it counts as an essential journey if you want to get out of the house ;)

Bad news: Coronavirus is spreading rapidly across the world. Good news: Nitrogen dioxide levels are decreasing and the air on Earth is cleaner


no control: null hypothesis not tested

You need to do it with just boiling water as a control. Science, bitches.

After 16 years of hype, graphene finally delivers on its promise – with a cosmetic face mask


Follow the money

I read it as Haydale has graphene but it doesn't yet have the cutting edge customers/applications that the investors were promised would deliver megabucks. The investors want to see ROI/repayment of credit. iCraft needs something techy for its bullshit cosmetics.

Haydale stays afloat while the genuine tech & engineering applications follow their slow journey along the Gartner hype cycle, and the people it employs keep their jobs.

That's your synergy, right there.

Samsung cops to data leak after unsolicited '1/1' Find my Mobile push notification


Re: a small number of users

I really hope it's an integer. 0.5 users would be messy.

Crazy idea but hear us out... With robots taking people's jobs, can we rethink this whole working to survive thing?


Re: They toooock ewre joohbs!!!

You Godwinned yourself out of the discussion at the first hurdle, but I'm curious to know if anyone less mouth-frothingly dismissive can tell me by what criteria that information qualifies as neo-Nazi propaganda?

Built to last: Time to dispose of the disposable, unrepairable brick


Won't somebody think of the landfill?

About 3 years ago I bought a Neato Botvac to do the housekeping I hate. It's a mid-range £350 model, just about smart enough to manage a 2-bedroom flat and the pre-vacuum floor clearing is a good way to tidy up.

After about 2 years it ground to a halt and the usual maintenance didn't help, so I got onto the support line and they lead me to a lot of stiffness in the brush rotation. Their solution was to replace this large lump of plastic. My solution: remove the spindle (an easy part of the regular maintenance routine), gently unclip the cap and - hey presto! - remove the lump of dust clogging it up. A spritz of WD40 and it worked like new. Now it's part of my regular maintenance and has been running smoothly for another year.

I wasn't really bothered about the £25 cost of a new brush, but the thought of chucking the whole thing in landfill when it was so easy to repair. Consumer tech companies have to move beyond this mindset if we're going to escape the disposable society that has us drowning in mountains of plastic waste. At the very least, make it possible to return the parts and buy refurbished units instead of churning out disposable crap.

Astroboffins may have raged at Elon's emissions staining the sky, but all those satellites will be more boon than bother


Re: Twinkle, twinkle.

"I suspect it would be a trivial exercise for a telescope taking a long exposure to "blink" as a satellite flew past."

"I suspect" is doing a lot of work here. Who's going to develop the software and hardware that allows telescopes to detect (or be notified) of a satellite entering their field of view? Who's going to pay for it to be provided to all the professional AND amateur astrophotographers who have been inconvenienced without consultation?

That's the real issue here: arrogance. Musk had a good idea, so he went ahead and did it because he could. He didn't bother to ask if there were any downsides because that might compromise his visionary genius.

Not call, dude: UK govt says guaranteed surcharge-free EU roaming will end after Brexit transition period. Brits left at the mercy of networks


Re: EU sim?

Ironically I had no trouble at all buying local PAYG SIMs in China and Russia when I was tootling around four years ago. Great coverage too, but VPN required obviously.

Remember when Europe’s entire Galileo satellite system fell over last summer? No you don’t. The official stats reveal it never happened


Re: Isn't it amazing

Pretty sure this is nonsense and Galileo was directly funded by the member states as a combined ESA/EU project. I'm sure you have a reliable source?

Over the Moon? Not quite: NASA boss has a good whinge about 'counterproductive' Authorization Bill


Re: Wouldn't like his job

>> "Blame the congress critters that believe it's better to have open borders rather than a space program."

Agree with most of what you say, but why are these mutually exclusive goals?

Why is open borders relevant to a thread about spaceflight?

And is the pork-troughing Republican senator for Alabama (or his congresional allies) also in favour of open borders? It sounds unlikely.

Virtual reality is a bonkers fad that no one takes seriously but anyway, here's someone to tell us to worry about hackers


A fad for consumers, but not in industry

There are still a lot of engineering & design obstacles to mass consumer adoption of VR - clunky, ugly headsets, nausea caused by refresh lag, resolution - and like all such issues they'll be overcome in time.

