* Posts by Mike Richards

3605 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

General Atomics unwraps new, Stealth(y) robot war-jet

Mike Richards

General Atomics

Best company name ever.

They also designed the batshit-crazy ocean liner-sized Orion spacecraft powered by small nuclear bombs - which for some reason never got approval.

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Ballmer disses Oracle's decision to buy Sun

Mike Richards

@ Michael Philbey

Technically Balmer is correct when he says Microsoft doesn't own hardware companies. They do the design of products and subcontract the whole process of making the boxes to companies like Flextronics.

But by that measure Apple isn't a hardware company either.

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LG insider points to Apple OLED notebook

Mike Richards

Must be true

I've just order a MacBook Pro - me spending money on any product inevitable results in either the company going spectacularly broke or upgrading the whole range.

If anyone would like Aston Martin to release a new range of cars, please get in contact with me and bring £100,000 in used non-sequential notes.

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Branson mothership bottom smacked in 'touch & go' incident

Mike Richards

Touch and gos

I once had the privilege of being shown round Edwards Airforce Base by a retired USAF pilot. Amongst all the awesomeness, I got to watch a B1-B doing repeated touch and gos. Apparently it was a regularly administered punishment for pilots who had flunked a landing.

Beautiful plane and it made one hell of a noise when taking off again.

As for this story. It's a non-story in many ways, these sort of issues are regularly found when prototypes are flown for the first time. It's hardly a problem to worry about. After all to take just one example the very first 747 had problems with its flaps and with wing flutter during the test flights; despite that, Boeing produced one of the most awesome pieces of machinery ever designed.

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It's US vs Europe as world e-car plug standard race nears end

Mike Richards

Surely...

USB charging is the only way to go? ;)

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Interstellar Bebo spamgasm targeted at 'water world'

Mike Richards

'blobominations'

The most awesome word yet. I intend to use it wherever possible.

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Start-up Bee pledges 'affordable' British e-car

Mike Richards

Hmmm

Well I'd hate to piss on anyone's parade, but when was the last time this country produced any piece of high tech that could compete with the Japanese, Americans and Germans?

I'd love to think Britain was going to be a leader in this trade, but I still remember how breathless journos told us that we were going to lead the world in aviation, rail, pharmaceuticals, GM, computers, space... but somehow we ended up selling cheap Korean phones and insurance to one another to make things meet.

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Half of 10 year olds now mobile connected

Mike Richards

Parents

Are these the same parents who demand that mobile phone masts be kept away from their precious little snowflakes at all costs?

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The Pirate Bay loads cannon with official appeal

Mike Richards

"If you get on a bus you've got to pay. And I think it's fair you should pay your ticket."

Doesn't Paul McCartney qualify for a free bus pass?

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US parkies in 'burrow-buster' marmot detonation campaign

Mike Richards

Waiting for the first news story

Involving an airliner crash caused by one of its turbines ingesting a low-flying marmot.

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UK dons dunce hat on copyright law

Mike Richards

'The UK was the only country to be given an overall 'F' score by the report. '

So we still did well enough to study chemisty at A-level?

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Which zoo animals like artificial sweeteners: Facts at last

Mike Richards

Good news...

...for diabetic pandas.

And was there an obesity timebomb ticking in the Alpine meerkat population?

Next up - what flavour crisps do blue whales prefer?

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Microsoft Office for Mac fix falls at first hurdle

Mike Richards

Fix for the Monolingual problem

I've had this problem with Office 2008 since day 1 and there is a fix which always works for me (including the latest update). It needs a text editor and nerves of steel, but little else.

1: First of all, get the update from the Mactopia site at http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads.mspx - you'll need to root around for the actual update as the featured 'latest' update is for Office 2004. Well done Microsoft.

2: Open the DMG file and drag the installer file on to the Desktop.

3: Go to the Desktop, right-click the installer file and choose [Show Package Contents].

4: Navigate down to Update/Contents/Resources/ and open the file package_updatable in your favourite text editor. You may be prompted if you want to make the file editable, say Yes.

5: Find the line 'found_valid_version=False'

6: Change 'False' to 'True'

7: Delete all the text below that line as far as the line 'if not found_valid_version:' BUT DO NOT DELETE THIS LINE.

8: Save the file.

9: Rerun the installer.

HTH.

But why the Microsoft Office installer is so shite? Sorry can't help you there.

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Phorm director advises UK.gov broadband minister

Mike Richards

Are we meant to believe...

...that Carter (as minister thingy) and Meek (in his taxpayer day job) have never once discussed Phorm in any way?

Really?

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'Let me use poo-flinging Roman siege engine against burglars'

Mike Richards

Bloody hell...

...if you'd said Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris had gone on a three month tequila bender and came up with this when coming down from a peyote high I would have believed you.

