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* Posts by Frumious Bandersnatch

1312 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007

Police 'stumped' by car thefts using electronic skeleton key

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Sonic Screwdriver

Obviously...

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New Tosh 'droid slabs include Newton-like scrawl-pad: We try it out

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Re: Graffiti

You can get Graffiti on Android. It does predictive text.

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Security boffins say music could trigger mobile malware

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Re: Phew! I'm safe...

It's called steganography. Nothing to see here, move along now.

I haven't read the paper, but I don't think it's stego. According to the article, such inputs are used to trigger an existing infection rather than being used as a carrier for code or new information beyond the "trigger me now" signal. In this case, it's probably just another example of the use of "oblivious agents": an "agent" continuously monitors whatever sensor data it has available, produces a hash of some kind and if the hash matches a trigger condition, it activates. The "oblivious" part is that the agent doesn't "know" in advance (and examining the code won't reveal) what specific combination of inputs are needed for it to activate which function.

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COLD FUSION is BACK with 'anomalous heat' claim

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Re: No Brainer

To prove it's fusion you need to see what is in the box.

Not necessarily. If you seal the apparatus up and you have a really accurate scales (or a long enough time scale) to measure the mass of the thing, you should see a gradual reduction in mass. That would probably be enough to prove there's fusion going on. Or fission, but we have to take it at their word that there aren't any fissile materials in the box providing the extra energy output.

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Google adds Atari Easter Egg for Breakout's birthday

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Is this a not-so-subtle dig...

at Apple trying to patent "bounce-back" in user interfaces ("on a mobile device")?

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United Nations: 'Overpopulated Earth? Time to EAT BUGS'

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why not complete the cycle?

Simply feed the maggots that infest sheep to the livestock themselves.

(anyone who's dipped sheep will probably know where I'm coming from)

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Global nappy hawker trials TweetPee moist-baby monitor

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Re: Yes, that will work well.

Just use Beethoven's First Movement.

Ah, yes... his little-known "Meconium".

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Charity chief: Get with it, gov - kids shouldn't have to write by hand

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waapuro-baka

There's a phrase in Japanese (see title) that literally means "word-processor idiot". It refers to a problem that people are becoming less and less proficient at actually writing Kanji. The way this works on computer, people type in the words phonetically and then it gives them a choice of possible kanji. So while you still need to be able to recognise what the correct kanji is/are, it's actually deleterious to your ability to write those kanji from memory.

Although it's not as extreme a problem in English, I think this push to downgrade the importance of (hand-)written language in favour of typing things on a computer does have similar consequences. It's not exactly that handwriting itself is that big a deal, but I think that things like auto-completion and automatic spell-checking tend to make people lazy when it comes to learning how to spell things correctly and how to distinguish between homonyms like "their" and "they're". A spell-checker alone can't help you learn these things, and most grammar checkers aren't really up to snuff.

Den dares de problum wiv ppl using "is a computa" as an excuse not to even bovver wid writing "propurly"...

Maybe this guy's argument is more nuanced than I'm giving him credit for, but overall I'd have to say I'm against it. I'm all for increasing tech literacy, but if the price is to sacrifice literacy in general, it's not worth it.

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Penguins in spa-a-a-ce! ISS dumps Windows for Linux on laptops

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Re: local repository.

Short answer: Yes.

Or just set up a squid proxy--even easier.

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Rules, shmules: Fliers leaving devices switched on in droves

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Re: airplane mode

Hunting for a cell tower signal is a *receive* function ... There's nothing imperfect at all with the details of the implementation ... Androud devices ... take elaborate measures to work around this flawed implementation

Bullshit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GSM_procedures

Point 1: "The MS (ie, the phone) will send a Channel Request message to the BSS on the RACH."

Cell registration is an active process, requiring the cellphone to actively transmit. If you're looking for an excuse to bash Android devices, at least try to base it on facts: even if a phone can "hear" a base station, it still needs to transmit to register with it, regardless of whether you've got an Apple or Android or MS or Blackberry or whatever.

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The IT Crowd returns to Channel 4 for a final episode

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re: Faaather!

Daamn these electric sex pants!

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Debian 7 debuts

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Re: Oh, dear...

It could be the best OS ever - but 'Wheezy'? Whoever thought that one up should be shot. Tragic.

