* Posts by Mike Richards

3579 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Ten... Star Wars videogame classics

Mike Richards

Re: Empire Strikes Back on the Atari 2600

Great game and it also inspired Jeff Minter to produce 'Attack of the Mutant Camels' which was even better.

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China turns on the sprinklers with ambitious rain-making plans

Mike Richards

Re: Cope with drought?

They just need to announce a minister for drought to start the deluge.

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Star Trek's Scotty boldly goes where he always wanted to

Mike Richards

I rather admired the tribute NASA gave to Eugene Shoemaker. As well as discovering the comet that whacked into Jupiter, he was the great planetary geologist who proved Barringer Crater was actually meteoritic in origin and that the Earth did have a record of large impacts. He was also the pioneer of understanding how and when the Moon's craters formed.

So NASA gave him the send off he deserved, they placed a small portion of his ashes on the Lunar Prospector probe which was crashed into the South Pole of the Moon in the hope of discovering ice. In the process it carved out a new crater.

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SpaceX Dragon, first private ship to the ISS, launched successfully

Mike Richards

Re: Phew

Does this now mean we don't have to go cap in hand to the Russkies or Chinese or Indians in order to chuck stuff in to space?

That's true, but you will have to use PayPal to pay for it.

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Mike Richards

Scotty and Gordo are back in space

Falcon also carried the cremains of James Doohan (Star Trek's Scotty) and Gordon Cooper (a real life Mercury astronaut) on its second stage which will spend the next year or so in orbit before reentering the atmosphere.

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Does Britain really need a space port?

Mike Richards

Astra sats

The new Astra constellation is mostly being built by EADS Astrium, so a good bit of the money will be coming to the UK.

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Vulture 2 trigger triggers serious head-scratching

Mike Richards

How about a really long fuse lit when the balloon is launched?

My technical expert, a Mr Wile E Coyote assures me this is guaranteed to work.

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Waterstones stores surrender to Amazonian invaders

Mike Richards

Clearly I'm missing something

If you buy a Kindle from Waterstones why would you ever come back to their shops or website?

I don't even see what's in it for them; no eBook store to make continuing profits and only razor thin profits on the device itself.

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SpaceX Dragon chokes at the last second

Mike Richards

Re: To quote Top Gear... How Hard Can It Be™

'The Russian Soyuz and Proton launchers are the only ones that reliably go first time, but there have been nearly 400 Proton launches and around two thousand Soyuz family launches.'

And as the Russians have found out over the last couple of years, even these rockets still throw up unexplained problems.

Does Elon Musk have the best job in the world - designing rockets by day, electric cars by night?

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Brit knits jumper for NASA space chicken

Mike Richards

Would Sue be up to the challenge of outfitting LOHAN's brave Playmobilnaut with a miniature Pringle sweater?

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Iran threatens to chuck sueball at Google over missing gulf

Mike Richards

If they're that worried

Why don't the Iranians tow some rafts out into the middle of the sea and arrange them to spell out PERSIAN GULF for the Googlesats?

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Pinterest valued at $1.5 BILLION, bags $100m in funding

Mike Richards

Re: Sod it - I'm starting a social network

With the Reg's carefully honed target demographic may I suggest pubterest - a virtual boozer/tech forum/Paris Hilton fansite.

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Mike Richards

Re: But what's it for?

Is it where people with no aesthetics post their Instagram horrors?

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Fastest-ever hydrocarb scramjet hits Mach 8, doesn't explode

Mike Richards

Lester has been suspiciously quiet about the new propulsion hasn't he?

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SpaceX sets new blastoff date for Dragon: 19 May

Mike Richards

Re: You have got to admire these guys!

I was hoping it was more like 'The Golden Shot' - 'Up a bit... down a bit... left, left... FIRE!'

Though Bob Monkhouse not being able to man Mission Control kind of puts the kibosh on that.

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China begins work on world-beating MEGA power cables

Mike Richards

Re: It doesn't bode well...

It's okay - we won the aluminium/aluminum war at the IUPAC.

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North Korean GPS blocking sparks cyber war fears

Mike Richards

Re: satnav rivals

Somehow I suspect the North Koreans won't interfere with the Chinese navigation system.

But I reckon there's a distinct possibility of the Pentagon saying 'oh no, our GPS enabled cruise missile that was going to Afghanistan seems to have been jammed and instead flew into a building in Kaesong.'

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Shy Venus in rare Sun crossing next month

Mike Richards

Re: thanks

Would anyone like to predict the probability that it'll be raining?

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Cameron's F-35 U-turn: BAE Systems still calls the shots at No 10

Mike Richards

Anyone have a clue what an American carrier costs these days? Would it be cheaper to ask for them to add another to the production line than buy this megafiasco?

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Head over Heels

Mike Richards

Re: People keep reminding me of old isometric 3D games lately

Is there any love here for 'Spin Dizzy'? I'd love to see that on a phone or slablet.

