* Posts by John H Woods

1408 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Patent shark‘s copyright claim could bite all Unix

John H Woods
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Something for Andrew and Lewis ...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/video/2013/apr/01/guardian-goggles-video

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I am NOT a PC repair man. I will NOT get your iPad working

John H Woods
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Payback...

... helping people often pays back, even if you don't expect it. I never expected to get anything but good karma from helping my neighbour with his PC. Maybe I've spent 10 hours doing it over the last 10 years?

Then my mother in law moved house and said I could have her summerhouse if I could work out how to get it to my house. My neighbour and his son spent one weekend dismantling it, stored it for two weeks on their premises and reassembled it in my garden the weekend after - everything from the slabs to the felting.

I think I'm suddenly in karmic arrears again!

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MI5 undercover spies: People are falsely claiming to be us

John H Woods
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Liar's Paradox

"Hi, I'm from MI5"

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Not got 4G? There's a reason we aren't called 'Four', sniffs Three

John H Woods
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Tethered to Three in rurual Warwickshire...

... getting 6Mb/s down, 1.5 up with a latency of 80ms. Bandwidth better than my Sky Broadband, latency only 10-15ms worse. Using around 8GB/mo and paying 15GBP for it PAYG.

I'm certainly not going to leave Three to get 4G!

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Roomba dust-bust bot bods one step closer to ROBOBUTLERS

John H Woods
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Interesting ...

... I seem to recall that some AI and cognition researchers theorised that we could only recognise a chair because we had imbedded knowledge of the act of sitting down. DPM seems a useful compromise for systems which rely on their vision alone.

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Furious Stephen Fry blasts 'evil' Reg and 'TW*T' Orlowski

John H Woods
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Re: to my mind the only thing julie burchill did right

The thing about Julie Burchill is that she doesn't seem to be all that knowledgeable either. Whereas Fry is affable, avuncular and slightly misinformed, she is a total bitch who thinks she is much cleverer than any available evidence would seem to support.

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John H Woods
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Let's be fair...

... it's not just Fry. Yes he sounds authorative, but that may be an error of the listener rather than something he is deliberately trying to convey. Didn't I read, just last week on ENGADGET (which I think thinks it is a serious tech site, although I know of no serious techs who agree) that Tim Berners Lee invented the INTERNET?

My old dad (sorry to bang on) was a highly sociable bloke who met a lot of interesting people, many of whom were experts in some field or other. He came to the conclusion that whenever you met an expert in X, they would usually tell you that a lot of things reported in the popular media about X were wrong. After meeting sampling for enough values of X, he concluded that the popular media are mostly wrong about EVERYTHING.

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Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop hailed oddest book title

John H Woods
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My favourite ...

... (and relevant for Object Orientation) ... "Women, Fire and Dangerous Things" by George Lakoff.

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Google patent filing suggests Glass will be ULTIMATE REMOTE

John H Woods
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Pint

Re: Voice control fashionable again

Sil: "[voice control is] useful in so few scenarii"

Let's meet up and discuss grammar over a panino or two?

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Apple pulls iForgot password recovery system over security bug

John H Woods
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Re: We really are at the mercy of crappy programmers now...

Pete Spicer: "People don't care about security all the time it affects their convenience"

I sort-of understand how this happens in some applications, but this is a fracking Password Reset application. The PRIMARY function is security related - this is not adding <feature X> to an application.

This isn't just a (ludicrous) coding failure - this is a failure of testing, and indeed management. We are at the mercy of "crappy everyone" and the buck stops at management. They will blame the coder - not the people who hired him, the people who managed him, the people who reviewed his code, the people who tested his work and the people who signed it off for production. All of them have failed in their jobs as much as the coder, and it shows a total disregard for user security.

To then say "We take customer privacy very seriously" seems to me to almost be the equivalent of saying "we know X is very important but we have no idea how to do it"

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Dongle smut Twitstorm claims second scalp

John H Woods
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My boss ...

... would just have rolled her eyes and, if she could have been bothered, cut the guys to shreds with a couple of well chosen words.

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Young model ruthlessly fingers upskirt iPad petshop pervert

John H Woods
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Advice from the Romans

SEMPER UBI SUB UBI

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Paying a TV tax makes you happy - BBC

John H Woods
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Re: For 41p a day, I say, keep the tax.

You are right about Broadchurch. But I think one of the reason ITV has these premium shows (like Downton Abbey) is they have to compete with the BBC. I think if the TV licence goes, it won't just be the BBC channels that get worse.

