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* Posts by John H Woods

1275 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

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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Being a skinny is much more unhealthy than being fat – new study

John H Woods
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Re: BMI is garbage

ITYM waist measurement should be less than HALF height LOL

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Texas Higgs hunters mourn the particle that got away

John H Woods
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Re: Enough bickering you lot...

Theme park? Film set? Brand new kind of sport? You might be on to something.

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John H Woods
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FAIL

Re: ... Pluto

Basic knowledge is not subject to the whim of a committee; our understanding of the solar system changes. In this case it was not some discovery about Pluto (OMG it isn't a planet after all) but a discovery that there were quite a few objects out there with just as strong (or weak) claim to be called planets.

So there were three choices

1) regard "planet" as meaning "things we used to call planets"

2) keep the existing notion of planet and accept that we have many more planets in our solar system

3) formalise the definition of planet causing there to be (one) fewer planets our solar system

Imagine if we'd found not just the Higgs but a brand new unexpected boson. Would it be sensible to change the definition of boson to "bosons we had discovered (or anticipated) up till 2012"?

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The touchscreens that push back, thanks to Brit hi-fi boffinry

John H Woods
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Re: Pedantry excused

A la recherche du timbres perdu?

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HTC bags UK win in patent war with Apple

John H Woods
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Re: Take note america!

David138: "Thank god the UK justice system works....unless its deporting Terroists."

... or punishing twits ... or not punishing multi-gazillion pound fraudsters. But this is a jolly good result.

I'm interested that Apple felt able to say what they said afterwards . If I'd taken someone to court for shoplifting and, on the basis of the evidence, the case had been dismissed, I think it would be frowned upon if I were to come out and say "See, it just shows people can steal from me with impunity".

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Who runs UK? 'Tories, Lib Dems and Google' says Labour

John H Woods
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No, but...

Labour may not be able to take the moral high ground, but possession of that notional landmass is largely irrelevant: if my fat GP tells me I need to exercise more, it is a bit of a cheek, but it doesn't really invalidate his argument.

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Twitter exposes Gov't requests for user data

John H Woods
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@skelband

"I can't imagine what you could fit into a Twitter message that would be subject to DMCA takedown notices."

I'm guessing URLs to copyright content?

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US federal boffins insist that mermaids DON'T exist

John H Woods
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Happy

Great Big Sea

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FM9UyBQELc

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Jaw-jaw no more-more as calls fall down tally of phone tasks

John H Woods
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The Germans already have ...

"Handy". I've also heard "Smartie". Both of these seem a bit infantile.

Increasingly my kids refer to tablets and phones - at least the ones that can't be called iPads, iPhones, or Blackberrys - as 'droids, which sounds a little better to my ears. But I think El Reg got there first with 'Slab'.

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London cops order Julian Assange to turn himself in

John H Woods
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Re: Technicalities

+1 paralipsis

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Apple patent may foretell an end to iPhone autocorrect Tourette's

John H Woods
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Dics too big

The main problem with autocorrect, imho, is that the dictionaries are vastly huger than the optimal size. After about 3 autocorrect muff-ups I swyped 'this is ridiculous' only to end up sending 'this is Tuscaloosa'.

Similar problems with spellcheckers in word-processors or browsers. It's much better to question a new word (with the option to add to the user's personal dictionary) than to consider it a correctly spelt obscure or archaic word. Only crossword-solving dictionaries need to be big.

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Dixons and Best Buy start selling Google Chromebooks

John H Woods
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Re: The case for the defence

"Don't much care whether I buy this stuff on Amazon, John Lewis, Dixons or PC World/Currys"

Probably doesn't matter as much as whether you buy it in a shop or by mail order. If you do the latter, you can send it back if you don't like it, even if it works perfectly; if you do the former you may find you have to argue your case unless the item is faulty (or sometimes, even if it is).

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Ministers consult public on 'opt in for smut' plans

John H Woods
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Re: At the same time lets

Richard Rae: "You shagged without a contraception, you have a kid you TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ITS EDUCATION!"

More than happy to. If the government will let me.

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'Inexperienced' RBS tech operative's blunder led to banking meltdown

John H Woods
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FAIL

{in}experience of ONE person...

... is not a good enough reason for this fiasco.

