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* Posts by Dr Patrick J R Harkin

664 posts • joined 22 Jan 2008

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Apple stops caring about Samsung kit everyone else stopped caring about years ago

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Apple,

"Google, HP, Logitech, Samsung, HTC and the list goes on........"

I should have gone to SpecSavers. I read that as "Google, HP Lovecraft, Samsung, HTC and the list goes on........

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Chow rocket blasts off for ISS: Awww, freeze-dried ice cream AGAIN

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Delivering food to the ISS.

Surely I've seen an ad for an app that does that?

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LOHAN seeks stirring motto for spaceplane mission patch

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

LOHANES EUNT DOMUS

People called Lohan, they go to the house.

or

SPATIA INTER AURES - Space is in our minds (literally Space Between the Ears)

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Dead letter office: ancient smallpox sample turns up in old US lab

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

This stuff will have been in sealed vials, so no big deal.

The exciting discovery was the envelope of smallpox scabs found tucked into the back of a book in a New Mexico library ten year s ago...

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2003-12-26-smallpox-in-envelope_x.htm

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Comet-chasing Rosetta spies SWEATY prey

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Glasses per socond?

But how long to cover Wales to the depth of a double-decker bus?

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DAMN you El Reg, CALL ME A BOFFIN, demands enraged boffin

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

What's a boffin?

I'd always assumed a boffin is someone who has a muffin with his tiffin. English muffin, obviously, not those vast, cakey American things. Boffins should also consider their work as "tinkering", even if it's "tinkering with plutonium and C4"

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SPIDER-TROOP, Spider-troop, does whatever a spider troop can

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Geckoman

Someone should write a song about that. Oh hang on, someone has...

http://www.mitchbenn.com/music-stuff/70/geckoman.html

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Boffins: How to generate crypto-keys using a smartphone – and quantum physics

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

10^18 times the life of the universe to crack?

More fool them. I have TWO computers working on it, so I can cut that time in half.

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Get ready for Europe's ROBO-BUTLERS: Billions of €€€s pledged to electro-slave dream

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I want a robot that...

...can write witty comments on El Reg for me.

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Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi! 3D HOLO-PHONE hinted in Amazon vid

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Hmmm....

"It's cool"

"It moves with me"

"It's neat"

It's a portable icebox full of beer.

[Cue "My Google Glass is half-empty joke"]

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128-bit crypto scheme allegedly cracked in two hours

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Better password needed

"No, I think he was exhibiting something called irony. "

That's like silvery, isn't it? Only cheaper?

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Skype to become 'Star Trek' style real-time translator, says Redmond

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

What languages are available?

Will they be doing American to English?

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Canuck cops cuff teen suspect in swatter-for-hire case

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: $10,000?

It's like the fire service and call-outs to places like this University. We don't get charged for real fires, but we do get charged for false alarms when contractors set of alarms of people smoke in the toilets (we get a couple of free call-outs, then charged). The argument is that service is staffed and funded to provide (X) responses per year. It doesn't matter that (n) are fake; they require staff and resources and hence can be assigned a cost. If there we no false alarms, we'd need fewer fire engines & fire men so the service would be cheaper - the fake calls use real money.

For the SWAT guys I strongly suspect there's a desk load of paperwork after the event and conceivably damages to those SWATted or to people who can't get home through a roadblock. It all takes resource away from the job in hand.

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Supposedly secure Dogecoin service Dogevault goes offline

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Apparently it's hard to run a secure currency.

Who'd have thought it?

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Did cosmic radiation nuke $25 satellite swarm? 100 snoozing Sprites face fiery death

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I feel sad that an innovative idea has failed...

...but it really did seem like space littering.

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Apple files patent for typo-sensing buttons

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Joke

Re: Force feedback?

Nah, force feedback is when we tell them not to use racial profiling and that that reports of random stop and search in the press don't look good .

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Script fools n00b hackers into hacking themselves

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Isn't this the same as the (risks racist tag) Irish Virus which went round a few years ago?

"Greetings, You have just received the "IRISH VIRUS". As we don't have any programming experience, this Virus works on the honour system. Please delete all the files on your hard drive manually and forward this Virus to everyone on your mailing list. Thank you for your cooperation."

