* Posts by Clive Galway

501 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Feb 2007


Free Wednesday gift for you lucky lot: Extra mouse button!

Clive Galway

Windows supports 5 buttons

The Windows operating system has a concept of Left, Right, Middle, XButton1, XButton2, Wheel up / down / left / right

No drivers are required to support these inputs. I forget whether XB1 and XB2 do anything by default (Most mouse utilities will map them to browser back / forward)

AutoHotkey on windows will allow you to map them to pretty much whatever you want without the need for the OEM specific mouse software.

Any buttons you may have on your mouse beyond that will need OEM-specific software to use them

Elon Musk 'violated' Twitter NDA over bot-check sample size

Clive Galway


"that are sampled at random, consistently over time, from accounts we count as mDAUs [monetizable daily active users]"

So if the process they use to define an account as an mDAU inherently means that pretty much no bots get selected, then it massively skews that figure.

After all, a bot is probably not monetizable?

Chinese drone-maker DJI denies aiding Russia's Ukraine invasion

Clive Galway

Re: All true..

When in reality, if you are going to ban something, the thing to ban is drones with autonomy and GPS.

GPS is essentially un-jammable (Yeah you can jam it, but if you do, it's potentially gonna interfere with critical systems such as passenger planes) - so the sane thing to do would be to only allow drones which can solely be manually controlled via a standard control link (eg 2.4ghz), which can easily be jammed with little consequences to other things - thus causing the drone to failsafe and fall to the ground as it has no autonomy.

TLDR The only real risk is from drones which can follow a pre-programmed flight path via GPS.

But no - polititians totally don't get this, and are tending to more err on the side of trying to require ALL drones to have GPS :facepalm:

Clive Galway

If you want to see which drones are in your area, just fire up a set of goggles / video receiver - the video feed is not encrypted, and typically it's GPS coordinates will be displayed on the OSD (HUD), along with a handy bearing and distance to the person controlling it.

DJI drones would make pretty crap weapons platforms for strapping bombs to though - their Thrust to Weight ratio is pretty shit as they use plastic for the chassis, not carbon fibre. You would be way better off building one yourself using INAV or BetaFlight flight controllers - they don't announce their position in the same way as DJI ones do, have no in-built geofencing, and can be configured to send telemetry (GPS position etc) back to the transmitter. This link is specific to that drone and that transmitter (it uses channel-hopping) and is essentially not snoopable.

In the '80s, spaceflight sim Elite was nothing short of magic. The annotated source code shows how it was done

Clive Galway

Re: Definitely never ever sat up...

Romantic Robot Multiface?

God I loved that thing. I had a legit copy of Elite, but used this to dump it to 3" disk on my speccy +3, at a point past the copy protection.

Almost instant load, and no frigging LensLok

Phone jammers made my model plane smash into parked lorry, fumes hobbyist

Clive Galway

Re: To everyone downvoting me for suggesting that he should have enabled failsafe

> I'm not knowledgeable about how loss of signal is actually determined on these R/C receiver systems

With these systems, you have to "bind" the transmitter to the receiver (So that one person can not controlling another person's aircraft).

If the system is not able to get packets that it can identify as coming from the bound transmitter, that is considered a loss of control link - so just spewing random data on 2.4G is going to cause that to happen.

Even if you are not touching any of the controls on the transmitter, it's still constantly sending packet updates, so it will know if it has lost connection.

Clive Galway

To everyone downvoting me for suggesting that he should have enabled failsafe

I am sick of people who are ignorant of R/C down-voting me, so have withdrawn my original post.

It's a LEGAL REQUIREMENT under CAA law CAP658 that you must enable failsafe (Turn motors off) in the event of a loss of control link if your equiment supports it (Which nearly everything does)

So if this dickhead let his 1.7m behemoth happily fly off into the sunset and come down some distance away with the engine still running, he is entirely at fault, whether jammers were involved or not.



The BMFA (Which this guy was almost certainly a member of) guidelines clearly lay out the rationale behind this:

"The fitment of a failsafe performs three vital functions in the event of a loss or corruption of the R/C signal.

The primary purpose is to reduce the potential energy of an aircraft that is no longer responding to commands from the transmitter and is therefore likely to crash.

Taking away the propulsion source can significantly reduce the energy of any impact thereby reducing the potential for injury or damage.

Secondly, the closing of the throttle on loss of signal serves to significantly reduce the potential radius of the impact area, with the primary aim that any impact will be on the “live” side of the flying activity; this is particularly important at displays and public events but also relevant at the club field.

