Cheeseburger Gothic

F35 helmet

Posted February 25, 2015 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

I knew the HUD for the F35 was supposed to be something special, but I had no idea how special until I read this bit in the SMH this morning. In fact it seems so 'special' that you'd have to count it as a point of critical failure in the technology.

Every pilot has to be fitted up for his or her own bespoke model. No sharing. And if the thing malfunctions the plane is not taking off:

Pilots can visualise a 360-degree view to ascertain a multitude of threats and options. And virtual reality technology bestows a type of X-ray vision, enabling pilots to "look through" the floor of the cockpit as if the aircraft frame were transparent.

"The pilot sees a beautiful God's eye view of what's going on," US Air Force General Mike Hostage told the Breaking Defense website. "It's a stunning amount of information."

It takes a four-hour sitting, spread over two days, to custom fit a helmet. The optics package on the display visor must be lined up to within two millimeters of the exact centre of each of the pilots' pupils.

The fighter jet won't operate if the headgear is malfunctioning and unless the pilot is wearing their bespoke helmet.

And there are no spares. Each pilot is only issued with the one.

The helmets receive data from six electro-optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS) sensors which are located on the body of the plane.

31 Responses to ‘F35 helmet’

Murphy puts forth...

Posted February 25, 2015
As with all first gen tech, I suspect they'll refine this down into something more manageable. That said, the ability to look through the floor and look at your plane from a gamer behind the jet perspective seems to be pretty handy to the pilot.
Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Rhino mutters...

Posted February 25, 2015
Two is one.
One is none.

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Grand Admiral Thrawn asserts...

Posted February 25, 2015
while i think the tech is cool and with refinement it will be awesome. the platform they are pairing it with is a big draw back. the F-35 is a lemon of a "fighter", it will be out preformed by almost all current gen platforms in most categories. and its stealth is very poor in comparison to other stealth platforms out their and only get worse as "sensor" tech improves. it would be cool to see an application of this on a true interceptor or dog fighting fighter where it would really shine.

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 25, 2015
What are we basing this assessment on?

I have to be honest, a lot of the naysaying about the F-35 program sounds entirely too much like a lot of the naysaying about a number of weapons programs back in the Reagan Era. Not a night passed without some newsreport about some overpriced weapon sure to get our troops killed. Not that we cared about them because they were a bunch of uneducated, bottom of the barrel, babykilling wastes anyway.

I'm sharp enough not to buy everything that Lockheed and their partners are saying about the system but I don't think it is the flying lemon that detractors claim it is.

In fact, I suspect probably the only way to find out if the fighter is any good is to put it into combat.
Besides, outside of the F-22 Raptor, what other air superiority/multimission capable stealth platforms are available at all? Let alone for purchase? The Chinese are still having problems building reliable high power engines for their planes, relying on Russia to supply them. The Russians haven't had much luck with their planes. Near as I can tell, no one else is building them.
Now, you could make an argument that maybe you don't need a fifth gen fighter. Maybe it would be better to wait for a sixth gen, or just trying limp along with some fourth gen plus. After all, maybe some more Super Hornets are the way to go. I know folks in St. Louis at the other end of the state would be happy to build more of those for you.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches




Grand Admiral Thrawn swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 25, 2015
i`m up in Canada so our situation is a bit different than most. but here i go:
1 a single engine plane has inherit safety problems when flying over our vast frozen wasteland due to engine problems our last single engine figher proved deadly in this regaurd.

2 the sacrifices that were made to the control surfaces in the name of stealth has lowered its maneuverability to an unacceptable level in comparison to the 5th and 4.5 Gen fighters.

3 payload is reduced to internal bays unless you add pylons to the wings which reduce stealth capabilities.

4 stealth in as of its self is a high priced boondoggle that frankly isn`t worth as much as its made out to be. once you have a level of stealth on a plane it pretty much won`t get any better due to airframe wear and time. and it cost more to upgrade a planes stealth than use 1 and done stealthed JSM that can be fired from out side of enemy air defense thus eliminating the need for a stealth craft to penetrate air space most of the time. as well as the fact that air detection ``sensor`` technology is advancing at a faster pace than stealth tech can match thus making it likely that most stealth platforms wil not make much of a difference in most fights.

5 for canada i feel that the super hornet is a better buy that can be supplemented by a purchase of some growler ECM planes

those are just some of my thoughts on the f35, which i feel will be a shock to some countries if they go up against 4.5 or 5th non stealthed planes with and get shredded in a dog fight situation. but these are just my opinions from all the info i have seen on the F 35 heck, i could be wrong but i doubt it.

Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted February 25, 2015
Oh, because Canada has always purchased twin engine fighters.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadair_CF-104_Starfighter
Oops. Or maybe not.

I remember the venerable F-15 being referred to as a, "Hangar Queen," that was too expensive to risk. Gwynn Dyer, who hails from your fair land, didn't seem to impressed with it. Other pundits seemed sure the Soviet Migs would make mincemeat of it.

Got a pretty impressive combat record.

Anyway, I'm sure Canadians can convince themselves that given their location on the planet, they probably don't need any fighter jets at all. I mean, why not subcontract that out to the U.S. Air Force and not bother with purchasing a new batch of fighters.

Redneck reckons...