Eh, there are only so many characters in Toy Story, don't you know? I certainly don't agree with shooting the writers just because you don't like it as an OS release name.

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PEAK iPHONE? Apple mobe growth slumps to ‘lowest in its history’

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> Turnover is vanity - profit is sanity.

>> Profit is opinion - cash is fact

Candy is Dandy, but Liquor is Quicker!

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Reg hack to starve on £1 a day for science

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Re: I've got a top tip for all you pound a day guys who are smokers too...

Fags do suppress the appetite so it could be an aide to staving off the hunger

You'd be better off getting some garlic and rubbing a bit in your mouth. Apparently it's good at staving off the hunger.

Some other thoughts...

Various people have mentioned potatoes and rice, which is a great idea. You do need to make sure you're getting some protein, though, Dried beans, lentils and split peas are the best value, along with TVP (textured vegetable protein). Oils and fats will probably be your most expensive outlay.

Someone else mentioned foraging, but it's not practical if you're either living in the city or don't know what you're looking for out in the country. It also tends to be seasonal, but if you know what you're looking for you can get plenty of fruit and maybe mushrooms (requires knowledge and caution!) and definitely some plants like wild garlic and even dandelion or nettle that are easily identified and easy to find.

In the city, foraging is pretty hard. You could follow a squirrel back to its lair and steal his nuts, I suppose. Much easier is to find a supermarket where they're offering free samples of stuff. You could steal a copy of "Steal this Book" and get some ideas for other ways to get free stuff, or invite some friends around for some "stone soup" (you provide the stone).

Surviving on £1 a day sounds very hard, unless you "cheat" by relying on getting free stuff (like sugar and ketchup packs and butter pats from restaurants). As an awareness-raising exercise, though, I'd have to applaud it. Good luck with it!

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Australian Federal Police claim arrest of 'LulzSec leader'

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Joke

It doesn't say he publically stated it

I am "Chessmaster Hex", and you may claim your £5.

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Ten Windows tablets

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Re: Ten Windows Tablets - the Eadon Review

Upvote on the "ignore user" button... I would actually *PAY* not to have to see Eadon's ramblings 

I'm sure it would be simple enough to implement using greasemonkey. I'd happily investigate for a fiver...

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Intel demos inexpensive 100Gb/sec silicon photonics chip

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We can make those photons go faster

Oi you lazy photons... quit your lollygagging!

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NASA-backed fusion engine could cut Mars trip down to 30 days

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Re: There is a helluva lot of difference

As soon as they start decelerating at the other end, they'll get a column of exhaust catching up, and smashing into them!

No. First, you have to understand inertial frames of reference. If I'm on the roof of train and I fire a gun in the forward direction, it will have the same apparent velocity (to me, and ignoring air resistance) as a bullet fired in the "backwards" direction. Despite being in motion, the relative velocities still work out the same as if we decide that (or it's actually the case that) the train is fixed in space. This is our "inertial frame of reference". Second, you need to take into account Newton's third law: "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction", which is the principle behind any "reaction drive", of which this is an example. Again, consider the plasma exhaust coming out of our "gun". It has a mass that is a tiny fraction of the mass of the ship, but will have a large acceleration. Since F = ma (force = mass x acceleration) and due to Newton's third law, our ship will have a balancing (reaction) force propelling it in the opposite direction to the plasma. Since the ship's mass is so many times larger than the projectile, the resulting deceleration will be much less than that experienced by the projectile.

So in summary, (1) the projectile will always accelerate away from the ship, regardless of which direction we're going, and (2) catching up with the exhaust assumes you're going forward-backward-forward for some reason, rather than forward-backward, and even then, the chance of hitting the exhaust over such vast distances is crazily small. Also, (3) detonating the pellet and turning it into plasma means that after a short time there won't be anything except a diffuse gas for anything (including other ships in the vicinity) to collide with anyway.

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Hubble boffins: Incredibly old supernova could explain EVERYTHING

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Re: Im confused.

> If the universe is infinite then everything happens infinitely often.

No.

Ah, but you say that now (and at this time) ...

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Re: Just think...

The idiots keep trying to defund and shutdown the Hubble Telescope.

