What do they say about death and taxes? Obviously, this maxim does not apply to Flash, at least when it comes to tax. As we noted last week, the end of the Adobe Flash era, brought with it an application for planning and routing the railway system in a Chinese city. This time it is so Unfortunately, the abbreviated name SARS for South African Revenue Services with Flash issues. They still have several online tax forms that have not been migrated to HTML5 to support the revenue they have built own browser with Flash enabled. Taxpayers can download and use the browser while SARS works to migrate other forms. It reminds us those plans which the Internal Revenue Office has to ensure that tax collection continues after a nuclear apocalypse – death and taxes indeed.
Problem for Nintendo in the EU? This seems to be the case, as consumer groups have discussed the case with EU regulators that Nintendo’s wildly popular consoles show unacceptable premature aging with the infamous “Joy-Con drift” problem. The problem, which occurs because players can’t control a game due to constant movement, even though there are no joystick-like controller inputs, requires repair, one that Nintendo initially only did for free as a warranty service for consoles under the age of one. . For consoles outside the warranty period, Nintendo charged 45 euros, which is approximately the same as a new controller would cost. This did not work well with the regulators and now they are breathing down Nintendo’s neck. They now offer free repairs for up to two years, but are still under the EU microscope. The interesting bit in the related document is the technical reason for the problem, which is due to the premature wear of the printed circuit boards – probably means that the traces wear out – and the inadequate sealing of the Joy-Con mechanism against dust penetration.
Last year seemed to be exciting for some of our closest solar and galactic neighbors. For a while, it looked like the red giant Betelgeuse would go on a supernova, which would be interesting to watch. And closer to home, there were some signs of life, in the form of phosphine gas, found in the boiling atmosphere of our sister planet Venus. Alas, both stories do not seem to have exploded. The expected (from me) Betelgeuse explosion, which was potentially announced by a strange darkening of the variable star outside the cycle, seems to be due to the cooling of the upper atmosphere by several hundred degrees. As for Venus, the phosphine gas discovered actually appears to be false positive, caused by sulfur dioxide. Maybe disappointing results, but that’s how science should work.
Amateur radio often gets bad rap, ridiculed as a hobby for rich old guys who just love to talk about their medical problems. Some of this is well deserved, no doubt, but there is still a lot of room in the hobby for those who are interested in advancing the state of the art in radio communications. It was in this spirit that we had the pleasure of learning more HamSCI, which is abbreviated by Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation. The group takes to heart one of specified primary missions of amateur radio as “continuing and expanding the proven ability of the amateur to contribute to the advancement of radio art”. To this end, they will hold HamSCI Workshop 2021, a virtual conference that will focus on ionospheric science for mid-latitude. This seems to be a real scientific conference where both scientists and amateurs can share ideas. They already have a call for proposals, with abstracts to be received by February 15th. The conference itself will be on March 19 and 20 with free admission. The list of invited speakers looks quite impressive, so if you have any interest in the field, check it out.
Finally, we received advice this week for a collection of crazy American patents. All of the above, from the extreme combo to art for baby printing, is assumed to be covered by a patent. We didn’t bother checking Google’s patents, but some of them are pretty good for a laugh. However, we looked at a few and were surprised to learn this Gerbil shirt it is not a garment for rodents, but a garment full of rodents for humans.