The third aspect of the closing of the throttle is that it prevents an out of control model aircraft from climbing once the signal has been lost and presenting a hazard to full size aircraft or entering controlled airspace."

This has NOTHING to do with autonomy - your model does not need autonomy to do this, it's a feature of the R/C control link

TLDR you put the safety of other people first - if this means that your model gets wrecked, so be it - that's a part of the hobby that us UAV pilots must deal with.

Clive Galway

Re: Failsafe?

It's a legal equirement to enable failsafe if the RC equipment supports it.

A parachute isn't exactly feasible - you would need to store it inside something (So that the wind does not catch it and deploy it during normal operation), then some way to open that compartment and eject the parachute. Plus of course a parachute is probably going to have zero effect if flying quite low as it will not have time to slow down the drone.

It's entirely likely that the guy broke one of the other rules (Flying beyond line of sight, not having a spotter, not flying within a certain radius of uninvolved people etc)

Clive Galway

Re: Failsafe?

>seems risky if the signal just cuts out for a few seconds at which point it's in a nose-dive, if it carries on it can be guided back when the signal re-establishes

If it's heading away from you when you lose control link for an extended period (Say 10 seconds) then it almost certainly is not coming back.

If it's heading towards you, then if you regain control link after it loses it, you can pull it out of the dive.

Besides, unless you were close to stall speed anyway, it probably won't be going into an instant nose-dive.

> I dunno anything about these planes but the first option sounds like a full-spec autopilot, bearing in mind these things don't hover or do VTOL

You don't need hover or VTOL for this feature. All you need is gyros (So it knows what attitude it is at) and GPS (So it knows position / heading / airspeed).

It's not exactly expensive - a flight controller and GPS that can do this will cost you from about £50 - £100, and considering this is a 1.7m model, an insignificant fraction of the cost of the model. My mate's plane which weighs <250g has this, so it's not going to be a weight issue either.

Clive Galway

Re: Failsafe?

This is an autonomous feature - without autonomy there's basically no point - it probably has no gyros anyway, so it has no idea whether it's currently level or what, so has no concept of what "banked right" is. You can't just input right roll constantly, as that would send the aircraft into a constant corkscrew roll.

Clive Galway

Re: Failsafe?

>And what do you propose as failsafe for a plane with no autonomous navigation? Shut the engine down if signal is lost? Because of course that way it'll stay put and absolutely not crash...

This is EXACTLY what ALL of my drones have.

If you have lost control link and you have no autonomy, it's going to come down SOMEWHERE anyway, and not in a controlled manner, so you might as well cut the engine to try and reduce the potential danger to other people.

If you don't do this, things like what happened in this article are the most likely outcome.

If you do enable a failsafe, it's likely to come down a lot closer to you (And quite possibly not have reached a road etc by then), and the motors and props will not be spinning, so all you have to worry about is the initial impact, and the impact speed is likely to be reduced.

Obviously in the case of a fixed wing which is relatively stable without control input anyway, you don't failsafe immediately, you give it a good 5-10 seconds timeout, but on all my multirotors, the failsafe timeout is very very short

Bezos offers to knock $2bn off his bill to NASA to stay in the running for Moon contract

Clive Galway

"That decision broke the mold of NASA’s successful commercial space programs by putting an end to meaningful competition for years to come"

Riiight, because before SpaceX there was meaningful competition

Tech support scams subside somewhat, but Millennials and Gen Z think they're bulletproof and suffer

Clive Galway

"Indian netizens continued interacting with scammers a staggering 49 per cent of the time"

I have spoken to dozens of them (My dad is inundated with them - to the point where we have had to take serious measures to lock his PC down), and in my experience, the vast majority of them ARE Indian.

Also, judging by the content of a lot of YouTube scam baiters (Jim Browning and the like), a disproportionately large amount of the ones they deal with are Indian.

I also suspect that the figures wrt age demographics are way off - nobody I know under 50 has fallen prey to them, and I know numerous over-50s who have.

Richard Branson plans to trump Jeff Bezos by 9 days in billionaires' space race

Clive Galway

Re: Third base

> it can clearly get to orbit with quite a payload mass

From mars - yes (Lower gravity, less air resistance). From earth - no

Artificial gravity will require a bigger object than two starships nose-to-nose. The distance from an occupant to the center of rotation needs to be quite a way, else your head and feet are moving at significantly different speeds and you get dizzy.

