* Posts by Dr Patrick J R Harkin

769 posts • joined 22 Jan 2008

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NASA firms up Space Launch System nanosat manifest

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Why has the last picture...

...got WALL-E's head in it?

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US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Some Department of Commerce weather alert systems use Fortran

There was a conference in this building only last week on "Modern FORTRAN". It surprised me, as we are a medical school but our top floor is a biomedical "big data" research institute.

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Theranos bins two years of test results

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I don't quite understand how it happened, even in the US, but in the UK, machines which had not been validated wouldn't be licensed for clinical use.

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Chaps make working 6502 CPU by hand. Because why not?

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Because why not indeed

Valves? I spit on valves.

I want to see it done using dominoes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpLU__bhu2w

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Hmmm, where should I dump those unencrypted password files? I know - OneDrive

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

The solution is obvious.

There are characters which you can't have in a file name. Just add "p", "s", "w", "r" and "d" and

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Art heist 'pranksters' sent down for six months

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"tend to shoot first and ask questions later"

If they bother with the questions at all.

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Wasps force two passenger jets into emergency landings

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Coat

Wasps force two passenger jets into emergency landings

And that's why I always fly Bee A.

I'm here all week, try the fish.

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Germans stick traffic lights in pavements for addicts who can't take their eyes off phones

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

They're fixated on the smartphone screen so...

....they don't see the kerb (International sign meaning "YOUR BIT ENDS HERE. WATCH OUT FOR BRMMM BRMMMS")...

...so why do we imagine they'll see a light?

How about making smartphones where the screen doesn't illuminate as you move at walking pace? Fine in the car. Fine while stopped. But if you're walking DON'T LOOK AT THE PHOINE!

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Revealed: How NASA saved the Kepler space telescope from suicide

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

So the fix was -

Turn it off and reboot in Safe Mode?

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Your mother has a smooth forehead, Klingon language lovers roar at Paramount

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Essential late night listening

Drving through the night once, I pulled into services and wanted something NEW to listen to. I rummaged through their sale bin and got a Buffy audiobook narrated by Charisma Carpenter (worth the 99p just to hear her attempt at Gile's accent) and "Teach Yourself Klingon". The wrapper said it was aimed "at the tourist planning a holiday or trip to the Klingon empire" but cautioned that if you wanted to trade with the Klingons, you needed the companion tape "Business Klingon for Beginners"...

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Must listen: We've found the real Bastard Operator From Hell

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Could be eviller....

The wait time is always 3 seconds. It should start at 5 minutes, then get less with each repeat until with 30 seconds to go - it resets back to 5 minutes

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China's Dalek-like robots fear only one terrifying nemesis: Stairs

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

In the TV version of the Dalek invasion of London...

...they disabled Daleks using soup cans on elastic over their eyestalks. A quick spray with a paint and these guys are going to have problems, surely? Failing that, they don't look very topple-resistent, especially backwards.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware storms live TV weather forecast

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Here is today's forecast:

Iowa: Windows 7, rising to 10 later. Linux imminent.

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Tracy Emin dons funeral shroud, marries stone

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

" wearing her father’s white funeral shroud,"

Um, if he wasn't actually buried in it, does it count as his funeral shroud?

And if he WAS buried in it - yecch! (Apart from the grave-robbing implications)

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Dodgy software will bork America's F-35 fighters until at least 2019

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"158 of which are Category 1"

"– classified as those that could cause death, severe injury, or severe illness."

"Death." Check. Understand how bad software in a plane could do that.

"Severe injury." Got that too.

"Severe illness." Eh? Are we talking diabetes here? Rabies? Leukaemia? Just what sort of software is this?

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FBI backs down against Apple: Feds may be able to crack killer's iPhone without iGiant's help

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

See foot! Shoot foot! Shoot!

So Apple have gone from "We didn't want anyone to see we could break iPhone security with our proprietary knowledge in case they thought our phones were insecure" to "Actually, you don't need to be Apple to crack an iPhone. World+Dog can do it."

They'd have had rather less security egg on their faces if they'd cracked the phone.

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London cops hunt chimpanzee in top hat

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

That's quality detecting, that is.

Detective Constable Edward Bird (yes, really) said: "This was not a random crime, the burglars had came prepared and well equipped."

He worked that out just from noticing that they'd STOLEN A GIRAFFE!

