* Posts by iranu

63 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Dec 2013


Sir Clive Sinclair in tech tin-rattle triumph


Re: Hard to take seriously

You can add the Zike to that failure. It was an electric bike launched in 1992. I rode it at Alexandra Palace bicycle show that year where a mate was exhibiting. On dismounting Clive Sinclair asked me what I thought. I said it was the worst handling bike I'd ever ridden and that it was a flawed design due to the fork and stem geometry, which would mean the sort of people that the bike was aimed at would find it hard to ride.

He didn't look happy! They only sold 2000 at £500 a pop and the Zike was discontinued 6 months later. Then again you've got to actually try in order to fail.

Adblock Plus blocked from attending ad industry talkfest


Re: Daily Telegraph now blocks Adblock

The DT works fine for me on FF with adblock, ghostery etc running. BTW here is a neat add-on for FF to remove cookies for individual sites so you can quickly bypass the DT article limit.


Chrome has similar add-on.

Japanese hack gets space probe back on track


Artemis Satellite - Non-Geostationary Orbit

This may be a bit long, but I had a tiny part in it's subsequent success.

Nearly 20 years ago I worked for a company that was part of a consortium to produce the Artemis satellite. One of the innovations was an ion propulsion engine that used xenon to keep the orbiter at the correct inclination.

This engine was quite small, not much more than a meter in length and had a series of small diameter tubes around 12mm in diameter, made from small sections of stainless steel (SS) pipe welded together, in order to transport the xenon from the tank to the engine. These pipes were welded using an automated autogenous welding machine.

The manufacture of the satellite had suffered numerous set backs and it was touch and go as to whether it would be completed due to budget over-runs and delay. The propulsion lab encountered a number of problems associated with the welding quite far into the production of the unit and the materials lab (on site) were asked to investigate.

Subsequent analysis from supplied welded coupon samples showed that some of the pipes were made from the wrong SS alloy (not connected with the welding problems). In order for SS to be welded and remain corrosion resistant then you have to use an alloy that contains titanium (or niobium), which preferentially forms titanium carbide rather than chromium carbide when welded, because you want the chromium to remain in solution which is what provides the corrosion resistance. If chromium carbide precipitates then the percentage of chromium in solution drops thus reducing the corrosion resistance and potentially lead to cracking. This is known as "weld decay".

For some reason 316 stainless pipe had been supplied rather 316L (niobium or titanium stabilised). When the project manager for the ion propulsion engine came into the lab and was informed of the error, he went green and had to be sat down with a nice cup of tea! It looked like this screw up would put the kibosh on the whole project. Millions wasted.

We had to find out the extent of the problem, so a tiny scraping of each pipe section that had already been welded and manufactured was taken (dozens of them) and then examined in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) to identify if the section was 316 OR 316L. It took 2 weeks and the diagnosis was not good. There was a mix-match of the two alloys across every transport tube.

In the mean time we asked the propulsion lab to produce enough welded sections from the two alloys so we could perform a complete re-qualification process in order to provide all the data for the engineers to say whether the ion propulsion engine was fit to be stored and then fly. The previous qualification process had taken 6 months. We did the new one in 4 weeks!

Some of us were sleeping at work (I bagged the labs photographic dark room!) and we would order in a takeaway each night followed by "a full english" in the morning from the canteen! (all on expenses of course)

Subsequently the ion propulsion engine was qualified to fly.

When the satellite was launched a failure of the launcher meant that the satellite was put into the wrong orbit. The only way to finally get the thing into the right orbit was to use the ion propulsion engine. It worked! The engine was so good that it was operating greater than the designed efficiency so was able to not only 'boost' it to the correct orbit but also provide a good lifespan.

It was a simple mislabelling of the bar stock at one supplier that led to the whole fracas.



BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?


Paralysis by Analysis

is what I call spending more time performing useless admin tasks connected with the job rather than doing the job itself.

Sneaky Microsoft renamed its data slurper before sticking it back in Windows 10


Re: My corporate Windows 7

KB3022345 seems to install and run "Diagnostic tracking service" and "Diagnostic Policy Service" (found under system configuration) in Windows 7.

I've had enough of this crap now. Updates will not be installed until after 3 months when I can review them. KB3022345 was listed as an "important update" yet it spies on me.