But this is real???? The man's a national treasure:

'One of the girls, Theresa, achieved the World Record for riding a motorcycle through the longest tunnel of fire – shortly before setting fire to Joe’s sales kiosk by pouring petrol instead of fat into the donut machine.'

Best web page ever.

If he can't shower crims with shit, is he up to do the House of Commons?

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NASA probes seek remnants of lost 'Theia' planet

Mike Richards

Carl Sagan walks amongst us

'Boffins think the planet-smash theory of lunar formation could explain why the Moon has such a relatively unimpressive iron core, being made up mostly of melted crusty bits smashed off in the possible Earth/Theia pileup and then blobbed together.'

Brilliant, it's the grasp of the precise language of planetary geology that makes it so authoritative. Please make sure all future stories include the word 'billions'.

It's worth adding, had the Moon had a normal origin, it's relatively small size would have precluded it ever getting hot enough for an iron core to differentiate, so you still wouldn't expect things like a planetary magnetic field or active vulcanism.

The collision theory is better supported by doing high precision work on lunar rocks ('hittin' it wiv an 'ammer' in geological parlance); they're very rich in refractory minerals and depleted in volatiles such as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and the noble gases.

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IPCC U-turn on Tomlinson CCTV

Mike Richards

Plod in top gear

Two weeks to ask for CCTV from a major crime scene? And then it seems to have needed Channel 4 to give them a good prod.

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Labour flames whistleblowers in email smear brouhaha

Mike Richards

Anyone willing to bet

That a FoI request for the original emails will be met by a statement that the system isn't backed up?

And if anyone is still in a gambling mood. Do you think a lot of stuff is going into Number 10's computers' trashcans right now?

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Hair-stripping fungus threatens future of judo and sumo

Mike Richards

Very worried...

...this fungus is clearly terrifyingly powerful, so strong in fact I have to wonder if it could even beat hirsute Chuck Norris?

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Twitter overrun by weekend of powerful worm attacks

Mike Richards

Twitter users overwhelmed by flood of pointless messages

Nope, too easy...

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Teens reject Microsoft's Zune

Mike Richards

One good thing about Zune

The look, feel and usability of the online store is light years ahead of the iTunes store and Zune's interface is much more attractive and usable than the iPod's onboard software. And I say that as an iPhone user.

It's a shame the Zune itself has always seemed 18 months behind the times.

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Who snapped first?

Mike Richards

CCTV

According to the IPCC none of the CCTV cameras in the area were switched on at the time. And I thought people were being too cynical when they said this would happen.

Incredible isn't it, the heart of the most surveilled city in the world (with the possible exception of downtown Pyongyang) with tens of billions of Pounds worth of property about to be the centre of a huge demo - and no one thinks of putting a tape in the machine?

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Mike Richards

Sudden silence from the government

Has anyone noticed that New Labour have gone very quiet on this all of a sudden? Especially no one seems to be willing to talk about their 'snap a copper and your nicked' provisions. Will any of them be brave enough to say that this legislation needs to be revoked in order that some measure of confidence in that police can be held accountable?

Also, nice to see the Sun spinning the police line that being drunk (allegedly) is a good enough reason to be clubbed and shoved to the ground. The Met and City of London Police might want to check out Smith v. Leech Brain & Co., [1962] 2 QB 405 and the 'eggshell skull' defence.

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NASA: Clean-air regs, not CO2, are melting the ice cap

Mike Richards

Not exactly new stuff

Interesting stuff, but 'global dimming' has been known about as a driver of Northern Hemisphere climate change for some time now* and it's been factored into the latest climate models. Also this doesn't explain the simultaneous temperature rises in the Southern Hemisphere where its harder to invoke fewer carbon and sulfur particles in the atmosphere.

There's plenty to worry about with sulfur particles - they not only cause acid rain and affect soil chemistry and crop yields. They are linked to human health problems and would only increase the acidification of the oceans. So we might be able to ward off a warming ciimate only to screw another part of the planet. Not to mention, when they're up there in the atmosphere, there's nothing we can do to get them back if we find they're causing trouble.

* it's even been on the dumbed-down 'Horizon'. (That's the one that was on before they went for broke and decided to have a programme about 'maffs' hosted by Alan Davies. It can't be long before Barbara Windsor is on a quest for the HIggs Boson.

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Ad watchdog gives thumbs up for female TV orgasms

Mike Richards

"the Reg defense and opera desk"

I like the idea of combining these two areas of human endeavour which belong together every bit as well as spotwelding jelly to a Moon rocket;

but - and like J-Lo, it's a big one...

can the Mighty Reg please make sure that 'defence' is spelled correctly?

Perhaps the Reg's forums moderator and part-time probation officer can be sent to give Joe a very stern talking to? Nothing too harsh, just get him to sit through Götterdämmerung without tearing his ears off.