Have a downvote for "defund". If I had another to give, you'd have one for "shutdown" (as a verb) too.

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Lasers capture 3D images from a kilometre away

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Lena ...

... or it didn't happen.

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Review: Intel Next Unit of Computing barebones desktop PC

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Re: Form factor is nice...

Speaking of form factor, the first thing I noticed about this is that the power switch is on the top. That's either a design flaw, or perhaps a tacit admission that the heat output of these is such that stacking multiple units would tend to cause overheating. IF these things were cheap enough to use in a small cluster (and if it weren't crippled by only having USB 2) then I'd have thought being stackable would be a virtual necessity. I note that neither the Mac Mini nor the Chrome boxes have power switches on the top. I don't know if they have heat dissipation problems if stacked, but at least the power button placement doesn't stop you from trying it out.

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Copyright troll Prenda refuses to explain legal strategy

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Re: @Rampant Spaniel: Rights

While logically, a refusal to answer a question would imply guilt ...

No, it doesn't: not logically or legally. Previous posters have already covered what valid inferences (note: "to infer" rather than "imply") can be drawn from refusal to comment in criminal vs civil suits, so I've nothing to add. In terms of logic, though, it's obvious that no firm inference can or should be made from such a refusal to comment. Various logical possibilities exist, ranging from hiding one's guilt, protecting another guilty party or avoiding incriminating oneself for a different crime than the one being examined, the belief that the question need not be answered (for whatever reason), avoiding revealing something that is embarrassing (though not illegal, such as having an affair, being the subject of blackmail or whatever), simply not understanding the question or being incompetent, or believing that the question is unfair and best not answered ("so have you stopped beating up your wife?"). Logically speaking, a refusal to speak doesn't lend any weight to any of these (or other) possibilities being correct.

Apart from that, most of what you said was fair enough. It's just a pet peeve of mine when people talk about logic in a clearly illogical way. That, and mixing up "imply" and "infer"...

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Second International Cat Video Festival coming to Oakland CA

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Re: ...bands (singing cat-themed songs)

No need to mangle other songs when there are plenty of cat-related titles already...

Year of the Cat

What's new Pussycat?

The Lovecats

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Don't Go (by the Hothouse Flowers, thanks to "black cat lying in the shadow of a gatepost" verse)

Cool for Cats

Anything by the Pussycat Dolls, Cat Stevens, "Catatonia", Felix da Housecat or Bass Kittens. Also songs from "Cats" (the musical), The Lion King, and probably many more...

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Re: Of course it's a German invention

Germany already produced films of cats in the 1970s

And Japan had its famous autocatography 『吾輩は猫である』 ("I am a Cat") back in 1906. This fascination has obviously been going on for quite a while, so it's unsurprising that modern humans are still in thrall to the cat.

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Swedish linguists nix new word after row with Google

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Re: Newspeak

I read Whorf and I found his analysis of language and its relationship to the thought process and why, to be very unsatisfactory indeed.

True, most of what he proposed has been discredited. Still, he makes a mean "Gagh".

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Lightspeed variable say intellectuels français

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Re: Slightly OT

Not in media studies, I'll wager.

I'd hope they'd teach that "irregardless" is not a word, even there, though...

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Movie, TV ads annoying? You ain't seen nothin' yet

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Re: Clever people make. Clever people break!

My first thought exactly, though I see it more like a crowd-sourcing thing more than an algorithmic thing: a "network" provides data on where these dynamic-or pre-existing-product placements are, and your player filters them out and replaces them with "Acme" or something nondescript.

[Beer icon] of course some things are better left un-messed with. I'm off to rewatch "Ice Cold in Alex" ... Worth waiting for.

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Nvidia's 2015 Tegra ARM chip promises '100X' speed-up

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Re: More parallel instead of 100X

but ray-tracing is THE easiest thing to convert to parallel as each pixel is independant.

It may be the easiest to make it work in parallel, but it won't be the most efficient since you need to access colour info from all over the scene. Memory will be the bottleneck, in other words, not computing power. Rendering fractals, on the other hand would be an application where pixels are truly independent.

