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* Posts by John H Woods

1331 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Tiny transforming bots: Meet these self-assembling 'thoughtful' droids

John H Woods
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Link

video appears to be here

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BBC man Linwood 'was unfairly sacked' over £100 MILLION DMI omnifail

John H Woods
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Siemens firing is ...

... a high-tech job blow.

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Microsoft OneDrive tip-off leads to arrest over child abuse images

John H Woods
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Re: Dunno what you can say except...

I agree. I think the privacy people would be happier if they had a better understanding of the process - unlike with the NSA dragnet, this is not about permanent records being kept forever, or your email / cloud storage being scanned for anything and everything. It's a simple pattern search for known illegal content, followed by the appropriate actions being taken for a positive match

We really do need pro-privacy organisations, but - or rather therefore - they must be very careful not to put themselves in a position where they look like they are protecting criminals.

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Love in the time of the GPS sees chap propose with Google Map

John H Woods
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Re: Contrived. Probably by Endomondo.

Article explains that she said yes straight away, and tracked her response later as a formality...

At dinner that evening, he confessed that he had taken the afternoon off work and gone for a bike ride without her. He then shared the link to the Endomondo workout and asked her to look at it on her phone. She looked at her screen, immediately saw the message and after getting over the surprise, gave him her answer…”of course!”

For the record, she tracked her response later on too: [map deleted]

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Hacker crew nicks '1.2 billion passwords' – but WHERE did they all come from?

John H Woods
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Re: Can someone please explain

"This behaviour is tolerated because most technical managers aren't sufficiently technical that I'd let them program my TiVo."

Indeed - the problem is that, however much we like to think it, IT isn't generally a profession - it's a job. You can't practice law, medicine, accountancy or electrical contracting without appropriate qualification / certification. Surely it's about time that people developing (and I include their managers) internet-facing systems which contain personal data are properly regulated.

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Brits STUNG for up to £625 when they try to cancel broadband

John H Woods
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Re: Why Special Treatment for Utility Suppliers?

The other problem is that if you believe you are within your rights to refuse to pay, they won't take you to court where you can make a case and perhaps defeat them, but hand it direct to debt collectors, who will harass you and record bogus info on your credit record, making your life hell.

It seems to me just like extortion, "if you don't pay this money now [...]it could make it impossible for you to ever get a mortgage".

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Grabby baddie scours Paddy Power's towers: 650k punters leaked and it took 4 years to admit it

John H Woods
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New definiton:

disappointing (adj). utterly negligent, but within the remit of the Data Protection Commissioner, and as a result considered harmless, despite any indications to the contrary.

These disasters, and I am not over-exaggerating, are *always* the result of poor management choices - not enough spent on devs, pen testers, QA etc. because they can simply totally disrespect their customers and get off scot free.

It is not "disappointing" it is fscking well bordering on criminal levels of misfeasance.

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PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users

John H Woods
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Re: The Reviewer is Great

>> I always move the Taskbar to the side on widescreens

Me too - you can also make it fairly wide without losing usable space, meaning that you can actually see enough of the window titles to know what each taskbar button is. Useful if you have more than 1 window of the same type (RDP, MS-Word, etc) open.

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iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple

John H Woods
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Well ...

We use cheques moderately often. You can give them to kids for birthdays and xmas, especially if you're posting. You can give them to the farrier, the (equine) dentist, the (equine) back expert and the yard manager. I'm guessing it's about amounts - a tradesman who's going to bill between a few hundred and a grand a day probably doesn't want that knocking around in his van/home all week.

In fact, I don't even like having 100 on me in cash, and none of the aforementioned people are set up to take card payments, so it's often the best option. Not to mention the fact you can always say "I don't suppose you could hold that and cash it next week?"

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Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage

John H Woods
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Re: Ahh.. I remember

I still have that situation: my work phone, on the No-2 Notwork, will ring whilst I am at my SOHO desk, but to get satisfactory call quality I have to run upstairs to the bedroom to answer it.

Result: being rather to the left on the fat--fit spectrum, when I'm working at home, I'm always out of breath when I answer my phone. Then they ask me to look at a mail they've sent me and I say "oh, my laptop's downstairs, let me run down and get it ..."

