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David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

EnglishTim Re:Old git speaking here... (942 comments)

The thing is, I'm not sure the vast majority of people do still use those imperial units. UK schools have taught in metric units for the last 40 years, and all food and drink (with the exception of draught beer and cider) has had to sold with metric labelling for the last 20 years. I'm 41, and although I have a good idea of what an inch and a foot is, I have no particularly intuitive feeling for a pound or an ounce, so I always have to the mental conversion to grams or kilograms first, and I grew up at a time when imperial measured labelling was more common.

about 2 months ago

David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

EnglishTim Re:This is not government policy (942 comments)

The thing I find interesting is that David Cameron is probably among the last set of people in the UK to have been taught any imperial measures in school - in fact he would have been eight years old in 1974 when using metric units in schools became compulsory, so it's possible he could have been taught both imperial and metric (Unless private schools were exempt from such rules, I guess).

Certainly anyone aged 44 or under in the UK will have grown up with the metric system in school.

about 2 months ago

Watch UK Inventor Colin Furze Survive a Fireworks Blast In a Metal Suit

EnglishTim Re:But it failed (54 comments)

Yeah, that bit was pretty alarming. Imagine being encased in that suit, unable to move your arms and suddenly a spark gets in and sets your clothes or hair on fire. I'd be interested to know if he had any kind of alarm he could press to get people to run in with extinguishers and the like.

about 3 months ago

Switching Game Engines Halfway Through Development

EnglishTim Not a planning issue in this case. (127 comments)

There are several comments suggesting that they had simply planned badly at the start of the project, which had resulted in a bad engine choice.

He actually mentions it in the article; Unreal Engine 4 only became available at a feasible price when they had started the project.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

EnglishTim FaceTime (194 comments)

It's a nice idea, but it requires the calling party to have a Mac or iOS device to call in from. I would have thought they need a solution that would support PC users as well.

about 4 months ago

UK Computing Student Jailed After Failing To Hand Over Crypto Keys

EnglishTim Re:Seems appropriate (353 comments)

To be fair, in the US they'd have just charged you with a bunch of more serious crimes as well, which they'd offer to drop if you plead guilty for the one they wanted you for.

about 5 months ago

How To Find Nearby Dark Skies, No Matter Where You Are

EnglishTim England is pretty bright (55 comments)

Looking at the map in the UK, the vast majority of England is coded yellow or worse (5.6 - 6.0 - suburban sky). In some places you can can get green coded (6.1 - 6.5 - suburban / rural transition), and there's only four areas coded blue (6.6 - 7.0, rural), which are along the border with Scotland, a chunk of Cornwall, a very small bit of the North Norfolk coast at Wells-next-the-sea, and a bit at the border with Wales. Wales in general fares better with some proper dark places through the central and western of the country, as does Scotland in the highlands and along the border with England. Northern Ireland has a few spots of 'blue' in the north and southwest of the country.

Anyway, for me a it's a little disappointing - It'd be many hours drive to get to anywhere rated 'blue' or darker, and over an hour to get to the only place in the whole of the southeast rated 'green'.

about 7 months ago

Rolls Royce Developing Drone Cargo Ships

EnglishTim Re:and what about the welfare for the people autom (216 comments)

Just because occupations have popped up to replace these lost jobs in the past doesn't mean that they will in the future.

As machines become more and more capable, they can accomplish more and more of the things that previously only people could do, and will presumably tend towards being able to do anything a human could do. As we get closer to that point, it's quite possible there will be increasingly large sections of the population who find themselves effectively unemployable as there's very little they can do that cannot be done more cheaply by a machine.

It's nice to think that the new occupations will pop up to give us all something to do, but I think to believe that is basically an article of faith. I don't see any evidence that suggests it's guaranteed.

about 9 months ago

GameFace: Making a Virtual Reality Android Headset

EnglishTim It looks like it's using Oculus optics (14 comments)

The cups holding the lenses look *exactly* the same as the ones used in the Oculus Rift devkit. I guess it makes a lot of sense to use them in the prototyping stage.

about 9 months ago

Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July

EnglishTim Re:*Shrug* (304 comments)

From what I remember of the process it involves getting Kindle reader for PC, and then cracking the DRM on that. And what's Kindle Reader for PC based on? Adobe DRM.

Perhaps there's a better way now that cracks open the files directly on the device.

about 10 months ago

30 Minutes Inside Valve's Prototype Virtual Reality Headset

EnglishTim You can get a taste of it with Kinect + Oculus (59 comments)

I've been experimenting with using the Kinect for body positioning - allowing you to walk around a virtual room by walking around a real one. There are two big problems: First, the fidelity of the Kinect isn't great, so positioning is a bit inaccurate and gets jumpy with distance. Second, I had to make a cord bundle extension to give me room to walk about and you're always worried about tripping over it.

about 10 months ago

Is Europe's Recession Really Over?

EnglishTim Trouble in the UK (159 comments)

Recent figures suggesting (very) modest growth in the UK have been greeted with enthusiasm, but I still think as a country we're in trouble, and a big part of that I think is that wages have not in any way been keeping up with the huge rises in house prices over the last 20-30 years.

The government is encouraging banks to lend to house buyers by guaranteeing a portion of the mortgages, but it seems to me to just be encouraging another bubble.

The average full-time, permanent employee salary in the UK is around £24,500; the average house price is around £230,000 and rising; it'll be more in the South and less in the North, but even so, the average house price is nine times the average salary. It's just not sustainable.

about a year ago

USPS Logs All Snail Mail For Law Enforcement

EnglishTim Time for some SQL injection (324 comments)

... although it's probably a sufficiently old trick it won't work any more. :(

about a year ago

NTSB Recommends Lower Drunk Driving Threshold Nationwide: 0.05 BAC

EnglishTim Re:Incompatible (996 comments)

Is there any reason why you don't walk it? 1.6 miles is a pretty easy walk for an able-bodied person - it'd take about thirty minutes. Biking it would take a little under ten minutes.

about a year and a half ago

Google's Nexus 4, 7, 10 Strategy: Openness At All Costs

EnglishTim Re:Too much sacrifice for openness (359 comments)

don't think its hardware. power off and power fixes hardware bugs? in what universe do you live?

The software runs on the hardware. If there's a hardware fault, the software may run incorrectly and find itself in a corrupt state. Turning on and off would reset the software state, thereby (temporarily) fixing the problem.

In your case, what if there's a fault in the touch sensor controller? Perhaps there's a counter that gets incremented with each tick and one of the bits in it is faulty and won't flip. After a certain number of ticks the counter might effectively reset rather than increment, which could force the controller into an invalid state which might prevent it from sending any sensible values to the operating system. A hardware fault that causes a software failure.

about 2 years ago

Felix Baumgartner's Supersonic Skydive Attempt

EnglishTim Re:Hydrogen? (271 comments)

*heh* Nice troll.

more than 2 years ago

PETA Condemns Pokemon For Promoting Animal Abuse

EnglishTim Re:PETA kills more animals than anyone (418 comments)

I admit that it's possible that what they claim is true. However, given the record of the fast food, tobacco and alcohol industries of dishonesty when it suits their bottom line, I see no reason to consider that website a reliable source. Why would I? They have a history of dishonesty, why should I believe this is any different?

more than 2 years ago


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