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* Posts by John H Woods

1270 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

First, Google goggles - now the world gets self-censoring specs

John H Woods
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Unhappy

Re: There are times...

I agree. And how much more would we have achieved if we hadn't lost 1000 years or so to the transmissable disease meme of religion?

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BBC gives itself a gold in 700Gbit-a-second Olympic vid sprint

John H Woods
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Re: Freeview?

*'quiet.

Edit button, guys? Even Farcebook has one.

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John H Woods
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Re: Freeview?

Whilst you're wrong, you're in company. Very many of my friends didn't realise that there were 24 full channels, between them covering every single event.

[A lot less fuss was made of this than the digital switchover - that had the stupidity of a multi-million pound campaign on almost endless repeat, with posters everywhere, when a quite superimposed graphic on the corner of each analogue channel would have done nicely. In any case, you notice when a telly goes blank - it's not quite so obvious when more channels crop up.]

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YouTube escapes Google's piracy site smackdown

John H Woods
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Re: Google favours its own services shock story.....

@Big_Ted, BBC is not permitted to advertise any other services, so that's why they don't - completely different situation.

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Google may face grilling by MPs over 'immoral' tax avoidance

John H Woods
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Re: Jolly good

More importantly - every major media outlet

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Huawei Ascend P1 Android review

John H Woods
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Re: @Cabroni: Given that it was obvious that I had used the term ad hominem ....

Calling someone a 'muppet' is definitely ad hominem.

Maybe he's hiding in case your nom-de-plume refers to something you could see him through.

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Glaswegian scientists snap entangled particles

John H Woods
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Re: OR...

I've been thinking about that and I don't quite agree (although it wasn't me that downvoted you). Every time you get in the box you run a 50% risk of dying. As you survive more and more times, it appears obvious that *something* is defeating the risk. That something could be (if the equipment isn't broken) that you find yourself in a particular universe where the history is of, say 20 successful survivals, and not in one of the 2^20-1 universes where you died.

This actually gives you a counter-argument to the God people - that there are gazillions of universes out there where nothing has happened at all. We live in the one where we developed like this. But the difference between that argument and my strategy is that (if the equipment works) you can exactly quantify the chance that you would have survived, whereas we have no realistic measurements for the chance of abiogenesis.

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John H Woods
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Re: OR...

Emmanuel Goldstein: "the observer is in fact discovering which of these universes he/she is in. no faster than light propagating required."

In fact you can prove this (but only to yourself) by becoming Shroedinger's cat yourself. You get in the box, subject yourself to a 50% quantum risk of death, get out, rinse, repeat. After you have survived 22 times you've hit 5 sigma (I think, maybe someone can check my maths) certainty.

Of course, there are now something over 4 million universes where people are tutting to themselves as they get a dead physicist out of a box.

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Not a Cloud in my holiday sky

John H Woods
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Re: You wouldn't steal a car?!?

To make it clear, my open WiFi network has the word "OPEN" in it. Feel free to use it if you are passing. I feel that running an open network (firewalled and throttled to 1.1 Mbps) as well as a secured one is protective - I'm pretty sure the majority of people who'd try to break into the secure one are looking for free internet access rather than targetting my own network.

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SHOCK: Poll shows Americans think TSA is highly effective

John H Woods
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Boffin

Re: Sample size?

A sample size of 1000 would be perfectly satisfactory to get some sensible results IFF the samples are chosen at random. The smaller the sample size, the more important it is that it is a truly random selection of the population. That is probably not the case in this survey, as others have pointed out, but if you can ensure perfect sample selection you'd be surprised how reliable it can be.

For instance, if you found that 50% of a truly random 1k sample liked apple pie, then you would have about 95% confidence that the true value in a population of 250k was within 47-53% and only a 1% chance that the real population's liking for apple pie was outside the 46-54% range. However, asking customers of the Pie Factory, or the residents of the Olympic Village, might render one's results MUCH less reliable.

