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Comment: Re:Sweet F A (Score 1) 576

I don't think that to us, the sight of a space ship from another world would be such a shock as, say, a portable generator, DVD player and flat screen TV would be to people in the 16th century. We have historical records, so we know how technology has advanced during the past few centuries and assume that it will continue during the next few centuries. Assuming that we don't wipe ourselves out, which I think is much more likely than interstellar visitors.

We already know how to build rudimentary space ships. We just need a better drive system which may or may not be possible.....

Comment: Re:Sweet F A (Score 1) 576

I am quite sure that if you went back 500 years and took modern technology with you, it would look quite "godlike" to those people.

I don't think I'd recommend a 500 year jump. You'd likely find yourself burning on a large stake, or drowning in the nearest body of water. OTOH it would be fun to go back and take Henry Ford for a spin in a GT40 or a Shelby Mustang. He and the other people around at the time would understand the engineering principles so you'd be perfectly safe.

Comment: It also depends on the fuel (Score 1) 403

by flightmaker (#48091243) Attached to: Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines

Firstly, I use petrol.

I now avoid all supermarket fuel, since the last time I bought a tank full (not saying where) that drove like all the staff had pissed into it and I really thought the poor car was going to give up and break down on it. Until then, mileage per gallon seemed to vary from tank full to tank full, suggesting to me that quality varies, so now I avoid the stuff altogether.

What surprised me recently, though, was that when I filled my 2003 Honda Jazz at a particular station on the way home from a weekend visit to a friend, and started driving off after resetting the trip counter as usual, the mpg indicator immediately started showing a far higher number than usual. So, I tried driving for economy for the rest of the 20 or so miles journey home which has a variety of level and hills, and when I got home it had done 64.5 miles per imperial gallon. What the hell was going on? I usually get more like 47 or 48 mpg.

I can only assume that the tanker driver accidentally dumped the "good stuff" super unleaded into the ordinary unleaded tank, because last weekend I purposely bought the more expensive super unleaded (again I'm not saying which brand) and achieved exactly the same mpg on the way home. If this is consistent, it's actually worth buying the more expensive grade of fuel to get the extra mpg.

My friend who has a 2005 Jazz is going to try the same experiment with the same fuel from the same filling station to do the same journey. We'll see!

My very limited experiment of three tanks of fuel also suggests that you get more mpg with the fuel from one brand than from others. So, I know what I'm buying in future.

Comment: What a total load of bollocks! (Score 1) 478

At 55 years old I'm one of the youngest members of my walking club.

The guy I maybe admire most (although I would never tell him that!) is 75 years old now, and goes striding up hills that would defeat many 20 year olds. Most of the members are retirees, and absolutely loving and living life to the full.

Life is partly reaping what you sow, partly luck.

If you eat crap, smoke, don't exercise, you can look forward to a miserable and early death. If your parents taught you to cook, and instilled in you enjoyment of exercise and the great outdoors rather than sitting on a fat arse in front of a games console eating chips and burgers, then you're off to a flying start.

On the other hand, you can be just plain unlucky. My wife started developing MND at maybe 45, and suffocated to death at 50.

The lady customer of 92 who I drove to her home last week, after a holiday to the USA, is a little slow these days and has to use a walking stick to get around, but I hope that at 92 my mind is still as sharp as hers is today. Will I still be able to code in C++? Who can tell?

Looking on the bright side, I have a photo of my great grandfather who, also at 92, was looking very dapper, dressed up in his suit, out in the countryside with his bicycle. He got it exactly right - he went to bed one night, slept peacefully, and didn't wake.

Don't expect and look forward to death, be good to yourself and with good luck, look forward to a long and fulfilling life.

Comment: Re:35mm film (Score 1) 635

by flightmaker (#47789977) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

I've got some Fuji Provia 400 and Velvia 50 in the the back of the fridge, in 120 roll format. I keep promising myself that I'll get it out one day and run it through my Bronica. Load the finished film into slide carriers and project it for the ultimate image quality. So long as you can tolerate some inevitable dust contamination nothing else comes close.