MS are now so untrustworthy that even their own updates cannot be installed on day 1.

GCHQ to pore over blueprints of Chinese built Brit nuke plants


Re: Maybe a stupid question...

Ask Gordon Brown.

Ahmed's clock wasn't a bomb, but it blew up the 'net and Zuckerberg, Obama want to meet him


Re: Fire them all.

Basically I just copied the AR-15 we have now. Then I added some fins to lower wind resistance. And this racing stripe here I feel is pretty sharp.


Re: Reg Reader in Texas Tells the Tale

How does that bit in the anthem go? Something about land of the free and home of the brave or some such.

BORN to HURL: Man's shoulders are head and shoulders above apes, gorillas, chimps etc


Re: Cricket vs. Baseball.

"LBW is simple. If the ball was going to hit the wicket but you stop it with your leg ( rather than bat ), you're out."

Nope, totally wrong. You cannot be out LBW if the ball pitches outside leg stump. You cannot be out LBW if the ball pitches outside off-stump if you are playing a shot. Read Law 36.


Re: Cricket vs. Baseball.

"There's nothing obscure about LBW! You protect the wicket with your bat, not your leg. Doing so with your leg is automatic dismissal for being a dashed cheating bounder and cad."

Incorrect. If the ball pitches outside leg stump you cannot be out LBW. In fact it's accepted practice to defend the stumps by "padding" the ball away (blocking it's path to the stumps with the leg) when the ball pitches outside leg stump. This is often done against spin bowling.

So yes it is more obscure.

OFFICIAL SCIENCE: Men are freezing women out of the workplace


Work late one night. When everyone is gone, open it up and disconnect the wires. Be sure to set it to the correct temperature first. No-one will notice and you can sit back and laugh at the muppets.

Petrol cars are dead in the water, says Tesla CTO waving numbers on the back of an envelope


Governments tax petrol

How are the government going to claw back all the lost revenue they generate from a tax on petrol? In 2004 the price of a litre of petrol in the UK was about £1.14. After a spike it's now down to the same price, however, the tax on petrol is £0.5795 per litre plus an additional 20% in VAT on top of that.

Fuel duty raised £26 billion pounds in revenue plus another £4 billion in VAT. Then there is the VED which raises around £6 billion.

Electric cars won't be cheaper to run because governments will simply tax their use in order to fill the black hole generated by a reduction in petrol use. Electricity bills will go up.

Keep your stupid drones away from piloted aircraft, rages CAA


Re: Consequences

You are confusing a bird strike test with a blade off test.

An EPIC picture of Earth, sunny side up, from one million miles out


@Doctor Syntax



Re: If you're interested...

SOHO - Solar and Heliospheric Observatory was launched in 1996 and occupies a halo orbit around the L1 Langrange point. Therefore us space monkeys have had something around there for a while now.

Will rising CO2 damage the world's oceans? Not so much


Re: Not news?

Cretaceous - 1700ppm CO2, temp +4°C above current temps.

BOFH: Don't go changing on Friday evenings, I don't wanna work that hard


Friday Cars and måndagsexemplar

There was a theory that cars built on a Friday (and a Monday) were likely to suffer quality problems (probably debunked by snopes), but the phrase Friday Car was popular. The Swedes have the word måndagsexemplar, which translates as Monday items for the same thing.

Humans should only work a 3 day week just to be on the safe side. Actually, come to think of it I think most of them do.

Wake up, sheeple! If you ask Siri about 9/11 it will rat you out to the police!


I don't know why you've been down-voted twice because you are absolutely correct. The melting point (MP) of pure iron is 1538°C. So a plain carbon steel, being an alloy of carbon and iron, will begin to melt at a much lower temperature and melt over a temperature range. See the Iron Carbon phase diagram.

The hottest part of a jet engine is the high pressure turbine (HPT), where a set of nozzle guide vanes guide the expanding hot gas from the combustion chamber on to the HPT blades. Temperatures in this region are around 1600°C for modern engines, well in excess of the melting point of iron and therefore steel. In fact they are in excess of the MP of the best nickel based super alloys that us metallurgists produce for the purpose, which is why the blades are designed with internal cooling channels and protected with a thermal barrier coating.

HPT NGVs are now being made from ceramic matrix composites in order to better withstand such high temperatures. Work is currently ongoing to produce CMC turbine blades too in order to increase engine temperatures and efficiency.

