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* Posts by John H Woods

1293 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Microsoft issues manual on Brits to Cambridge exports

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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Fashionably slate

John H Woods
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it's all about the video, of course.

My ideal TV would copy 5.1 sound systems, where you plug in a microphone and they can make a passable effort at self-calibration. Why can't TVs do this? Most people i know are watching their TVs with colour and contrast completely out of whack.

How about a very rapid power saving mode that goes off when there is no one in the room and comes back on again when you come in? Audio muting optional.

How about non-sucky picture-in-picture controls? Or digital logo removal processing?

There's a lot of smart things TVs could do, but smart TVs don't seem to do any of them.

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Soak up CO2 with sponges, says CSIRO

John H Woods
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What is needed is a fuel ...

... that is really energy dense, and does not produce much CO2 when 'burnt'. We all ready have such a wonder-fuel, and we know how to use it. It's called URANIUM.

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Ask Google this impossible question, get web filth as a reward

John H Woods
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Re: There's porn? On the interwebs?

upvoted for Ave Q ref

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USA sinks Atlantic cable plan over Huawei worries

John H Woods
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Backdoors in a cable? I thought we knew how to defend ourselves from MITM attacks?

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Vertu-alised Android revealed at an all-too-real €7,900

John H Woods
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Re: <probably mistaken pedant>

"at (say) 800m/s and a weight of say 50g I'd make the kinetic energy ~2500J"

Isn't kinetic energy 1/2 m v^2? In which case your assumptions should make it 1/2 * 0.05kg * (800 m/s)^2 = 16kJ

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Could this be Google's slick new touchscreen Chromebook?

John H Woods
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Headmaster

To be really pedantic ...

... its is not an exception to the rule. "Its" doesn't have an apostrophe for the same reason that "yours", "hers" and "ours" don't: they are possessive pronouns. The easy way to remember this is to remember how you would spell "his" -- an apostrophe would obviously be incorrect.

An even easier rule is to never to put an apostrophe in unless you are absolutely sure one is required - its quite possible to pass off an unintended omission as a stylistic choice, whereas the spurious apostrophe cannot be so justified.

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The truth on the Navy carrier debacle? Industry got away with murder

John H Woods
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Re: Why bother?

Thanks! Now I can't get rid of the mental image of de Kirchner's face as she sees the entire of Mainland GB hove into view from over the horizon.

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Why you need a home lab to keep your job

John H Woods
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Re: But if this cycle continues

Can you offset the cost of these things against tax if you are a regular PAYE employee?

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Android gets tipsy on Wine, runs WINDOWS apps

John H Woods
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Re: Daniel Palmer

As a performance engineer, I completely agree. And they should be forced to execute their unit tests (on client-sized PCs) against production-size DBs.

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Bring out your dead: Reg readers reveal filthy, filthy PCs...

John H Woods
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I opened a Sun workstation once ...

... inside was the standard anti-static warning on a Sun label. Underneath was a further label, in neat handwriting, attached, I presume, by a previous tech. It posed the following riddle.

Before, dear user, you hoover this horrible dusty mess, answer me this question:

What's the difference between a Vacuum Cleaner and a Van de Graaf generator?

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First video inside thinking fish's brain captured by boffins

John H Woods
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I thought it was well known what pets think...?

Dogs: "These people feed me, they must be gods"

Cats: "These people feed me, I must be a god"

Fish: "OMG THERE IS FOOD! FALLING! FROM! THE! SKY!"

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Oh, Sony, you big tease: Mystery PlayStation reveal date set

John H Woods
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Re: I already have a PC

I bought my two boys parts for a budget games PC (AMD K-5 based) and we overclocked it to half way decent 3Dmark score. What I didn't realise was how much more expensive the games are. Because, thanks to Steam, I appear to have to buy two copies of every game now.

Unless I'm wrong, in which case I would be very much obliged if someone could put me right.

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ESA proposes 3D printing on the moon

John H Woods
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Re: more techo-wanking

Repeating it might not be enough. You probably need to address the points that (a) this article indicates that liquid isn't that important and (b) there may be enough liquid on the moon for what we need to do anyway.

I do like your idea of a CNC router, but I think 3D printing will also be useful, and I'm not sure why you seem to be so annoyed by it. Of course there's hype, but behind most hype there is at least something worth talking about.

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I watched Excel meet 1-2-3, and beat it fair and square

John H Woods
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Re: Improv

Actually, it became Quantrix. Download a 30 day eval copy and blow your mind, just by following the really good intro doc that comes with it. THIS is how spreadsheets should be, tables with sensible column names like Item, ItemPrice, Quantity and Subtotal, and rules like Subtotal = Quantity * ItemPrice, Total = Sum(Subtotal).

I'm not sad Excel beat 1-2-3. But Improv should have at least made people aware that there is a better way than 'stretching' elementwise formulae over ranges.

Honestly, if you have 10 mins, and you like this sort of thing, check out Quantrix.com. Unfortunately I could never persuade my company to buy it.

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