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DARPA Wants Atlas Robot To Go Wireless

Grench Wireless - does that also mean autonomous? (19 comments)

So operating the robot wirelessly - will that mean it is completely self-contained? By which I mean, does the robot's shell contain all of the computer control / decision-making equipment it needs to operate and move around, or will this equipment remain on separate hardware, transmitting commands wirelessly to a much smaller "movement control" system on-board?

Just wondering if cutting the cords means that the robot could simply be told "go and explore your environment", with the decision-making on where to go, how to get there, how to move to overcome obstacles X, Y and Z (i.e. step over, walk around, duck under, etc), without damaging itself or causing injury to humans, all being performed on-board with no external input (power or control).

about a week ago

Google Throws Microsoft Under Bus, Then Won't Patch Android Flaw

Grench Re:Makes sense. (629 comments)

I just asked my 2012 Nexus 7 tablet to check for updates. I've done this numerous times since Android 5 came out.

It says I'm up to date. That, of course, is false. From this I conclude Google has abandoned me, and I will not be buying another Android device.

My Nexus 7 2012 (WiFi only) just got updated from 5.0 to 5.0.2 the other day, as an over-the-air update. It will happen, just it sometimes takes a little while - I have no idea why.

about two weeks ago

Tesla vs. Car Dealers: the Lobbyist Went Down To Georgia

Grench Re:I'm shocked, SHOCKED! (190 comments)

Traditional dealerships make their living on repairs/maintenance and electric cars just don't require that much of either

While the internal combustion engine, gearbox, and fuel tank may not exist on an electric car, they do still have mechanical components that will still need replacement... shocks, springs, anti-roll bars / droplinks, track rod ends, bushes, brake discs / pads / calipers, etc.

Electrical/electronic components wear and need replacing - fuses and wiring can become damaged or faulty through issues like water ingress. Which also means things like your water drainage needs to work, and your door / window / sunroof seals may need to be replaced. Your key (or keyless ignition system) may fail, with the key needing to be reprogrammed for your Tesla. You might lose your key and need a new one.

Teslas still have tyres; some people go to their dealer for tyres, rather than going to tyre places. Hell, even alloy wheels can get buckled if you hit a decent-sized pothole.

That's all stuff that's common between electric cars and combustion engine cars. The electric motors, the charging circuit, etc, may need to be replaced or repaired. Something as simple as a damaged charging socket would ruin your day and need fixing too.

If a chain of dealerships started carrying Teslas or other electric cars, they'd still manage to make as much money (if not more!) from repairs, servicing, and maintenance as they would from petrol/diesel/LPG models.

about three weeks ago

NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration

Grench Re: And Yet; (200 comments)

Those would be Shetland ponies. i.e. ponies from the Shetland Isles, north of Scotland.

about a month and a half ago

Sony To Take On Netflix With Playstation Vue

Grench Cue legal action from a UK cinema chain (130 comments)

There's a cinema chain here in the UK called "Vue"; they have over 80 cinemas as far south as Plymouth to as far north as Inverness. And those are just the ones with Vue branding - they own cinema chains across Europe under different trading names. I wonder if they're thinking of rebranding them all Vue right about now... They have the right to, and hell, I might be tempted to, if I was in their position.

I can't see them permitting an online streaming movie product (in the UK, at least) under that name, without at least getting some revenue from Sony for the name, or without being beaten down by Sony lawyers in a bitter dispute. Possibly pan-European, if they did suddenly decide "all of our cinemas are going to be called Vue now".

Also, echoing what others have said - forget trying to compete with Netflix (or whatever Amazon's LoveFilm service is called these days) unless your product can:

1) work in a web browser on any platform, like Netflix
2) have a wider selection of media than Netflix
3) offer this choice for less money than Netflix

It's just pissing money into the wind if they don't make a product that meets all three of the above goals. Sony knows how to make a lot of money from home entertainment, but they know how to lose a lot too.

about 3 months ago

MicroxWin Creates Linux Distribution That Runs Debian/Ubuntu & Android Apps

Grench Re:Android on my pi? (42 comments)

Ah, my mistake. Hopefully it won't be too long before there is no more reliance on a closed-source blob though.

about 6 months ago

MicroxWin Creates Linux Distribution That Runs Debian/Ubuntu & Android Apps

Grench Re:Android on my pi? (42 comments)

Broadcom have open-sourced the chip used on the Pi now (as I recall, this is including the source for the Videocore GPU); I think that was always the RPi Foundation's intention, but it's only recently made it through the legal processes.