Clive Galway

Re: To quote a well known phrase...

For limited values of "stuff"

You ain't gonna fit a 2nd stage big enough to loft 100 tons of payload to LEO under the wing of any feasible airliner

Plus, once you have a fully reusable starship, all you are doing by using air launch is saving fuel, which is by far the cheapest part of the launch, and given that SpaceX are going to be getting fuel pretty much for free (They just suck the fuel out of the atmosphere using their fuel farms), then you're probably not saving nigh on anything vs buying jet fuel

TLDR the bigger the launch vehicle, the lower the cost/kg, and Virgin's system is inherently limited on size

New IETF draft reveals Egyptians invented pyramids to sharpen razor blades

Clive Galway

Re: Patent 91304

However it did revive problematic ZX microdrive tapes :P

If you're the 1% and have 10 mins to spare this July, bid for a place on first Blue Origin space tourism launch

Clive Galway


Meh, just this crossing the Karman line BS - 2 mins of weightlessness - you may as well just do a vomit comet ride

Call me when they're actually putting people into orbit

Average convicted British computer criminal is young, male, not highly skilled, researcher finds

Clive Galway

Rinse, repeat?

“The low skill category is largely made up of ex-IT employees who used their knowledge of the systems that they used to operate in order to damage their previous employers,”

“the median criminal computer abuser is “young and male, with mental health and development disorders over-represented in their number,”

"On the flip side, British police forces have been rather good at diverting young computer-enabled criminals into activities that harness their talents for positive things, such as working in the IT industry"

So... let me get this straight... median user used to be an IT drone, got thoroughly depressed, decided to try and get rich quick by fleecing their former employer, and the solution is to find them more work as an IT drone?

Trustify CEO gets eight years for lying to investors, spending millions on homes, private jets, sports tickets

Clive Galway

Re: 97 months?

Or, say, protesting and "Causing an annoyance" which, if the Police and Sentencing bill passes, could get you locked up for 10 years

You only need pen and paper to fool this OpenAI computer vision code. Just write down what you want it to see

Clive Galway

Re: A rather large piece of paper for a fair test

I think what mike was trying to say, is how do you know whether it was identifying *the object* iPod, or *the word* iPod.

If it was the latter, then I would say that it was entirely correct and not a hack at all.

If the same engine can recognize words and objects, then just outputting "iPod" rather than "word: iPod" or "object: iPod" then that's the mistake, not that it misidentified what it saw.

Supermicro spy chips, the sequel: It really, really happened, and with bad BIOS and more, insists Bloomberg

Clive Galway

If the firewalls only block inbound connections, then sure, 3 or a million, makes no difference

Police drone plunged 70ft into pond after operator mashed pop-up that was actually the emergency cut-out button

Clive Galway

Because there is a camera on the drone, and you can see what the drone is doing via the video feed

Clive Galway

> And the manufacturer is a dick having an emergency cutout that will simply drop a flying drone out of the sky with potentially fatal consequences

Not at all - this would be preferable to allowing an out-of-control drone to keep going, where it could hit an aircraft and kill hundreds. Your criticism assumes a flight controller (The motherboard of the drone) which is infallible - ie it always knows exactly what it's current state is and can override the instructions of the operator. It's better to have a human decide if it's safer to kill all motors and let it plummet rather than fly off into the distance. After all, he skipped THREE WARNINGS, so the fault is 100% with the operator, not the manufacturer

Clive Galway

Re: Fail safe?

Yes, you really do want this ability. If the craft gets confused (Can be caused by something as simple as a loose motor or arm) then it can be ascending even when throttle is set to 0 (Most quads, even when throttle is set to 0, are still spinning props, because you need spinning props to control pitch/roll/yaw)

Granted, a GPS-equipped quad can *maybe* work out that it isn't actually doing what it thinks it is doing, but to be safe you would always want a failsafe cutout

Clive Galway

No-one does any more - the new rules don't differentiate between recreational and commercial use - it's all to do with weight of drone and where you want to fly it.

Clive Galway

Figures - police allowed to fly a 3.5kg drone in a built up area after just 2hrs training, but a hobbyist pilot has to do a >4hr "A2 CofC" to fly a 0.25kg drone and with more restrictions on where they can fly - a 14x heavier drone with half as much training (And to be fair most people doing an A2 CofC already probably have many hours under their belt)

Over long US weekend, GitHub HR boss quit after firing Jewish staffer who warned Nazis were at the Capitol

Clive Galway

> Not sure what the religious affiliation of the employee has to do with the issue

Seriously ??? You're not sure why a Jewish person would be concerned that someone was storming the capitol with "6 million (Jews) was not enough" emblazoned on their t-shirt??