I wonder what my clients / colleagues / boss must think.

. . . John

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MH17 -- SA-11 / BUK complexity

John H Woods
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@small cog

thank you very much, this is certainly food for thought.

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John H Woods
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MH17 -- SA-11 / BUK complexity

Hi all,

I keep reading that it is unlikely a rebel group could have used this system to brink down MH17 without 'expert help' - presumably the Russians,

Now, I have no idea, but is this true? My military expertise is limited to taking out a few tanks with a Javelin on CoD4, so I have no idea. Are Javelins really that easy to use? Although I would think not, I am tempted to assume that many of these weapons are as easy to use as possible - no time to RTFM in a war. And I generally think that the complexity of a system does not always make it harder to use, often the reverse, because the whole purpose of the complexity in some cases is to assist the human operator.

Can anyone enlighten me? Or amusingly ridicule my naivety in the comments? Thanks in advance.

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Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol

John H Woods
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May not work for you but ...

... I suffered with some back pain - clearly not anything like as bad as some of the unfortunate commentards above - and found only one thing that helped me (which may, of course, be a placebo):

an inversion table. Got it in ASDA for 50 smackers. Looks like a bit of bondage equipment (in fact my wife humiliated me and amused the entire aisle by loudly announcing "Honey, we aren't going to be using that for what you think we're going to be using it for").

Adjust to fit your height, step on (you might need an attractive assistant to start with), fasten your ankles in and rotate. You can start off just very slightly past horizontal and build up to hanging fully from your ankles if you want to go all the way (only a minute or so). I used to get off feeling an inch taller and suddenly pain free, as if it had just been switched off. And I say used to, because now I don't use it at all, as I no longer feel the need.

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Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network

John H Woods
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Re: WTF Do you lot think the police should do?

Ridiculous argument. When you spot a pickpocket, you know you've witnessed a crime. When you spot someone reading El Reg on a tablet, you don't know that you have. Although I'm almost sure there will be some legislation along shortly to correct that ...

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John H Woods
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Re: I have to defend the police here...

I don't buy your defence. Surely if the police are to be allowed the authority to send out letters about WiFi hotspots they should have someone who is either

a) aware of the FON service

b) aware of the Google service.

I see so many instances of failure of (b) - people stuck at the unconscious incompetence state of knowledge - they know so little that they little know how little they know. Recent example: an MP's claim that the "writing is too small" in Office 365.

As it is, without a clarification about the FON service, the letter is misleading and a waste of public money - now THAT should be an offence.

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Games industry set for $5 BILLION haircut, warn beancounters

John H Woods
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Real Life

"I went outside once. The graphics were awesome but the gameplay was terrible"

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Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo

John H Woods
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My favorite pointless distracting matrix sign ...

Signs like "M1 closed after A456"

I know the junction I'm getting off at; I know roughly how far away that is; I do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of all British Roads. The only way I'd know anything about the A456 is possibly if it was the road I was taking at the junction I was coming off at.

So "M1 closed in xx miles" or "M1 closed after Jxx" please.

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US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account

John H Woods
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Re: What is the point of a warrant?

>> So with encrypted traffic either party can decrypt it, or its no good.

Not sure you meant to put that ... only the receiver has to be able to decrypt it. If they find a mail from me to you in my "SENT" folder and the content is encrypted with your public key (and I wasn't dumb enough to keep the plaintext), the only record of the content retrievable without the private key is what I (claim to) remember sending you.

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Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

John H Woods
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>>Bear in mind this is a US study. US cars are mostly automatic and therefore easier to drive.

... and a lot of their lanes are two cars wide! Should have seen the face of a US colleague when I was driving him down a country lane and a car came the other way. "What?" he shouted, "this is a one way road!" I assured him it wasn't but he really couldn't understand how a road only wide enough for one vehicle could have two-way traffic.

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Cave pits, ideal for human bases, FOUND ON MOON

John H Woods
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Re: Probably not that big a probe needed

>>Targeting it so it goes right down the pipe is likely to be pretty tricky however.

