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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2356 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

GE puts new Nvidia tech through its paces, ponders HPC future

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Cool, seriously cool!

We live in such exciting times. I several algorithms which could benefit from much faster global access (and just more processing grunt, but that goes without saying). I do worry how to harness the power embedded in your typical GPU architecture. They do not seem to like data-driven processing order much. Scientifically, that is a challenge of course, not a problem.

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Help save the endangered QUANTUM OWL, pleads Reg man

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I will join

Even if, living in the Netherlands, I might not reap the full benefits. This is an important institution which is very worthy of my support

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Oi, Microsoft, where's my effin' toolbar gone?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

You are all misunderstanding it. It a very cunning advert for LaTeX. If you adjust your monitor settings properly, the message "LaTeX RULES!!" can be made out in the background.

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LOHAN fans drawn to magnetic coupling

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: How about a "BIGGER HAMMER" variant of flaming

Good point. Maybe coat it with potassium perchlorate, for that extra oomph.

I just love things that go BANG

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Flame

How about a "BIGGER HAMMER" variant of flaming

Use a strip of magnesium as a conductor. In the path of the rocket exhaust it should burn up readily (brightly).

There might be a delay, but it does not rely on melting

And then I just love the extra fireworks display

Icon, because, ..... well guess

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Experts finger disk-wiping badness used in S Korea megahack

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Long, Dark Teatime of the Seoul

It could be the South Koreans doing it to fellow South Koreans they happen to dislike, and give them a excuse to attack North Korea with similar means. This suggests they are in the third stage of warfare according to Douglas Adams:

1. Retribution: I am going to kill you because you killed my brother

2. Anticipation: I am going to kill you because I killed your brother

3. Diplomacy: I am going to kill my brother and then kill you on the pretext that your brother did it.

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Space probe spies MYSTERY 'Cold Spot' in very fabric of cosmos itself

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: The cold spots...

Could be worse, it could be the Azgoths of Kria

"Ode to a small lump of green putty I found under my left armpit one midsummer morning" anyone?

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Voyager goes off a (helio) cliff

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Going places

I remember seeing the Voyager launches on the news. I followed all the planetary fly-bys. That thing is really going places. Almost makes me feel lonesome (and certainly small)

A toast to all engineers and scientists involved!

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Brit web biz waves white flag in Python trademark bout

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Originally they wanted to call the service "Monty" ...

I'll get me coat

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Refusal to swallow scuppers woman's tadpole-smuggling plan

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

She should have brought dried frog pills instead

so she could hallucinate she was sane.

but then she would probably be able fly without needing a plane

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LOHAN slips into tight rubber outfit

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I am surprised

nobody has suggested duck tape yet

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Software bug halts Curiosity: Nuke lab bot in safe mode

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

How does it report bugs:

Houston, we have a problem

surely?

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Holly(oaks) talking head is FUTURE of face messaging, claims prof

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: It is, ... absolutely awful

"On BBC News this morning they showed "her" in angry mode shouting "You're late! Where on earth are you?" in a way that I found really quite unnerving. I suspect anyone feeling a little harassed would not want one of these."

And anyway, isn't shouting at you that way the privilege the missus?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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It is, ... absolutely awful

I do wonder if it would not be simpler to, you know, insert a camera into the phone, and, like, image or film the actual expression of the sender rather than simulate it, but perhaps that technology must first be developed

Can the software please add a sarcastic expression to the above statement?

It is of course handy if you want to send an insincere emotion, but that would of course be unethical, so nobody would do that

^ Same emotion again, please

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Drones with freakin' CLAWS grab objects like eagles

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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That might actually make me join in

For me fishing always seemed boring, unless when using the "nutting the salmon" technique proposed by Billy Connolly (it involves a crash helmet).

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Micro-drum acts as quantum memory

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Spinning platters

There is just no way of escaping them

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Euro satellite ‘heard’ Japanese megaquake in SPACE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The speed of sound increases with the stiffness of the medium, and decreases with density. For an ideal gas stiffness depends on pressure, which depends of density and temperature. The net result is that the speed of sound increases with temperature. So low temperature leads to low speed of sound. High in the atmosphere, the temperature is low. However, at the altitude of satellites, things are probably more complicated, as ionizing radiation of the sun may heat molecules to 2,000 K or more (and ionize them, changing the properties of the dilute gas), depending on solar activity.

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Fake fingers fool Brazilian biometrics

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Some advanced reader (claim to) use IR light and the Doppler to detect moving blood under the skin. Those scanners are not fooled by these fake fingers. I gather some scanners even OKed photocopies of fingerprints

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Curiosity's MYSTERY MARS find: NASA reveals THE TRUTH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: NASA has found.....

