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Comment: Re:Budget cuts (Score 1) 295

by Brian the Bold (#39605053) Attached to: F-18 Fighter Jet Crashes Into Virginia Apartment Complex

I don't believe that either of the pilots had not separated from their seats at impact, the main parachute is stowed in the headbox and is pulled out by the pilot's body mass as the seat separates after the drogue parachute has stabilised the trajectory.

The reason the seats are close to the aircraft wreckage is that the pilots left it very late to eject, they knew the likelihood of hitting houses was high and were trying to dump the aircraft in the ocean, when they realised they couldn't make it and that there was no point dying while unable to get there they banged out in short order. The seats are very capable, but it is entirely possible that the canopy only fully inflates as the pilot's legs reach the ground if ejection is at a low height.

Comment: Re:Grim Factoid? (Score 1) 295

by Brian the Bold (#39605035) Attached to: F-18 Fighter Jet Crashes Into Virginia Apartment Complex

Well indeed some of these losses were in combat, but not that many.

In the early to mid 1950s, the RAF fighter squadrons mostly flew Gloster Meteor and DeHavilland Vampires, the newer aircraft had not yet made it to squadron service.

The Meteor in particular had some very nasty habits, if you opened the airbrakes when the undercarriage was extended then you would immediately lose control and from low altitude in the landing pattern a crash was inevitable as there was not enough engine power to recover even if the airbrakes were retracted before impact.

There were also many collisions during training, and quite a few crashes due to bad weather and fog where fuel exhaustion led to ejection and loss of the aircraft. THe RAF had many more pilots and aircraft, training was less comprehensive and many fatalities were young, average pilots who did not have sufficient skill and time in the air to be competent enough to survive.

Comment: Re:Reliablity? (Score 1) 91

by Brian the Bold (#36991766) Attached to: Harnessing Interference For Faster Wireless Data

As an RF engineer, when I hear people mention the words simple and radio in the same sentence I smile inwardly and anticipate a project that gets to the desperation phase more rapidly than usual without any design input to allow it for tuning the performance of each circuit block.

In short, radio is never as simple as you think it is.

Comment: eBooks and paper books (Score 1) 283

by Brian the Bold (#36855372) Attached to: I get most of my books...

I buy my books as paper, but then I often go and find an non-DRM eBook of the same thing, that way I have paid the author for what I read and I can have a copy on my PC and my eReader without spending additional money on the same thing.

I don't see this as in any way problematic, I don't pass on the eBooks to anyone else.

Comment: GMT is named for something (Score 1) 554

by Brian the Bold (#35266668) Attached to: UK Government Wants to Spring Ahead Two Hours

And that something is the Greenwich meridian, which is in the east of the UK, so most of the country is west of this line.

Now this change wants to bring us into line with countries that are either mainly east of the meridian or sufficiently far south that they see more winter daylight than we do.

It's a bad idea, it was tried in WW2 and also from 1968-1971, and it was unpopular and unwanted then.

Why we're going down this path again I really don't know.


Comment: Re:Causes interference to licensed spectrum users (Score 1) 120

by Brian the Bold (#34774606) Attached to: Smart Grid Brings Powerline Broadband Back?

Well remember that amateur spectrum is allocated via the ITU and international treaties, so it isn't within Ofcom's power to just take it away without a major consultation exercise and then obtaining resolutions at the next WRC. If they tried to do it unilaterally then there would be a lot of flak to deal with.

Remember that the new UK government is intending to change Ofcom's remit, I doubt they will have enough manpower to deal with all of this while their whole raison d'etre is being changed under them.

Comment: Re:Causes interference to licensed spectrum users (Score 1) 120

by Brian the Bold (#34768214) Attached to: Smart Grid Brings Powerline Broadband Back?

I see above a link to the Ofcom FAQ. As usual this is a bit disingenous, where it states that they have not found any breach of the essential requirements of the EMC Regulations, what they fail to state is that in all the tests that have been conducted by independent test houses the peak level of emissions is >30dB above the EN55022 Class B limits, which is a strange definition of EMC compliant in my book.