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BMW opens up to haptic car doors

Mike Richards

@ breakfast

;)

I've always assumed BMWs are bought on installment plans and every month a new piece is posted to the lucky driver. The indicator lights being the last part to arrive.

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BT still struggling to fix Olympic problems

Mike Richards

@ neil hanvey

'am i the only one who read 'large thrust borer' as 'large thrust boner'?'

No, but I suspect El Reg relish any opportunity to emphasise it wasn't just a borer, nor even a large borer, but a large THRUST borer.

Personally I think the whole story cries out for Playmobilisation. Not quite as much as the Home Sec's sec. home home sex is positively gagging for it, but it's been a while since the Reg brought Playmobil's laser-like insight to a story.

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Phorm moves beyond privacy - except when slating rivals

Mike Richards

Phorm having Norman Lamont as CEO

Is somewhat like trying to attract lovers with a dead rat hanging round your neck.

Couldn't they get someone classier - like David Blunkett?

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Nork splash shot snapped by passing satellite

Mike Richards

Not a failure

This is a glorious Socialist triumph and shows the limitation of Western capitalist thinking.

Unlike Imperialist Running Dog satellites which must be put into high orbits to do their useful work, North Korea's revolutionary (in every sense of the word) Kwangmyŏngsŏng is even now serenading the Pacific whale population with the soul-stirring 'Song of General Kim Il-sung'.

All together now:

'Vast snowy fields of Manchuria please tell me

Endless night deep in the Taiga please tell me

Immortal guerilla warrior, who is he?

Outstanding patriot, who is it?'

(Clue: it's not Noel Edmonds)

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EC blasts mobile masts away from schools and hospitals

Mike Richards

'as the general public feels uninformed about the issue.'

Should be read as 'public are thick as pig shit'.

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Japanese unleash Jedi Obama

Mike Richards

@ amanfromMars

'Crikey, can we expect Playmobil to up the Ante with a Jacqui Smith role/pole model .... suitably provocatively dressed for those just getting on [with] the job evenings at home around the telly.'

Whoa! Not only did I understand that, but it is a hugely important question for the Register's quality reporters.

Why haven't you teased us with a Playmobil recreation of the sort of filth enjoyed by Wacqui Jacqui's other half?

And don't let the feeble excuse of not knowing which movie it was get in the way. We know (and when I say "know", I mean "don't have a clue, but wouldn't it be funny if") it involved a couple of dogs, Optimus Prime and an airport security checkpoint operator.

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Mike Richards

Where oh where?

Is the Alistair Darling action doll?

Complete with thick sheafs of briefing notes, detachable eyebrows and dreary monotone voice ready to pummel the evil empire of mighty - errrr - Iceland into submission.

Alistair Darling: You'll believe an accountant can fly - at least downwards until the pavement intervenes.

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IPS misses its ID cards for foreigners target

Mike Richards

Chip and PIN?

Hands up anyone who can see the new security loophole.

We've gone from iris recognition to facial recognition to fingerprints (sort of) and now we're putting our faith in four numbers from 0 to 9?

If a PIN is all that's required to access *any* part of the ID card system then the system is compromised as useful functionality will be obtainable by using easily forged chip and PIN cards.

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GM, Segway to unveil iPhone-driven wheelchair e-car

Mike Richards

OMG!

They've finally invented something more embarrassing than a Segway.

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Boffin: Titan moon largely made of LPG, not cheese

Mike Richards

Geology 101

'btw, on earth I understand that PG (LPG before its L) is produced from vegetable (cellulose based) matter under great temperature and pressure over a long period of time.

Yessish.

If this is true on Titan,

No.

does it mean that it was as warm as earth once?

No.

If not where did all that LPG come from?'

Methane seems to be almost universal in the objects of the outer solar system. UV light from the Sun cracks the methane into reactive radicals which then recombine into heavier molecules such as propane, butane and so on. The really heavy hydrocarbons are what make the outer moons of the solar system so dark in colour as well as giving Titan its charming 'smoker's cough' colouration.

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Grav-mapping satellite fires ion engines

Mike Richards

@ Tim

Thanks, I think we're all much more informed now. For sheer clarity that was worthy of a 1970s Open University programme - even if you didn't come equipped with a blackboard, kipper tie and oscilloscope.

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Microsoft cries netbook victory against Linux

Mike Richards

Switched my Aspire One to Windows

And why?

Because the supplied version of Linux sucked. The update procedure was horrible and many applications had not been updated by Acer in months - even though they contained known security issues. Patching some of them by hand using standard Linux procedures caused other things to break.

Windows XP is a horrible OS, but at least I can keep my machine relatively secure and I'm not spending all my time in the console sudoing away.

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Dixons cuts off Norse to right base

Mike Richards

And at a stroke...

...customer service and satisfaction in Scandinavia take a massive turn for the better.

