* Posts by BackToTheFuture

58 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Aug 2020


Spacewalk turns into spacework as cosmonauts grapple with ISS leak


Space Chicken

Surely all they have to do is send up a space chicken in the next re-supply launch then crack an egg in the radiator?

Google Lens now can spot problematic skin spots, or not


ByeBye Medical Insurance

We all know what's going to happen when Google (mis)diagnoses even a hint of a possible carcinoma. Sell the information to every Tom, Dick and Harry agency they can, including Medical Insurance companies.

Welcome mysteriously massively hiked med insurance fees or none offered at all.

Astronomers spot Earth-sized exoplanet probably 'carpeted' by volcanoes


Re: What a time to live in

Surely you mean Google LP 791-18d?

Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra is a worthy heir to the Note


Re: Heir to the Note my ass

Only one prob with USB headphone adapters - the potential danger of putting repeated stress on the phone's biggest weak spot after the screen - the USB socket. Personally I much prefer putting my media on an SSD card, especially when abroad - don't have to rely on potentially dodgy mobile/hotel hotspots just to listen to music etc, (also no signal kots of places out in the wild) plus significantly less phone battery use with wifi switched off. Ditto no bluetooth sniffing danger from nearby miscreants, and no additional bluetooth broadcast-related battery drain with wired headphones too. Love my Note 9.


Re: Heir to the Note my ass

Totally agree. No headphone jack, no microSD? It's not a Note successor, just one more or a crowd of phones with similar specs. Still using my Note 9 - still excellent performance. Audio output is outstanding with wired high-end earphones/buds.

DEX is also great btw and doesn't need a more powerful SoC than the Note 9.

Hubble spots stellar midwife unit pumping out baby planets


Re: Confused

"...still feeling sympathy for poor depreciated Pluto"

That Mickey Mouse has a lot to answer for.

The end of Microsoft-brand peripherals is only Surface deep


Win AI

Assuming Microsoft with Win 12 (or Win NFT/Win AI/Win Post -Apocalypse etc) still keeps driver support for their own products though.

Pager hack faxed things up properly, again, and again, and again


Well we know why they dropped that particular slogan: https://hugelol.com/lol/54397

Microsoft to snatch Visio app away from iOS users this summer


Edraw Max


Second Soyuz springs a leak, astronauts stuck on ISS for an extra month


Re: one possibility that has been floated is that a micrometeoroid pierced an exterior radiator.

Surely all they have to do is crack a space hen egg into the radiator?

Ring system discovered around dwarf planet Quaoar leaves astronomers puzzled


"Astronomers are now puzzled at how such a ring system can survive so far from its parent planet."

Have these young astronomers never heard of the Colgate Ring of Confidence? It's not rocket science.

SpaceX cuts off Ukraine's 'offensive' Starlink use


Re: State of Russia's space program

Well for many years the British Geological Survey has operated a Satellite Ranging Facility at The Royal Observatory, Herstomonceux in the UK "....(a) tracking telescope for obtaining laser distance measurements day and night to orbiting satellites that carry the necessary retro-reflectors. Single-shot range precision about 3mm at distances of from 300km to 40,000km. The system can also measure brightness of satellites at night and record astrometric positions for low-orbiting satellites."

So one could link that to a giant Galaxian-channelling satellite munching super-duper laser parked next door. Power source could be a few hundred thousand permanently requisitioned Tesla motor vehicles with their batteries connected. Of course, the hacked Teslas can all drive themselves from their owners' driveway to the launch site. Hopefully not crashing into too many parked emergency vehicles or small child cardboard cut outs on the way.

Musk: Tesla's doing great. I mean, have you seen my Twitter follower count?


Re: EV Smugmobiles

No - not ideal. Tesla 3. Tesla rates their Standard Range Plus and Long Range Dual Motor models for a rather feeble 1000kg max towing range with a 55kg noseweight limit - only suitable for towing smaller loaded camping trailers or v small caravans. Add the "dark art" issue of guessing how much the real-life mileage range will be reduced on the journey ahead - 50% is a good start - but hills, unpredictably stuck in traffic jams etc etc = range anxiety with the whole family on board.