The whole "jet fuel can't melt steel" meme is a strawman set up by the ignorant who do not understand that heat affects the material properties of steels. E.g. Yield Strength is reduced by half at 600°C for low alloy and plain carbon steels. You don't need to melt steel for it to fail under load.

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Nasi goreng pattaya



Sambal chilli sauce please.

Downing Street secretly deletes emails to avoid exposure to FOIeurs


Tony Blair

"I think I'm a pretty straight sort of guy."

This looks to me like it has the finger prints of Alistair Campbell all over it too.

Did climate change scare off vegan dinos for millions of years? 'Yes'


CO2 is plant food. There's already been a measurable increase in vegetation due to the recent increase in CO2. That's good news.

The dinosaurs existed for millions of years so there must have been very favourable conditions for them to do so.

Voyager 2 'stopped' last week, and not just for maintenance


Re: Golden record...

Oh cool, a free Frisbee.


Oh I don't know, we might taste awfully good.

Science teacher jammed his school kids' phones, gets week suspension


Re: Why not fix the root cause of the problem?

Ooh, yeah! All right!

We're jammin':

I wanna jam it wid you.

We're jammin', jammin',

And I hope you like jammin', too.

Ain't no rules, ain't no vow, we can do it anyhow:

I'n'I will see you through,

'Cos everyday we pay the price with a little sacrifice,

Jammin' till the jam is through.

We're jammin' -

To think that jammin' was a thing of the past;

We're jammin',

And I hope this jam is gonna last...........

Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?


Re: The issue is...

Does your car have a wheel to steer it and where is it located?

Does your car have a pedal to make it go faster and where is it located?

Does your car have a pedal to make it go slower and where is it located?

Is the button to turn your radio on hidden under the passenger back seat?

Where is your car's speedometer located?

Do you have to open the boot and pull out the space saver to access the knob that turns your car headlights on? If not where is the knob/lever located?

Last flying Avro Vulcan, XH558, prepares for her swan song


We don't use the Americanism "Afterburner", we use the proper term "Reheat".


Re: What a shame

I watched the one that is now at Filton make it's final approach and landing when I was working for Rolls across the road. Half the workforce must have been out watching it for the final time that day.

Towards the railway line at the back were some of the Olympus 593 system test buildings which were pretty run down, but they still had those old signs with the name of each facility on.

All gone now, the whole site on that side of the road, including 1 to 4 shop, which built engines during the war and had fields and cows painted on the roof as camouflage, has been bulldozed.

I think the two 593 engine test beds on the other side of Gipsy Patch Lane are still there.

Feds: Bloke 'HACKED PLANE controls' – from his PASSENGER seat


Re: Lemmings !

ARINC 664 and AFDX are the reference standards.

So much nonsense on this thread - the word "commentard" has truly been warranted by those who believe all they read on the internet is true.

Massive police 'heavy equipment' robot drags out suspect who hid inside television


Municipal Armoured Roving Vehicle - Incarceratoring & Nabbing

Brain the size of a planet and all they want me to do is grab wanted felons. I'm so depressed.


Re: Militarization of the police

And when you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Going up hills past blokes with coke-bottle legs: The Smart E-bike


Re: 26.1kg?

Depends. I've been riding mountain bikes since 1988 so have seen almost 30 years of development including suspension. I'm also a materials engineer so I'm also capable of assessing the engineering and materials aspects in the design.

I can tell you now that an £1800 (cross-country as opposed to downhill) mtb will not weigh more than 28lb with full suspension.

The diamond frame is great but there are alternatives, many of which do not rely on traditional steel/aluminium/titanium alloy tubes. Eg: Trimble MTB frame.

The Smart-E is just a poor design.



That's 57.5lb!! 3.3kg of battery is 7.25lb so why does the rest of it weigh so much even after the increased weight of the rear wheel hub including motor is taken into account?

In pedal mode you are propelling 2 stone of excess weight. A nice little commuter bike costing less than half as much will easily weigh less than 28lb.

The application of the concept defeats the purpose.

PEAK PC: 'Most' Google web searches 'come from mobiles' in US


Google search using kitchen fridges up 840%

New research indicates that internet enable household fridges are being used to access google at ever increasing rates. A spokesperson said, "we fully expect searches using google from kitchen appliances to overtake personal computers within the next decade".

