Feeds

El Reg's Deep Outback XP upgrade almost foiled by KILLER ARACHNIDS

Get a load of our man's desert cannonball run of terror

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Vid Australia's Northern territory, where The Reg is this week doing a Windows XP upgrade at the Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre in the remote community of Willowra, is huge and empty.

Let's give that statement some dimensions. The United Kingdom covers 243,610 km2 and is home to 63.23 million people. Texas covers 696,241 km2 and has 26.06 million residents.

The Northern Territory covers 1,349,129km2 and as of Australia's 2011 census was home to just 211,945 people. About 150,000 of them live within the few square kilometres of Darwin and Alice Springs.

Hence our assertion it is big and empty. Willowra, for example, is here and is home to about 300 people. It's 130km of dirt road to the nearest town, Ti Tree. There are no settlements on the road. There are precious few artefacts other than the road itself.

There are two turn-offs on the road. Neither had a single set of tyre tracks on them. That's how empty it is out here.

Have we convinced you yet how empty it is? Maybe the video below will help. It's a time lapse of the road from Ti Tree to Willowra, shot at 6 frames a second for the journey and then played back at 18 frames a second. The first few seconds are on a road with no speed limit. The Territory government recently removed the speed limit, partly to create a tourist attraction. Your correspondent's Mitsubishi Outlander often sat on 160 km/h for the 180 kms from Alice Springs to Ti Tree, but did chew through about 35 litres of fuel in that time. It's possible to travel at that speed because the road is straight and mostly flat. Every few tens of kilometres there's a gentle pair of bends in the road, sometimes to navigate the low hills and sometimes seemingly to keep drivers awake.

The Willowra road is impossible to sleep through. Sometimes it is a single lane with deep, soft dust that tugs the wheels off course. 100 metres down the road it can be four lanes of hard-packed clay. It's always a white-knuckle ride thanks to that variability, the absence of fences, the presence of many cattle and the fact years of use mean the whole road is in its own rut a metre or so below the desert plain.

It's a rough road: the phone I used to record the video (A Galaxy S4 running LapseIt Pro) twice fell from the cradle before I got things right. One of those falls followed a deep, bell-like sound as something hard hit the car's undercarriage. Whenever that happens I immediately contemplate being marooned in the desert. That's why I don't hit the road to a place like Willowra without first packing ten litres of water and some food.

Youtube Video

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.