Ah. No. This one actually works.

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NASA spots 'new' star just 7.2 light years away

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I have a bad feeling about this...

"Neighbours of the star told our reporters 'We didn't see him much. Quiet type. He always kept himself to himself but as soon as we heard about the rogue asteroids wiping out the dinosaurs I just knew it had to be him."

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Google-funded boffins figure out age-busting facial prediction system

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"How do they propose to tell from a photo of fresh faced 3 year old me that from age 19ish I would have a full beard?"

That's a very good point, Sue.

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NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I'm impressed at the standards

They wear hairnets and full gowns just to put the phones into the boxes. IMAGINE what the assembly facility must be like!

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Time is on their side: NIST's new atomic clock accurate for 300 MEEELLION years

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Please tell me...

...that the scientists announcing the world's most accurate clock were late for the press conference.

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'We’re not SNEAKY, we're DADS from the MIDWEST'

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Dropbox magic

Perhaps they calculate the hash during the upload where they have to have process the data, rather than go back and examine it later.

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'Software amplifier' boosts quantum signals

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I hereby resolve...

....never to read any article with "quantum" in the headline.

It's just embarrassing how little I understand.

Mind you... Could these quantum scientist guys be bluffing? I mean if it gets you funding to play with lasers - you'd stretch the truth a bit wouldn't you? And who peer-reviews it all? OTHER QUANTUM PHYSICISTS! Mighty convenient, if you ask me.

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Dutch doctors replace woman's skull with 3D-printed plastic copy

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Headmaster

"by carrying out the first skull transplant using plastic parts built in a 3D printer."

May I point out that this is an implant, not a transplant? My membership of the British Pedantic Society (soon to be renamed British Society of Pedants, as it's the members who are pedantic, not the society itself) is up for renewal.

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Brit 'naut Major Tim could carry YOUR name into SPAAAAACCEEE

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

As he's British and leaving the country to spend time with a group of male colleagues and get high, may I suggest "ISStag Night"

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GRAV WAVE TSUNAMI boffinry BONANZA – the aftershock of the universe's Big Bang

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

ANOTHER cosmological wager from Hawking?

I'm beginning to worry that the man has a bit of a gambling problem. Come to think of it, isn't he playing poker in his ST:NG cameo?

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Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Congratulations to the team ...

"Barraco Barner" Hate to own up, but back in 2007, on the first few times I heard his name on the radio (before I saw it written down) I thought the man running for president against John McCain was called Barry Cobalmer. And I can still never be quite sure whether it's McCain or McClane who was in a Die Hard movies.

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iPhone 6 FEELS your heat, wetness... and it'll TELL Apple – report

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

A barometer? That's pretty useful.

Oh. Wait. It DOESN'T tell you how good the beer is before you go into the bar? That's disappointing.

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Soliton makes its way across silicon in CUDOS experiment

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Thank heavens it's not just me. I have now read the Wikipedia article "In mathematics and physics, a soliton is a self-reinforcing solitary wave (a wave packet or pulse) that maintains its shape while it travels at constant speed." but feel I should point out that "read" and "understood" are not synonyms.

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Finally! Some actual, novel tech: Apple patent to revive geriatric gear

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I... I... I don't know what to say.

It's an Apple patent.

But it does seem (to this non-expert) actually useful.

Is this a glitch in The Matrix?

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Steve Jobs statue: Ones and ohs and OH NOES – it's POINTING at us

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I assume this is the staue with its iOS 7 skin

It'll look better after they release iOS 8.

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Apple patents touch-sensitive controls for MacBook

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

How visible will these buttons be?

Or have Apple just patented "Screen you daren't adjust to reduce glare for fear of losing all your work"?

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Mathematicians spark debate with 13 GB proof for Erdős problem

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I have discovered a truly marvellous proof of this,..

...which the margin of this internet is too narrow to contain.

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Magnets to stick stuff to tablets: Yup, there's an Apple patent application for that

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

A pedant writes...

You say "After all, the USPTO is a bit of a black box – pop something into it, and you never really know what will come out the other end."