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ARM head legs it from core body: CEO Warren East retires

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Re: Good headline

And then there was also that Bulwer-Lytton competition runner-up from 2010 (Detective category), which is what immediately sprang to my mind:

As Holmes, who had a nose for danger, quietly fingered the bloody knife and eyed the various body parts strewn along the dark, deserted highway, he placed his ear to the ground and, with his heart in his throat, silently mouthed to his companion, "Arm yourself, Watson, there is an evil hand a foot ahead."

I think it even got read out on Countdown. Make of that what you will :)

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Samsung's new co-CEO: 'Windows isn't selling very well'

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filing around 120 patents

I hope they're not for removing people from photographs or Theremin-style finger detection (and any musical uses of same) because I already invented those and documented them here in the forums.

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BOFH: My HELPDESK HELL - lies, phones lines and statistics

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Pint

perfect pacing

As I was reading this (chuckling along the way) I glanced down to see how much more there was to read, finding only a few more inches to go with no "next page" link. I was worried that the ending was going to be unsatisfactory given the scant few lines remaining. However, I was not disappointed! Top episode--Chin-chin!

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Nelson Mandela's island prison hell to become game

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will it have an easter egg mini game

where you get to hunt for various butterflies and cut and paste bits together to make something that looks like a rare breed?

Oh wait... Nelson Mandela... sorry wrong "stuck on an island prison" trope...

(ok, sorry for being so crass and flippant about a great man's suffering... at least I didn't mention the Nissan Main Dealer joke, errr.....)

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Microsoft Surface Pro sales CANNIBALIZING Surface RT

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"Apple sold 22.9 million iPads"

Wouldn't the Samsung ARM Chromebook be a better thing to compare it with? OK, maybe not, considering that it doesn't have touch, but it's more comparable in other ways, IMO, most notably in the sense of being a laptop replacement/adjunct (with keyboard) and having a more "niche" OS (if you accept that Win 8 RT is different from "proper" Win8). Does the Reg have any figures for sales of these ARM Chromebooks for comparison?

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New nuke could POWER WORLD UNTIL 2083

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Re: Thorium

Can this reactor design burn thorium fuel too?

It doesn't sound too dissimilar to other Thorium-based molten salt reactors I've read about (including the fail-safe "plug" that melts and has the salts draining away into several sub-critically sized reservoirs), so I'm guessing yes. As I understand it, though, the fuel cycle for Thorium would have to include elements outside the actual reactor, for chemical separation of various waste (or "poison") isotopes that would get in the way of a self-sustaining reaction, and possibly other similar steps (for maintaining other ratios of elements). Someone here once pointed out that the chemical separation process is pretty nasty (dangerous) based on the need to use (iirc) fluorine. Apart from that, in a Thorium reactor, the main "fuel" is actually Uranium, which is a decay product of Thorium, so there shouldn't be that much difference in the reactor design.

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Infinite loop: the Sinclair ZX Microdrive story

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This happened to me(*)

I'd built a crude mouse and circuitry to hook it up the the RS-232 interface. Then it took me weeks to write the mouse driver interface, saving it to the Microdrive. Alas the tape failed...

Flappity Floppity Flip

The mouse on the Mobius strip

The strip revolved, the mouse dissolved

in a chronodimensional skip!

(*) well, not really; I just wanted to post this rhyme.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: File? What file? I don't remember saving any files!

With such tiny tapes I can only imagine that alignment was a real pain.

At least they had the good sense to only store one track on the tape rather than go with the idea of basing it on 8-track (or similar) recording format. If alignment with just one head is a problem, imagine how bad it would have been with multiple tracks/heads.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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you had to use pokes to do anything remotely interesting with the sound and graphics instead of high level calls like Sinclair BASIC

But on the other hand, the manual that came with the C64 was pretty good and included lists of addresses to peek/poke for changing colours, using sprites and making music/sounds with the SID chip. There really wasn't a need for extraneous syntactic sugar within the BASIC interpreter when the peek/poke addresses were documented. The more complete "Commodore 64 Programmer's Reference Guide" even included schematics for the C64 itself along with a wealth of other technical info such as for accessing bank-switched RAM, a full memory map and even tables listing the frequencies in Hertz of standard musical notes and trig identities. It also had a pretty decent introduction to writing assembly on the 6510.

