* Posts by Puuru

17 posts • joined 19 Jul 2016

Segway to Heaven: Mega-hyped wonder-scooter that was going to remake city transport to cease production


Re: I think I've said this before

It's already been done, by a company called Omeo in Otaki, New Zealand. A friend of ours has one of their (2-wheeled, obviously) wheelchairs, and she fair whizzes along the road on it. It works on the beach, too. Omeo are understandably trying to work out what the demise of the Segway means to them.

Meteorite's tiny secrets reveal Solar System's sodium-rich, alkaline liquid past – a clue to formation of life


Re: Amino No!

Indeed, my son and his then Prof. were among the early exponents of the RNA World. What got them going was the discovery that some cell processes that could be handled more efficiently by proteins are being handled to this day by RNA structures. They found that these were processes that couldn't be switched from RNA to a protein without killing the cell - and that would have broken the unbroken chain of life on which we (i.e. lifekind) are all built. Ergo, an all-RNA lifeform was probably the precursor to all current DNA/protein life forms. QED.

Fascinating! (Disclosure: I'm just a simple engineer, so the foregoing is my best attempt to understand what my son was telling me all those years ago.)

The Rise of The (Coffee) Machines: I need assistance. I think I'm running Windows. Send help


Well, yes and no. It's all a matter of opinion. I departed NZ in 1999, at which time it was easy to get adequately strong, tasty coffee. When I returned in 2008, the baristas seemed to have switched to the Trinidad Lake Asphalt Company for their beans. Talk about tarry! Nowdays, if I can't get decent filter coffee, I ask for an Americano. Fortunately, the NZ Americano doesn't taste the slightest like its name suggests. "Real" American coffee is undrinkable dishwater. You can usually see through to the bottom of the cup, for goodness' sake! It's as bad as Australian "Guinness"! (Which you can also see through.)

Ofcom measured UK's 5G radiation and found that, no, it won't give you cancer


Re: electromagnetic hypersensitivity

Indeed, an actual "case" reveals that an electromagnetic hypersensitvity reaction is only triggered by a visible source of "dangerous radiation", regardless of the visible source putting a far smaller signal into the victim's locality than an invisible source multiple km away (a cellular-type base station only putting in enough power to operate a handset versus a TV transmitter putting in a signal strong enough to operate a TV receiver - both operating in similar UHF frequency bands, by the way).

As the Transatlaticites would say in their interesting brand of English: Go figure.

IoT security? We've heard of it, says UK.gov waving new regs


Re: New legislation

Oh dear oh dear oh deary me, our friends north of the Border are forgetting a few salient facts.

First off, whose king was it smacked England and Scotland together? Oh, that's right, Scotland's King James VI. Second, whose parliament was it that about 100 years later voted to cease to exist, vacate Edinburgh and take its MPs off to Westminster instead? Oh, that's right, Scotland's. So Scottish Independence really is a misnomer - how about English independence?

Then, let's suppose Scotland does secede from the UK and apply to (re-)join the EU. There's just one fly in that particular ointment: Catalonia. Now, the whole Commonwealth, and probably the Yanks too, knows that Scotland is a country, not a province. What's the betting Spain doesn't understand that? They'll view a newly "idependent" Scotland applying to join the EU as a renegade province, and they'll veto the application for fear of the Catalans getting over-excited.

One last thing: once upon a time there were two kingdoms in a foggy island, neither of which amounted to much on the world stage. Then the king of the smaller one inherited the larger one and smacked the two together. By a couple of hundred or so years later their united front was more or less ruling the world, or at least making huge waves. The whole really is greater than the sum of the parts. Methinks splitting up would be quite the act of folly.

Hell hath no fury like a radar engineer scorned


Re: Can this inform the 5G debate?

Not a radar tech., but spent ages on the lab bench designing microwave stuff, everywhere from C-Band to J-Band. Open waveguide? Of course. However, I have no daughters, but my 3 sons were conceived during that time, so that one doesn't hold water. Still got good eyesight, too.

As for a mere 200 mW peak setting off flash cubes - garn, don't believe it!

CIMON says: Say hello to your new AI pal-bot, space station 'nauts


I thought it looked more like Holly from Red Dwarf.

Great time to shift bytes: International bandwidth prices are in free fall


Re: "...as many different wavelengths as you like..."

