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Comment Re:Old Idea (Score 1) 64

From TFA:

The air delivery vehicles to be developed by the program need to meet certain criteria. These include the ability to drop payloads of up to 3 lb (1.4 kg) within 10 m (33 ft) of a target landing spot and cover a lateral distance of over 150 km (93 mi) when released from a stationary balloon at 10,670 m (35,000 ft).

That would require a glide ratio of nearly 15:1 so a parachute (or even a paraglider) wouldn't quite do the job. I'm imagining it'll be something like a self steering mini hangglider or sailplain.

Of course being unpowered the aircraft's range will depend on wind direction (it won't get as far flying into a head-wind). The one thing I am curious about is how they are going to control the direction of the craft once launched if it truly is unpowered.

Comment New Top Gear (Score 1) 294

Netflix are also producing Clarkson, May and Hamond's new show. It won't be called Top Gear of course, the BBC still own the name, but it's being made by the original production crew and the same cast of course.

Personally I'm looking forward to the three way super-hybrid showdown (McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder, and Ferrari La Ferrari) which I've been informed will be filmed next month...

Disclosure: I don't work for Netflix but am friends with one of the ex Top Gear staff.

Comment Re:Roll your own (Score 1) 107

If you're hosting from home then your internet connection will more likely be the bottleneck. Having said that I'd recommend using an old laptop, they tend to be quieter than a desktop, draw less power and they also have a built in UPS. You can get a 3 year old laptop with 2GB RAM and a broken screen for next to nothing.

Comment Re:The NSA fallout here is astonishing (Score 0) 236

Of course the USA isn't the centre of the universe, by its own definition it's in the west.

It always makes me laugh how such an arbitrary way of designating parts of our planet gives Americans such a boner. If the first empire building map makers had come from the US, then Europe would be considered East and China would be considered West. It's also ironic that Americans love to think themselves above their European forefathers* but they still hang on to (their own version of) 'Imperial' measurements and they still think of the world as having Europe/Greenwich at the centre.

Maybe that's why they are such warmongers. Maybe they feel like a young bird, thrown out of the nest before it was ready and now eager to prove how great and powerful it has become.

* This may or may not be true, the important bit is that this is the impression others have of America.

Comment Re:Linux Mint gets it right. (Score 1) 155

They also haven't had to take the laptop back to the shop in weeks to get the malware cleaned out again and they haven't lost about an hour of every week waiting for windows to reboot after installing updates.

Of the dozens of friends computers I've fixed over the years, 99% of them have only really cared about a web browser, Skype, a basic office suit "where they haven't moved all the stuff I always use", a media player, a torrent client and maybe an email client.

All of them, save Skype, come pre-installed on any mainstream Linux distro. Skype takes about 5 minutes to install through the Mint software manager so I usually show the end user as I install it. The usual response is " I don't have to download it then? That's much easier...".

I had to re-install Windows 8 for my brother the other day, it took nearly 2 days by the time I'd installed drivers and Windows had finished installing updates and patches. Directly after install I had to find drivers for WiFi, the onboard video card and bluetooth, none of them worked (video was stuck at 1024x768 or similar). The manufacturer website couldn't tell me exactly what hardware was in the box so I had to Google the Windows equivalent of lspci, I didn't fancy installing some third party tool from a random website I'd never heard of so instead I booted off a Linux live disk to find out.

The same process on Linux (if I install a 3 year old LTS release from scratch and then install all available updates) takes about 2-3hrs depending on the speed of the computer and/or internet connection. Most of the time hardware works out of the box (it certainly did on the above mentioned box), if drivers or tweaking is required to get stuff working, the time spent is certainly less than the AGE that Windows takes to update.

All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy.