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Posts posted by Bill

  1. I believe if there was an appeal for help in doing this, then there’d be plenty of people willing to get involved. People’s attitudes change during times of national emergency although I’m sure there will always be some miserable sods who would rather sit on heir backsides than lift a finger to help.

    It always rattled me to think that we import labour from the continent while paying huge amounts to have people out of work because it’s not the kind of job they want.


    Bill 😊

    • Upvote 2
  2. A lot of the nasty viruses seem to start off there or so it seems. Maybe it could be something they do that makes it easier for a virus to mutate into a new strain that we have no immunity to, who knows?

    But if that's the case, then the only thing the world can do is to ask or demand that they change their ways and hope they listen. I doubt China is going to do anything to try and compensate the world for the loss of life and financial problems and before anyone suggests it,  sending everyone a deep fried bat isn't a great idea. 


    Bill :)

  3. Asp

    A few years back I had to modify the taxi dispatching software for a company where a large part of their business was picking up and dropping off pilots in the Thames estuary. Many of these points were extremely difficult for drivers to locate because as far as Google Maps was concerned, most appeared to be in the sea. As you know, failing to get the pilot to his connection point on time and missing the tide could result in a ship not being able to sail and that’d be a lot of dosh up the swanee (or Thames) so it was vital we got it working for them.


    Bill :)

    • Upvote 1
  4. Latchford.

    I shopped at Sainsburys on Tuesday morning about 10.30 and there were no queues and inside everything was reasonably quiet. There were still some gaps on the shelves but it was much better than the previous week when people had gone mad over the weekend. Plenty of stuff to choose from but depends on what you class as essentials.


    Bill :)

  5. I'm in that boat with you Sid.🤐

    During my life, I’ve worked with a lot of programmers and always had a saying that “all programmers are made in the same mould” because they’re all arrogant and think that everyone should be beholding to them for what they create. They tend to work in self isolation and as a result can lack social skills to the point of being quite rude. Years back, I had a partnership with a company in Milton Keynes run by a such a programmer. His staff regarded him as a total ar** hole, and this was confirmed one day when I discovered secret accounts and large sums of money going missing. When confronted he said, “You’re just an engineer but I’m an Entrepreneur”.  Pretty much says it all doesn’t it.

    I do write some software, but I’ve never really classed myself as a programmer because I’m not that good at it. It’s a bit like my house building skills, I can get good results but if it was my job, I’d have been sacked ten times over for being too slow. I see many things as a personal challenge, especially when all around you tell you it’s impossible or can’t be done. At the end of the day it’s just problem solving but rather than seeing things as one huge obstacle, I try to break things down into smaller junks and work on ways of solving those. Whether it’s nano second timing issues with my code or how to get a sixteen-foot 6x4 joist up on the roof single handed they’re all just little problems with a solution waiting to be found.

    I’m waffling again aren’t I.

    Time to get back on my head.


    Bill 😊

  6. End of subject? nah to heck with forum etiquette, I'm fed up with Corona virus so I'm officially hijacking this thread. :)

    You don't come across many people with assembler skills these days, you must be older than I thought. Actually, my project as I call it, started off as a simple interface to detect the state of the taximeter and panic switch, then transfer that via Bluetooth to the PDA. But there was so much capability going unused in the processor I thought I’d have a look at making some use of it.

    One of down sides to using a mobile device is that it’s perceived as a phone and we’ve had issues with the police and customers not understanding this. We’ve done everything humanly possible to try and make things as safe as possible, but a driver still takes eyes off the road while touching the screen. Given the PDA is web connected, the simplest way would be to use Google’s voice services to interpret voice commands and I’ve seen several devices that use this method.

    Two big drawbacks however are speed and cost. We need the response to be instant, but experience has shown us that latency and invisible disconnects would make this far from ideal. Then Mrs Alexa sends a whole raft of possible meaning that would need parsing. On the cost side of things, the increased data throughput required for doing this would be prohibitive as currently, each vehicle only has a data allocation of 50mb per month. Then there's Google services that are free to most people but to use it commercially as we do with their mapping, the monthly fees would really rack up.

    Anyhow, that’s what I’m trying to address and produce a product that works well at a price that the taxi trade won’t balk at. The first prototypes seemed to be faster and more accurate than any similar device that I’ve seen online but it was maxed out on both memory and processing time. I believe with this new device, I can improve it even more, almost to the point of detecting the words before they’ve been spoken.

    Are you / were you a radio ham at some point?

    Enough. I feel the need for halcohol 😉


    Bill 😊

  7. Confused

    Ah I see what you mean. The wall board you see there is simply showing our own phone activity. Most of the larger taxi companies would normally have one of these big screens in their main office but they only need a standard P.C. and monitor while working remotely. 

    As for my project, I'm developing a real time voice recognition using an ESP32 and it seems to be going quite well at the moment. I did the early stage development using an AT-Mega  device and the Arduino IDE simply because I've always worked in assembler and never with C++ and at my age, working with a new processor and a new language is a bit of a challenge.It took a while but I managed to get it all going well. Here's a picture of my 1st prototype.

    VR Project.jpg

    Several bits don't appear on the rendered image (including the small OLED display) The case was done in Autodesk then 3d printed.

    Apologies to others if I've hijacked this thread.


    Bill :)

  8. I know Sid I've just been for a walk out with the wife, said hello to the few we did see out but everyone kept their distance. On Newcut Lane though, we came across a group of five bike riders probably in their early twenties that met up just as we approached but I guess they'd never heard of social distancing. Even if people like this never watch the news channels, it's hard to believe they hadn't had the message but clearly they didn't think it applied to them. :(


    Bill :)

  9. They do burn in slightly because they're all constantly displaying the same basic layout 24/7. Displays in key areas though are generally replaced anyway every two years for preventative maintenance and because they're so cheap, people don't argue when we do this. The older screens just get relegated to less important positions.

    I've been using some very small OLED displays on my current little project and I did read somewhere that the life expectancy could be measured in hours if they're run too hard but nearly twelve months on and they're still as sharp as a pin.  


    Bill :)

  10. Algy

    I think it’s a bit too early to draw any conclusions because the effectiveness of this shutdown won’t show itself until 14 days has elapsed.

    The thing that they said last night is that we only have two accurate sets of numbers to work on, infected and deaths and a complete guess at the number of unreported cases. Until now, this guess was about ten times the confirmed cases, but the suggestion was that this is way off the mark and that far more had had the virus with little or no effect.

    I’m no expert but if this turns out to be the case, then the virus was a lot more contagious than we thought, and with fewer people able to be infected, the rate of spread may slow down naturally and hopefully quicker.


    Bill :)

  11. I just found this on Facebook this morning. It shows how one of my staff has partially converted his kitchen into an office to allow him to work full time from home. The taxi trade has been hit hard but we're working flat out  to relocate taxi offices to home locations so that they can at least continue some of the more important work.


    • Upvote 1
  12. Some interesting stuff on sky news last night that I couldn't quite get my head around. Apparently there is a theory being put forward that many more people have been infected than previously thought but with symptoms so mild that people didn't even notice and these people theoretically are now immune and can't spread the virus. I think they suggested that currently, over fifty percent of the population might have already been infected but this can only be proved by doing a mass blood test checking for corona antibodies.

    If this is correct, then it's thought that the peak of infections will occur slightly sooner than the numbers currently suggest and the time that the crisis will run for will also be less. I just hope this theory is correct.


    Bill :) 

    • Upvote 2
  13. Are you immune to Corona then? If as you say though, we both have the same issue and the most likely cause is an abnormally high immune system, then we might be the types that can have it without showing any symptoms?

    Did you ever have any special arrangements with the transfusion service?


    Bill :)


  14. Has anyone else here got friends or family that have the virus?

    My drinking mate has had it now for coming up to a week. I’ve just spoken with him and he said he feels worse today than ever. Fortunately, he has no other illnesses of any concern so is just getting on with it. He say’s the worst thing is the fever and everything smelling sweaty and having to constantly change bed sheets. He's a couple of years younger than me but lives on his own and I think I’m the only person he sees each week.

    I went for a pint with him a week on Friday and he stated feeling ill shortly after that. We did sit away from everyone in the pub, so I don’t think he caught it there otherwise I’d probably have it as well. The following day he shopped at Asda and said there was a child that was coughing and spluttering and that and the pub Friday were the only times he’s been out of the house in two weeks.


    Bill 😊

  15. I think we had a text the other day to say things had changed on the prescription service and that we should check the practice website for more details.


    Bill :)

  16. Well it’s ok, but sitting on your bum in front of a PC all day doesn’t keep you very fit and the lack of social interaction makes for short conversations that tend to dry up pretty quickly unless they want to talk about interrupt latency or Fourier analysis.  But social isolation is the way that much of life is going these days even before all this virus thing.

    I think that being older gives us a different perspective, that younger generations can’t possibly understand as a such big part of their life revolves around interfacing with a handheld device that don’t demand any social skills or manners. I watched my grand children being brought up by parents who are both enlightened by today’s technology. They’re both excellent parents but so different than those that brought me up. They’ve lived where they are now for about ten years and other than a passing “hello” with the immediate neighbours, they don’t seem to have any local friends or know anyone on their road. They shop online, socialise online, order takeaways online, control the lights online see who’s at the door online but don’t have a brush in the place relying instead on a robotic vacuum controlled online of course.  The kids don’t play out with others and spend most of their time on iPads which to me seems so wrong but to their parents it’s perfectly normal.

    At least in the future when we’re all forced to work from home due to losing all immunity through social isolation and where life exists solely for internet clicks, they’ll be well prepared.


    Bill 😊

  17. Getting drawn into political or religious debates was something I was always taught to avoid in order to retain friends and it’s a lesson that I think has worked well for me for most of my life. That said, it’s hard to avoid in some places, a bit like visiting the local labour or conservative club. But if you respect the fact that everyone has their own opinions and aren’t too outspoken, then it’s we should all be able to co-exist and share the facilities. Anyway Algy, don’t let the natives keep you away as I always regarded you as being the voice of reason when things here in the past got a bit heated.

    As for the pint, that would be fantastic, providing of course I don’t end up being tea total due to a beer shortage.

    Take care and as they say these days stay safe!


    Bill 😊

  18. Asp you'er right and I stand corrected. Learn something every day.

    I always thought you couldn't freeze milk but that probably harks back to the time you could only get in glass bottles.

    Must tell Mrs Green because she always insists on buying a carton of the long life stuff in case we run out and it's not that cleaver on the cornflakes.


    Bill :)

  19. That's a good idea.

    Another good idea to reduce exposure would be not to limit milk at the supermarket because it's not like you can stockpile the stuff. We only shop once a week and always get four one litre bottles but now I have to go out and expose myself again later in the week (ha ha don't bother) to get more milk. Yes I could have bought two bloody big ones but they don't fit in the fridge and both my wife and myself have bad wrists and so they're too heavy for use to handle. 

    There wasn't any shortage of milk that I could see either last week or this week and if you cant panic buy the stuff why employ restrictions?


    Bill :)

  20. Milky.

    It’s basically a technology-based company that I’ve had for the best part of thirty years now and provides automation to the taxi trade. It’s rather like a UK version of Uber (but we pay our taxes) and most staff are either software engineers or provide technical support, all of which can be done online.

    As for people not appreciating what others do, I understand that. We do a good job, don’t rip people off (which we could easily do) and don’t make huge profits (which we could) and yet the general view of the taxi driver is that we just sit on our bums all day (which we do) and charge them too much for doing it. But when the internet or mobile networks hiccups at three in the morning and they can’t work, they demand an immediate fix. So then we’re the good guys for a short time at least.

    I’m retired now but rather than fishing and golf, I sit here spending even more hours than I did at work doing electronic firmware development. It’s something I love doing, a bit like the artist who loves to paint but doesn’t stop just because he’s retired.  


    Bill :)

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