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Vatican researcher claims Templars worshipped Turin Shroud

Mike Richards

Not a relic

The Catholic Church has played a very clever game with the Shroud.

Although it's owned by the Holy See they have never pronounced on its authenticity saying that the Shroud is a matter of personal faith for individual Catholics.

Though I'm sure they clean up nicely in the Turin Cathedral tea and gift shop with shroud tea towels and T-shirts.

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Irish Blood Transfusion Service endorses Dracula

Mike Richards

Eh???

'Francis Ford Coppola didn't make a bad hash of it with his fairly faithful cinematic adaptation'

Okay Lester have YOU actually read the book?

FFC's adaptation was the cinematic equivalent of having a cheesegrater run over the eyeball - a movie so staggeringly bad it almost eclipses Keanu Reeves 'English' accent.

But not quite.

But the book - awesome - especially the ship's log.

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Failed Nork rocket bits straddle Japan

Mike Richards

@ Anonymous Coward @ Michael Smith

'Urr, supposedly this had the oomph to reach Alaska. Yes, Alaska, the beating heart of America.'

Sarah Palin country - the missile suddenly seems quite appealing right now doesn't it?

'If this vehicle can put a payload into orbit, it can deliver that same payload to any point on the Earth.'

Not necessarily, to return the payload to Earth you need to include the mass of the retros and the heat shield. Throw those in and you may not have enough useful mass for a warhead.

And on a related note. Thanks to Pakistan, our dear ally in the war on terror, North Korea MAY have the design for a nuclear missile warhead. Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the brains behind the Pakistani nuclear programme is known to have met up with North Korean scientists and exchanged information. Pakistan certainly has nuclear tipped missiles as they got their design from the Chinese.

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UK transport minister's website pwned

Mike Richards

Quote of the day

'It's unclear what platform labourisworking.com is running on'

In so many ways.

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Twitter not yet in 'late stage' talks with Google

Mike Richards

@ Anonymous Coward

'Will this virtual milkman get to have virtual sex with virtual housewives in a Robin Askwith stylee? I can see some synergies with Craigslist here...'

Definitely a mash-up we'll all want to see. Get your people to talk to my people and we'll do lunch. Ciao baby!

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Mike Richards

@ Fraser

'They are taking on yet another web2 service that has a broken business model and will loose them money left right and centre.'

I think you might have hit on something there. If Google buy enough loss making services they might be able to say they aren't a monopoly - because if they were they'd be rich like Microsoft.

In which case I'd like to talk to the Mountain View boffins about my virtual 'notes to the milkman' Web 2.0 synergetic holistic mashup enterprise. People pay nothing to write notes to a non-existent milkman in 140 characters or fewer, they can follow their favourite milkman and share favourite notes with other milk drinkers. It makes no money, is completely pointless, will be forgotten in six months time; so by Twitter reckoning, must be worth at least a billion. Two billion if we can make it an iPhone app and get Stephen Fry onboard.

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UKBA to exchange fingerprints with US

Mike Richards

Clever...

It also means they can get their hands (ahem) on fingerprints of UK nationals who travel to the US.

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British steam car completes final testing

Mike Richards

Best stat

From their site:

Burners: ~23 cups of tea per second

Just about enough to keep a team of brickies hydrated.

http://www.steamcar.co.uk/design/index.htm

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Lloyd-Webber calls for clampdown on ISPs

Mike Richards

Spokesbodies for the record industry

Feargal Sharkey

Cliff Richard

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Is there anyone in the country who doesn't loathe at least one of that ghastly trio?

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UK operation patents DVD lockdown

Mike Richards

It's DIVX all over again

When are they going to realise it won't bloody well work? It'll last just long enough for someone to rip the content:

Either by breaking the encryption (which must be compromised as it's clear what sort of structure the key will have - if it has a phone number and a credit card number in it then we can exclude other characters), or;

By intercepting the content as it streams from the player to the display. HDCP isn't mandatory yet and most pirated content users would be perfectly happy with a slightly degraded copy.

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Carbon capture would create fizzy underground oceans

Mike Richards

Let's do it

For every proven oil well that's drilled, there are several that will never produce a drop of petroleum. A good number of these end up in brine reservoirs which have been sitting there for millions of years. Pump CO2 down into those then fill the well with concrete and it should remain there for ages. Not only because CO2 dissolves into water, but also because CO2 under high pressure is a liquid at normal temperatures.

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Silicon Graphics goes titsup (again)

Mike Richards

I blame it all on...

...the change in logo.

SGI used to have a fabulous 'cube' logo:

http://www.geniusdv.com/weblog/archives/Sgi_cube_logo.png

then they went all swoopy, touchy-feely and family friendly and the business imploded. Don't blame the hardware, don't blame the software - blame the strategy-oriented synergetic experts.

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