In industry, it's another matter, and VR is being widely adopted for tasks such as hostile environment training (nuclear reactors etc), remote location surveying (use a drone to obtain a point cloud model of a location that's hard to reach and recreate it in VR), architectural and engineering simulations (structural modelling, lighting simulation, etc). Funny thing is, they often use gaming engines and IT talent, so it's a win-win for the gamines industry while the consumer market emerges.

Remember that 2024 Moon thing? How about Mars in 2033? Authorization bill moots 2028 for more lunar footprints


Re: Are we there yet?

As Musk frequently observes, the fuel isn't expensive, but throwing away rockets is very costly. Developing the hardware is the most expensive part, particularly if you want it to be reusable, because you'll have to iterate through several designs that you can't reuse to a useful degree.

We've seen that with the Falcon 9/Heavy, which is just entering the commercially reusable stage of its development. SpaceX's Starship/Super Heavy is at a much earlier stage in its development, but it will get there (even if not on Musk's ambitious timelines). SLS will never be a cost-effective platform, it just exists to siphon money from the state, because that's Boeing's business model.

We’ve had enough of your beach-blocking shenanigans, California tells stubborn Sun co-founder: Kiss our lawsuit


Re: Not quite right

Maybe it doesn't apply in this specific situation, but everywhere I've lived in the UK, if there's a planning application the local authority (or developer) has to place notices on lamp-posts and similar street furniture in the affected area, and nearby residents receive letters notifying them of the application.

If the council failed to post proper notifications prior to the decision, they're almost certainly in breach of their duties and the decision will have to be voided.

No horrific butterfly keys on this keyboard, just you and your big, dumb fingers


Re: Chorded keyboards

He wasn't typing.

Astroboffins peeved as SpaceX's Starlink sats block meteor spotting – and could make us miss a killer asteroid


So good of you and Musk to make the decision on behalf of the astronomical community, after they've committed funding to Earth-based telescopes that will take a decade or more to complete. Let's hope we don't miss that killer asteroid in the >20-year window before space-based astronomy comes into the range of most professional astronomers and the enormously important amateur community.

Maybe if Musk had bothered to ask in advance, both sides could have worked on mitigation and compensation during the design stage instead of being forced into confrontation by one socially-inept billionaire's arrogance.

As pressure builds over .org sell-off, internet governance bodies fall back into familiar pattern: Silence


Re: their current [charity] (false) flag is a useful tool to peddle their BUSINESS

Live Aid/Band Aid was certainly a flawed organisation, but it's nonsense to say that none of the funds raised money made it to Africa, or to suggest that the organisers personally profited from the charity.

I Googled "Live Aid Sunday Times" and found nothing, which leads me to suspect that this is the legacy of the ST's infamous Insight reporting team, and demonstrates how long a lie can persist in the public consciousness. In 2010 the BBC was forced to apologise over allegations that Band Aid funds were used to buy weapons.

There are ongoing arguments over how the money was spent and Band Aid's decision to work with the corrupt Ethopian government rather than pull out altogether. The most daming coverage of this comes in SPIN's "Live Aid: The Terrible Truth" and even this doesn't claim that Live Aid was the scam WS Gosset suggests (https://www.spin.com/featured/live-aid-the-terrible-truth-ethiopia-bob-geldof-feature/).

Having worked with a conservation charity, I can confirm that a lot of money (around 50% of income) goes on fundraising. No-one liked this situation, but there didn't seem to be an alternative.

Iran kills the internet for its people's own good as riots grip the Middle Eastern nation


Re: without belittling the protest

So what you're saying is that drivers in Norway pay neither for their carbon pollution nor their particulate pollution.

Boeing comes clean on parachute borkage as the ISS crew is set to shrink


Re: Quality system

That's the benefit of free market capitalism cronyism.


It's dangerous to go alone! Take Uncle Sam and the Netherlands: Duo join naval task force into China's backyard


'...defence secretary Ben Wallace was quoted by the publication as saying: "It is definitely our intention, though, that the carrier strike group will be able to be a wholly UK sovereign deployable group".'

With Trump doing his best to dismantle NATO and the Brexit loons destroying our European alliances, Britain will have no one else to sail with in a few years.

Unless Farage plans to have the Royal Navy join a Russian fleet. I wouldn't put anything past that weasly gobshite.