Considering the colonisation of Mars? Werner Herzog would like a word

Clive Galway

Re: There’s hope yet!

I disagree. Once you factor in the million-mile battery and AutoBidder, he's making it so that electric cars will be way more affordable (More upfront cost than ICE, yes, but it makes you money and benefits society when it's not in use)

Bezos to the Moon: Blue Origin joins SpaceX and Dynetics in a three-horse lunar lander race

Clive Galway

LOL, just look at the difference in size between the SpaceX proposal and the other two

Add to that fact that the SpaceX one looks like it would be the only one to return all of the craft back to earth (And potentially reuse it)

About the only downside I see to the SpaceX proposal is that if that lift breaks down, you are royally buggered

That's what makes you hackable: Please, baby. Stop using 'onedirection' as a password

Clive Galway

As any fule kno...

The correct response when asked to enter a password with at least 8 characters is "snowwhiteandthe7dwarves"

The BlackBerry may be dead, but others are lining up to take its place

Clive Galway

YAY, slider QWERTY is back!

Gotta get me one of these F(x)tec phones - absolutely loved my old HTC TyTn and similar slider QWERTY phones of the era, the clamshell of the new Psion clone appeals less

Let's learn from drone cockups: Confidential reports service opens up to unmanned fliers

Clive Galway

The registration of drone operators becomes mandatory in the UK from tomorrow

Only for drones >=250g

Criminalise British drone fliers, snarl MPs amid crackdown demands

Clive Galway


Price is not so much the problem, it's weight.

The lightest class of quadcopters ("TinyWhoops") are in the sub-30 gram kind of range, often 18-25g

A GPS receiver typically weighs ~5-10g

With these things typically having a flight time of 2-3 minutes, adding another 25-50% or so of weight is going to seriously reduce that flight time and performance of the quad, and that's not even considering where to mount the bloody thing

Meanwhile, fixed wing aircraft are treated totally differently - for example, there is legislation coming in whereby you can fly a fixed wing up to 1000ft, but a quad is only allowed to 400ft.

If it really were about reducing the possibility of AirProx events, then this makes zero sense - how is a fixed wing less likely to hit an Aircraft than a Quad?

Cosmo Communicator: More phone than the Gemini, more pocket computer than phone

Clive Galway

"completely impossible to edit anything [...] unless you have cursor keys"

No it's not

The BlackBerry KeyOne / KeyTwo have a reasonably usable system by double-tapping the keyboard to enter edit mode, then move the cursor around with swipes.

Admittedly, cursor keys would maybe be nicer, but I feel "completely impossible" is overly hyperbolic

I thoroughly approve of the product tho, the HTC TyTn 2 was my favorite phone ever, I would kill for another phone in that form-factor

Bloke who claimed he invented Bitcoin must hand over $5bn of e-dosh in court case. He can't. He's waiting for a time traveler to arrive

Clive Galway

"January 2020" seems surprisingly accurate for a courier...

I would have thought they couldn't give you an exact month, it would be an all-year window

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

Clive Galway

I was thinking along similar lines when I saw the interior of the SpaceX dragon capsule

Looks like it is all touch screens - seems bonkers in an inherently high vibration environment

He's coming for your floppy: Linus Torvalds is killing off support for legacy disk drive tech

Clive Galway

Had no problems with the 3" floppy on my Spectrum +3

Was an absolute godsend, especially when coupled with a Romantic Robot Multiface 3 - load a game from cassette, pass any copy protection (read word from manual etc), press the little red button on the multiface and dump the memory image to floppy.

Game then loaded in a fraction of the time.

Of course the disks were more expensive than the 3.5" version, and much harder to come by, but loved it none the less. Was way better than the microdrive.

Bad news: Earth is not going to be walloped by asteroid 2006 QV89. Good news: Boffins have lost sight of it, so all hope is not yet lost

Clive Galway

If you find an asteroid 13 years ago with a 1-in-7000 chance of hitting us (At a not very high level of confidence), why the fuck are you not checking up on it until a month before it might hit?

Sounds like someone seriously dropped the ball on this one?