Surely the point of a Black Box is that you generally DO know what th eoutput will be for a given input, you just don't know exactly one leads to the other.

None of which advances the argument one iota and probably has equal numbers of people saying "he's right, you know" and "What an idiot". So I think that's a perfect internet posting.

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Mars Orbiter spots FRESH IMPACT CRATER

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I have a strange suspicion...

...those two dots in the crater are a whale and a bowl of petunias.

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Hadron Collider urinal cake tale wins El Reg's LHC book giveaway

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: @ Arnaut the less - "I am thoroughly nuts in the minds of several engineers"

Yes - and dem wheel nuts get wheely wound up about dat sorta fing!

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Boffins measure 27 quantum states of light

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

I understood every word of that.

The actual sentences, on the other hand...

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What is the difference between a drone, a model and a light plane?

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Headmaster

" apparently you're talking upwards of 160mph (320kmph) for the jets"

Um, isn't 160mph nearer 256kph?

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Creepy US spy agency flings WORLD SLURPING OCTOPUS into orbit

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

That's a rather judgemental comment

"Sucking the life out of our world".

There isn't enough information in the logo to reach that conclusion. It could just as easily be using its fangs to inject some form of neurotoxin.

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Google patent: THROAT TATTOO with lie-detecting mobe microphone built-in

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

For pets too?

For all I know my cat has one already. He doesn't shave often.

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Microsoft store staff to hold all night vigil for Surface 2

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I hate these launch events.

I went to one in London for Excel 5 (yes, that long ago.) with swirly dry ice smoke, enormous product box rising out of the stage, "I GOT THE POWER!" repeatedly blasted from the speakers. Demo guy selected some numbers, drew a 3D chart - yells of approval from crowd! Grabbed 3D chart and rotated - the crowd went wild!

Two weeks later, I went to the Yorkshire launch event. No smoke, no rising pack, no music. Same demo. Demo guy selected some numbers, drew a 3D chart - no reaction from crowd. Grabbed 3D chart and rotated - total silence! "They got really excited by that in London", he whined. From the back of the room, in broad Yorkshire came the reply "It's only a bloody spreadsheet."

This is only a bloody tablet. It'll still be there after breakfast tomorrow.

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New Terminator-style 'bots can self-assemble, leap, climb and SWARM

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I was worried we were heading into grey goo territory...

...but they've had the good sense to make these in nice bright colours, so that's OK.

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Boffins offer ROUTER DEATHLIST for software-defined network builders

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Nope

Not a word.

OK, I did actually understand the words. It's the sentences which threw me.

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Ex-Sun journalist charged with handling a stolen mobile phone

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Is it wise leaving comments open on a live crown court prosecution?

You didn't have reason to believe it was stolen and you had no intent to deprive the legitimate owner of possession so I don't see an issue. If you'd kept it for a month before handing it in - grey area. What bothers me is - does turning it on to see in the lock screen has contact info count as "using it without authorisation"?

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Apple wins patent for entrance to retail store

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Apple better be ready to give me a big payout.

I've applied for a patent for "as system by which a sovereign state may grant a set of exclusive rights to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time, in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention."

I've patented the patent.

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Chap unrolls 'USB condom' to protect against viruses

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Excellent place to hide malware

And the cable even provides the antenna to send the lifted data home. Make these things reassuringly expensive and only people with data worth nicking will buy them so you won't dilute your datastream with worthless rubbish!

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Qualcomm reveals 'Toq' smartwatch

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

But what happens...

...if you use it to phone the speaking clock?

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NASA: Full details on our manned ASTEROID SNATCH mission

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: The world

"yet they want to bring one closer in than ever before?"

Sure. that's how we got dogs, after all. We got a small wolf, brought it into the camp and trained it to protect us from its wild brethren. I'm sure that'll work for asteroids too.

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Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Xenon fuel?

Perhaps I'm a pedant, but do you mean "xenon reaction mass"?

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Snowden journalist's partner gave Brit spooks passwords to seized files

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Coat

I wonder if...

...they read him his Miranda rights? (yes I know that's US jurisdiction only, but Heathrow comes under that, doesn't it?)

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