Dammit Insight! You just had two big jobs to do on Mars and you're failing at one of those


Insight's drill debacle demonstrates why we need manned missions to Mars

I salute the efforts of NASA's engineers to get this to work, but how much easier would it be with people who could survey the site, choose the best location, and adapt the drilling gear for the conditions?

Unmanned probes are great for passive observations, but if you want to interact with an unknown environment to this degree, you need a lot more flexibility and brainpower on the ground.

Insight is becoming a great argument against those boring bastards who think manned spaceflight is a waste of time and money.


Re: Can't really blame NASA.

They should send Bruce Willis and a team of drilling experts. You can't expect a robot to do a real Merkin Man's job.

Tesla has made a profit. Repeat, Tesla has made a profit – $143m in fact


Lack of EV garages

"perhaps the biggest challenge is the lack of Tesla (or EV in general) garages to perform servicing & repair tasks."

Would you say this is a problem that will change over time as more garages develop the skills and experience to service EVs, or will manufacturers use the opportunity to lock users into Apple-style service practices that restrict them to maintenance branded/licensed dealers?

When one of NASA's sun-studying satellites went down, AI was there to fill in the gaps


Re: I don't think anyone is missing the point

The reason for the data is both to study the spectrum and to provide data to spacecraft operators. My understanding is that this solution allows them to provide reasonably useful data for the spacecraft operators, even if the science part of the mission is now redundant.

NASA Administrator upends the scorn bucket on Elon Musk's Starship spurtings


Re: Ave Space X, we who are about to be downvoted salute you

I'd agree with most of your points, except:

Point the first: Musk is all of that, but he also appears to be a visionary engineer who taught himself rocketry when he started SpaceX and has been responsible for some out-of-the-box thinking, like building Starship in steel instead of carbon fibre.

Point the fourth: I think that Bridenstine is genuinely trying to evolve NASA into an exploration and tech development agency that relies on commercial launch providers, but it's a long process and he needs to play political games to keep the pork barrel politicians on side. Musk would be smart to shrug off the criticism and get on with building spaceships, but his ego probably won't let him. Hopefully old age will deal with the problem of Senator Shelby before long.


Re: No

The SpaceX fan community calls this "Elon time". Really, though, even if Starship takes an extra year to reach orbit it will still spell the end for SLS/Orion.

Switch about to get real: Openreach bod on the challenge of shuttering UK's copper phone lines


Re: Bye Bye Fax

Have to wonder why they didn't use one of the multitude of available pager-style channels like SMS or WhatsApp for such a trial, security concerns notwithstanding. Eventually you might require a comprehensive and secure app channel for a family of such services, but that should be in the roadmap.

Psst. Wanna brush up your supervillain creds? Get a load of this mini submarine


Re: 1500 HP?

IIRC the subs were to be designed so that their hydrodynamics would fly them to the surface by default.

I could throttle you right about now: US Navy to ditch touchscreens after kit blamed for collision


Re: Touch screens

I often run my GPS when I'm going to places where I know the route, because I don't know the how the traffic and other conditions will change as I'm driving there. If there's an alternative route available, or I'm going to be delayed, I'm aware of it.

As for your old phone number, you know it because you probably had to dial it manually, and those of everyone else you wanted to call. You learned by repetition. Today the numbers are all in your phone's contacts, you put them in once and then you select them by name. Your phone hasn't reduced your memory capacity, people aren't getting more stupid - you're just not conducting the process that commits numbers to memory. I know my own phone number because I have to enter it on forms, the same reason I know my passport and NI numbers.

What people are still doing is talking bollocks about how the world is all going to hell and the latest new-fangled thing is making everyone stupid. They've probably been doing that since the first caveman started drawing on walls.

An Army Watchkeeper drone tried to land. Then meatbags took over from the computers


Re: £1.2bn

Do you have a source for that or did you just copy and paste from a Daily Express commentard?

Meet ELIoT – the EU project that wants to commercialize Internet-over-lightbulb


Re: 'Unlightly' to happen.

IIRC 5G is being employed from 700MHz up to the high GHz range, depending on the environment and use case. It's not tied to a slice of bandwidth, and in time the operators will probably want to re-use their current 3G/4G spectrum for 5G, just as they have with some of their 2G bandwidth.



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