Prenda Law boss John Steele to miss 2020 Olympics... unless they show it in prison

Clive Galway

Someone call the OED

They need to update the entry for Schadenfreude

Akamai CEO: Playing games from the cloud? Seems too expensive to be viable right now

Clive Galway

My concerns with Stadia

* If I already own a game, will I have to pay for it again to play it on Stadia

ie would I be able to play games from my Steam library?

* What will the selection be? AAA only, or indie games too?

* What about save games? Will I be able to upload my existing save from my local PC, and download again after?

* Will multiplayer servers be limited to people only in the same datacenter?

Your ping rate affects others, not just you - that extra latency is not fair on people running locally, so is likely to lead to segregation

* Mods - will you be able to upload mods?

* What forms of input will be supported? If I have a HOTAS controller for example for use with Elite and such, or a steering wheel, will I be able to run the config software for it? Will DirectInput controllers be supported, or only XInput? What about things like eye trackers?

* Will you be limited to only the voice comms solution provided with the game (If any)? or will you be able to use Discord etc?

* Once a game is made available, will it be available for ever, or will even single player games be pulled at some point

I suspect the answer to most, if not all of these questions will not be the one I want

Personally, I think something like Parsec cloud (Where you rent the whole PC, not just access to the game window) will be much better for the consumer

What's up at Microsoft this week? Windows 10 builds of course, Skype screen sharing... zzzzz... New Flight Simulator?!

Clive Galway

Re: Elite controller

Well if talking about for use with flight / space sims, it's even worse.

It's a console style controller with round throw on the sticks - it's impossible to hit the corners, so at full pitch, you cannot roll *at all* and vice versa

Clive Galway

Elite controller

"Most advanced game controller" - absolute bollocks

Unlike the DualShock4 and the Steam Controller, it lacks gyros and any form of touchpad.

The paddles on it are only independently readable via the Windows.Gaming.Input API (Or raw HID, if you code support for it yourself), which is meh - the reading application must be the active window to receive any updates, so third-party remapping applications such as UCR, Joystick Gremlin etc don't play nice with this API as they sit in the background

Nice feel in the hand though, and the interchangeable parts are nice, but still, better off with a DS4 or SC if you want maximum possibilities, both of which are a fraction of the price

Powers of stash and rebase fall into the hands of noobs with GitHub Desktop 2.0

Clive Galway
Thumb Up

At the risk of mass downvotes

I, for one, am happy to use a GUI git client for most of my day-to-day tasks. It's very rare I need to resort to the command line to get what I need done. It also makes it easier for people to get started in open source development, which is a good thing

That magical super material Apple hopes will hit backspace on its keyboard woes? Nylon

Clive Galway

Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

Buy a Wooting keyboard - that way you can hot-swap the switches if one breaks without even unplugging the keyboard.

If you get the linear switches, there is no clicking to annoy colleagues, and no physical switches (The switches are optical, not electronic), so they won't break in a hurry

Japan on track to start testing Alfa-X, fastest train in the world with top speed of 400kph

Clive Galway

Fastest train in the world?

Once in service from 2030, the Alfa-X will run at a mere 360kph or 224mph. This would make it the fastest train in the world


In Blighty, HS2 is due to carry its first passengers in late 2026 and is hoping for a top speed of 360kph

So same speed as HS2 then and 4 years later?

Unless we hit more delays of course

What's that? Uber isn't actually worth $82bn? Reverse-gear IPO shows the gig (economy) is up

Clive Galway

Re: Efficient Market

"85% of people who sometimes ride bikes also sometimes drive cars"

Citation please.

Maybe you are mis-quoting this? https://www.cyclinguk.org/statistics

"85% of the people aged 18+ who cycled also held a driving licence"

But then the other statistic is wildly different to what you quoted:

"31% of the people who held driving licences also cycled"

Given two sets, C (Cyclists) and D (Drivers)...

C ∩ D is 10% of D ("Only 1 in 10 drivers also cycle")

C ∩ D is 85% of C ("85% of people who sometimes ride bikes also sometimes drive cars")

Therefore, D is ~8.5x more than C ?

Is my maths wrong? Really trying to wrap my head around these statistics

Russian-trained spy whale spooks Norwegian fishermen

Clive Galway

In Soviet Russia, you don't hunt whales, whales hunt YOU


Is Google's new cloud gaming service scalable? Yes but it may not be affordable, warns edge-computing CEO

Clive Galway

"Streaming games has never been about latency"

And with that, he lost all credibility