Folk are working on Android for the Pi - it is coming. Personally, I hope this distro gets ported to the Pi, because having a full Debian instance, with the ability to run Android apps within a window (much like Wine does for Windows applications within Linux), gives users the best of both worlds.

about 6 months ago

Linksys Resurrects WRT54G In a New Router

Grench Re:Cost? (310 comments)

As a network engineer, I'd just like to say that I wish I got $100/hr :(

1 year,23 days

Scientology's Fraud Conviction Upheld In France

Grench Re:Still (321 comments)

Who said I had a skyfairy at all?

I get fed up of all the idiots crawling out of the woodwork and talking crap. I strongly suspect the troll I replied to has never been out of his/her home country, to anywhere there is a different culture, meeting people, or seeing how anyone else but them lives. I've been through the Middle East (can't claim to have visited the UAE or Kuwait, but have been through the airports in both countries) and have spent a combined period of several months visiting Indonesia, not the tourist areas, or staying in hotels, but living in normal folks' houses as a guest and spending time with them.

Anyone is entitled to believe in any God (or pantheon of Gods) they want. They can believe their religion is the only true religion if they want; religion is about faith, after all. I'm just sick of people who put down other people based on their ill-informed, prejudiced view of things. You want to write about someone's culture/religion in a critical manner, you'd better actually see how those people live or practise their religions first.

about a year ago

Scientology's Fraud Conviction Upheld In France

Grench Re:Still (321 comments)

Oh, piss off. If you're too stupid to differentiate between the religion and the extremist interpretation of the religion, then I really pity you. I'm also shocked that this has been modded *UP* rather than down as "troll" or "flamebait".

Scientology is, as has already been pointed out, a cult started by a Sci-Fi author who wanted to make a lot of money. Islam is a religion, and there are millions of truly faithful Muslims out there who are every bit as peaceful in their daily life as the millions of truly faithful Christians (or Hindus, or Buddhists, or Sikhs, or followers of x y or z other faiths).

Just in the same way most Irish weren't involved in blowing up each other / the British during the height of the Troubles (note this was a war about the difference between the two main groups of Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism) and about occupation/independence, and *nobody* was saying shit back then about "all Christians are terrorists".

Those who blow themselves and other people up while claiming they're doing it in the name of Islam are idiots, and are delusional. The average suicide bomber has been brainwashed into it by the sorts of horrific people (i.e. Osama Bin Laden / Al Qaeda and other like-minded organizations) who recognize the power of religious belief and exploit that to their own ends - i.e. money and power. That's what it comes down to, not religion. If they can recruit young and impressionable enough people, and present themselves to these people as priests and clerics, and preach to them that God will reward them if they commit these acts, then it's far more likely to succeed then just placing a wanted ad for soldiers.

TL:DR version - I think you're an idiot - "terrorist" and "muslim" are not interchangeable terms.

about a year ago

Myst Creators Announce Obduction

Grench Re:It's called Solitaire (103 comments)

Hitchhiker's had a bastard of a puzzle too, the infamous Babel Fish puzzle, where you literally could not complete the game without solving it. Had my brother and I stuck for many years. Tried many different combinations of where to put the satchel, where to put the dressing gown, where to put the junk mail, etc. Damn fish kept getting stolen by various types of cleaning robot (including an airborne one).

Eventually managed to solve it and complete the game, but when I went back to the game again recently, I couldn't for the life of me remember how I solved it the last time.

Apparently, Infocom eventually started selling t-shirts that said "I GOT THE BABEL FISH".

about a year ago

Eben Upton Muses on the Raspberry Pi, Scratch and, His Love For Parallela

Grench Re:I'd like to see his thoughts on... (71 comments)

Useless? Nope. It's not exactly a stellar performer, but it has a lot of uses. Remember, it's designed as an educational product, rather than as a PC replacement. It is not as powerful as your average desktop PC. But it is not useless.