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UK Border Agency servers go titsup, thousands grounded

Mike Richards

IBM

Maybe they should have gone back to their area of expertise and used Hollerith machines to keep track of people?

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Greenland glaciers not set to cause disastrous sea level rises - study

Mike Richards

Re: no clear indication... that the glaciers will stop gaining speed

I get the impression a lot of these 'global warming's a myth' articles that Lewis has been posting with monotonous regularity have been pre-digested by fellow denialists and we're getting the dumbed down version of the dumbed down partisan take on nuanced science.

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BSkyB boss: 'I don't work for Rupert Murdoch, remember'

Mike Richards

Re: Fitness to Broadcast - Crap Programmes

Oh crap I might end up defending Sky here.

Most of their output is unmitigated shite, but Sky Arts is actually turning into an impressive channel which is commissioning stuff that the BBC and ITV used to produce.

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HP elbows Apple off global PC throne

Mike Richards

Netbooks

I wonder if netbook sales would bounce back if they went back to the original intention of small, cheap computers?

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Facebook button triggers tidal wave of human organs

Mike Richards

Re: Good to see

You could argue that 'opt out' presumes the state owns your body.

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How politicians could end droughts FOREVER: But they don't want to

Mike Richards

Re: JG Ballard and tilting at windmills.

'Where does all the salt (and other waste) go? Presumably you have to ship it off and dump it a long, long way away. '

The process produces a more concentrated brine as waste product, so normally you just lay a long outfall pipe which discharges the effluent well away from the intake. Potentially tricky in an estuary where the tide pushes water upstream twice a day.

One cost Lewis has left out is that of filtering Thames water to a point where it can be sent to the osmotic membranes without clogging them up.

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Now on Freeview HD: Olympic arts channel that's tough to watch

Mike Richards

Re: Money down the drain?

So in keeping with the rest of the Olympic spending then?

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Phone-hack saga: Murdoch 'not fit' to run News Corp, blast MPs

Mike Richards

Re: Let's apply the same standard more widely

Hopefully the folks at Ofcom who are investigating whether News International is a fit company to own a stake in BSkyB will be paying attention. It would a national tragedy worthy of a day off work and massive street parties if NI were found unsuitable and forced to sell their stake in the company.

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Mike Richards

If you watch carefully he's only a doddery old man when it comes to answering questions about his own company. As soon as a question is asked about his detractors like David Yelland (ex editor of the Sun) or Andrew Neil (ex Times), the Mail group or the BBC, his mask slips and the poisonous old scrote emerges.

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iTunes fanbois outraged by Apple's sex-life quiz probe

Mike Richards

Re: I faced these questions last week

And don't forget Apple's new password which requires upper and lower case letters as well as numbers. I'm not sure how many times I've changed that in the last few weeks after wholly forgetting the last one.

Surely any true Apple fan will answer 'Who was your best childhood friend' with 'Steve Jobs'?

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YouView: You're delayed - Sugar

Mike Richards

Re: Alan Sugar?

Darth Sugar surely?

I'm off for a lie-down on the shock news that Amstrad have a quality control department.

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Basic instinct: how we used to code

Mike Richards

Re: If I can type through these misty eyes...

That's perhaps the first time I've ever seen the word 'sophisticated' used in a discussion of Commodore BASIC. That old skinflint Tramiel could have had a much better version of Microsoft BASIC for the C64 if he'd coughed up a few extra pennies per machine. Instead all Commodore programs quickly descended into a mass of unintelligible POKEs.

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Nokia's fontastic Pure wins 'design Oscar'

Mike Richards

Re: Techies dismissing what they don't understand

To be fair, the Segoe UI family are beautiful fonts too.

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Twelve... classic 1980s 8-bit micros

Mike Richards

Re: Atari 800 series ???

I *really* wanted an Atari 800 - after realising that I could never afford an Apple II - but weren't they something like £399 in early 1980s money. Then along came Commodore with the C64 which I think my mum and dad picked up for £220 in Rumbelows complete with the cassette drive.

Naturally it was for 'education'.

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Hanging's too good for 'em - so what do you suggest?

Mike Richards

Trying to get actual technical support from BT Total Broadband.

My record is being able to assemble four sets of IKEA shelves and a cupboard during the time I was kept on hold.

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Billionaire astro mining venture long on hype and timescale

Mike Richards

Re: Is it really true?

'If asteroids are remnants of the proto-planetary cloud that formed the earth (among others), why should they have a significantly greater concentration of platinum than the earth's crust?'

Asteroids have much higher concentrations of platinum than the Earth's crust as can be shown from the abundance of platinum metals in meteorites and meteoritic dust. The Earth's platinum metals followed the majority of the planet's iron and nickel and sank towards the Core as the planet heated up during formation.

But I'd like to see a cost comparison between getting platinum from an asteroid and extracting it from the tiny quantities dissolved in seawater.

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Ten... eight-bit classic games

Mike Richards

Re: What?! JK Greye and Malcom Evans!