That document probably ranks as being the best technical manual for any computer I've ever used, even to this day. They just don't write manuals like that any more, unfortunately. I've still got two copies of it floating around :)

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Ten serious sci-fi films for the sentient fan

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Re: Hmmm.... When Sci-fi meets Sci-fact the clone of "Clonus Horror"...."The Island"

The movie studio responsible just ripped off Michael Marshal Smith's "Spares", The book is quite excellent, the film, not so much.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: a couple more

Butterfly Effect? You may as well include The Time Travellers Wife...

Or "The Jacket".

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Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

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MultiEdit

Sharewere (yes, I think it's part wolf) from the early '90s. Such a generic name(*) that Google has problems dredging up references. At least it did most of the stuff I'd expect from an emacs-like editor, which is really what we're talking about here, no?

* at least it's not as bad as "List", which was the premier more/less replacement of those times.

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Ancient revellers came to party... and build Stonehenge - boffins

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Re: Bring a megalith party

Yeah, I know-I should be ashamed of such a dreadful pun, but given the OP's perfect setup I couldn't not use it.

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Re: Bring a megalith party

Fine.. I'll leave menhir then.

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There's cling-ons on the starboard bow! Trekkies' wallets under attack

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A couple of interesting kickstarter projects

The funding round is now closed for these, but I'll be very interested in seeing how the Ouya and Parallella projects turn out. I've no opinion on how useful or successful Kickstarter is, but these two do look pretty cool.

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MakerBot demos 3D object scanner that fits on your desk

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http://insight3d.sourceforge.net/

Has been around for a while and will generate 3d models from regular photographs. Obviously, laser scanning is going to be much better for precision work and cutting down on the amount of post-processing work (less noise and higher resolution), but I doubt that photos can be totally replaced (within reasonable cost limits) when it comes to surface "texture" mapping (by "texture", I mean in the sense of a colour map rather than an actual texture, obviously).

While it's nice to see this new project, I think it's unnecessarily restrictive. Sure, there are plenty of applications where you just want to scan in a 3d object, so having a controlled shot (such as with a fixed camera and turntable, possibly with a set background for calibration) makes sense there. In fact, these kinds of object scanners have been around for many years. But they can't handle lots of real world scanning tasks that would also be nice, eg, scanning room interiors and larger objects that can't physically fit in the control frame like furniture, vehicles, etc. Being able to track location as you enter an object's interior would also be pretty useful (think of the opening tracking shot in, IIRC, Vertigo, for example--the one where the camera tracks through a sign and into a building).

I think that latter kind of scanning (of larger and enclosing objects) is much more interesting from the point of view of developing new virtual reality and augmented reality applications. It's akin to the shift from still photography to films, with the ability to move around in space and time. Think of robots that can locate obstacles (or goal objects) in a 3d space, or terrain/object mapping based on aerial video recordings, inferring an object's motion relative to other scene elements, or even just as a quick and easy way to knock up quick scenes for first-person shooters (eg, Runtfest map for Quake 3) or 3rd-person interactive puzzle games (modern versions of the old Monkey Island style of game). Digitising small objects is all well and good, but it's really more of a time saver than a game changer, IMO.

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Twenty classic arcade games

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It really depends on age

Loved playing ... Asteroids (and later Thrust on C64), Moon Patrol (2 player version), Double Dragon (backwards elbow strike FTW), Bubble Bobble (relaxing, but great powerups), Ghosts and Goblins (hard!), Rampage (smashing and eating) and Outrun (bike racing games were great too).

In another really fun game that I came across in later years (probably in Thailand, or somewhere in East Asia at any rate) you had to control a flying balloon by cycling and steering with a set of handlebars. No idea what it was called.

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Ubuntu 13.04 beta touts search privacy - before it hooks in eBay, IMDb etc

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Re: Of the things I'd like to see in the next...

You speak like one previously burned :)

Unfortunately, yes. On multiple occasions, I'm sad to say. You'd have thought I'd learn me lesson after the first time. Alas, no.

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MapR smashes MinuteSort benchmark on Google Compute

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Re: some wrong figure there?

Hmm... I don't think that coffee makes servers go any faster. Maybe some Wash and Go? (with the emphasis on the "Go" part")

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Storage glitch sends Curiosity into safe mode

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Re: Three digital watches...

But do any of them display the right time?

Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day...

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