Feeds

* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2511 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

US Congress proposal: National Park will be FOUND ON MOON

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

"Now if the UN decided to give the sites protected status, that is a different matter..."

Maybe they could be voted UNESCO (Out of this) World Heritage Sites

That would make a lot of sense (and is not at odds with the National Park idea), as these sites are a monument to one of mankind's greatest achievements.

5
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: @ Don Jefe - Eh??

Images have been made of the Apollo landing sites, not just by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO, from NASA, so "suspect"), but by the Chinese Chang'e-2 probe (1.3m resolution, so good enough). Some of the LRO images show the LEM base, its shadow, and tracks from astronauts and rovers.

2
0

US gov SMASHES UP TVs and MICE to nuke tiny malware outbreak

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

"Someone saw a way to get all their ancient PCs replaced with brand new ones."

Someone who is called Simon, maybe

Pass me the sledgehammer and the cattle prod please

What, no BOFH icon? OK, off to the pub then

3
0

Inventor lobs spherical, throwable camera

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

I think in the case of serious fast bowlers you would get some serious motion blur as well

Neat device, nonetheless

0
1

Universities teach us a thing or two about BYOD

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Eduroam is very nice indeed. It is very handy for me to have internet access in the universities I visit.

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Mushroom

Alternatively

People bring their own devices because those provided are not up to scratch.

2
2

Star Wars missile intercept fails for fifth year running

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

The BASTARDS!!!

How dare they attack us with missiles without transponders! It's not fair!!!!

5
0

D-Wave IS QUANTUM, insist USC scientists

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Uncertainty about quantum computing?

Well, it's quantum, innit?

6
0

At last: EU slashes mobile roaming fees

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Just got a message from Vodafone

saying how nice it was of them to decrease roaming charges.

I smiled and thought how nice it was that somebody (Steely Neelie, I think) in the EU is forcing to do so.

The thumbs up it to the EU (this time), not Vodaphone

7
0

What's the difference between GEEKS and NERDS?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

And remember

Beware of Geeks bearing gifts

Sorry, couldn't resist

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Is it just me

Or are these researchers just begging for an Ig Nobel Prize?

1
0

NASA to flip ion engine's 'OFF' switch after brilliant 5.5 year burn

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

@Triggerfish

Absolutely! I grew up in the Apollo era, and as a seven-year-old nagged my parent's (successfully) to see the first moon landing in the middle of the night. Astronauts and cosmonauts were heroes that transcended national boundaries. They showed us we could reach beyond Earth. Almost every boy in my class wanted to follow Gagarin and Armstrong. I consider that a rather better aim in life than to become filthy rich in finance. If astronauts inspire a next generation of kids to reset their ambitions and aim for the stars (literally, not in the X-factor sense) it is money well spent.

4
1

Windows 8.1: So it's, er, half-speed ahead for Microsoft's Plan A

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Re "Troll icon.....in remembrance."

Isn't getting thrown off the Register for making irrelevant remarks is a bit like being thrown out of the Pogues for excessive unruly behaviour

Hang on....

20
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

@Ugotta B. Kiddingme

You mean the Extremely Annoying Dude On Narcotics? That's news to me!

2
1
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Search as primary means of navigation?

The primary gets up my nose quickly. I may be old-fashioned, but I prefer remembering where I left things, and simply moving directly to the right location (cd under linux, or multiple clicks in windows explorer). If I forget, I just use find/grep in linux, and search when on windows (after berating myself for forgetting ;-) ).

I find hiding the "complexity" of a file system from me just annoys me. Others may like it of course.

Please note that the opinion expressed above is solely the opinion of the author, and not necessarily the opinion of those with other opinions

85
0

Voyager 1 'close' to breaking through to DEEP SPACE - boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

I remember following its launch

and the trip past the planets. Wonderful spacecraft, still going strong after all these years.

I will raise a glass to all those who made this feat possible.

13
0

Korean doctors: Smartphones really ARE doing your head in

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: As Dangerous As...

But doesn't the doctor know that according to the Craske-Trump Theorem, the product if the smartphone's IQ and the users IQ is a constant?

Or did he forget?

1
0

Microsoft talks up devices, Windows 8.1 at developer shindig

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Let me fix that for you...

Reminds me of a comment by Rich Hall:

"Good things come to those who wait, shit shows up instantly"

7
0

Planetary data merge shows three Earth-like planets in close star system

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Alternatively

If we cannot find an ideal planet, maybe the Magratheans can build one to our spec?

0
0

Privacy expert dismisses PRISM-busting typeface as 'art project'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: UTF-8 alternative

Just using a different fixed font encoding is identical to using using the oldest cypher in the book: simple substitution. You can easily simulate the enigma machine on your PC, and that is much better than the proposed solution. However, note that fairly old computer machinery could already crack that (with the help of some nifty linguistic trickery and a few coding blunders of the Germans)

One-time pads do a rather better job, and are easily accessible (though harder to distribute).

1
1
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

A Norwegian blue?

