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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2514 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

BOFH: We CAN do that with a Raspberry Pi, but think of the BODIES

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

And where had my quicklime gone?

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Vampires and Ninjas versus the Alien Jedi Robot Pirates: It's ON

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Ninja's?

"Are you a ninja? Or a ninjaaarrrgh! ?"

How dare you call my wife a big hippo!!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Ninja's?

Send in Cohen the Barbarian, and the Silver Horde!

I trust all the vampires will be black ribboners

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Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nope: te IAU has a standard naming scheme for comets: Fairly boring C/ for non-periodic comet P/ for periodic, followed by year of discovery, a letter indicating the half-month in which it was discovered, followed by a number indicating the order of discovery. Prefix X/ is used for comets without reliable orbits, and D/ indicates a comet that has broken up. This boring designation is followed by the names of the discoverer(s) (usually no more than two or three.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Well done Terry!!

I spotted one of his previous finds through binoculars, very nice one, which keot us amateurs entertained for weeks and even months. I see from the data it is too far south for us northern observers to spot it yet (and too faint to be visible in my scope), but as it swings round the sun it may become visible here

Good on ya, mate!!

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Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: "should certainly bolster sales in time for the new school term"

A maths teacher worth his salt can pose question in such a way that a regular scientific calculator is as useful as a paperweight of the same dimensions and weight during the exam. It can actually be fun to do this. In my exams I try to keep the answers fairly simple numerically, but tough in terms of algebra and insight required.

Calculators with symbolic equation solving pose more of a challenge to ensure you are testing for insight rather than skill at entering the equations and pressing "solve". The symbolic calculators are most certainly banned at maths exams at our uni.

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Microsoft Azure goes TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Performance)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Total Inability To Support Usual Performance (TITSUP)

One tea-soaked keyboard at reading that acronym

Will include this as mandatory vocabulary in my upcoming "Introduction to Computing Science" course (along with classics like BOFH, PFY, and PEBCAK)

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Cops baffled by riddle of CHICKEN who crossed ROAD

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

I thought this had been answered by Terry Prattchet

Just read "Hollywood Chickens"

Cogito ergo cluck

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Take the shame: Microsofties ADMIT to playing Internet Explorer name-change game

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: I'd call it "Spinal Tap"

"Aren't spinal taps very, very painful and unpleasant?"

And you point is?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

I just renamed it "Internet Exploder" on our desktop. It took ages for anybody to notice. Once they did notice, they did not know how and/or didn't bother to change it back

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Condition

Reminds me of the hitchhiker's guide episode:

Arthur Dent: "You mean you have a solution"

Ford Prefect: "No, I just knocked the bottle of wine over. But I do have a new name for our problem!!"

Quite a common marketing ploy of course. Re-brand your product once you have realised the brand name has become a liability rather than an asset.

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Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: HUD better, gestures bad, starting calls or using social media bad.

Might I suggest:

HUD better, gestures bad, starting calls or using social media mad.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Revealing answer no 1 ...

One mod many might want to make is adapting which gesture to use to get rid of a call. Swipe of the hand might be OK for most contacts, but I guess a few special gestures might be liked for "special categories" of contacts (bosses, inlaws, etc).

What gesture would you like to make to get rid of a text from your boss (especially in the weekend)?

Answers on a postcard as well, please ...

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Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Sounds like

Murdoch is a bit jealous (of both NSA and Google).

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NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: holy Belgium man!

Another motorised rock

Sorry, it must be all the filthy elderflower wine my friend Ford has been making. Mine is the one with the radio play of the original series in the pocket

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

The stone ended upright? Just a menhir slung over-enthusiastically by Obelix, I'll wager.

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Facepalm

No real surprise, really

Whenever I let my laptop, tablet, or phone look for WIFI networks I am amazed at the sheer number of peoplpe who still have Linksys or some similar default as their network name. You just know that the majority of these will still have the default password on them.

I never try to enter, however tempted I am, not really because I am virtuous (yeah, right), but more because I cannot be bothered, and besides, who knows whether these people have not been infected by some horrible malware which might bite my system.

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What happens in Europe, doesn't stay in Europe: US giants accused of breaking EU privacy pact

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I think you are being overly harsh, suggesting the American government can be trusted less with our data than our own dear government. I always use a non-discriminatory approach. I do not trust any government

(I am wondering why I put that joke icon there, in retrospect, it is not funny at all)

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A-level results: Before you smile at that jump-for-joy snap...