Ofcom is a politically motivated body, and it doesn't want to rock the boat with the EU and brand PLT devices as illegal in the UK because that would affect european trade and the supply of "harmonised" goods.

The PLT regulation process via the CISPR committee has totally failed, it has not been possible to agree limits that simultaneously allow the PLT devices to work as desired and to meet accepted EMC limits that have been enforced for decades. This process is being restarted, but is likely to be gerrymandered by the European Commission to allow existing non-compliant devices to be sold.

EMC engineers are up in arms about this, if the approach being used were to be extended to other standards then you can forget ever having interoperating non-interfering RF-based systems ever again, ultimately sense might prevail but only after all our wide area systems had been crippled by wideband interference.

We can only hope that this sort of wired networking is out-evolved by other technologies and dies a natural death. Otherwise it's going to be a train wreck.

Comment: Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (Score 1) 106

by Brian the Bold (#33252426) Attached to: Vodafone Backs Down In Row With Android Users

Well, that's as maybe, but in this case I found that the cost of a SIM free Desire and then 2 years of a SIM only contract was about 180 GBP more than the cost of a 2 year contract plus a Desire from Vodafone.

When I bought the phone, before signing on the dotted line I asked specifically about the branding aspect of the software and was told that it was essentially unbranded but with one "scene" (home screen wallpaper/icon/layout) that was not even set as the default. I was also told that Vodafone would not be changing this in the future, the staff in the Vodafone shop also told me that they disliked the heavily branded phones because an increasing percentage of their customers were telling them that this would be a deal-breaker for them.

In addition to this, a joint press release from HTC and Vodafone at 3GSM stated clearly that only the HTC Legend was going to have the Vodafone 360 applications on it by default because it was seen as a "differentiated experience" and was not being treated like the other HTC Android phones.

There is also the small matter in the UK of the Sale and Supply of Goods Act which states that goods must be fit for purpose and of merchantable quality, this means that a firmware update that badly affects the function of the phone as this one did will form part of the reason why it can be rejected and the vendor expected to sort out the mess they have caused.

Luckily for me, I did not apply the update because I read about the disaster before my phone notified me of the update. I also knew that an Android version increment will mean a major version increment of the software, as soon as I saw that this was still a 1.x version I knew that it wasn't Froyo!

So, Vodafone have contradicted their stance at sale time, and they are not allowed to do that when the information given at the time formed part of the contract of sale. The phone actually becomes the purchaser's property immediately, the contract is for airtime, and while it may recover the subsidy on the phone it does not mean that the network still owns the hardware with the exception of the SIM card.

This is an important victory, but there will need to be some vigilance to ensure that they don't try to roll the 360 apps into any future Froyo bug fix releases, in fact the simple solution is one that has already been taken, putting the Vodafone 360 apps in the Android Market for those that want them and then they can be removed without needing root access.

Comment: Re:Project to replace the proprietary codec (Score 2, Informative) 282

by Brian the Bold (#32752102) Attached to: France Says D-Star Ham Radio Mode Is Illegal

Yes, this is really the big issue, how to get digital modes where everything is open. After all the point of amateur radio is the self-training aspect of building and operating equipment.

The AMBE codec is proprietary and cannot even be reverse-engineered as the protocol and format itself is protected by patents.

Radio amateurs should abandon it (the performance is fairly poor too) and replace it with something that complies with the spirit of the licence.

Do please go and donate some money to David Rowe, it's better than giving it to Icom and losing your freedom.


Planned Nuclear Reactors Will Destroy Atomic Waste 344

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-where-will-we-get-our-superheroes dept.
separsons writes "A group of French scientists are developing a nuclear reactor that burns up actinides — highly radioactive uranium isotopes. They estimate that 'the volume of high-level nuclear waste produced by all of France’s 58 reactors over the past 40 years could fit in one Olympic-size swimming pool.' And they're not the only ones trying to eliminate atomic waste: Researchers at the University of Texas in Austin are working on a fusion-fission reactor. The reactor destroys waste by firing streams of neutrons at it, reducing atomic waste by up to 99 percent!"

Only great masters of style can succeed in being obtuse. -- Oscar Wilde Most UNIX programmers are great masters of style. -- The Unnamed Usenetter