Sorry, couldn't resist

0
0

Using encryption? That means the US spooks have you on file

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: scare tactic

If you can get your hands on a good one-time pad (least significant pits of camera noise will do) you have a provably safe encryption, because the (truly random) key is as long as the message. Quantum computing does not help one jot. Trying all keys gives you (apart from a load of rubbish) all possible plain-text messages of the given length, and all possible zip/rar/tgz/bz2/... files of the same length, exploding the possible space of intelligible solutions further. Somewhere in that humongous space of solutions is the right one, but you have no way of telling which one is correct.

The only problem is transmitting the key over a secure channel. That is not that difficult: store these random bits steganographically on a DVD or Blu-Ray disc containing footage of the kids playing, and take them personally to the intended person when visiting them on holidays.

2
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Steganography?

Any image (large) might contain some subtly hidden message (just replace the least significant bits of the image with bits from a compressed, encrypted file). Even this crude method can be very hard to detect, as a compressed file is already close to noise in its bit patterns (high entropy signal). Any high entropy signal can be considered suspect for that reason (photon-noise-limited astronomical images spring to mind)

The NSA are of course aware of steganography, and could use this to suggest any media file is suspect. The only problem they then face is tracking all such data.

Me, paranoid?

14
0

SACK MORE BRITS, Symantec UK told by US supremos - sources

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

I still bear scars on my very soul from the pain of having to remove Symantec's crudware from my machine. I think nuking the disk from space did it

2
0

Apple: If you find us guilty in ebook price-fix trial, EVERYONE suffers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

You cannot punish us, or everybody will suffer was a message the bankers used successfully.

Did not do much for their popularity, did it?

11
0

Top Norks bone up on Hitler

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: "practical applications be drawn from it"

Not necessarily, I am afraid.

The part where Hitler loses is not in Mein Kampf, that part is found in books on history, but I doubt any self-respecting loony dictator would allow mere historical facts to get in the way of a megalomaniacal plan. It is more likely he will be thinking (word used without prejudice) along the lines of "If only good old Adolf had waited till he had the bomb, like I have done".

0
0

Google staffing boss: Our old hiring procedures were 'worthless'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: World's cleverest company states the obvious

Evidently, they did not read C. Northcote Parkinson's chapter "The Short List" in Parkinson's Law. It tells you exactly how to weed out unsuitable candidates, and he presents an algorithm which gets you just one applicant (the right one) obviating the need for an interview.

I find it odd they did not find that paper, as it must have been scanned by them, and a quick google got me this.

At Google, unlike the X-Files, the truth is in there.

In both cases, it is a matter of finding things

2
0

What should replace Linpack for ranking supercomputers?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Boffin

An overhaul/replacement of LinPack is long overdue

Even the conjugate gradient benchmark, while very useful, does not say it all. Conjugate gradient problems are present in many optimization methods, but not in combinatorial optimization. Maybe an additional benchmark is needed for that. Some image and signal processing problems are not easily cast into an optimization framework at all, for these we would love to have a better benchmark.

0
0

El Reg rocket squad poised to select Ultimate Cuppa teabag

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Twinings "Prince of Wales"

If I have to use tea bags I go for this one, because the Keemun black tea it contains does not turn bitter when you forget to remove it from the mug.

I tend not to use milk, ever since my student days, when the question "how many lumps" could accurately be used for the amount of milk, from time to time.

1
0

I, for one, welcome our GIANT TITANIUM INSECT OVERLORDS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

@Theodore

Cheers, mate!

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

I do wonder what Steve Irwin would have said

<Aussie accent>

"Look at the size of these little buggers!

Isn't it AMAZIN' !"!

</Aussie accent>

Or Les Hiddins, the bush tucker man:

<Aussie accent>

"These bugs mighn't look very appetizin', but they're full of minerals, particularly titanium"

</Aussie accent>

10
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Do they do latex yet.

I cannot yet print my LaTeX in 3D, but perhaps somebody is writing some useful class files, style files and drivers

5
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Splat!

Tungsten boots? Do you have an infestation of Feegles?

13
0

Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Ah those were the days..

DIBOL, short for DIABOLIC ?

2
0

Boffins build headless robo-kitties

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Obstacles

Much as I like cats, you really do not want a robot to be cat-like. Consider the difference with dogs when you throw a stick. The dog runs after it and collects it. The cat looks at you as if to say: "Hey, you threw it, you go get it." I consider this a clear indication of the more advanced intelligence of cats, as compared to dogs.

A simple rule of thumb is:

A dog has a master

A cat has house-mates

A Siamese cat has grooming staff

1
0

New material enables 1,000-meter super-skyscrapers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Any rope is the problem

Enter the Heisenberg/Schrödinger elevator. It tunnels to the correct destination, and allows an arbitrary (but uncertain) number of elevators per shaft. Add defocused temporal perception and they will be there before you know you want them.

The only downside is their tendency to sulk in basements.

29
0

SCO vs. IBM battle resumes over ownership of Unix

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Hurrumph

And there I was thinking that producing better, more competitive products was what capitalism was about!