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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IT interest does seem to be on the rise

We are attracting WAY more students in the last few years in our CS programme. I haven't got the latest figures, but it looks we will be getting about 60% more student than last year, and last year was about 25% above the year before. About 30% of our new students are from abroad, which has also meant more girls enroll, which is a good thing too, not just because we then have more role-models which could attract more Dutch girls (who traditionally do not choose science, and certainly not CS), but also because many of them are highly motivated and perform well.

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Spin doctors crack 'impossible' asteroid hurtling towards Earth

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Something I don't get here

As I gather from the article, they favour pushing it away by some means, but worry that that might break it up. Pushing a solid piece of rock is predictable, pushing a spinning pile of rubble close to breaking point is not.

Piles of rubble are notoriously unstable, as I notice whenever I tidy my office

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Stanford boffin is first woman to bag 'math Nobel Prize'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: She a genius 'cos she's a genius

True, it shouldn't matter. However, given the relatively small number of female scientists (certainly outside life sciences) that hit the headlines, it is good to have a new role model for aspiring female scientists. I have a feeling that many girls (certainly here in the Netherlands) are turned away from certain fields of science exactly because there are prejudices in society as a whole about what areas are suitable for women. Extra role models can help change those ideas. I do not mean to say more women must enter science, but rather that they should not be deterred by old-fashioned ideas about what they should be doing.

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Naughty NSA was so drunk on data it forgot collection rules

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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To paraphrase Heinrich Heine

The NSA [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] bastards [REDACTED][REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED]

Yours sincerely

Michael Wilkinson

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Hollywood star Robin Williams dies of 'suspected suicide' at 63

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Very sad to hear

Bitter inrony that a man who could make so many laugh suffered such depression. A loss to all, but most to his family.

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NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

"Performance equivalent to some CPUs found in PCs."

I like that kind of precise statement of performance, a.k.a. markerting speak: It sounds nice, but then some PCs might be construed to include our old 80286 processor running at 12 MHz. We even did image processing on that PC. Still use some of that code today, and it runs like the clappers on new kit. Somehwere in the corner of my office lurks a 80486 at 60MHz. I do not think anybody would like that kind of performance in their tablet or phone.

It would sound better if they had used the phrase "some current PCs, or actually stated which processor they meant.

Still, chips with better performance at lower power are always welcome.

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German brain surgeon flies in for vital LOHAN operation

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Sysadmin huh?

Cattle-prod proof? He wields one, more likely

I'll raise a Hefe Weizen as well

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LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Just a couple of thoughts from a complete non-expert in this area

The same number could well occur in a random sequence, but not the same sequence of numbers. In the old (and often still (ab)used) linear congruential PRNGs finding the same number would mean the exact same sequence would be generated again, because the entire state of the linear congruential generator is the last number generated. Modern PRNGs have states with much larger bit counts than the pseudo-random numbers they generate.

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Huge FOUR-winged dino SPREAD LEGS to KILL – scientists

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Seen a wedgetail eagle lately ?

"At least use the correct name - it is from the Counterweight continent. Now that really makes sense (provided that you do not ask the library for a list of all the dangerous animals in there)."

Fourecks, methinks. Some of the sheep are safe, however.

Still: no worries!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Changyuraptor

Is she that aerodynamic?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Arrg The Falconer

You means Hodgesaargh, whose birds dreamed of eating his other ear?

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MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

And so freedom is eroded, not by a torrent, but

DRIP, DRIP, DRIP

I'll get me coat

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Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

In the unlikely event I ever get to meet this guy

I just HAVE to say: "Finally we meet, mr. Musk"

But he will probably be tired of that joke by then. You just have to love his attitude (witness the wry humour "AKA KABOOM") and results

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Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Password Entropy

The problem is so many people now use "correct horse battery staple" as their password that it is the first thing tried after "password"

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Give an exoplanet a new name: Fill in this form and hope these astro-boffins pick your $input

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

Vogsphere?

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Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Plastic cases

Agreed, people are never sensitive to all natural substances, like pollen

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Not entirely limited to Apple products I would guess. Any metal casing containing nickel would set off the allergy. Designing products with allergies in mind is something easily overlooked by those who have none.