I'd stick with the diesel for now thanks.

Plugging end-of-life EV batteries into the grid could ease renewables transition


Re: But they need recycling

Quick Google (DYOR) shows:

Tesla model 3 base model 3582 lbs, long range/performance model 4065 lbs

BMW 3 series sedan 3185 lbs

Weight on the earth's environment and human suffering from rare earth metal extraction for Tesla batteries- considerable.

Elon Musk to step down as Twitter CEO: Help us pick his replacement


Brit to take over from Musk as Twitter CEO - may split role across Tesla and Starlink

I hear the Musk Rat has already found his replacement, after a brief search trying to identify the closest match for stupidity and emotional intelligence.

Congratulations, Mr Blobby.


Cancelling my new Mastodon account immediately.

NASA's latest AI will navigate the Moon using landmarks


Re: but I can see a slight flaw in this method

Let's hope Elon Muskdobetter doesn't read your post.

Cue thousands of extra-shiny GPS dustbins in low-lunar orbit interfering with the view of earth whilst introducing the risk of exiting astronauts banging into one of the blighters.

Thankfully nothing so stupid could be allowed to happen here on planet earth. Oh, wait a minute.............

Plaice in spaaace: NASA boosts astronauts' cognition with piscine diet


Re: Non-specific Moon Pies

As a Brit I had to look up Moon Pie. Wait a minute.... that looks like a....that's a..... Wagon Wheel!

Which begs the question - which came first, the Moon Pie or the Wagon Wheel?

Nvidia's datacenter growth can't save it from gaming GPU woes


Re: Never mind the quality

At least Nvidia have brought some excitement back to the GPU sector with their 4090 series. Like the thrill of knowing your connecting cable might burst into flames and burn your house down at any moment. Or not knowing whether you'll survive the heart attack when you open up your first electricity bill.

Twitter, Musk, and a week of bad decisions


Re: Close it Down and Get Out Quick

But which Hollywood movie star will play Musk?

My tip's Mr Bean.

Boeing's Starliner launch pushed back again... to April 2023


Re: "visiting spacecraft traffic at the space station"

I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords and their visiting spacecraft traffic........

Elon Musk shows what being Chief Twit is all about across weird weekend


Thought it might appeal to those Musk supporting trolls on here. All the quality UK media sources report the same thing. DYOR

Actual real-life hoverbike makes US debut at Detroit Auto Show


Re: Well, I’m impressed… not

"Only an idiot would buy one......."

Hello - Mr Musk? Of course you can buy the company. Just sign this due-diligence waiver........

Underwater datacenter will open for business this year


Sounds Fishy To Me

No wonder they're naming the port outlet Jules Verne.

Just imagine the hordes of Giant Squid attracted to those heat-loving giant lobsters - we're doomed, I tell ye, we're doomed...........

Attacker snags account details from streaming service Plex


Re: Hashed passwords

Have a sprinkling of Salt with that:


NASA's six-mile-wide orbital telescope is 1/6th built


Pah - old tech.

Flying Toasters in space?

Well we know where they got THAT idea from.

Some of us were using the After Dark screensaver way back in 1989....


NASA to send prototype robot surgeon into space


That's not the bad-loser robotic arm that grabbed that poor child's finger and broke it whilst playing chess, is it? tinyurl.com/cj8cahtf

Wouldn't want that grabbing anything I don't already have at least two of.

SpaceX upgrades Starlink to reflect less light, can't launch without its Starship


Re: Corporate Good Citizenship?

“In every possible way your comment shows an outstanding level of ignorance on this subject”

Hmm – the ameliorative actions you’ve mentioned regarding reducing the widely predicted issues affected astronomical observation all have one thing in common – they don’t work sufficiently, do they, otherwise the new set of proposals wouldn’t be necessary.

As for the final number of Starlink satellites planned to be placed in orbit, no definitive number has been released by the company. Their Wiki states: On 15 October 2019, the United States FCC submitted filings to the International Telecommunications Union on SpaceX's behalf to arrange spectrum for 30,000 additional Starlink satellites to supplement the 12,000 Starlink satellites already approved by the FCC. After that, who knows?