Internet enabled toilets, sofas, cookers, fridges, hoovers, lawn-mowers and chainsaws will enable people to search google in an ever increasing number of ways.

New Windows 10 will STAGGER to its feet, says Microsoft OS veep


Re: Missing The Point

I just want the ability to choose. Let me change the UI. If I want to access something with a mouse gesture that is as long and laborious as a Rimmer salute then let me. If I want to customise the start menu then let me.

Tesla reveals Powerwall battery packs for homes, Powerpacks for cities


Re: Surplus power

The French manage with their nuclear stations because they are designed to do just that.

Boeing 787 software bug can shut down planes' generators IN FLIGHT


Auxiliary Power Unit says

Ram Air Turbine

SUPERVOLCANIC MAGMA reservoir BUBBLING under Yellowstone Park


Rik Mayall's Ghost

Yellowstone? Pah, I've got a bigger eruption in my pants!

It's official: David Brents are the weakest link in phishing attacks


I love you virus

In 2000 I worked for an engineering company that got infected through email with the Valentines Day "I love you" virus. It caused mayhem. When they finally got things back to normal every employee was sent an email by some upper management bod stating that they would face a disciplinary hearing and potentially lose their job if they opened that "I love you" email.

My how we laughed when two days later the entire system was paralysed for the second time by someone opening that email. The culprit? None other than the author of the email threatening everyone with the sack!

Easy ... easy ... Aw CRAP! SpaceX rocket ALMOST lands on ocean hoverbase


Lunar Lander

Makes me want to go and play Lunar Lander.


Re: Meh

Sorry I down voted you before I saw your picture. I should have up-voted because the picture is hilarious and made me laugh. However, I think Poe's Law applies.


Re: ..

They are towing USS Ranger (CV-61) round the bottom of the Americas to a scrap yard in Texas. I wonder if that could be used instead. Would be a fitting purpose instead of turning it into razor blades.

What a time to be alive ... hard and floppy disk drives play Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit


Is there,,,

...a Stephen Hawking mix where he does the vocals?

Scientists splice mammoth genes into unsuspecting elephant


Dr. Alphonse Mephesto

Mammoth and elephant DNA just won't splice.

Windows 10 build 10041: 99 bugs on the wall, fix a bug, add a feature, 114 bugs on the wall


Re: So what happened to Aero?

What's annoying is the inability to customise based on user preference. Just give us an option or 3.


Cortana GTFO

iranu: Cortana?

Cortana: Yes, oh great lord and supreme master iranu.

iranu: Uninstall yourself.

Sick of Chrome vs Firefox? Check out these 3 NEW browsers


Classic Theme Restorer add-on

^ Get that and it puts everything back where it was and makes FF usable again.

Telly behemoths: Does size matter?


'ello Tosh....

....gotta Toshiba?

One thing is still prevalent no matter how big or fancy people's TVs are; they often have terrible pictures, because people don't have any idea what a decent picture looks like and they have no clue how to adjust the settings away from the awful factory setting.

I've seen people with 42"+ £1800 plasmas (last decade) with unwatchable screens because the picture is that bad. They think the picture is perfect because the TV is expensive and big.

TrueCrypt + Norton AV = BSOD, wail disgruntled users


Norton Malware

I still amazed that people will actually pay to infect their machine with this crap in 2015. Nuke it, it's the only way to be sure.

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The Red Dwarf chilli chutney egg sarnie

Thumb Up

Otherwise known as an Egg Banjo

Egg Banjos are ingrained into the life of the British Army.

"A sandwich made from (usually) half stale white bread, spread on both insides with margarine and slotted in with at least one greasy fried egg, preferably soft yolk to distribute better, covered with sauce of own choice, brown or tomato (ketchup to the Spams).

It becomes a banjo when....

...the yolk and sauce dribble down your front. You move the hand containing the sandwich away and up to a point level with your ear as you look down your front and usually to an accompanying "Aw bollocks" you wipe/smear the said yolk & sauce into your shirt with your free hand giving a passing imitation of playing 'air banjo' ! "


Firefox decade: Microsoft's IE humbled by a dogged upstart. Native next?


Re: For old times sake

You can get rid of the horrible Australis nonsense with an add-ons