I have worked with Mac Pros and MacBooks when I visited a university in Paris, and found them perfectly usable. After all, when you write your own code, all you need is a usable editor/compiler or IDE, oh and MatLab for rapid prototyping and testing if you do image and signal processing. Phone and tablet-wise I stick with Android (because I am/they are cheap). Seriously love my ASUS Transformer Pad, and would not readily swap it for anything else.

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US authorities round up ILLEGAL DINOSAURS for repatriation

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Poached Dinosaur eggs

Have one of these for breakfast on a regular basis, and "morbidly obese" will soon seem too slight as a phrase to describe your problems. No wonder US immigration doesn't want them in the country

Still wonder what they would taste like

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Man FOUND ON MOON denies lunar alien interface

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Some of those redditors...

I suggest we build a B-ark. Tickets will be made available to all those who believe whatever outrageous theory we put up (mutant star goat etc). Should rid us of a significant portion of conspiracy nutters.

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Unused?

How exactly is a section of a storage room "unused" if it contains a box.

Mix this message with Storage Wars, and you get something REALLY creepy

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In space no one can hear you scream, but Voyager 1 can hear A ROAR

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

In the best spirit of human endeavour

Absolutely awesome the way these craft keep performing. I watched their launch on TV when I was at school, and followed their travels past the planets (mainly through National Geographic magazine, no internet in those days). Amazing that they are still operational, despite Voyager 2 not responding to many commands. Slightly odd that; bit late for puberty, bit early for age-related deafness, and it couldn't have sneaked a walkman on board, because that came out well after its launch.

Still, big thumbs up to all who worked and still work on this project

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Panic like it's 1999: Microsoft Office macro viruses are BACK

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I'm not dead yet! I don't want to go on that cart!!

I remember thinking "Isn't that a security risk?" when I first heard about VBA. We did not have to wait long for confirmation. It is worrying that they still haven't put a sufficiently tight sandbox around VBA. I can see reasons to use macros within a document (I have used for loops and while loops in LaTeX at times), but I see no reason why code within a document should ever be allowed to alter template files or indeed any other file on disk (except the printed, postscript, or pdf output) which outweighs the security risks involved.

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It's finally happened: Bloke builds BOFH-style goofing-off cattle prod

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

To stay with the Hitchhikers' Guide: Maybe he is a masochist on a diet (but then he would have made a nutrimatic machine)

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'BIGGEST BIRD EVER': 21-foot ripsaw-beaked flying HORROR

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Just imagine

We once had a grey heron drop a load dead centre on a tea table outside. Only amusing well after the event. One of these Pelagornithids could take out an entire village fair with one salvo. One dreads to think what a flock might have been able to do.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: The BBC reckons it's the largest bird ever....

Bones of flying birds are thin. Last time I looked at an ostrich it flew about as well as a brick. Tasty, however, very tasty

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Booze in SPAAAACE! Brit rocket boffin preps bold stratobeer mission

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Now that is REALLY raising a glass

Mine never reach the stratosphere, but on the way back, they always reach my mouth

Never got the hang of quaffing, it seems

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LIFE on Titan: If there's one thing aliens HATE, it's a SALTY BALL

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

Re: there's klingons on the starboard bow

And in th emean time, nobody is looking for super-intelligent shades of the colour blue

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VC who wants to split California REVEALED as Silk Road Bitcoin slurper

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Splitting California

Just wait long enough and California will be split. Along the San Andreas fault line, possibly.

Sadly, this is not entirely a joke, and certainly not for people in California

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Brazilian baddies bank Boleto billions

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Alliteration Alert

Title totalled by trying too much

Accept my ample apologies for an appalling attempt

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Brit SPACE HEDGEHOG team flies student Mars payload

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Somehow, all these yellow capsules make me go

Beedo beedo beedo beedo beedo beedo beedo beedo beedo beedo

Seriously, though, thumbs up to this project

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New research: Flash is DEAD. Yet resistance isn't futile - it's key

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Top boffinry by the sound of it

Time will tell what will become of the technology, of course, but having thumb drives that are faster, have larger capacity, and do not wear out is something I would love to see

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SPACE: The FINAL FRONTIER. These are the TEN-YEAR images of star probe Cassini

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Superb piece of engineering!

Excellent stuff by NASA (and ESA, Cassini-Huygens was a joint mission). Great example of international collaboration as well.

And of course it gives us yet another reason to raise a glass

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