I would suggest as many as Musk knows they can get away with until the whole of low-earth orbit is saturated.

I note you don’t mention the elephant in the room – the incontrovertible fact that the bigger the number of satellites, the bigger the chances of low-orbit collisions. Mentioned in this BBC news article written 24hrs ago, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-62339835

there have already been a number of near misses involving Starlink satellites, including near misses with China’s space station. To quote Dr King of Portsmouth University “"If there are too many fragments (generated by collisions), it could make low-Earth orbit unusable in the future…. And we may not be able to get out of low-Earth orbit into higher orbits, where our navigational satellites and telecoms satellites are situated."

SpaceX's Starlink satellites alone are involved in about 1,600 close encounters between two spacecraft every week, that's about 50 % of all such incidents, according to Hugh Lewis, the head of the Astronautics Research Group at the University of Southampton, U.K. https://www.space.com/spacex-starlink-satellite-collision-alerts-on-the-rise

“These encounters include situations when two spacecraft pass within a distance of 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) from each other. And the situation is bound to get worse. Only (currently) 2,700 of an expected constellation of tens of thousands have been placed into orbit so far. Once SpaceX launches all 12,000 satellites of its first generation constellation, Starlink satellites will be involved in 90% of all close approaches, Lewis’ calculations suggest.”

Add another 30,000+ Starlink satellites into the mix and you don’t need the intellect of Elon Musk to work out what’s likely to happen.


Corporate Good Citizenship?

"This is a real demonstration of corporate good citizenship...."

....necessitated by the preceding real demonstration of appalling corporate greed and bad citizenship by not giving a damn about the issues, accurately predicted by the astronomy community beforehand, and waiting until until 2,700 of the shiny blobs are already orbiting the earth before publicly acknowledging the problem. In July 22 alone 5 clusters of Starlink satellites were placed in orbit, averaging around 50 individual satellites per launch. Next cluster is planned for August 9th, and who knows how many more after that? Don't look up indeed.

And Musk's proposed solution - a bit of anti-reflective film, probably stuck on with space-gaffer tape, and a few dobs of black paint, with even these modifications making each satellite too heavy to be used with their current technology, so to be launched at an unspecified time in the future on a space vehicle which hasn't even flown yet.

Or in other words - let's put out a press release with some vaguely plausible actions which give the impression we're doing something but in reality we'll be able to launch the whole 10,000 shiny satellites in place without changing a thing - and don't mention the increasing risk of accidental collisions with other satellite systems potentially making low-orbit unusable for mankind in the future. But hey - loadsamoney.

NanoAvionics satellite pulls out GoPro to take stunning selfie over Earth


Mmmmm....... beer.........

One thing I'm wondering about - at the beginning of the video when the arm holding the GoPro is deployed, the force of this action makes the satellite pivot backwards and forwards for a few seconds before stabilising. Surely in zero G, without counteracting forces the satellite would simply continue to rotate indefinitely. Has that little beer fridge satellite fuel and position-correcting engines onboard, or is the whole thing simply dangling on a piece of string in somebody's basement with a planet earth video back-projected? And if it's the latter, can I have one of the beers on board?

Running DOS on 64-bit Windows and Linux: Just because you can


Re: InfoSelect

Ooo - thanks _ I'll check it out. Virtual pint for you - enjoy!



I'd pay a King's ransom to be able to use InfoSelect for Dos in Win 10. Still miss it after all these years.

First Light says it's hit nuclear fusion breakthrough with no fancy lasers, magnets


Re: a country the size of Wales

Like... Wales, maybe?

Indeed - or 2 million rugby pitches, or approx 1x Slovenia.

Sorry for the con-fusion. Could have been nuclearer.


Re: Long Shot

Well only 10 years away is definitely better than 20 or 30 years away. Just think, in 10 years time it may merely be "at least 5 years away", then "just around the corner", assuming things "go to plan" and "a few teething difficulties needing to be ironed out", with projected capabilities estimated to produce enough energy to power a country the size of Wales.

This will be just before funding is pulled due to costs increasing exponentially to completely unmanageble levels, which has never ever happened before in similar projects over the past 50 years so couldn't possibly be anticipated before it happens.