Posted February 25, 2015
Cos, America : Fuck Yeah !!

Grand Admiral Thrawn asserts...

Posted February 25, 2015

you bring up good points murph, i won't deny we up here in canada had some good single engine fighters but the problems i ment to highlight was the pilot fatality rate due to the lack of a dual engine saftey net. the CF 104 had 37 pilot falalities and the F-86 Sabre had 112 pilot loses both single engine fighters, were as the cf-18 has only 9 fatalities.

the F-15 in hind sight was a missed oppertunity that could of given us one of the best (now) proven combat fighters in the world heck i would still take a upgraded version of it over the F-35

as to not purchaseing any fighters at all the time may come sooner than you think. with the development of long range laser weapons and rapid fire railguns the current fighter and carrier doctrine is goineg to go the way of the dinosar. with only super high altatude air craft and cheap drone strike craft being viable. mind you this is about a decade or two away.

Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 26, 2015
Was the F-15 ever a viable option for Canada? I didn't get that impression from the wiki page I read on the matter. Then again, wiki always has to be taken with a grain of salt. The real opportunity seems to have been missing out on a shot at Iran's F-14 fleet.
In any case, I'd think that Canada needs are probably some Super Hornets for most of their air sovereignty needs and maybe a few F-35s for other matters. I'm inclined to think that the F-35B is going to prove to be incredibly handy in the future, especially if Canada moves forward with a decision to purchase an LHD style vessel, perhaps picking up a soon to be surplus Mistral from France or maybe a Juan Carlos type from Navantia.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

Grand Admiral Thrawn asserts...

Posted February 27, 2015

Your right on the money about the F-14 and F-15, either of those would of been cool since both were pretty good aircraft. but they both were discounted cus of cost the cheap F-14 from Iran would of been good but oh well.

as to getting F-35B's for any Amphib canada may get, there have been some problems of the engine heat damaging fight decks. as well as sacrificeing, in my opinion, too much cabability for the VTOL ability. you may be better off getting Apache's or vipers instead for your Ship to shore air support.

And i hope we gett the minstrels the french were building for russia for cheap ;)

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Bondiboy66 ducks in to say...

Posted February 25, 2015
Oooh I'd like one as a motorbike helmet. Better start saving I guess.

Anthony mutters...

Posted February 25, 2015

You can get an add-on HUD for a motorcycle helmet now...


http://www.ridenuviz.com/#intro

Although given the current stupidity around helmet standards they probably won't let you use it.

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pi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 25, 2015
> Pilots can visualise a 360-degree view to ascertain a multitude of
threats and options. And virtual reality technology bestows a type of
X-ray vision, enabling pilots to "look through" the floor of the cockpit
as if the aircraft frame were transparent.

Which begs the question... why is the pilot in the aircraft at all?

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 25, 2015
Skynet.

Sudragon mumbles...

Posted February 25, 2015
Bandwidth.
ECM.
Jamming.

Shifty Tourist ducks in to say...

Posted February 26, 2015

The "Reverse" Skynet situation. Admittedly not raised as often, but still worthy of discussion.

The reverse Skynet, is where the computers become self-aware, but as a consequence become aware of the futility of war. The drones then all conscientiously object, refuse to fire their weapons and start writing anti-war folk songs.

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Shifty Tourist is gonna tell you...

Posted February 25, 2015

This is actually a good question! Maybe some of those on this site a bit more versed in the realities of modern warfare may be able to answer, but is there anything an in-cockpit pilot can do, that a drone operator could not? I know that drones currently aren't as big or powerful as a fighter craft.... but there is no reason that I see that says they can't be. Could you just remove the fragile, G force limited fleshbag from the operation, and control a plane remotely?

Grand Admiral Thrawn mutters...

Posted February 25, 2015
a lot of it comes downto band width limitaions and transmison delays well not a problem for flesh and blood pilots becomes a problem for remotely piloted drones. one work around would be to have a high performance drone controlling aircraft that has pilots on broad so they can pilot a localized drone flights that do the main fighting or more automation but then we truly get into skynet territory unlikely but who knows

Shifty Tourist reckons...

Posted February 26, 2015

Good explanation.

I can see what you mean... something like how the Hawkeye operates to task US Navy fighter craft to distant targets. Flying in the region directing things.

The fully automated option, does create some ethical issues. A computer does not have a gut instinct that tells it the target, despite how it looks, may not be a training camp, rather than a cub scout meeting

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Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 25, 2015

trying again....

its a piece of kit you'd expect with what is the 1st Gen 21st Cen Fighter

the multisensory attributes of the F-35 are great but in the end its only capable of rpelacing the F-16, Gripen & Harriers in the Wests squadrons.

It is disturbing that still there is little or no thought to what will replace the Typhoon, Raphael, F-15 & F-18 what with the F-22 stuck at about 190 units and no foreign sales (nor navalised version) there is nothing to replace the heavy hitters.

It was a relief to read this ...

http://defensetech.org/2015/02/05/cno-next-generation-navy-fighter-might-not-need-stealth/

But in the end unless the Russian federation changes tack we are on the edges of a new cold war and NATO needs desperately to find an deterrent to the later gen Sukhois & Migs and the F-35 doesn't even have a working gun yet.. allegedly

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Ignorant Peanut would have you know...

Posted February 26, 2015
I'm a moderately ignorant mil-nerd, but a big fan of the A-10 (especially the bit about maintenance being mainly about hitting it with a hammer until it starts working again).
Given the ADF's post-WWII and most likely 21st C. role(s) (i.e. more horrible "small wars" and less dog-fights in the sky and MBTvsMBT showdowns on the ground)(?), why are we pursuing the F-35 (to the extent of wanting up to 100 of the beasts) rather than beasts like the A-10?
And why do we only have 7 bloody Chinooks?
(pre-emptive apology for stupid questions)


coota is gonna tell you...

Posted February 27, 2015
There has been so much ill informed commentary for years around the f35. Consider this; governments of both persuasions objected or raised concerns about our commitment to the f35 only to change tune and or go quite once in power and across the specifics. The RAAF has been right behind f35 for a long time and it all comes down to sensor fusion. The f35 is going to change air combat. We won't need warthogs becauee the f35 will be able act as a mini awacs controlling bomb and straffing sorties whilst also identifying and shooting down any legacy aircraft before they are aware. Forget all the nonsense about control surfaces and dog fighting, thos days are gone. This aircraft is going to deliver. Add to that, ucas and we will see 1 manned f35 loitering behind 3 unmanned aircraft all utilising the f35 sensors to knock any 4 and 4.5 gen aircraft out of the sky. this helmut stuff is just one small part of this system.

damian asserts...

Posted February 28, 2015
Yeah this is in important point to take.
Smart missiles controlled from integrated systems would make aerial dueling with autocannons while trying to get on one-another's 6 look a lot like the early stuff where pilots just shot at each other with pistols.

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Lulu puts forth...

Posted February 26, 2015
A letter in today's SMH raises an interesting point, which I'll quote:
" So the pilot is at Mach 2 at 15,000 metres and the helmet malfunctions, so "the fighter jet won't operate" ... And?"

Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted February 26, 2015
The pilot's call sign is "Splat".

HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted March 1, 2015
Actually it WONT FKN MATTER because this doig of a thing cannot supercruise, its NOT GUNNA FKN MAKLE MACH2, its about mach 1.3.
Its got fk all weapons when in clean stealthy mode, add external and its fkn detectable.
TTalk is that you would pair three, thats a f35 and twop Superhornets and utilise its stealth, thats having the Rhino's shoot first and then HOPE they can bug out, or maybe even keep shooting, then the F35 shoot and bugs out becuase its NOT adog fighting a/c, a Hoirnet will fkn kill it dog fighting. Power to weight is shit, woing loads high and its NOT GOT A FKN WORKING FKN GUN! so I gues the pilot sould slide back the cannoppy and throw fkn rocks at the other aircraft.

US is looking at its nbext gen light bomber, esq to replace the bone B1 nd the loss of the FB 111 which was never really replaced. A FB-22...FKN YEAH BABY! we would buy some of fkn should

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Sudragon ducks in to say...

Posted February 26, 2015
HELMET.SYS has crashed. [R]etry, [F]lail or [E]ject Eject Eject!

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AndreP ducks in to say...

Posted February 27, 2015
Yikes. Makes being locked into the Apple ecosystem look like small beer or even loose change.

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RobH swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 28, 2015
JB, helmets are not shared by line drivers: the safety equipment guys fit them for each pilot. From there they are checked and maintained for those individuals. Extra helmets in assorted sizes are kept on hand for other people, including journos who score backseat rides.

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RobH ducks in to say...

Posted February 28, 2015
Apologies for second post, but forgot to post something.....
This for Chad and the never-ending canard about melting decks from F35B VLs. Author's credentials at end of article: he does actually know what he's talking about, unlike a near-unanimity of PhDs in Canberra defence circles.
Worth reading, here - http://defencetechnologyreview.realviewdigital.com/?iguid=e3f4646a-c89f-4286-90e2-33bbfb34990b#folio=28
Again, apols for gumming-up this with a second post. Hopefully the article will help. :-)

damian mumbles...

Posted February 28, 2015
That's an interesting article and thanks for posting the link.

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The eReader that gets you wet.

Posted February 22, 2015 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

I scored my free Kobo late last year from a PR firm looking for a quote. I was happy to give them one because anything which vexes the Beast of Bezos gets a tummy rub from JB on general principles. I forget what I said for them.
They let me keep the unit, though, which was nice of them. It is, as I’ve mentioned earlier, the water-proof model. The Kobo Aura H2O, I think it’s called.


I’ve been using it long enough now to be able to write an honest review. I’ve read about half a dozen dozen books on it, some good some not so much. Enough to be able to separate any feelings or thoughts I might have about the device from my response to the books I read.
So, bottom line, is it as good as or better than a Kindle?
Depends.
I have an old first gen PaperWhite Kindle, smuggled into the country via the good offices of Professor Boylan. Much as I hate the Beast, I recognise the quality of his kit and the PaperWhite is a quality eReader. The 2nd Gen, I’m told is even better.
The Kobo doesn’t sit quite as nicely in my hands as the Kindle. It feels just a touch bigger and more angular. Possibly a little heavier. But only a touch. That doesn’t make it noticeably less easy to hold for hours at a time. It just feels like a slightly heavier, boxier artefact. Still, judged on its own merits, I’m more than happy to use it. Compared to an iPad or even an iPad Mini, it remains a superior option for reading - as a dedicated single-use device should be.
The screen is as clean and crisp as the PaperWhite, the text exquisitely defined. In direct sunlight it does look like ink printed on good stock. Unlike a Kindle, the Kobo doesn’t right justify unless you force it too, so you don’t get the ugly layout effects that sometimes occur on the market leading eReader.
Backlighting, or uplighting to be perfectly geekly about it, works well. You can read this in the dark without straining your eyes and the Kobo has none of the uneven lighting issues of the 1st generation PaperWhite. (Not that they bothered me much anyway).
Battery life?
Meh, not so great. Or perhaps "not as great as Amazon delivers", might be a fairer call. I find the Kobo needs charging about once every book and a half, which seems a little hungrier than the Kindle, but still way way better than any tablet you’d use as a reader. (I read long books). Charging time runs to about four or five hours for a full battery. Standby on wifi - about a month or so.
The bookstore will have most of what you want. I haven’t run into problems with a lack of content yet. I don’t think they claim as many titles as the Kindle, but then again since Amazon opened up their AU ebook store I’ve found myself blocked from accessing the US site. And worse, because I started with a US account, I now find it impossible to buy in either Kindle store. I just get bounced back and forth between the two.
Lucky I don’t buy Kindle titles any more.
On the other hand I have had trouble using the offer codes that Kobo occasionally send. In fact I’ve never successfully used one. Ever. I enter the codes and the server refuses to recognise them. Maybe it’s a problem with my account. Maybe it’s systemic.
However, that’s not what everyone is waiting to hear about. The one feature that sets apart the Kobo Aura H2O is it’s ability to take a drink, or a bath, or a dip in the ocean.

It is waterproof. Just as advertised. I’ve tested this thing in the bath, the shower, down by the pool with a beer and about half a dozen times on the beach. It feels weird and wrong. The first time I exposed it to water was in my backyard where I perched on my beer-drinking ledge in the pool and necked a San Miguel while knocking over a couple of chapters of Lev Grossman’s The Magician.
It was nerve wracking at first. I felt like I was going to either destroy the Kobo or myself. But we both survived.
Oddly enough for a water proof piece of tech, the Kobo doesn’t like getting spotted with droplets. Dunno why but it copes a lot better with being fully submerged than with having a few drops splashed on screen, or a wet finger used to turn a page. That will often result in a warning screen saying that you should wipe it down. But drop the thing to bottom of the pool or toss it in the surf and it’s fine.
The beach is where the Kobo really comes into its own. You can take a Kindle to the beach. Jeff Bezos famously seals his inside a ziplock bag. I’ve done the same. But the Kobo rules here. You don’t even need to worry about sand. The micro USB slot where you plug in your charger is protected by a good rubber seal and although grains of sand can get stuck where the screen meets the bezel, a quick immersion in the surf will see them washed away – as well as making you seem the most interesting crazy man on the beach.
When you’re a parent, a lot of your time by the seaside is spent waiting for kids to be done. I approach those endless, baking beach runs with less trepidation now I know I have a waterproof, sand proof and beautifully useable eReader to take with me.
I wouldn’t go smearing sun block on it though.

8 Responses to ‘The eReader that gets you wet.’

Ed Jones puts forth...

Posted February 22, 2015
Not too bad at $A 229 either. How have you found the pricing of the books in the store? At first glance they seem a little more expensive than the beast. But maybe that's a plus to your kind?!
Wondering if their Android app will work on the Kindle so I can try them out... lol


John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 22, 2015
At $229 I'd totally try out the free app first.

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tqft is gonna tell you...

Posted February 22, 2015
Amazon keeps asking me about my country of residence and have I moved.

Nope, still riverside Iowa Mr bozos.

Right now books I just bought from humble bundle haven't shown up on my tablet. 24h still waiting. Downloaded fine.
Ereaders great idea, hardware good but the ecosystem sucks.

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damian mumbles...

Posted February 22, 2015
Does sound pretty nice, fersure.
Been doing the ziplock bag thing for a while, maybe this will be worthwhile if the price of ziplock bags goes up unexpectedly :/

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sooty nnewt swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 22, 2015
Nook is the best Android e reader on the kindle works a treat if you side load it.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted February 22, 2015
I used to love the old Nook with the Carabiner loop. Dunno why. Just did.

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Noctor Dick puts forth...

Posted February 23, 2015
Wonder if they'll give me one to test if it's depth-proof ;)

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George Fripley asserts...

Posted February 23, 2015
I just can't get into e-readers, and it's not any deep-seated philosophical problem - I have one but never seem to use it. Doesn't spring to mind when thinking about reading. Perhaps I can get treatment to bring me into the modern age?

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Oh noes! I may be forced to buy a new iMac

Posted February 6, 2015 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Yes, I know, I just bought one last year. Yes I know, it's not a 5K Retina model. None of that is relevant. The venerable old 2007 iMac which became the family work horse has finally carked it. It won't turn on. It is no more. It is an ex-parrot.

I wrote a lot of books on that machine, and even more articles, columns and blogs, of course. It served me well and many times in its last years of use I found myself shaking my head in wonder that it just kept going.

No more, though.

And we need a family work horse.

So I see no alternative to handing down my new iMac and making the supreme sacrifice of getting in a replacement 5K model.

A moment's silence please. This is a sad day.

19 Responses to ‘Oh noes! I may be forced to buy a new iMac’

w from brisbane reckons...

Posted February 6, 2015
When you fire up those new 14.7 million pixels, I think that will help you with your grieving and your sacrifice. The sooner the better, I reckon.

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she_jedi mumbles...

Posted February 6, 2015
If you sneak down in the middle of the night and unplug the power cord then this will result in the computer not turning on. Coincidence? Well played Mr Birmingham, well played.

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Sennafumi has opinions thus...

Posted February 6, 2015
I smell an opportunity here.....
A dead but sign by Mr Birmingham Mac with such provenance would surely have some historical value to someone who hangs out here.

insomniac mutters...

Posted February 6, 2015
Well, apparently he wrote all his books on it. Must be in tiny tiny writing to get them all on. Hope there's still room for a signature.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 6, 2015
Get a new one, by all means, but pay whatever tax deductible dollars it takes to get the old one fixed.

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Rob has opinions thus...

Posted February 6, 2015
I am thinking of getting an Imac for my studio. Not because I've finally given up on PCs (because my PC rig is awesomesauce) but I've been offered an obsolete iMac from the local uni for SFA. and you know my studio will look like a real artists studio if I have a big screen apple product in there, and not half a suburban car hole.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted February 6, 2015
Will it be this one?

http://www.apple.com/mac-pro/

If I had the dough, I'd definitely go Mac Pro, yo.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2015
No - because at the moment Apple doesn't sell a separate 5K display. The only way you get it is by buying the iMac.
The best separate display you can get from Apple is 2560x1440.
If you were going to go the Mac Pro route, you'd have to go to another vendor to get a good IPS 4K+ resolution screen. Dell has the really nice UP2715K which is 5K (5120x2880) - but you're paying almost 2,300 for it.
For the price, you're better off going the iMac - as going the Mac Pro with that monitor is going to cost you roughly double the price.
(Also - if you're getting a 4K monitor - make sure it's IPS. Non IPS 4K monitors (the ones that are under $1000) are rubbish)

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GhostSwirv mutters...

Posted February 6, 2015

I feel your pain and existential angst JB with having to make the supreme sacrifice and pass the newbie iMac down the line of succession.

I too have to surrender my 3 year old MacBook Pro to my youngest spawn, but only after I have received the latest 15 inch Retina model that work insists I use, purely for educational purposes you understand.

Those who gripe and imbibe in the gnashing of teeth over your serious lack of Appleness don't understand how hard and traumatic this whole scenario must be for you ... as I peruse the latest iPhone+ diamonte-encrusted model I'll be thinking of you.

GhostSwirv over out - to pick up dinner, adult Thai, pre-teen garlic pizza and large popcorn for the unending saga that is #libspill.

she_jedi asserts...

Posted February 6, 2015
Off topic but is not #libspill just the glorious gift that keeps on giving? I've been drowning in Schadenfreude all week. It's been divine.

Spanner swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 6, 2015
I've been gorging on the schadenfreude all week. I've stuffed fresh schadenfreude in my gob. Canned schadenfreude washed down with a schadenfreude smoothy. I've had schadenfreude burritos and schadenfreude a'la orange. It is just so fucking good. I don't want it to end. I'm just hooked on watching the slow motion trainwreck of the #libspill unfold. Can a person overdose on schadenfreude? If so I don't care. GIVE ME MAOR SCHADENDFREUDE.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
*goes and sits in corner rubbing schadenfreude on my nipples

GhostSwirv mutters...

Posted February 6, 2015

I prefer my Schadenfreude best served chilled, with a soft, warm brioche on the side, a dipping sauce with just a hint of chilli and a long, tall glass of Cooper's Pale Ale ... Nick Cave croons languorously in the background, the #libspill twitter feed barrels along while I crank up Die Hard on the big screen TV.

Hans The Abbott Gruber has just ordered a refried Urban Assault Vehicle, not realising the turmoil that's about to be unleashed upon him and his goons by a vengeful electorate who doesn't like to lose.

All that is missing from this picture is the heart-warming sediments, er sentiments of the All-Seeing, All-Knowing Wise One ... who will truly lead us all from darkness when he 'mansplains' the antics of OneTermTones and anoints a new vassal, er successor.

GhostSwirv over and out ... the Schadenfreude awaits

PS - I have taught my Mac to spell libspill

Halwes reckons...

Posted February 6, 2015
There is always another grub lurking around the corner to take their place. The loss of Abbott and the instalation of Turnbull will see the conservatives in power for a longer time. Abbot was beatable at least. Turnbull is a lot slimier.

she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted February 7, 2015
Here you go Spanner:
http://www.sbs.com.au/comedy/article/2015/02/04/julia-gillard-rushed-hospital-after-overdosing-schadenfreude

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Jon ducks in to say...

Posted February 7, 2015
Take it out the back and shoot it.

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Craig Richmond puts forth...