My own Pi runs Samba4 (it's an Active Directory domain controller for my home Windows PC network, and runs a DNS service), it runs CUPS (for network printer sharing), it runs CrashPlan (for backing up my other PCs' data), and it runs the LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) stack so that it can run some dynamic web-based services - the ones I use are Cacti and Observium (for graphing/monitoring my Cisco devices), and Horde Webmail/Groupware.

This is exactly what I used to use an old AMD Sempron box for. Granted, that AMD box was free, and more powerful - but it's bigger, noisier, makes more heat, and consumes more power than the Pi does.

I think the Pi is a fantastic project. It would be nice to see a more powerful ARM CPU and extra RAM on the next version of the board, but I'd be just as happy to see Ethernet being separated from the USB bus, and a SATA connector with the option to set your Pi up to boot from a hard drive out of the box (note that mine does run off a USB hard drive, but it still has to use the MicroSD card as a bootstrap - a SATA controller could also mean faster I/O throughput).

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Enterprise Level Network Devices For Home Use?

Grench A bit biased here... (241 comments)

I've always run with Cisco gear at work, so I figured, why not run with Cisco gear at home? Price is only a concern if you're buying new, and even when most people buy new, they don't buy at list price - they find a gold-certified reseller who can offer them up to 60% off Cisco list prices. Me? I bought most of my kit off eBay.

My own current setup is:

1x Cisco 1841 router with EHWIC-1ADSL for my broadband connection (this card supports ADSL2+)
1x Cisco Aironet AIR-AP1231G-E-K9 for wireless
1x Cisco Catalyst WS-C2940-8TT-S for a switch

The router was £60 off eBay. The WIC was £40 off eBay.
The switch was £40 off eBay. Sure, it's only a 100 Mbit/sec switch, but my internet connection is only around 10 Mbit/sec downstream. Works for me.
The wireless AP was £50 in a clearance sale from PCW Business - it was brand new in box.

If I'd bought an 1801, it'd have had an ADSL2+ interface built-in, but I wanted a router with a couple of WIC slots.

Total - £190. This ticks all the price boxes for me.

In terms of reliability - I've had the AP for a few years now and it's fine; the switch and router were more recent, and haven't let me down either. I've used all of these device types professionally for years (including in dirty warehouses, offshore oil platforms, and in Portakabins running off diesel generators), and have never had one fail yet, so I don't expect one to at home.

The 1841 isn't fanless, so it does make a small amount of noise, but it's not too bad (less noise than my peronal gaming desktop PC, but more noise than my Dell work laptop). It lives in my hallway next to the phone jack, so the noise doesn't annoy anyone. The 2940 switch and 1231 AP are fanless and run silently.

For server stuff, I've got a Raspberry Pi running Samba4 (for Active Directory), Cacti and Observium (for SNMP polling / graphing my Cisco kit), rsyslogd (for syslogging) and am currently pulling my hair out trying to get Horde Webmail to integrate authentication with LDAP. I also want to get a TACACS/RADIUS setup going.

about a year and a half ago

Arnold Schwarzenegger Will Be Back As the Terminator

Grench Re:Much awaited.. (245 comments)


Despite the events in the second film, the war would have happened anyway. Why? Because it did happen - in the future, there was Skynet and the war, and the terminators. Both sides sent back a soldier - one to kill Sarah Connor (in order to hasten the end of the war in the machine's side) and one to protect her (in order to ensure the human victory that would have been inevitable under John's leadership).

The second film had another assassination attempt - again, the machines knew they would lose because of John's leadership. John in the future sent the machine back to protect his younger self. Sarah Connor attempted to change the course of the future, but it was in vain - the only reason Miles Dyson and Cyberdyne Systems were working on the Terminator chip in the first place was because one had been sent back in time from when the war had started - this can't have happened if the war wasn't going to happen anyway. All the events of the first film did was change the start date of the war, and all the events of the second film did was reset the date back to the original one anyway - the day of the apocalypse as seen at the end of Terminator 3.

about a year and a half ago

Video Gamers See the World Differently

Grench Assassin's Creed (160 comments)

I know I see the world differently.

After playing through the first Assassin's Creed game, I'd find myself looking up at tall buildings, churches, etc. working out the best path to take for climbing up to the roof.