Still not sure why this will be better than multiple herds of trained hamsters running in hamster wheels wired to the electricity generating grid - the wheels, I mean, not the hamsters, although now I come to think of it.............

Second Trojan asteroid confirmed to be leading our planet around the Sun


Fireball XL5 the obvious mission vehicle

Perhaps a collaboration between Gerry Anderson's descendants and Elon Musk to create SpaceXL5? After all, the original Fireball XL5 was a reusable spacecraft and had a VTOL crew nose cone for planetary exploration. And away thought Musk has a touch of the supermarionation about him, although haven't spotted any strings so far - just a matter of time, methinks.

BTW, I just looked up the character bio section on the Gerry Anderson Encyclopaedia fandom site to check what's going on with the gorgeous, pouting Dr Venus -- they'll need a medic on board - and her Trump-like pet Zoonie. Turns out she was rescued from a survival shelter after the mass riots across France following the Europoean Atomic War of 2028 AD!

Do these people know something we don't?

Police National Computer not pwned by Clop ransomware crims, insists Home Office


Re: I would like 100 upvotes for Christmas please.

You can have a very special and unique collectors' upvote from me in the form of an NFT purchased with the shortly to be issued RegisterCoin. $350,000 worth should do it.

Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter planning move to blockchain. How will it work? Your guess is as good as ours



What, no agile symmetry? Guess you can only milk a dead cow once.

Midwest tornado destroys Amazon warehouse, killing six after worker 'told not to leave'


Risk Management

Just had a look on Googe Streetview and the Edwardsville Amazon building is (was) a very long structure with large prefab-type panelled walls and no brickwork in sight whatsoever. The surrounding topography is completely flat for miles around. One look will tell you that no way would that building built to survive a tornado impact.

Yesterday I heard a chilling interview with a survivor from the similarly destroyed candle factory in Mayfield, which is about 150 miles away from Edwardsville. She was pulled out from the wreckage after being buried under debris for several hours. She reported that all the workers there knew that all the other workers in nearby factory units had been sent home earlier in the day due to the perceived high risk because they’d been telephoned by their families, but the candle factory’s management told them not to go home and keep working.

I’d like to give Amazon the benefit of the doubt and assume that they did not callously decide to ignore the potential clear risk to their workforce yesterday. However, there has been a catalogue of events involving Amazon treating the health and safety of their workforce as entirely secondary issues to making money, not least around Covid-related safety such as not providing protective equipment and refusing to inform staff when co-workers tested positive for coronavirus. Amazon have a very poor record of treating their staff as human beings.

At the end of the day it was risk management. The local weather was forecast as potentially extreme, as it proved to be. Clearly the Amazon facility kept their workforce working on site when they had the option to close down for a few hours and send their workforce home until the potential risk of a major tornado impact had receded. They chose not to.

When you think of a unit of length, do you think of Antony Gormley's rusty anatomy?


Remeber the Wales

Surely it should be compared to the size of Wales, the international standard for meaningless comparisons?

What's the matter with these people?

Very sad, btw, that Anthony Gormless ran out of paint before finishing the project.

Now that's a splash down: Astronauts spend 8-hour trip to Earth in diapers after SpaceX capsule toilet breaks


Penny For Your Thoughts

So did they eventually mange to remove the penny jammed in the door lock?

(One for the Ancient Brits here)

Typical. Crap weather halts work on subsea fibre-optic cable between UK and France


Re: Already we have moved that far from Europe?

According to Submarine Cable Networks' site, the cable will eventually connect Paris and Slough (home of the Mars Bar - 2.5m bars per day produced apparently).

Wonder if they plan to send Mars Bars down the cable tunnel direct to Paris using a pneumatic tube delivery system?

Could be a game-changer.

Perseverance rover drilled a rock on Mars and probably snaffled a core sample


Holy Rock, Batman!

"In these images, the lighting is poor, and internal portions of the sample tube are not visible," NASA warned. More snaps will be taken in due course so that NASA can feel sure the process worked.

Hmmm - a few seconds in Photoshop lightening the shadows reveals what appears to be quite a lotta rock sample in there, and in good resolution. Now, how to let those NASA rocket scientists know about the existence of photo editing software............