Posted February 7, 2015
If it's no worky, when you turn it on, it's very likely the power supply that met it's demise. My old one went the same way (just after I sold it to my friend - *sigh*). The replacement power supplies are a moderate challenge to install and seemingly hard to come by. That is presumably the result of them being a weak point and otherwise useful computers requiring them to be brought back to life. Sorry for your loss, but the replacement will be awesome!

Sudragon asserts...

Posted February 7, 2015
Of course power supplies are hard to come by. Why sell you a part you can install yourself when they can get you to buy a whole new computer?

Craig Richmond asserts...

Posted February 11, 2015
Apple will happily produce parts for machines that are well less than 8 years old. They are like most other reputable manufacturers in this regard.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted February 11, 2015
SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP

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The Secret Life of Passwords

Posted November 23, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Really lovely and thoughtful piece in the NYT about the way our passwords "take on secret lives". It's a great Sunday read.

Many of our passwords are suffused with pathos, mischief, sometimes even poetry. Often they have rich back stories. A motivational mantra, a swipe at the boss, a hidden shrine to a lost love, an inside joke with ourselves, a defining emotional scar — these keepsake passwords, as I came to call them, are like tchotchkes of our inner lives. They derive from anything: Scripture, horoscopes, nicknames, lyrics, book passages. Like a tattoo on a private part of the body, they tend to be intimate, compact and expressive.

Perhaps my biggest surprise has been how willing, eager actually, people are to openly discuss their keepsakes. The friends I queried forwarded my request, and before long I started receiving passwords from complete strangers. There was the former prisoner whose password includes what used to be his inmate identification number (“a reminder not to go back”); the fallen-away Catholic whose passwords incorporate the Virgin Mary (“it’s secretly calming”); the childless 45-year-old whose password is the name of the baby boy she lost in utero (“my way of trying to keep him alive, I guess”).

21 Responses to ‘The Secret Life of Passwords’

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w from brisbane asserts...

Posted November 23, 2014
Yep, so true.
For a 4 digit pin, I mainly use my mate's pin he told me 20 years ago because it is a mildly amusing pun.

And, the secrecy! Write them down. Perhaps put them on post-it stickers on your computer (semi-joke). Because password crackers don't generally find out your password by breaking into your house.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted November 24, 2014
I use two methods for choosing computer passwords. I choose randomly chosen automobile license plate numbers (e.g. 367ULK - taken from the license plate of a Toyota I was stuck behind on California Hwy 395 somewhere near Susanville). Or I do it the way the International Dada Committee chooses the date for their conferences (by randomly drawing pieces of paper showing numbers and (letters and sometimes symbols, depending on the host's requirements) from a box or bag.

Any password with any kind of meaning designed to allow fast recollection can potentially be sussed out.

tarl puts forth...

Posted November 24, 2014
If you're worried about someone sussing out your passwords, remember that rubber hose cryptanalysis almost always works.

The goal of a password is making it harder for someone to pretend they are you while not making your own life hell. So you want something you can remember relatively easily, you can touch-type accurately frequently (without having to mumble it), but brute-force crackers won't trip over. That generally means long sequences of words, and an increasing number of applications are allowing that. When you see a password limited to eight characters, it indicates either an obsolete program or an obsolete programmer.

The requirements for mixed case, numbers, non-alphabetics, etc. actually reduce security because they increase the odds someone will put them on a yellow sticky. And with people having to type passwords on iPhones and the like, shifting and selecting numbers have gotten much more painful than typing extra characters.

And let's not get into multinational keyboards screwing around with where the non-alphabetics are - the keyboard you are forced to use isn't necessarily the one you are used to, and the labels on the keys don't necessarily match what the computer interprets the keys as.

insomniac mutters...

Posted November 25, 2014
In NZ we all use pun numbers

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted November 25, 2014
Choice, bro!

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insomniac would have you know...

Posted November 24, 2014
I reuse my qwerty password on a lot of sites but figure I'm way too unimportant for anyone to be interested in me, or assume my inconsequential identity.

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Lulu would have you know...

Posted November 24, 2014
I generally pick something from a book I'm reading, a film I've just seen etc - we have to change them regularly at work, so keeping just one wouldn't work. Having said that, my e-mail password (picked on the same principle) doesn't change and it's become my standard 'go to' password for a lot of things over the past several years.

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted November 24, 2014

Marx Brothers had passwords sorted out.


<DL>
<DD><I>Baravelli</I>: ...you can't come in unless you give the password.</DD>
<DD><I>Professor Wagstaff</I>: Well, what is the password?</DD>
<DD><I>Baravelli</I>: Aw, no. You gotta tell me. Hey, I tell what I do. I give you three guesses. It's the name of a fish.</DD>
<DD><I>Professor Wagstaff</I>: Is it "Mary?"</DD>
<DD><I>Baravelli</I>: [laughing] 'At's-a no fish!</DD>
<DD><I>Professor Wagstaff</I>: She isn't? Well, she drinks like one! ...Let me see... Is it "Sturgeon"?</DD>
<DD><I>Baravelli</I>: Aw, you-a craze. A "sturgeon", he's a doctor cuts you open when-a you sick. Now I give you one more chance.</DD>
<DD><I>Wagstaff</I>: I got it! "Haddock".</DD>
<DD><I>Baravelli</I>: 'At's a-funny, I got a "haddock" too.</DD>
<DD><I>Wagstaff</I>: What do you take for a "haddock"?</DD>
<DD><I>Baravelli</I>: Sometimes I take an aspirin, sometimes I take a calomel.</DD>
<DD><I>Wagstaff</I>: Y'know, I'd walk a mile for a calomel.</DD>
<DD><I>Baravelli</I>: You mean chocolate calomel? I like-a that too, but you no guess it. [Slams door. Wagstaff knocks again. Baravelli opens peephole again.] Hey, what's-a matter, you no understand English? You can't come in here unless you say, "Swordfish." Now I'll give you one more guess.</DD>
<DD><I>Professor Wagstaff</I>: ...swordfish, swordfish... I think I got it. Is it "swordfish"?</DD>
<DD><I>Baravelli</I>: Hah. That's-a it. You guess it.</DD>
<DD><I>Professor Wagstaff</I>: Pretty good, eh?</DD></DL>