Consider: "a lone terrorist hacked the system / posed as an employee / whatever and caused a banking crisis affecting nearly 20m people for nearly 2 weeks"

Even if the poor bugger had done it ON PURPOSE there is NO EXCUSE for what happened next. It is a system failure on every conceivable level and therefore the ultimate blame must absolutely lie with management.

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Chess algorithm written by Alan Turing goes up against Kasparov

John H Woods
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Miek...

... be fair! There's a difference between writing pseudocode before you go to the computer and writing it before the bloody thing has even been invented :-)

BTW: match is at http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/garry-kasparov-versus-alan-turings-1950-chess-program, worth a look.

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Resistive Ram cache to make Flash fly, say boffins

John H Woods
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Re: How much does RRAM cost?

There's a million square cm in 100 square m. So your chum reckons you need a zetabit to "fully describe every atom in a human body"

IS2R there's about 10^26 atoms in a kilo of meat, so around 7e27 in a body. A zetabit gets you about 1 millionth of what you need for 1bit per atom, which is hardly enough for a "full description" (say, which element it is, and its 3D coordinates at a sufficient resolution). Even 100m x 100m wouldn't be enough - I reckon you are going to need 6e12 cm^2 - 600 square kilometres - just to get a bit per atom.

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DDR 4 sets the pace for fast memory

John H Woods
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Not much need ...

... to correct you either, because you were almost right - certainly close enough to make the point.

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Boffins program peripheral visions for ultra TV immersion

John H Woods
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How long until...

... we get themepark style air blasters capable of battering one with hot air full of the smell of burning?

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John H Woods
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All that 3D stuff gives me a headache http://xkcd.com/880/

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Users still slack about passwords: Trustwave

John H Woods
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Re: Intentionally Weak passwords

Check out #4 in " 8 Websites You Need to Stop Building" http://theoatmeal.com/comics/websites_stop

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RBS IT cockup: This sort of thing can destroy a bank, normally

John H Woods
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Unhappy

Re: It's amazing

"We the voters must take responsibility of our part in this"

What - because we are too gutless to start an armed insurrection? Democracy - certainly as practiced in the UK - does not give you anything like the fine-grained control we need to prevent this sort of behaviour.

1) Politicians are not bound to stick to manifesto promises - in fact, they are almost bound not to.

2) Politicians are increasingly self (career) oriented, rather than state and/or society oriented.

3) The FPP system restricts the choice of government to two parties, both of which behave similarly in this respect.

I could go on. I believe in free-market capitalism, though I admit to being a bit of a small-L liberal. The problem we have had is that we will allow industry (e.g. 1970s British car industry) to go to well deserved oblivion, then we distort the market by preventing the banks from doing the same. This prevents them from doing proper risk analysis, because it us who bear all the risk, despite the fact we have no real means of relieving ourselves of the burden of doing so - nobody we can realistically elect will allow us to.

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Office printers spew reams of garbage as 2-year-old Trojan runs wild

John H Woods
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Happy

Re: mandatory...

@A J Stiles. Cool - can you tell me what this means? WHOOOSH!

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Turing Machine brought to life with Lego

John H Woods
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Re: Sir

Officially a 'posthumous pardon' is not applicable - he was convicted under the (bad) laws of the time, and pardons are reserved for people whose convictions are found to have been wrong, rather than whose prosecution is.

But I can't see why they can't find some official form in which they could apologize for ruining his life, and prematurely depriving us of a genius who played no small part in ensuring the continuity of our own state.

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Amount of meat we eat will barely affect future climate change

John H Woods
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Re: If God had wanted us all to be vegetarians...

... he wouldn't have made animals out of meat (by Jo Brand, IS2R)

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EU boffins ponder robot copters that carry people but no pilots

John H Woods
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Re: Or just use buses

Cheaper for whom? I live 4 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon on a main road. There is a bus stop outside my house. It is covenient, true, but It is cheaper for me to drive my daughter to town in 4.6 litre 4x4 than it is to buy one adult and one child ticket.

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Python wraps its coils around the enterprise

John H Woods
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Happy

In other news ...

... Smalltalk has yet to be bettered ...

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Ten... celeb headphones

John H Woods
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Re: Why?