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Blizzard pwned: Gamers' email, encrypted passwords slurped

John H Woods
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Re: Wrong advice

For a while one of my (female) bosses had:

Q: "There's no way you're going out dressed like that young lady"

A: "I'll dress how I like and you're not even my real dad!"

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Apple pounces on Samsung doc as proof of 'slavish copy' claims

John H Woods
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Re: Bull excrement

"Have you tried your Blackberry on Orange?"

yeah but it was a lemon

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Mobile phone health rules need update, warns US watchdog

John H Woods
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All health risks ...

... should be measured in cigarettes/day or car miles or something people can understand. Not bollocks such as %age of a minute risk. Three car journeys triple a minute risk - buying three lotto tickets triples your chance of winning. In both cases there is no practical difference.

Until we have worked out how to stop ageing, there is almost no point worrying about any risk that is less than around 2-5cigs /day or 5-10,000 miles of driving a year.

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Apple: Samsung was in 'crisis' over our iPhone awesomeness

John H Woods
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Re: Conflation

A quick image search for Psion MX origina box reveals boxes with - a picture on the lid.

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Wikipedia collapses threatening the very fabric of civilisation

John H Woods
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Re: People talk about the inaccuracy of Wpedia...

Sorry Euchrid, I may not have been clear. I don't think Dimmock's norks or even Wisdom's compositions are really 'encyclopedic' content.

As well as 'uncontroversial' I should have said 'important'. For instance, what mineral is usually refined to get elemental arsenic? What is VxWorks, or for that matter, what is a Real Time O/S? What is the median of an exponential distribution? How do you calculate an exponentially weighted moving average? How much does MSL Curiosity weigh a) on earth b) on mars?

I'm am sure that the accuracy of the Wpedia articles that cover stuff that you would never see in a regular encyclopedia are frequently inaccurate. You should thank your lucky stars that anyone has even tried to gather this information for you. But what I'm talking about are Wpedia pages that cover stuff you would see in a regular encyclopedia. These, in general, tend to be fairly bloody reliable.

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John H Woods
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People talk about the inaccuracy of Wpedia...

... as if print media was 100% accurate. I challenge those who have claimed above that Wpedia is effectively worthless to provide a link to a Wpage on an uncontroversial subject that really is downright wrong. I have a lot of problems with Wpedia - the douchebaggery of Wales, the egotistic posturing of admins, etc but it really isn't bad enough to consider it to be mainly, or even significantly, "rubbish".

When my kids' teachers complain that Wpedia isn't always right I agree - but it is *good* to teach them not to rely on any single 'authority'. Check your sources, and apply critical thinking. Even when reading El Reg.

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John H Woods
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Re: I'm in the UK.... the sun is shining....

... and we got our first gold in the showjumping for 6 decades!

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Devon NHS trust left data of 1,373 staff online for MONTHS

John H Woods
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Happy

Re: Sensitive?

I always put my origin as "African". Because it's true for everybody.

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Curiosity success 'paves way for Man on Mars by 2030s'

John H Woods
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Grey Goo

... not going to happen

Empirically - nothing like it has evolved in 3.5Gy. Why do more complex organisims exist?

Genetically - if it ever did, organisms would evolve resistance. Even if they did not, by the time everything was grey goo, some nanobots would get a replication advantage by organising themselves into more complex structures. So you would have a grey goo phase, but then it would go away again

Thermodynamically - you can only get stuck with an interminable grey goo future if there is no more energy to go into the system. In which case it is game over anyway, goo or not.

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Samsung lengthens Note phone-cum-tablet to 10 inches

John H Woods
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bluetooth or speakerphone, surely...

... but upvoted for the first LOL of the week.

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God-botherers burst onto IPTV Freeview: The End is Nigh

John H Woods
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Flame

TV

Sorry, I read that as Transmission Vector rather than TeleVision - probably because I regard religion as a communicable disease,

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Size does matter: Outlook.com punters want meatier passwords

John H Woods
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Unhappy

Re: "The length of a password is less important than its strength"

Wow, I can see you didn't read my post before hitting the downvote button. It actually agrees that 5000^5 is still better than 64^8. It's just a note of caution that the xkcd 'correct horse battery staple' entropy is often overestimated. I'd normally be interested to know why you think my 'argument fails even on it's own rather suspect numbers' but the fact you couldn't even read and comprehend this short post tells me all I need to know.