Unless anybody here uses large format?

Comment: Good! (Score 3, Interesting) 113

by flightmaker (#47495095) Attached to: Domain Registry of America Suspended By ICANN

It's always nice to get at least one item of good news in a day. I guess this is it.

I've also had the snail mailed fake invoices from them, which I can only suppose is an illegal use of the whois database. I guess their strategy is to land these on the desks of overworked administrators who are more likely than me to rubber stamp them and pass them along for payment. Me? I always put them in the shredder.

Why did it take so long? I really don't know. Why is it not a permanent shut down? Don't know that either, but at least they're shut down for now.

Comment: Either..... (Score 1) 501

As another contributor suggested, build everything from reinforced concrete. That way, there's no lengths of timber for the violent winds to tear off and fling around as deadly missiles in the first place. Also, perhaps some wind tunnel research could help with tornado resistance.

Or, just build underground! Yes it initially costs more, but surely it's better to have property that you only need to build once rather than risk having it destroyed by weather. I bet the insurance would be damned cheap too compared to conventional building. Climate control is also going to be far easier and cheaper - anybody who's ever visited a show cave knows that the temperature stays almost constant throughout the year.

As for the person who suggested the tornado wall, there are special places for people who are this confused......

Comment: Re:I'm surprised (Score 2) 14

by flightmaker (#47254817) Attached to: Researchers Outline Spammers' Business Ecosystem

Me too, especially when the tossers keep sending six messages the same in one day. They totally loose all feasibility. There's always somebody there though who's stupid enough to click the link otherwise we wouldn't all be suffering.

We could probably put a good dent in illegal drug sales such as fake Viagra by randomly putting detection dogs in post delivery offices and prosecuting anybody caught ordering the crap.

Comment: Re:But what do you want to DO? (Score 1) 172

by flightmaker (#46937707) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Beginner To Intermediate Programming Projects?

You're asking the wrong question. Programming isn't an end in itself, it's a means to an end.

"But what do you want to DO?" THAT is the correct question, IMHO.

Followed up by the correct statement. Computers are there to quickly and accurately do the repetitive donkey-work that we humans don't have the time or patience to do. Programmers enable computers to do this tiresome work.

Since I last got made redundant from an engineering job I've busied myself on two little projects for myself, because I've always loved to code and get stuff to work that others would have no idea about, even though I got sick of doing it for others.

Project 1 - software that gets kicked off by cron on my server every night, to send me by email reminders to do stuff on time. Works really well, the way I want it to.

Project 2 - to take a (sometimes cleaned up by using gpsprune) GPX format track file from my Garmin and analyse it to determine the exact distance I've walked or cycled, altitude gained and lost, and estimate the calories I burned during the exercise. This one is also working well, but I'm not certain of some of the parameters I built into it so I'm trying to find somebody knowledgeable about exercise science who can advise me on this.

So, what I'm saying is, find something that you do in everyday life that does or could generate a significant quantity of data to crunch and raises in your mind a "what if" question. Or, as somebody else suggested, do something with an arduino that you're curious about. I've always thought it might be nice to build an accurate outdoor thermometer, possibly using four terminal measurement with a platinum sensor. This would involve the use of hardware timers and interrupt service routines to take readings at regular intervals, and perhaps operate a multiplexed LED display.

If you find something like this to work on, that interests you in the first place and will perform a useful function after completion, the motivation will be there and success more likely.

Comment: Stop using passwords (Score 0) 169

by flightmaker (#46817083) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can We Create a Culture of Secure Behavior?

It's high time we stopped using the term 'password'. Those in the know realise by now that a word or words is no good.

I'd like to suggest replacing the term with 'passcode'. For those who still use passwords, it might encourage them to cease and desist. Or maybe not, but it would surely be worth a try.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.