I'll tell you why - the very same reason that even the rubbish reg articles are worth a look - the comments are priceless.

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iOS was SO much more valuable to Google than Android - until Maps

John H Woods
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Re: @Nightfox:

Maverick - by CodeSector

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Health dept puts off NHS 111 helpline roll-out for 6 months

John H Woods
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Unhappy

misdial

isn't 111 a bit close to 112? Surely they wouldn't have chosen 998 as a good number?

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Stephen Fry's Pushnote goes titsup

John H Woods
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Re: Yep...

... but I would say Julie Burchill is a clever person's idea of a stupid person.

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Volkswagen Up!

John H Woods
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Re: Fuel economy

Thanks for the admission - my comment that it was thirsty cost me a downvote - despite the fact that loads of people agreed with me! I feel better about it now :-)

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John H Woods
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Surprisingly thirsty?

My Audi A3 cab (140bhp 2.0TDi) has averaged over 50mpg in its first 15,000 miles, despite the fact that I sometimes enjoy driving it. It's fairly easy to get >60mpg even with the lid off on any trip over about 10 miles. I would have thought it would be reasonable to expect 80-90mpg out of a car like this?

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ZTE and Huawei execs get ten years for bribery

John H Woods
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Look here, you foreign chaps...

... that's just not the right way to go about things. BAE, Saudi Arabia and the Serious Fraud Office can advise you on how to do it properly.

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Silicon Valley Bank lures Brit startups with sacks of cash

John H Woods
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non-technocracy

Absolutely. Makes one wonder if its a short step from a society where there is a lack of social mobility to one that is effectively antimeritocratic.

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Password flaw leaves MySQL, MariaDB open to brute force attack

John H Woods
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memcmp! FFS!

As a someone familiar with testing, I can see how something like 'sometimes the wrong password is accepted' doesn't get tested - I don't think I've ever seen a security test plan that just keeps trying the wrong password in a functional security test! However, the weakness should have been discovered during non-functional security testing - an obvious way to attempt to DDoS a DB (or any other app) is with repeated bogus login attempts.

But what I'm really struggling with is how a function like memcmp can have (a) been screwed up and (b) have its screwup missed in regression testing. How can one have any confidence in a library where a function to compare two sequences of bytes does not work properly?

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Gov exposes 8,000 GPs so punters can pick one

John H Woods
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More fake choice ...

... just like with state schools, where the only availably strategy to exercise that choice involves moving house, this is about the illusion of choice. If the practice you'd like to join is full, or nearly full --- and there is a sensible prioritisation of places for those who live locally --- you'll have to go to the practice that is in your own town, whether you like it or not.

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Molyneux chisels away at social experiment

John H Woods
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Game over ...

a) game fails to catch on, nobody gives a toss what's in the cube, no movement of news through social media to track.

or

b) game goes crazy, winner announces contents to media, everybody finds out at once, no movement of news through social media to track.

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We'll pull the plug on info-leak smart meters, warns UK.gov

John H Woods
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Schoolboy error...

... what makes you think that any of this is for customers?

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UK websites: No one bothers with cookie law, why should we?

John H Woods
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Re: Shit laws should be ignored

'These sorts of laws should be run by engineers first so that we can say "No, you dipshit, that is complete bonkers, this is how the problem can be solved simply and cheaply"'

Steady on, now, Tom38 - imagine if we took that approach to government IT projects?

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1930s photos show Greenland glaciers retreating faster than today

John H Woods
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Re: Dear Reg editors :-

Urban Legend Alert: 'still got bowfingers' is considered unlikely as the source of 'the Vs'

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Council builds £2.8m shared database of vulnerable kids

John H Woods
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I see the future...

... twenty SIX databases.

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ITU adopts two ultra-high def TV specs

John H Woods
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Re: Happy with TV as it is - but want awesome Virtual Reality goggles

Sony already make some: http://www.reghardware.com/2011/10/21/sony_3d_goggles_get_priced_up_for_uk. Not really VR afaics tho, to me that implies movement of the picture correlating with movement of one's head.

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People-powered Olympic shopping mall: A sign of utter tech illiteracy

John H Woods
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Re: "As Joules are very small people..."

you aren't but maybe you're the only one who missed the earlier excellent sarcasm about commas :-)

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