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Go No! Google cyber-brain bests top-ranked human in ancient game

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

All hail!

I for one welcome our new surrounding your opponent on a 19x19 grid overlords.

I am reminded of a comment by Trevon Truran, developer of the Discworld game Thud - a loose equivalent of chess/go which recreates the Battle of Koom Valley, where the Trolls and Dwarfs each claim they were ambushed by the other side. It's based on the Icelandic (Nordic, anyway) game hnefatafl https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tafl_games which is unusual for board games in that it is asymmetrical and a match involves playing two games, one as each side.

In an photo accompanying an early article about it, Trevor is shown staring intently at a game in progress and the caption is "At this point, the best move for the Trolls is to kick over the board and run away". Perhaps that's the best human move here.

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FBI says NY judge went too far in ruling the FBI went too far in forcing Apple to unlock iPhone

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Black Helicopters

Surely the NSA reverse-engineered iOS long ago?

They should be able to roll their own custom iOS. Perhaps they can, but want us to think otherwise!

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Pilot posts detailed MS Flight Sim video of how to land Boeing 737

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

If both pilots have passed out...

...how do I get into the cockpit?

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China wants to bring home moon rocks in moon vacuum

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Hang on - if they take vacuum containers with them

Won't our earth vacuum contaminate the lunar vacuum? Couldn't they take the container there in kit form, assemble it on the moon and fill it with the (easily available and cheap) lunar vacuum?

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Eurovision Song Contest uncorks 1975 vote shocker: No 'Nul point'!

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I used to watch every year.

Not the acts, they're rubbish. It was Terry Wogan's commentary during the voting that I liked. Norton is better than I thought he would be - but he's not a patch on Tel.

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Boffins' 5D laser-based storage tech could keep terabytes forever

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Not sure I understrand the number of dimensions.

Length, depth, width and polarisation as independent dimensions I get but surely size must be defined by some function of length, depth and width?

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FBI iPhone brouhaha sparks Apple Store protest in San Francisco

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Surely NSA reverse-emgineered the Apple firmware long ago?

Can't they just copy the encrypted data onto a custom phone or emulator?

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Reports: First death from meteorite impact recorded in India

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"This is President Obama calling from the White House."

Mr Willis, your government needs your skills for a very important assignment.

What? No, of course I know that was a movie and we haven't got the technology to do anything about the planet killer headed our way. I need you to appear in some TV footage which makes it look like we do. We're calling it Project Apollo Eleven Part 2...

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Face, meet book: Zuckerberg plans to dabble in AI this year

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

He wants to create Jarvis?

He has SEEN Age of Ultron, hasn't he?

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Periodic table enjoys elemental engorgement

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Bollocks.

I'm going to have to buy a new shower curtain. http://www.lightinthebox.com/periodic-table-of-elements-shower-curtain_p1359738.html

I assume the 91% price cut is due to this model now being obsolete.

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Brit filmmaker plans 10hr+ Paint Drying epic

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

He won't need to reshoot any footage to make it longer.

Just stick in some slow motion sequences.

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NASA palms off blunder-bot Valkyrie for top US universities to fix

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

They've sent Valkyrie to university?

Well, if it can fall over and flail around on the ground while being unable to get up, it'll fit right in with our freshers.

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Apple's Watch charging pad proves Cupertino still screwing buyers

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

This is just Step 1.

In Step 2, you will need to have special Apple-manufactured iElectricity, made of iElectrons with rounded corners.

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'I posted winning race ticket in Facebook selfie ... and someone stole it!'

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Obviously intelligence is not involved in either betting or boasting.

"Yes, I know that's an overly complicated and tech-heavy solution to a problem that could just be avoided with some care, but hey, that's why I read the Reg."

On The Reg, NO solution is overly complicated or tech heavy!

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Laptops are so passe. I've got a toplap.

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LASER RAZOR blunted by KickStarter ban

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Load of bollocks

"handle be made to look like a shark."

I hadn't thought of that.

Now I want one. No, now I MUST HAVE ONE! Even if it costs a meeelion dollars!

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Feds want a phone smart enough to burn itself if it falls into the wrong hands

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

The answerhone message on this has got to be...

"Good morning, Mr. Phelps..."