Weell, it is true that the erbium-doped fibre amplifiers used in modern-day repeaters restrict the bandwidth (in its original sense), but it's rather wide, typically covering 1530-1565 nm for a C-band system - that's enough to shift 10 Tb/s (10 x 100 Gb/s channels) or more across oceanic distances with modern modulation techniques.

Driverless cars will lead to data-sharing – of the electrical kind


Re: First create the infrastructure for taxes

It's been done long since in New Zealand: all diesel vehicles used on the public highway have to display a Road User Charges sticker, paid for in advance (basically so farmers wouldn't pay fuel tax for their diesel tractors). Trucks pay more than light vehicles. Electric vehicles should also have to pay, but are exempt until 2020 to encourage their uptake (they have the advantage here that they basically run on a mix of wind, water and geothermal energy - very "green").

Biker nerfed by robo Chevy in San Francisco now lobs sueball at GM


From the New Zealand Road Code:

"You can only pass on the left when:

"there are two or more lanes on your side of the centre line and you are able to pass safely by using the left-hand lane

"you are directed to by a police officer

"the vehicle you are passing:

"has stopped, or

"is signalling a right turn, or

"is turning right."

So, "undertaking" on a motorway is legal in drive-on-the-left NZ (but they are thinking of stopping that).

Japanese quadcopter makes overworked employees clock out


Re: when you like what you do...

All true, but there actually is a reward of sorts - or more to the point, an inducement. Most Japanese companies pay a "bonus" twice a year. Bonus? Well, each payment is typically worth 2 months' salary! That's the standard. However, the bosses can pay out a "plus alpha", and that is determined to a large extent by how long the victim, er, employee, has spent hanging around the workplace over and above the usual "diligent" hours.

There's another question about the drone thing. People feel they can't go home until the manager does - and the manager won't go until they do. (Positive feedback anyone?) So, will the drone dispatch the manager too?

I'd love this to succeed. "Karoushi" (death by overwork) is far too common in Japan, and of course social disruption is, as pointed out, even more common. Those are two birds that really need to be dispatched by one stone, or drone.

Who's to blame for the NBN? Hardly anyone remembers, or cares


Sitting here in NZ & ROTFLMAO

Just upgraded from a "paltry" 50 Mbps to 200 Mbps, and I'm not even on fibre (could get fibre, though, if I changed ISPs, but on GPON it wouldn't be any faster).

Australia commits to establish space agency with no budget, plan, name, deadline …


Re: Space port

Too late Oz, we've already got one over here in Aotearoa - it's called Mahia. It has needed no government input other than permission to launch (out over the South Pacific, no-one's head to land on, and no planes to worry about, so very few restrictions). It's all been done by our very own Kiwi Rocket Man, one Peter Beck. His RocketLab is about to launch its second rocket, with actual, real payloads on board. Now there's confidence for you - all they have to do is get the support company to remember to turn on the forward error correction on the telemetry receiver, and you can be sure this time they will. So put that in your didgeridoo and smoke it!

Achtung! German election tabulation software 'insecure'


Re: Just a sec

We have a general election in New Zealand on 23rd September. It's all paper ballots stuffed into ballot-boxes the old-fashioned way. No buggy software. There are suggestions that we should go electronic to rope in those potential voters who can't move more than their thumbs. However, there's a lot of resistance on the grounds that electronic voting is insecure/hackable etc etc. I'll put my by now geriatric hand up to join the resistance.

Swedish school pumps up volume to ease toilet trauma


Old Hat (Fart?)

Sorry Sweden, but Japanese public toilets have provided this facility for decades.

Happy 50th birthday, optical fibres for telecoms


Re: Institution of Electrical Engineers

Quite possibly here, despite being within cooee of Wellington (NZ). Well, I'm semi-retired now and not relying on being C.Eng for continuing work, so if it happens it happens. It would be a pity though.

Brit chip biz ARM legs it to Softbank for $32bn


Re: Once ARM becomes a Japanese company..

Japanese? Masayoshi Son (SoftBank-san) may be a Japanese citizen (even born there), but everyone there knows he's an ethnic Korean. Who are one of the biggest ARM chip makers? Samsung - Korean.

Sounds more like a Korean takeover to me.

Either way, it's a pity to see it ceasing to be British.


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