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Holly(oaks) talking head is FUTURE of face messaging, claims prof

John H Woods
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Researcher mistake #1 ...

... being drawn on the question "but what is it for?"

The answer they gave, an animated message avatar, was presumably an off-the-top-of-the-head remark which has been rightly ridiculed. You're better off at one of the extreme ends of the groovy-boring spectrum - either: "Because it's cool, the use of this is limited only by your imagination" or: "to determine whether emotional facial modelling could be achieved in a smartphone-sized application"

I always liked the answer, "this is the research department, ask the chaps over there in development".

Once you have deflected the question the reporters and commenters will do your work for you: Richard12 probably nailed it in the first comment --- animating NPCs in video gaming.

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Microsoft issues manual on Brits to Cambridge exports

John H Woods
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From the land where the consumer is king?

... this, like the "land of the free" is simply verbiage. My understanding is that consumer protection is a hell of a lot stronger in UK and Europe than it is in the US.

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John H Woods
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Re: Classic Yanklish

Actually - depending on the riding style, saddle and behaviour of the horse, it could still be the UK fanny that is sore after a day on horseback.

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Touch screens and greasy mitts: All you need is glove

John H Woods
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This is why I need hover touch ...

... I have tried everything else. Well most things ... I even had limited success supergluing small circles of aluminum foil onto my fingertips.

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We shall CRUSH you, puny ROBOT... with CHESS

John H Woods
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Grandmaster skill not required...

... if a puzzle is to be easy enough for a reasonably competent chess player to solve, then an average PC running gnuchess will also be able to do it. Massive horsepower was only required to defeat grandmasters because their game is at a *much* higher level than that of even the most talented players in a normal chess club.

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Smartphone users prefer LOVELY apps to fiddly mobe websites

John H Woods
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Re: Just say no.

" If anyone knows of a way of setting "No, %&^ off, just show me the &%$ing website like I asked you" to be the default response, please do let us know."

In the end I gave up and set my browser user agent to pretend to be a desktop.

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New UK cyber-champ: Chemist's winning formula cracks 'F1 race hack'

John H Woods
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Re: Training?

"Given that both he and the runner up weren't formally trained and yet still topped-out the competition it does seem to make the value of that aspect of the prize a bit suspect?"

Just reminds me of those super-hard (technical term) crosswords where the prize is ... a dictionary.

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'Wireless charging' in Galaxy S4 will betray Samsung's best pal

John H Woods
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Re: Is distance charging really such a good idea?

"My University professor of high frequency electronics/ RF engineering would frequently tell us that even he would only use his mobile phone sparingly as the health concerns were unknown."

YMMV but I'd have paid rather more attention to what the BIOLOGISTS thought.

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Dell's having a fiddle with Violin Memory - but will it flash the cash?

John H Woods
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Coat

Well...

... it would be another string to their bow

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

John H Woods
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Emacs

Not that I would ever develop using it, as I prefer to use an IDE where I can just highlight some text and execute it ... but because I spend a good chunk of my life reading and analysing truly enormous text files.

Emacs' combination of managing huge files, macros and regexes seems to me to be unbeatable in this regard. I have - more often than you would believe, received a million line log file with the dates in US format instead of ISO format.

It takes 20 seconds to write:

replace: "^\([0-9][0-9]\)/\([0-9][0-9]\)/\([0-9][0-9]\)" with: "20\3-\1-\2" and about 10 seconds to execute it. Job done.

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Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work

John H Woods
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No real defence against live coercion ...

... except silent alarm signalling.

e.g. when you are enrolled, you are randomly assigned an orientation - fingers to 10 o'clock, 12 o'clock, 2 o'clock. Scan your hand at a different angle and it appears to work but raises a silent alarm elsewhere.

There was a UL that entering your PIN backwards at an ATM did this - retrieved your money but alerted the police. AFAIK it is just that, a UL, but the principle is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

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Inside Lord Sugar's 'you're fired' YouView bust-up with TV baron

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Sergey Brin emasculated after HORROR smartphone disaster

John H Woods
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Re: Confessions of a search engine Exec

"Five 9s of crap and the rest is just dumb"

Get a PVR and do a little bit of research in advance instead of sitting down and trying to find a channel with something on. I can find at least 3 hours of worthwhile TV to watch every night. But if I had to sit down and just watch "what's on", I would certainly agree with you.

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Squillionaire space tourist offers oldsters a holiday to Mars

John H Woods
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Just suggested it to my wife ...

... she says she'd do fine once she had got me out of the airlock.