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John H Woods
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Re: "The length of a password is less important than its strength"

"Clearly long passwords using just dictionary words are vastly more memorable and secure than 8 letter passwords composed of random characters."

Might be true but most people don't know what many of the 200k words in the English dictionary mean. Most people have a working vocabulary of about 5000 words. I'm pretty much prepared to bet that if you asked most people for 5 random words you would get 5000^5 ~= 10^18 bits of entropy at most. So I reckon you're out by a factor of 100 million or so in you estimate.

You're still better off with this than 8 characters though.

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Neurotrash creativity 'expert' created Dylan quotes from thin air

John H Woods
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The debunked field of sociology ...

There may be a lot in that field that has been debunked but I'm pretty sure that not all sensible people have entirely discarded the idea that at least some social behaviour has genetic foundations.

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Google adds handwriting to mobile search site

John H Woods
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Re: Palm Pilot

I can still Graffiti faster than I can swype or type on a virtual keyboard...

Me too - hence I downloaded Graffiti Pro from the Android Market and use it as my input device. It is almost perfect - just needs configurable shortcuts and a way to switch to speech recognition quickly (rather than switch the input device back to keyboard and press the mic button on that)

Should see people's faces when I am texting :-)

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Ten monster tellies to suit all budgets

John H Woods
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How about TVs vs projector review?

You can get a very decent 100" projector setup (including a decent screen) for under a grand. Some of the new ones have fairly bright pictures, and a side by side comparison with TVs might be useful.

To me, over 2k pounds is clearly into home cinema territory - the only way I would have a TV of this value is if I won one in a competition. YMMV, of course, but I'm a projector enthusiast so even if I just had 500 to spend on a new "telly" I'd get a projector.

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UK ISPs promise punters 'full' and 'open' internet 'access'

John H Woods
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Quantitative Specification required...

... or the specification is worthless. If you manage some class of traffic down to 1 Byte per second, you have effectively blocked it.

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UK Border Agency to create 'national allegations database'

John H Woods
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Re: Low Yeild

UK Conviction rate for rape is high ~ around 60% or so. The 'low' ratio that gets quoted is convictions to complaints of around 6%. Other crimes are not reported in the same way or their clearup rate would appear even lower.

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Google Nexus 7 shipping cock-up enrages fandroids

John H Woods
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Re: It is a bit rubbish...

Just go and get it from Tesco. When the pre-order arrives, send it straight back. You don't have to have a reason to return products you buy mail order (although you may have to pay return postage).

I got mine --- well my son's :-( --- yesterday, despite being addressed to Gordon House.

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Microsoft picks October 26 for Windows 8 launch

John H Woods
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Joke

I hope it's fast...

you wouldn't want to release software called W8 and have people complaining of ... err...

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John H Woods
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I think you'll find...

... that a lot (or at least some) of people with negative comments about Win8 have tried the betas, so it's not that they are 'so clever they already know' -- they have some foundation for their current opinions.

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Expert: EU Microsoft competition fine could reach $7bn

John H Woods
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Re: What a ridiculous situation

Callam,

1) you said you didn't think MS was a monopoly

2) others said you didn't understand what constituted a monopoly

3) you replied with some dictionary definitions of monopoly containing the word 'exclusive'

4) such definitions are not equivalent to the legal definitions, so they are not relevant

5) I'm still not sure you understand what a monopoly is in terms of free markets and the laws which apply

6) Megaupload is not relevant to this case, unless you simply want to say that laws have been abused or misapplied in the past. I don't think anyone would argue that point, but I certainly would argue its relevance.

7) The fact you dispute that MS has harmed consumers is

a) based on your own personal opinion which may not adequately describe the entire situation

b) again, not really relevant.

