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Comment One big file-sharing ISP that won't be turned... (Score 3, Interesting) 309

Janet, the Joint Academic Network, that connects all the UK universities, colleges, schools etc. has a strict policy against content-filtering - partly because it's against the ethos of an academic network and partly because they're bright enough to realise that it wouldn't work:

there is no centrally imposed filtering of web, e-mail or other content provided by the network; indeed, such filtering would be ineffective as the network provides many possible routes to bypass any solution implemented at a single point.

Bearing in-mind that most academic institutions use Janet for their student's Internet access, and most file-sharers are in the 18-25 age group, and something like 45% of 18-25 year olds go to university...

Comment Re:Seems just as safe as ever... (Score 1) 1148

Eh?! Any internal combustion engine will benefit from turbocharging, simply because packing more air into the engine allows more fuel to be burnt. Whether the engine has a throttle plate or not is irrelevant - even at light throttle the intake air being at positive pressure helps increase the VE of a petrol engine. As for 'a little bit more power' - the BMW M12 Formula 1 turbo engine (probably the epitome of competition turbos, at least on ultimate power output) - 1.5 litres, 1,300bhp (cf. production 1.5l petrol engine approx. 100bhp, competition 1.5l naturally aspirated petrol engine approx. 200-250bhp and very peaky).

Comment Re:what progress? (Score 1) 769

Yup, it's a shame that the vast majority of commercial power generation reactors are water cooled, primarily because most of the early design work in nuclear power reactors (in the US and USSR at least) was led by Naval interests wanting reactors suitable for vessel propulsion. Gas cooled reactors have their own issues but are far less likely to suffer a core meltdown due to loss of coolant than a water cooled reactor.

Apple Releases IOS 4.3 Beta To Developers 101

m2pc writes "Apple has just released iOS 4.3 beta to developers. New features include: Developer access to AirPlay API, Four and Five-finger gestures, and the return of the hardware orientation lock for iPad, a feature that upset many when Apple suddenly removed this feature with no software option to re-enable it. Also interesting to note is the lack of mention of the Mobile Hotspot feature rumored to be included in 4.3 for all iOS devices by the Verizon announcement yesterday."

Comment Re:Vendors (Score 1) 313

Yup, and I'm old enough to remember the multi-page article in Byte (from when it was great) on the move to kernel mode drivers in NT4 and the ramifications of said move. As I recall the gist of the article was that Microsoft was being brave/foolish compromising the stability of NT for the sake of graphics performance, particularly on NT Server.

Comment 'Adventures with Electronics' (Score 1) 301

Most of my generation (late 30's/early 40's) in the UK started out with Tom Duncan's excellent book, Adventures with Electronics. It's definitely old school - transistors, resistors, capacitors and (from memory) one project which used a small 3-pin IC in a radio receiver. No logic devices and definitely no PLCs. There's a follow-up, Adventures with Microelectronics and (after my time) a third book, Adventures with Digital Electronics. To me the great thing about the book was that it's divided into projects which you can just dive into - you don't need to follow the book sequentially, although it will help your understanding if you do. Every project had a written description of how it works, circuit diagrams, a layout to build it on an 'S-Dec' (solderless prototyping board) and ideas to change, improve, modify the circuit. Using the S-Dec for prototyping made it very easy to swap components to see what effect that had on the circuit's operation. All the components used were (are?) standard, unlike a lot of kits which involved daisy-chaining together proprietary modules. For a basic grounding in electronics you can't go far wrong and my son will definitely be getting my old copy and component box when he's old enough.

My advice would be to start with the basics of analogue circuits (as in the book above) and get a grounding in these things before you get into digital electronics. I have a friend who is an EE in mobile communications, at the moment 3G hardware, and he's always commenting on the lack of analogue/RF skills in the more recent EE graduates, who focus on digital. Which is good for him, as his skillset is much in demand. I'd agree with the two posters who mentioned audio/hi-fi and ham radio - hi-fi is more immediately practical in that you can make big amps etc. but there's nothing like VHF/UHF/microwave for teaching good construction skills.

Have fun and don't get too addicted to the smell of hot solder.

AC :)

Comment Re:Ham radio is truly dead... (Score 1) 114

Troll. Since when was ham radio all about providing disaster comms? It's about radio - the electronics of the transceivers, the physics of propagation, the engineering of masts and antenna (not to forget microwave transceivers, which seems as much to do with precision mechanical engineering as electronics) and add in the mix a bit of old-fashioned social interaction by talking with people. It's a hobby, nothing more, nothing less and as hobbies go, a pretty benign one at that. BTW - I'm not a ham, so no woodwork to crawl out of.

Using EMP To Punch Holes In Steel 165

angrytuna writes "The Economist is running a story about a group of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology in Chemnitz, Germany, who've found a way to use an EMP device to shape and punch holes through steel. The process enjoys advantages over both lasers, which take more time to bore the hole (0.2 vs. 1.4 seconds), and by metal presses, which can leave burrs that must be removed by hand."

iPhone-Controlled Helicopter With AR Games 51

andylim writes "Parrot has unveiled a remote-controlled helicopter that boasts augmented reality games. The helicopter is controlled using an iPhone or iPod Touch's accelerometer and touchscreen. There's a camera on the front of the helicopter, which you can use to navigate and to play augmented reality games, including a game that involves fighting a gigantic robot."

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