Probably have to turn off the targeting computer on final approach.

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Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON

John H Woods
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Message Garbled ...

... what he actually* said was "Good luck, Mr Gorsky".

* FSVO actually

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Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad

John H Woods
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Negativity?

Actually, it is sheer stupidity to use nickel in an item that is going to be in prolonged skin contact; jewelers have known this for years. Remember, we're talking premium product here, so there's no excuse.

As for the negativity, there was barely a mention of what happened at WWDC because it was extremely boring - if you think there was 'genuinely interesting tech news' at this conference, please - just tell me what it was, because I must have slipped into a coma during all the self-congratulatory emptiness.

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Female! ex-Yahoo! coder! says! female! boss! fired! her! for! refusing! sex!

John H Woods
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Sexual harassment?

... sounds more like sexual assault to me.

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UK.gov warned: Small biz bods 'blunted' by broadband bumbling

John H Woods
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Re: Obvious reason is obvious...

I've heard of a businesses in a local industrial park using a microwave link to the home of a conveniently located employee to get round BT's apparent habit of holding SMBs to ransom regarding connectivity. Not sure how that plays with the Ts&Cs but it does look like there's a bit of mickey taking going on, so I can't blame them.

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'The writing is TOO SMALL': MPs row over Parliamentary move to Office 365

John H Woods
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relative degrees of shamefulness ...

Not knowing how to zoom -- a little bit shameful.

Not even suspecting that zooming is possible -- a little bit more shameful.

Speaking authoritatively as if zooming isn't possible -- breathtaking!

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The final score: Gramophones 1 – Glassholes 0

John H Woods
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Re: So right about the record player.

>>map data was built in and didn't need a data connection.

Check out OSMAnd, it's surprisingly good.

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LG unfurls flexible SEE-THROUGH 18-inch display

John H Woods
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Re: Patent This!

"Volumetric Displays" where a screen rotates (often illuminated by laser) already exist: I've seen one used for molecular model display. And I'm pretty sure I read about the concept last century.

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BT slapped down by BSkyB over O2 broadband 'switch off' porkies

John H Woods
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Re: Act of Desperation!

I would just stop paying if I had a 10kbps connection, contract or not. If they wanted to prove that <256kb/s is 'Broadband' they'd have to get a judge to agree with them before I paid up.

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Computing student jailed after failing to hand over crypto keys

John H Woods
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I still want to see ...

... RIPA vs the claim that "it's actually a big block of random numbers that I use for statistical / mathematical / cryptographic purposes".

What if someone had downloaded the Wikileaks 'insurance' file? You don't know what's in it, and you don't have the keys - can you just prove it has the same hash as the published file? Or is it an offence just to possess it?

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Oh SNAP! Old-school '80s Unix hack to smack OSX, iOS, Red Hat?

John H Woods
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Re: Typos can also cause problems.

Yep, I had the same, rm *>o. Your file wasn't empty, it contained a newline!

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Is there too much sex and violence on TV?

John H Woods
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Re: People don't mind sex and violence as much on TV...

>>F*ing wall to wall Big Brother, TOWIE and HoneyBollockBoo. FFS.

I appreciate the sentiment, but would advise you to look harder and record, and to use on-demand. Really I never watch live TV - it's just 700 channels of rubbish. But 10s of hours of good quality television is broadcast per week, plenty to keep you occupied: you just have to find it, and you wont find it by channel surfing the dross that is being broadcast at any particular time.

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Top ten car gadgets: Get your motor running with new shiny-shiny

John H Woods
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Thanks for finding the mount ...

... a cheap smartphone will do the rest. My almost disposably cheap LG Optimus 3 can just about run a map app (Google or OSM offline), a radio app (Jango or TuneIn+) - or music off the SD card, a dashcam app (Autoguard BlackBox) and a wifi hotspot simultaneously. It does need a high current USB cable tho :-)

That's less than £50 for the phone, less than £20 on apps and less than £30 on mount and cable -- the dedicated hardware is increasingly unable to cut it against the vast economies of scale applicable to landfill Android.