I think what you are trying to say is that MS should never have been found to have been abusing a monopoly position, because either (a) they aren't a monopoly and/or (b) they didn't abuse being one. It's a bit like saying you disagree with a sentence that someone has been given, because it is too harsh, and when you are challenged on that, saying you didn't really think they were guilty in the first place.

As you can imagine, such a form of argument is rather frustrating, which is why, I believe, you have had some short-tempered responses.

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John H Woods
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Re: What a ridiculous situation

Callam, mate, at this point you should probably go and read up on what a monopoly is rather than continue posting your opinions. We will be glad to debate the issue with you once we think you understand that fundamental point.

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Judge: Apple must run ads saying Samsung DIDN'T copy the iPad

John H Woods
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Re: Bizarre

It's no more bizarre than insisting a newspaper retracts a false allegation. What is bizarre is that you think a judgment insisting on such a retraction is equivalent to allowing the complainant to defecate on the defendants' vehicles.

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John H Woods
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He's not asking them to *promote* Samsung - he's just insisting that they correct the public impression they have given, by media statements and highly visible lawsuits, that Samsung have copied the iPad.

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Compare the Market loses .XXX smut-squat appeal

John H Woods
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Unhappy

WHAT!

I thought it was a REAL meerkat. Thanks a lot for spoiling that for me.

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Britain: A nation of txt addicts who prefer Twitter to phoning mum

John H Woods
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Re: anothr slow newsday...

...indeed. And I love the widely reported interpretation that we are now 'texting more than we are phoning'. Maybe there are more texts than phone calls, but many text exchanges are multiple texts, and most phone conversations carry more information than texts.

I'm also not sure why the drop in voice should worry the mobile telcos that much - don't they have a much higher profit margin on text?

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Wikipedia failing to recruit any new admins

John H Woods
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Unhappy

Re: Used to edit there...

I agree - the admins are often plonkers. My last ever wikipaedophilia edit was to change a minor typo where someone had written that induction hobs had to meet 'minimal saftey standards' for impact. I changed it to minimum and it was immediately changed back. The admin, who was either thick and/or not a native English speaker insisted the terms were synonyms and that there was therefore no need to change them. I pointed out that if he were correct, there would have been no need to revert my changes, but to no avail.

It's all ego with these guys, there's no arguing with them.

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Giant super-laser passes 500 TRILLION watts

John H Woods
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Re: So what does American spelling of LASER stand for then

'-ize' are perfectly acceptable in English, a fact not always recognized by the dictionaries that accompany software. A quick scan of e.g. Jane Austen will confirm that the original English spelling was usually 'z' and the Americans simply kept it - it was the Brits that morphed to 's'.

I'm a bit puzzled that you think that Americans 'tend to spell' laser with a Z - do you have evidence for this?

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UK snoop system had 1,000 COCKUPS - including 2 duff cuffs

John H Woods
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Yes, me too - that's a huge number of requests. Fishing expedition rather than investigation, I fear.

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UK's web super-snoop powers could be extended to councils

John H Woods
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Unhappy

Re: Disgusting

"I'm sure I can remember a day in my childhood where I believe UK citizens may have actually had rights"

I can remember a day in my childhood, at JHQ Rheindahlen, when I realised why we were prepared to risk nuclear war with the Soviets rather than allow them to roll their sick authoritarian society over Europe. A few decades before, millions of people had given their lives to prevent a different sick authoritarian regime doing the same.

Why are all our governments obsessed with deploying the machinery of totalitarianism?

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Web snooping bill an 'odious shopping list of new gov powers'

John H Woods
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Hypothetical...

Let's say we discovered (Hogwarts Style) magic; there would be no limit whatsoever to the amount of surveillance you could do. Where would our politicians draw the line?

This is the question that should be asked of every Home Sec, prime or cabinet minister: If it were possible to intrude entirely into the lives of every citizen, how much do you think is appropriate?

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Can neighbours grab your sensitive package, asks Post Office

John H Woods
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Joke

Relive your youth ...

Miss playing thunder and lightning? Relive your youth by becoming a DHL delivery driver, ringing doorbells and running away!

(Thanks to TopTweets)

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