Never actually attempted to climb to the roof of any building - probably for the best; I hate heights.

about a year and a half ago

Pi to Go: Hot Raspberry Pi DIY Mini Desktop PC Project

Grench Re:Shitberry pi (134 comments)

I had these issues to begin with. But then I used a better power supply and these issues went away. The quality of the power supply unit really does affect how reliable your Pi is. I'm aware that the way they implemented USB power is far from ideal, but they have achieved the goal of producing a (quite surprisingly) powerful computer for $35.

Mine has been running for months with no downtime. It's a Samba4 domain controller, Horde groupware mailserver, DNS server, web server, SNMP poller (running Cacti), print server, and it runs Crashplan to automatically back up data from my family's PCs to an attached USB hard disk. I know I'm not the original target market for the Pi, but dammit I *like* mine, I think it's perfectly good at doing what it does for my needs, and I know I'm not using anywhere near its full capabilities (the GPU component of the Broadcomm SoC is supposed to be surprisingly powerful). It's also silent and draws very little power - which is why I used it to replace the old AMD Sempron box that was doing the same set of jobs previously.

Sure, it's not running the latest version of the ARM processor, or running the Ethernet connection independently from USB. But then if it did, it'd be larger and would cost more to build. Cut them some slack; they're doing something amazing - they're getting kids interested in how computers actually *work* instead of just using one to check their Facebook pages, and it's cheap enough that it doesn't really matter too much if they damage it.

about a year and a half ago

Vastly Improved Raspberry Pi Performance With Wayland

Grench Re:Who gives a shit about the raspberry pi? (259 comments)

Not sure if trolling, but I'll assume you're not (benefit of the doubt) and answer anyway.

HDMI-to-DVI and HDMI-to-VGA adapter cables mean you don't specifically need a monitor with HDMI input. The RPi has RGB outputs as well, so you can connect it to a TV (even if your TV only has a SCART input and not RGB, you can cheaply buy an RGB-to-SCART connector that will let you use the TV's SCART input).

You don't need a big memory card either, especially if you happen to have a spare external USB hard drive - you can have the RPi boot the bare essentials from the card and run everything else off the external disk.

about a year and a half ago

A Cold Look at Cold Fusion Claims: Why E-Cat Looks Like a Hoax

Grench Re:Sad legitimate researchers (426 comments)

What do you get if you sit under a cow?

A pat on the head.

about a year and a half ago

Sony Reveals More PS4 and Dual Shock 4 Details

Grench Re:Nuh uh (242 comments)

When DVDs came out, I didn't bitch that they weren't backwards compatible with what I already had.

Yes they were. CD's play just fine in them.

Yes, DVD players will play CDs.

But most people who switched up to a DVD player wanted to watch films, rather than listen to music. Let me know when you manage to get your DVD player to play VHS or Betamax tapes.

about 2 years ago



EA Admits SimCity Launch Was "Dumb"

Grench Grench writes  |  about 2 years ago

Grench (833454) writes "EA has apologised over its farcical launch of the long-awaited SimCity 5. Lucy Bradshaw, general manager for the SimCity franchise, wrote this on her blog:

"A lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played, and played in ways we never saw in the beta. OK, we agree that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it."

As compensation, all those who bought SimCity will be offered a free Electronics Arts PC game this month."

Link to Original Source

Google Gives 15,000 Raspberry Pi to UK Schools

Grench Grench writes  |  about 2 years ago

Grench (833454) writes "Search giant Google is providing funding to the Raspberry Pi Foundation to give 15,000 new Raspberry Pi Model B computers to schools all around the United Kingdom.

Google Giving's partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation is a significant investment in UK IT education; it is hoped this will help turn around the decline in UK school-leavers going on to study IT in colleges or universities.

15,000x Model B units at $35 each = $525,000

The Foundation's website also has an article on this news here: http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/3158"

Link to Original Source

Fallout 3-style "Nuclear Batteries" - A Reality?

Grench Grench writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Grench (833454) writes "The BBC have posted a story (here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8297934.stm) regarding the development of very small nuclear batteries, capable of storing "a million times as much charge as standard batteries". This could revolutionise mobile devices, and has potentially endless civil and military applications. Kudos to the University of Missouri!"



How I despair...

Grench Grench writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I work on an I.T. helpdesk for a major oil-sector company that you may have heard of.

Today I had a call from one of our users who wanted to report a problem with his DVD ReWriter. When I asked him "Is it an internal or an external drive?" he asked me "What's the difference between internal and external?"

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