NASA signs $1bn deal with Northrop Grumman to build studio apartment in lunar orbit with room for 3 vehicles


Re: Room for 3 vehicles?

Get them all up there and move it out past the Lagrange point. Job done! :) :) :)

Get them up there and move it out past the Language point - even better job done. Can't hear you - lalalala......

US Air Force announces plan to assassinate molluscs with hypersonic missile


Presumably any survivors will be taken to Guantanamollusc.

Followed by an enthusiastic yet unsuccessful waterboarding session, although with the Pentagon already stating "We have this mindset that we want to fail early and often ...." the outcome will be reported as exceeding all expectations and another few billion dollars tossed in Project Thermadore's begging bowl.


Another platform on which Java will not run – platform 1 of Newcastle's Central Station


What is Geordie for bork?

I do believe it's Borwak, old chap.

(sips Newcastle Brown and adjusts peak of cap made from Stotty cake)

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all: El Reg takes Twitter's anti-mean algorithm for a spin


I just knew that bathroom-cam was a mistake.

File this next to Mars bars under 'things that should not be deep-fried': Marks & Spencer's Colin the Caterpillar


Re: Corby

* Persistently reappearing at the top of the "deaths by Covid" charts in the UK

Deep-fried face-masks?

Samsung thinks about giving the Galaxy Note refresh a miss this year as semiconductor supplies run dry


"However, the idea that removing the headphone socket on Brand X phones causes the user to buy Brand X Bluetooth headphones is flimsy at best."

No, but they'll have to use someone's brand of wireless buds, and many will go for the manufacturers' own brand first - looking at you, Apple fans, with those weird white stick things poking out of your ears. And look at the growth market that's been created by removing the headphone socket: (source Statista - "Sales of true wireless hearables (i.e. non-wired headphones) were forecast to increase by 110 million units (in 2019) and stand at 230 million units worldwide by 2020."

The Samsung Xcover Pro looks like a great option although in a different and cheaper spec range to the Note series - the original post related to what Samsung might do differently in a future Note to separate it out from its currently similarly specced high end phones.


Hear what you're saying, Sampler.

I remember at the time that one of the manufacturers' explanations for non-replaceable batteries was better water resistance - but we all know the real reason is profit maximisation for the manufacturers because when the battery dies, most people will ditch the phone and replace it, especially when Apple and Samsung make it very difficult to replace the battery in the first place without damaging it. And with many millions of phones out there this does represent a mammoth negative impact on the planet.

Ditching the headphone jack - all sorts of pathetic rationales were made too for this (interfering with haptic feedback? hoho - more space for a bigger battery - oh, purlese) - but seeing how many billions Apple made from their wireless earbuds, Samsung decided they'd join that lucrative bandwagon too. There's nothing good about wireless earbuds for me - heavy and uncomfortable, easy to lose, expensive to replace, worse sound quality than cheaper wired headphones, plus they look ridiculous on a lot of people (me included). And I have some expensive wired earbuds which I'm not going to ditch and which are quite capable of distinguishing between inferior bluetooth v wired sound. And bluetooth buds in use further drain the phone battery and become non-functional when their own tiny battery charge expires. That ain't progress.

Having a couple of cheap spare batteries for my Note 4 available meant I never had to worry about long commute times (I vaguely remember those (!)), flight delays (ditto) or trailing charger wires for people to trip up over at work, and I've seen people almost come to blows arguing over who's using a charging point on a train. It's just so easy and hassle free reaching for a new battery from my shirt pocket. Similarly out hiking in the wilds. Now I have to carry a power bank that's as big as the phone, heavier and remember to charge that too. That ain't progress either.

Incidentally, my Note 4, for which few claims of water resistance were made at the time, has survived years of being used for GPS tracking on the hills in all sorts of wet weather, as well as emerging unscathed from a number of major trauma office events involving every beverage known to man, and is still going strong. If it had a sealed battery I would have had to ditch it years ago. The technology has moved on, and I simply don't accept the notion that it's not possible to have a fully waterproof phone with a replaceable battery or headphone socket.

It would be good to have a choice again, so both you and I could be happy.