Harpo Marx ("Pinky"), whose characters operated only in pantomime, gets into the speakeasy by pulling a sword and a fish out of his trench coat and showing them to the doorman.


Marx Bros - "Horsefeathers"

Halwes asserts...

Posted November 24, 2014
I watched a lot of marx brothers when I was a kid but have only recently switched on to the incredible dialogue. I think it was the slapstick that must have attracted me when I was young but, reading some of these scripts now, these blokes were incisive social commentators and comic geniuses.

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Darth Greybeard reckons...

Posted November 24, 2014
Nice piece, even if it gave me flashbacks. I used to run a couple of networks on the same site, one with about 1500 users, the other only 150. But about 1350 users were teenagers and of the rest, some had grown up with computers as walls of flashing lights in movies they probably didn't like anyway. Security was, as they say, an "issue". There was the adult who argued that he should be allowed to use "password" for every login and never, ever change it. Another claimed to forget so often that eventually her HOD asked for it to be made permanent and semi-public. Kids of course swap passwords faster than STDs which not only allowed file-swapping but plausible denial of the contents of their home drives. Every problem had a technical solution, most of which we set up in advance but the human factor gets you every time - i.e. your boss says cut back on security to "make life easier". Still, at least his default password was m3g@cactus - because he was such a prick. Gaaah! It's all coming back. Is it too early to start drinking?

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted November 24, 2014
I found vodka with a couple of fingers of apple and mango juice, on ice, topped with soda water is quite the refreshing beverage to cope with bad memories and regret..

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Blarkon asserts...

Posted November 24, 2014
This is why people farking hat being forced to change their passwords regularly.

Blarkon mumbles...

Posted November 24, 2014
s/hat/hate

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted November 24, 2014
Yeah. We all hate having to keep changing passwords.
I particularly hate it when my password change fails, with the message, "C'mon pal. You have to do more than just change the number at the end."
What! But that is my brilliant strategy. I don't have a Plan B.

Darth Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted November 24, 2014
Yer all users, that's what. Users! (runs MONDAY script forcing everyone reading this blog to change their passwords. ALL OF THEMMMM)

Blarkon would have you know...

Posted November 24, 2014
People most likely to not change passwords are those with the most sensitive accounts. The same people who configure service accounts with admin privileges and use the same non-expiring default password for every service account.

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spokenoise mutters...

Posted November 24, 2014
Man I hate the 'One capital, one number and eight letters' push for non sequenced individual passwords. I can never remember them and constantly need to re change them and then I'm never sure what password is for what site, bank or service.

For me the next killer app is whatever solves this.

Also, no facebook I do not want to sign into everything using facebook.

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John from Canberra puts forth...

Posted November 24, 2014
Guessable passwords are a security problem but the bots we need to worry about are probably not (yet) going to be hitting us with social engineering attacks.

So the question becomes "how many goes do they need to brute force it?"

Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted November 24, 2014
Actually at this point brute forcing passwords is straightforward. Throw Hashcat at a hashed password table.

Security needs to be configured to lock out accounts after a number of invalid attempts - that reduces the chance a brute force attack will be successful.

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Luke reckons...

Posted November 27, 2014
Wow, I like the article and your coverage. I have digged more and found another coverage by Sticky Password

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Another piece of kit from Weapons of Choice deployed

Posted November 17, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Laser packs! Sort of. The USN has nailed one to the deck of the USS Ponce as an 'anti-drone' device – which implies it's not quick enough or powerful enough for Phalanx work yet.

Quartz has a write up here. Most interesting factoid, each 'laser blast' only costs a buck.

20 Responses to ‘Another piece of kit from Weapons of Choice deployed’

Murphy mutters...

Posted November 17, 2014
The U.S. Navy is putting a lot of effort into systems such as lasers, rail guns, and eletromagnetic catapults.

No word on FAE style catapults though.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Chaz has opinions thus...

Posted November 17, 2014
Electrically powered ships are the future!!

HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted November 17, 2014
ZUMWALT class DDG is very electrical I thought. !

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Abigail mutters...

Posted November 17, 2014
Has Stalin's Hammer: Cairo been written yet?

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted November 18, 2014
Gail. I could finish it in about two weeks, but I'm trying to juggle a couple of other ebooks too.

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TheWah swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 17, 2014
I love that they installed it on the USS Ponce. I'm guessing nobody will ever snigger at its name again.