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Jimmy Wales: 'I'm Wikipedia's monarch'

John H Woods
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Re: Wikipedia as a reference? ...

NOTHING is reliable. But when you say "most of the articles seem to consist of self-serving advertising very heavily monitored by a select group (or single issue obsessives) who vigorously expunge any unorthodox facts", can you give an example?

For instance, when one looks up scientific, mathematical and computational entries they appear largely correct. When one looks up more subjective stuff, like history, then obviously there are grounds for disagreement, and at the far end of the spectrum, regarding pop culture, biographies etc, it may well be inaccurate. But who cares? If you expect any source to tell you everything you know about material where there is room for interpretation, then you aren't really able to correctly use any reference material.

So until people can point out significant factual inaccuracies in articles like "Sulphur", "Service Oriented Architecture", "Pythagoras Theorem" etc. I am going to remain sceptical. Just because Wikipedia is more wide ranging than other encyclopaedias, and stretches into areas where much less accuracy is expected, does not mean it is worthless for core reference material.

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Outsourcing your own job much more common than first thought

John H Woods
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Re: Google

"The problems start when you are trying to do something that hasn't been done yet anywhere in the world."

Yes, but unless you are at the cutting edge of some research programme the key warning sign is that you are considering doing something that hasn't been done before. Quite often - not always, I grant you - it's an indication that you might be about to do it wrong.

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Look out! PEAK WIND is COMING, warns top Harvard physicist

John H Woods
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Thumb Up

Re: Why not just build a solar panel that covers half the world....

Your point is correct that it would be just as mad to build that solar panel as to cover the world in windmills.

Nuclear power is safe. In the Fukushima "Nuclear Disaster", approximately 0 people died despite a catalogue of misadventures and failures at fairly old nuclear plants which had been subjected to an *enormous* environmental event - an earthquake and tsunami which killed 25,000 people.

As a result, I have started to ignore, or at least question, anyone who suffixes the words "Nuclear Disaster" to "Fukushima" because I consider it to be an empty phrase. Although I'm not sure "bleeding heart liberal hippie" is a very meaningful phrase, either - it certainly doesn't apply to many of the liberals I have ever met.

Let us rise above the stupid point scoring and ad hominem attacks of our political 'leaders', and actually use hard fscking science and actual fscking facts. Now excuse me whilst I return to my (ever sceptical) reading of the Guardian, albeit sans elbow patches.

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Boffin shows pics of germs grown on SPOTTY STUDENTS' MOBES

John H Woods
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Re: H.G. Wells put it best

This is only the beginning of what lives on and in you. If you count cells numerically, rather than by volume, we're only 90% human. And some of the multicellular organisms in the habitat of a person look truly horrific under the microscope - search "Demodex".

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Australian supercomputer to use geothermal cooling

John H Woods
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Headmaster

Re: Geothermal for cooling?

As they are Australians, I guess they "got lucky" . I think "lucking out", in the UK and Australia, is ending up out of luck. Although I think the USage is becoming more common here amongst the young ones.

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Elon Musk: 'Fudged' NYT article cost Tesla $100m

John H Woods
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"apart from the speed issue"

Yeah, that never makes any difference to the energy consumption of a vehicle, does it?

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BBC's new bosses - the lawyers - strike out Savile probe testimony

John H Woods
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Not just every public body...

... pretty much all large corporates are the same

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PSF warns on angry trademark attacks: Python coders, this is not our way

John H Woods
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Programmer wanted...

... experience in TLFKAP required.

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John Sweeney: Why Church of Scientology's gravest threat is the 'net

John H Woods
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Re: Would you like a free personality test?

I also fell for it as a gullible and lonely teen in when an attractive girl offered me tea, biscuits and a free personality test. However, on reading through the exhaustive list of questions I realized I couldn't be bothered and had another idea. My prize possession was an early Playboy-branded Casio watch my Dad had bought, with a bunch of unnecessary functions, including a random number generator, which suddenly found a use.

When they told me the results and started to draw conclusions, I told them what I had filled in all the questions randomly so their methodology must be totally flawed. They became rather aggressive, and two goons were summoned to "deal" with me, and it got rather horrible rather quickly. Fortunately for me I had already learned to handle myself in Middlesbrough (where the posh "Officer's Boy" accent didn't go down too well in the early 1980s) so said aggression rather backfired upon them. The copper outside who hoovered me up merely enquired as to whether my knuckles were ok and said, "Stay away from that lot, sonny, they are utter scumbags" before resuming his duties.