Anyone remember a FP3D game on the C64 called Scarabaeous which had you exploring an Egyptian tomb looking for treasure? There were all sort of nasties patrolling the corridors, but I especially remember it for the soundtrack of a heartbeat which got faster the more damage you took. Delivered in splendid Commodore chunk-o-vision, it was still absolutely terrifying.

oooh I wonder if that's available anywhere?

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Mike Richards

Bloody hell - how could I forget the brain-bleedingly brilliant 'Sentinel'?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sentinel_(video_game)

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Mike Richards

Many great games

But Boulderdash needs to be there.

And Dropzone.

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Look back in Ascii: Computing in the 1980s

Mike Richards

Re: Z88 was likely the first computer device I ever lusted for.

Oh I loved my Z88 which saw me good for hundreds of thousands of words before - perhaps inevitably - the keyboard membrane failed. By then Sinclair Research had gone on to make electric bikes and it went to the great scrapheap in the sky.

But like the folks above with fond memories of their Psions lasting for months on cheap AA batteries - I have to ask, is there really no market for machines with enormous battery lives?

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China's rare earth policy backs Apple into a corner

Mike Richards

Re: Rare Earth Elements

'However if they get really short there are millions of tons of spoil heaps in Cornwall just waiting to be mined!'

Perhaps not too far-fetched - although bloody Prince Charles and the National Trust who own most of Cornwall between them would probably block it.

Quite recently, sizeable amounts of indium* have been identified in ores from South Crofty (the last mine to work in Cornwall), and across the pasty wall the Hemerdon Mine near Plympton is about to start producing large quantities of tungsten. I wouldn't be too surprised if some of the Cornish tips were also valuable sources of wolframite which was mined alongside tin in the 19th Century, but thrown away as being valueless and for making cassiterite hard to smelt.

*okay not a rare earth, but very, very necessary in touch screen displays.

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Happy 30th Birthday, Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Mike Richards

Love the design sketches

It's hard to believe there was a time when designs were put together on graph paper by pencils and rulers. Sometimes the early 1980s feels a very long way away indeed.

I never owned a Spectrum, but I was always in awe of the Ultimate: Play the Game titles.

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Hands on with the Nikon D3200 DSLR

Mike Richards

Re: So it's jsut more Mp then..

I think this is the same sensor as in the Sony A77 (in a much smaller body) - in which case it will make for some great images. I've found the A77 to be a good performer in low light, but so many megapixels on what is quite a small sensor does mean visible noise creeping into images much over ISO800. It's not too obtrusive until much higher ISOs and with some good noise reduction software you can minimise the effects.

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Shale gas fracking ruled safe, but must stop at drop of a hat

Mike Richards

'The British Geological Survey doesn’t record earthquakes below 2.0M, the equivalent of 1 imperial ton of TNT, considered to be the smallest quake people can feel.'

Yes it does as a visit to the British Geological Survey will show you:

http://earthquakes.bgs.ac.uk/

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Cellco execs lay into Nokia's Lumia

Mike Richards

'Windows 8 will make or break WP7 (or 8). If Microsoft can make it simple to develop an app that works on both WP8 and W8, they'll break the apps = users problem in one step.'

Good point. may I add another?

If Microsoft makes it impossible for WP7 users to upgrade to WP8 they will see a massive backlash from people finding themselves orphaned. At the moment Microsoft is playing its cards close to its chest over the whole upgrade path which isn't terribly encouraging.

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Mike Richards

Re: I can't disagree

Eddie,

Do you have the 12070 update installed? It's dramatically improved the battery life on my Lumia 800 to where it is as good as, or better than, my iPhone 4.

Go to Settings -> phone update or plug the phone into the Zune application on your PC if you haven't got it and you should be able to download the new firmware.

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Cameron 'to change his mind' on the one thing he got right in Defence

Mike Richards

BAE

You'd have thought BAE's highly trained commando accountants would have been able to work out how to offset any losses on the jump-jet fighter contract by ridiculously overcharging on their contract for constructing the carriers themselves.

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Himalayan glaciers actually GAINING ice, space scans show

Mike Richards

Is it too late to point out

The Karakoram aren't actually in the Himalayas?

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So what's the worst movie NEVER made?

Mike Richards

Re: Wagner's ring cycle

And of course we'd be competing against the majestic Bugs Bunny version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2VMqQ6XnmI

However, if this were to go ahead may I suggest Mel Gibson directing as he'd get the whole Wagnerian schtick, and for lead singer - well you need a viking who can belt out a tune (sort of) - brace yourself - Dolph Lundgren does Elvis:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF6U2-_Dhw4

Maybe Bette Midler could spring for Brunhilde?

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Mike Richards

Mike Leigh's Cleopatra

The majesty of Imperial Rome and the beauty of the Nile reimagined as life on a 1970s Dagenham Council estate starring Leslie Grantham and Katie Price.

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