I got the 7-series box set for my birthday last week and it got me thinking. At the start of each episode (OK, most episodes. Pedants.), Jim goes to a new location, trades code phrases and picks up his mission outline.

But how did he know where to go? They must have contacted him beforehand with the location and password - which was presumably passed on at a secret location after he gave the password which they got to him by...

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Water into wine? Walk on water? Raise the dead? How zeroeth century. Watch this. I can do a three finger salute WITH TWO FINGERS!

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Pope Francis' first act in America: Halt iPhone 6S, 6S Plus deliveries

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Pope delayes iPhone?

Then patently it is not the Jesus Phone. It is the Antiphone. As foretold in the Phone Book, Chapter 555 (The area code of the Beast)

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Shhhs, Sergei, this technique work for Ewoks in documentary we saw.

Soon, Confused Brian robot no more. Cannot stand his stupid voice.

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Apple recalling iPhone 6 Pluses to correct their iSight

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

So the way I discover that my camera takes blurred pictures...

...is to check the serial number? Wouldn't looking at the pictures be enough?

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Capita: Listen up redundo staff, we know you're leaving but...

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Pirate

Invited to write the SOPs for training my replacement?

Dear gods, that's an opportunity I couldn't resist.

"But, boss, it says in the SOP we encrypt all invoice numbers and amounts with this one-time pad before entering them into the accounts software for security..."

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Testing times as NASA rattles Mississippi with mighty motor burn

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11805987/Inflatable-space-elevator-invented-by-scientists.htm"

I knew they were remaking Thunderbirds with CGI actors and real sets but I didn't realise the sets were going to be full-scale. Let me guess - the tower springs a leak and the blast of expelled air blows the World President's jet off course into the jungle while the tower looks like it'll fall on Lady Penelope who is trapped in her car and Scott has to prioritise personal feelings against civic duty?

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It's incredibly easy to bump someone off online, and here's how to do it – infosec bod

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

To be a funeral director...

"in Colorado anyone can be a funeral director, in Nevada you need to pay $345 and take an exam, and in California you need an arts degree."

I feel faintly insulted that my science degree in genetics doesn't allow me to dispose of bodies in California. Neither does my medical degree, though it does let me generate them.

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Lottery chief resigns as winning combo numbers appear on screen BEFORE being drawn

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I'm sure it was fumble fingers plus coincidence.

If you had the degree of control over the lottery needed to fake the machine ball pick (which, if it's to look like the real machine, is Mission Impossible level gadgetry) surely it's easier to enter a winning ticket in the database of entries retrospectively?

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Voyager's Golden Record now free to download

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

There are some great sounds on there.

My favourite is "Dear Aliens, have you mistakenly been sold Payment Protection Insurance?"

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NASA briefing in HOURS: 'We are upon the CUSP of finding ANOTHER EARTH'

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I've seen that film.

It seems attractive at first, but it NEVER ends well.

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Robot surgeons kill 144 patients, hurt 1,391, malfunction 8,061 times

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Wot?

"Sparks burning the patient? Mad." Not TOO mad - surgical diathermy is (vast oversimplification) a deliberate burn intended either to cauterise or cut. I was once on the receiving end of some (non-surgical) low-frequency diathermy when the machine caught fire...

I smiled at the machines powering down until I remembered that it's not unknown for human surgeons to power down (permanently) during operations.

These figures are really interesting but I don't know with what to compare them.

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Australia to run first robo-car trials in sleepy Adelaide

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

It's not really a fair trial though, is it?

Avoiding obstacles isn't hard if there's nothing to hit.

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Why the BBC is stuffing free Micro:bit computers into schoolkids' satchels

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Microsoft Word

The early DOS version of Word was... an education. It made me the man I am today - grey-haired, balding and easily startled.

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Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Coat

" I wrote my PhD Thesis on an Archimedes..."

Did you have the external drive enclosures, or did you have very small handwriting?

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LG's six-sided battery to take smart watches into new timezones

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Watches are round, batteries are square...

Watches are round because of the rotating hand display; there's no mechanical or aesthetic need for something worn on the wrist to be circular. A screen based watch has no real need to be round. So - are hexagonal batteries a solution looking for a problem?

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How swearing at your coworker via WhatsApp could cost you $68,000

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Work in a third world backward nation...

I thought 1st world = Mercury, 2nd world = Venus and 3rd world = us.

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