Drew from Oz is gonna tell you...

Posted November 18, 2014
Yep. Me too. Definitely LOL'd.

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Sudragon asserts...

Posted November 17, 2014
Even better... the Captain can pass the order to 'FIRE ZE LASER!!!'

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damian ducks in to say...

Posted November 17, 2014
The USS Ponce has to sail in an isolated "special" flotilla with the USS Informer and the USS Goatfucker. Other ships will target these vessels with their "Shiv" missiles unless strict separation is kept.

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HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted November 17, 2014
yeah, its fkn CRYSTAL to me now!.........................I KNOW I KNOW!!

Halwes mumbles...

Posted November 18, 2014

FTA with China? I'm sure all your mates in the dairy industry will sell the farm, and the jobs that go with them, fckwit, to the chinese totalitarians. Free trade and totalitarism. Yeah that could work.

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w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted November 17, 2014
Havock. If I may, I think Charlton Heston night be saying what you are thinking even better than Jack "The Truth" Nicholson.

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted November 19, 2014
Interesting news.

There's quite a bit more work across the spectrum, too: in the 50 to 60 year life of the F-35, energy weapons are likely to replace all air-to-air missiles in the last quarter or third of that span.

The associated problems are well understood, and fast jet drivers will grouse and whinge and moan about it, but them's the breaks.

There are only a few more generations of air-launched missiles to go, and that will be that. And it's already 20 or so years since medium-range missiles rendered Within Visual Range air combat redundant.

Remember this the next time some blowahard bangs-on about emerging 'hypersonic ballistic carrier-killing missiles' sinking whatever it likes at Mach 10.

Mach 10?

Against energy weapons?

Why so slow?

damian would have you know...

Posted November 19, 2014
Above certain projectile speeds, the bottleneck isn't the speed of the interceptor, but rather the reaction speed of the targeting system driving it. Also with a kinetic payload, turning it to plasma doesn't necessarily help very much.

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Guy has opinions thus...

Posted November 19, 2014
In WW1 the Royal Navy had the flower-class of ships. You can only pity the poor devils who served in HMS Pansy. As I understand it, British society was slightly less tolerant at the time. You can imagine how the crew might have conducted a boarding action: "Come on you Pansies - up and at 'em!".

Anthony mumbles...

Posted November 20, 2014

I think you may be referring to the Flower class corvettes from WWII immortalised in "The Cruel Sea".

I hate to ruin a good story but there was no HMS Pansy, there was a Bluebell and a Petunia though. The Canadians had one called Asbestos and HMS Arabis was transferred to the US Navy and renamed Saucy. Hence it had a crew of saucy sailors. Frankie Howerd would have loved it...


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Guy is gonna tell you...

Posted November 20, 2014
When I was told the story about HMS Pansy I thought it sounded a bit too good to be true, so I checked it out online. Here is a reference to HMS Pansy - a "sweeping sloop" apparently - from 1915:

http://www.worldnavalships.com/directory/shipinfo.php?ShipID=5194

I wasn't aware of the USS Saucy (excellent name, thanks Anthony) and I like the idea of a group of sailors in a bar being a bunch of Petunias.

Anthony is gonna tell you...

Posted November 21, 2014
I only looked in the Flower class for the Pansy. I did feel sorry though for the poor sod of a signals rating having to spell out Convolvulus or Chrysanthemum on an Aldis lamp.<font size="2"> </font>

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andy f is gonna tell you...

Posted November 22, 2014

they called it 'ponce'

whatever cool points they earned by 'laser', they just lost


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ANZAC biography project by the National Archives

Posted October 31, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

The Archive Super Nerds of both OZ and NZ have a kind of amazeballz project to profile every Australian and New Zealander who served in World War I. They're digitizing the service dossiers of everyone who served, including the women of the nursing corps and all the support services, and throwing it online with a heap of other documents, linking back to an earier project which crowd sourced photographs, letters and so on from family members.

You can check it out here.

6 Responses to ‘ANZAC biography project by the National Archives’

tqft mutters...

Posted October 31, 2014
Just sent it to wife for her family history project.

Have some of it already but there are gaps.

I should also look up my father's mother's relatives.

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Surtac mumbles...

Posted October 31, 2014

Excellent resource for the personal history buffs.

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insomniac would have you know...

Posted October 31, 2014
I looked up my grandfather's records and found that I was "this close" to not being here at all.

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ShaneAlpha would have you know...

Posted October 31, 2014
Please give thanks to our archivists. If you've ever tried to find things from the U.K. national archives website you'll know how much better the Australian one is.

Obviously, the records are only as good as the record keepers. But you can find surprising things when you go looking. For example, letters from your long deceased ancestors. Or, thank's to JB's link here, that one of your ancestors was involved in TWO mutinies on Australian warships during WW1.

Lulu reckons...

Posted October 31, 2014
"U.K. national archives"

The military archives, or ordinary civil? I've tried finding U.K civil records through Ancestry.com.au and it's impossible.

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ShaneAlpha puts forth...

Posted October 31, 2014
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

I've tried to use this site before and compared to the AU one it's utter arse. They seem more concerned with getting you to pay them and pay a researcher rather then making the information searchable.

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