Deary me, how naive of me.

3
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: SCO ... do us all a favour . . .

Is their legal team run by Mr Slant?

Alternatively, SCO might really be a vampire outfit. Somebody spilled blood in the wrong place.

5
0

Google launches broadband balloons, radio astronomy frets

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Project Loony?

Sorry, too obvious, really

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Hang on

SKA does not really work with steerable dishes, it uses synthetic aperture based on many small antennae. By combining the signals from many sources with the right delays, you can form a vast number of beam shapes with a vast number of different side-lobes. This in principle allows you to let a telescope be blind in the direction of fixed radio sources. If you know terrestrial sources are a problem, you can in theory create a null-sensitivity for things on the horizon, or (more easily) in the specific direction of a particular source.

Source above the antennae which drift around and are difficult to predict are a pain, and a cause of many ruined pieces of data.

3
0

When to say those three little words: 'I am quitting'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Caveat Emptor

Well measured response. but I would like to add one more tiem:

8. Beware of injelititis: managers who have a combination of a large degree of incompetence and a similarly large degree of jealousy, a combination known as injelitance. Injelitant people in managerial roles cause a disease called injelitis. These people actually prefer to have a third-rate team, because they know deep down in their hearts they themselves are second-rate at best. Do not think you can single-handedly change the course of such a department (key words to watch: "Yes, mr. X is brilliant, but mr. Y is more sound"). Abandon such departments at warp speed.

See: C. Northcote Parkinson: Parkinson's Law, or the Pursuit of Progress.

7
0

Who's to be the next Dr Who? Sherlock beats Maurice - says you

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Robbie Coltrane

Or Billy Conolly would get my vote

and of course the inimitable Tom Baker.

0
0

How NSA spooks spaffed my DAD'S DATA ALL OVER THE WEB

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: aggravated copyright violation

But probably, like bankers, they are considered too important to jail by the DoJ!

2
0

Pre-election phishing spike blasts Iranian Gmail accounts

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

And of course Iran can now gleefully point a finger (rightly or wrongly) at the US if the US makes a fuss of these activities on human rights grounds.

People in glass houses

Sad world indeed

0
0

Scientists investigate 'dark lightning' threat to aircraft passengers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Enter Otto von Chriek:

Finally!!!! Ve vill haf proof of ze existence off ze DARK LIGHT!!!! Efen in ze roundworld!

2
0

Ex-Palm CEO Rubinstein wishes HP sale never happened

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: HP BC

Perhaps, but I doubt she would be significantly worse than many currently in the senate.

2
0

New Android plan: Gurn at your phone to unlock it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: And again: Biometry is not suitable for Authorization

You can have multiple faces if you are a master of disguise, just like inspector Clouseau

2
0

Headbangers have a gas, gas, gas in mosh pits

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Boffin

No, just thermodynamics

The classic random walk is exemplified by a person (typically male) who is so drunk that at each step he cannot remember which direction the last one was going.

By saturating the senses with loud noise, combined with the usual quantities of alcohol involved, I would expect that those involved in mosh pits have a similar level of randomness in their motion, especially when adding collisions with other "particles."

I will submit the paper to Annals of Improbable Research for their Scientists now know corner.

1
0

The Reg's best-looking reader reveals list of jobs for the beautiful

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Weren't www.beautifulpeople.com previously listed as www.narcissism.com ?

3
0

Leaked Obama brief reveals US cyber defense, offense policy

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Having plans in place is not a problem

Running around like a headless chicken when the proverbial shit hits the fan is. So yes, it makes sense to have plans in case war breaks out.

Thus, I do not find it at all surprising that there are plans in place for both defensive and offensive action. What is a problem is their constant data gathering on everything. Adding more data to a pool indiscriminately is like wall-of-death fishing: you catch and kill all sorts of stuff you did not intend to. I also do not buy the argument that they have "advanced data-mining algorithms". Data mining is a fancy word for pattern recognition in big data. To stay in the parlance of mining, let data be the ore, and information be the metal you want to extract. As the percentage of metal in the ore becomes lower, it makes less and less sense to extract the ore from the ground in the first place, unless the metal is very very precious. Even then, it is possible to be sidetracked by things that look like the metal, but aren't. Fool's gold (iron pyrite) springs to mind.

Likewise, if you gather data about everybody, looking for a minute percentage of people that actually hate the US sufficiently to do it real harm, the chances are false positive rates will skyrocket. This is a very real danger. It is much better to gather information in a far more directed manner, instead of implicitly suspecting everybody of ill will (which in itself seems to be a self-fulfilling mode of action).

As I have said over and over again: adding hay does not make finding needles easier. In mining parlance, there may be gold in them there hills, but it is better to drive a well-chosen shaft than indiscriminately removing the whole range of hills from the face of the earth, and sifting through tons of worthless rubble.

Given that the earlier leaks were about the far more dangerous data snooping, a cynic (who? me?!), might think this leak is there to distract from the more dangerous issues.

0
0