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4G in the UK? Why the smart money still says 'Meh'

John H Woods
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Re: Need better 3G service first

I agree with GregC - I get around 4-6 MB/s down and a quarter of that up nearly everywhere round here (rural Warwickshire) minus a few holes. In fact, 3's data service is better than their voice in my experience - quite often I've dropped a call to resume it on Skype!

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Top tools for junior Linux admins

John H Woods
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dd

Good post for noobs about to dd

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-newbie-8/learn-the-dd-command-362506/

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Quit the 2D internet, flee your cave, and GET LAID, barks rock star

John H Woods
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Re: He's quite right

"Stop giving planning permission to the large out-of-town centres."

... with free parking. Often the town centres not only have expensive parking but extremely short maximum stays, which ensures you can't spend too much time in the local shops. Because you will avoid spending money in the retail parks owned by the friends of local government.

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Sony promises PC-based PlayStation 4 for Christmas

John H Woods
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Re: What a shame! What a fraud!

3D benchmarks would have been a better choice for this purpose.

The A10 can be seriously pushed: my sons got theirs running at 4.6GHz (rather than 3.8 with 4.2 turbo) with the iGPU at 1.2GHz (rather than 800MHz) and our RAM is running at 2.4GHz rather than 800MHz, doubling the stock 3D benchmarks.

PS: With air-cooling and only a tiny voltage increase, this isn't some impractical LN2 system (in which the A10 has hit nearly 8GHz!)

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BBC: Monster cargo ship delivers '863 million tins of baked beans'

John H Woods
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Re: Me like

with an eyelash

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Baby-boulder bowling burglar breaks Boulder Apple Store's $100k glass door

John H Woods
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Re: Its thread likes theses which is why pc pro, moderates all posters now...

... and that's why PC pro discussion threads are so boring. There are plenty of proper discussions here, just not attached to articles like this --- why would there be? There is really nothing to discuss here apart from to take pot shots at Apple and make amusing comments about cavemen and rocks. It's entirely up to you whether to read any given story and, even if you do, whether you proceed to the comments.

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AMD: Star Trek holodecks within reach

John H Woods
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Boffin

we don't need *that* much processing power

Our impression that we can see everything in front of us all at once is a trick played on us by our brain, as demonstrated by the admirably-titled "Gorillas in our midst". The trick will be to work out what we are really looking at in any given fraction of a second and render thoroughly in that +/-2 degrees or so; less precision from there to +/-10; and beyond that everything else can remain rather fuzzy and we'd never know.

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Barclays: So sorry about LIBOR... How about some free Wi-Fi?

John H Woods
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Wifi makes it all ok...

Get in the van!

No!

The van has wifi!

Umm, ok!

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Ubuntu? Fedora? Mint? Debian? We'll find you the right Linux to swallow

John H Woods
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Happy

Am I just thick-skinned?

I don't understand the idea that the Linux community is hostile. A bit of gentle taking-the-piss when you ask a stupid noob question is a very small price to pay for free support! And most of the time I haven't even got that, just people earnestly trying to help - and it's always amazed me how much total strangers will go out of their way to help you. (*Looks at PS/2 lead Dvorak/Qwerty switcher custom made for me at cost ($5) by some South Korean I've never met*).

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Earth escapes asteroid flyby, boffins want lasers aimed at next one

John H Woods
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Re: 0/10 for acronym crafting

IS2R we used to call this kind of thing a "DOOM" --- a riDiculously cOntrived acrOnyM.

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John H Woods
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Funny, but...

... a megaton of energy is a fairly well-established amount of about 4.2PJ, as it refers to the energetic content ---- by combustion, rather than antimatter annihilation --- of a million tons of TNT.

So just under 6 PJ/day or about 70GW. (1 GW is very roughly the output of a decent size power station.)

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Boffins FREEZE PHONES to crack Android on-device crypto

John H Woods
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capacitor-based overwrite

I've always wondered why devices don't include capacitors that can power them down sensibly in the few seconds after power failure. We were always warned about suddenly depowering HDDs, but I never understood why they couldn't contain a component holding enough charge to flush the cache and park the head. And in this case, a small capacitor on the mainboard, or in the RAM module, could zero the volatile memory in a few seconds.

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Reg readers scuffle over the ultimate cuppa

John H Woods
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Did the milk first abomination really start with people protecting sub-standard porcelain from tea stains?

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Spanish boffins increase GPS accuracy by 90%

John H Woods
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FAIL

90%?

Surely "improving accuracy by 90%" is making it a little less than twice as 'accurate' whatever that means. I'm pretty sure you meant a 10-fold improvement in precision.

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