The only thing I need to add when driving older vehicles is a cigarette lighter bluetooth receiver with a 3.5mm output which, in extremis, can be plugged into one of those fake cassette things when the car doesn't even have an audio input.

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Future Apple gumble could lock fanbois out of their own devices

John H Woods
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"It's actually a very good idea and something I've been looking forward to for a while."

No need to look forward to it - I've been using Tasker on Android to ensure that my screen lock is disabled whenever my phone can see my local wifi. I have no problem with the 'idea' at all, but patenting it is a problem, it isn't nearly novel or non-obvious enough.

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Journal that published Facebook emoto-furtle study: Proper boffins get CONSENT

John H Woods
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Hardly anyone has mentioned that ...

... the research was also crap: for instance they were using automated emotion scoring of posts using tools (LIWC, I think) that are only considered reliable for longer texts.

It seems a shame to make such a massive ethical cock-up for such a weak result. Or maybe it's just karma.

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Power BI: Office 365 just got more intelligent

John H Woods
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Re: Wikipedia? Really?

"There are good reasons why academics and professionals don't use Wikipedia"

I think you are confusing 'use' and 'cite'. Citing Wikipedia as a reference is almost as stupid as ignoring it entirely. By all means, treat it with scepticism - but you should everything with scepticism. I have even had to deal with people quoting papers as having authority because "they are proper scientific papers in Arxiv" without seeming to realise that they are preprints (and therefore have had possibly less peer review than if they'd been in Wikipedia).

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What a whopper, LG: Feast your eyes on this 77-inch bendy TV

John H Woods
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more excited about the gamut than the pixels ...

Don't really understand the value of 4K on 77" - my kids have HD projected onto 100" and you can't see pixels at an appropriate viewing distance. Colour gamut - and perhaps frame rate - is where the quality will be most noticeable for anything but the vastest screens.

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BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS

John H Woods
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Re: Bane of my life

This pdf about how "Shadow IT" (notably Excel) harms business is now nearly a decade old. Yet I still work with many clients who suffer the debilitating disease.

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US Supreme Court: Duh, obviously cops need a warrant to search mobes

John H Woods
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Re: cant this be solved

In the UK you would be committing another offence by refusing to reveal the password.

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Freeze, Glasshole! Stop spying on me at the ATM

John H Woods
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Re: I prefer the infra-red camera trick

Possible countermeasure - heat keypad to 37C.

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'World’s dumbest' suspect collared in Facebook sting

John H Woods
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Re: Elephant in the room

"Why didn't he knick the PC?"

ITYM "nick" unless perhaps it's lingerie theft.

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Study of Brit students finds TXTING doesn't ruin your writing

John H Woods
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My teenagers ...

... all use full english, and so do their friends. In my experience it is those in their 40s, who were in their 20s when txt spk was necessary, who still use this antiquated form of message compression.

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Brit bank Barclays rolls out voice recog for telephone banking

John H Woods
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Bad news ...

... for friends of Alistair McGowan

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iFind: Critics slam Kickstarter campaign for miraculous battery-free phone finder

John H Woods
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Re: Bah!

They worked fine - if you remember their purpose was to part idiots from (other people's) money.

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Dutch firm passes the world's first e-spliff to the left hand side

John H Woods
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Re: So how does this work?

No idea whether it work, but maybe adding a bit of PEG400 to the PG/VG mixture would help with solubility issues?

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Microsoft ups OneDrive storage, slashes prices to match Google Drive

John H Woods
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Re: 2Gb file?

>>How many legally obtained files do you have that are over 2Gb?

A TrueCrypt container? A zip archive? Home video? There's dozens of possibilities.

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D-Wave disputes benchmark study showing sluggish quantum computer

John H Woods
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So are these D-Wave boxes fast ...

... until you observe them?

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Finding the formula for the travelling salesman problem

John H Woods
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Re: Factorial, not exponential

Correct. If f(n) is n! / a^n, then think about what f(n+1) is -- It gets bigger by a factor of (n+1)/a and therefore the growth of the factorial increasingly exceeds that of the exponential as n increases.

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