Some sediments are actually deposited by wind. Plenty of that on Mars. Hydrocarbons would be interesting. Await yells of "There's oil in them there hills!!!", followed by a rush to get to the oil first

(and once found, wondering how on earth (Mars) they can ship it back to the nearest refinery)

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Starlight-sifting boffins can now spot ALIEN LIFE LIGHT YEARS AWAY

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Neat, but.....

I am given to wonder whether the odd results are real, or artefact of this new method. It would be really very cool if it works as flawlessly as claimed in this article. I will go and have a look at the actual paper to make up my mind.

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Jennifer Lopez gets you more Facebook friends than Iron Maiden

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Hmm.

Exactly, all stuff for the "Scientists Now Know" corner of Annals of Improbable Research, home of the Ig Nobel prizes (and the judges will be spoiled for choice (again)).

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Elon Musk's 'Grasshopper' hover rocket scores another test success

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Great stuff!

"Grasshopper" does instantly remind me of the Kung Fu series with David Carradine, however.

That says a lot about my age, I suppose

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Uni profs: Kids today could do with a bit of 'mind-crippling' COBOL

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Nope! No blood on the floor here.

I just suggested it here, and various beverages got sprayed on the floor. A few tears of laughter were added shortly afterwards.

If our students want to learn COBOL, we point them to the library where there are a few books on COBOL. When they look blank, we tell them the library is the place with all the books and stuff.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: you devil you

Rocket-Propelled Grenade?

Duck!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Proper programming language

Good points. This is one reason we went back from Java (still used by us for teaching OO) to C for our initial programming course. We find the students learn to understand what is going on better. Having to do your own malloc and free can be a pain, but learning what memory management actually is about is useful.

More importantly, I think it is important to teach the students programming rather than teaching them a programming language. The first is a way to think about solving problems, the second is a tool to achieve a result. You need to learn both of course. In terms of programming languages, the most important skill is to learn how to teach yourself a new one.

Another point is that there are two reasons to learn a new programming language:

1) because you want to work on a project written in that language

2) because you want to learn new ways of thinking about programming

If you have learnt to program in Pascal, learning C does not give you a fundamentally different way of approaching programming problems, but Haskell or Erlang will. A thoughtful discussion on this is found here.

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SOD Big Data! Most of what you're keeping is digital landfill

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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It is also about pattern recognition

Indiscriminate adding of data makes finding any information hard. There is a real risk of drowning interesting patterns in noise. Data != Information

As I like to tell students (over and over again): Adding hay does not make finding needles easier

We do do some work on really big data (vast amount of image data from astronomy and remote sensing), but that data has lots of internal structure which helps finding stuff.

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Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Like the definition of IDEs

I now understand why I avoid them for a lot of tasks

Verity is informative as aver

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

Doesn't VI stand for Venom Incarnate? I think I read that here, but these people may be biased

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Emacs: Rejected

Lisp is not a really a problem provided you have sufficient parentheses installed.

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Here's the $4.99 utility that might just have saved Windows 8

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Now with that add in W8 might be OK at home

I dread the idea of "upgrading" at home, simply because the missus will freak out with things being in different places (or simply having a different icon/colour/name). You would not believe the level of complaints I got when I installed Office 2010 at her insistence to be compatible with her work environment (Office 2007), and it was not pixel-compatible with her machine at work. Before that I drew flak about having LibreOffice to handle docx files (which always mess files up, according to her). I was somewhat amused that MS-Office 2010 made a similar pig's breakfast out of the same Office 2007 docx files from her work.

Thank God I use LaTeX!!!

<deep breath>

Sorry, end of rant, I needed to get that off my chest

With workarounds to make it look like W7 I might be spared quite some pain.

The kids will have no problems with the transition, I would guess.

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World's 'smallest' mobe unveiled in Japan

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Crivens!!!!

Nah, ya wee scunner!

It's the Nac Mac Feegle that want those!

Bigjobs!

They won't buy them of course, not if they can steal them

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Tech titans: Give it a rest with the SEP injunctions, wouldja? - economists

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

SEP = Someone Else's Problem

as is SEP-fields to render spacecraft invisible

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BRITAIN MUST DECLARE WAR on Cervinaean menace

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Tesco's burgers!!!

Mais non!

Venison steak served with a red wine and blackberry sauce is too good to miss. I cooked that while camping in the New Forest.

And I got the venison steak from the local butcher, honest!!

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Reg readers brew up the ultimate cuppa

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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As I stated before

Twinings Prince of Wales tea or the Keemun Congou I can get here in the Netherlands

Recommended infusing time:

3min - ∞

The latter occurs when I am busy coding. This tea does not turn bitter ever (does turn cold however)

Assam is a good alternative, infusing time 3-5 min

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Wannabe infosec kiddies put Enigma Bombe machine to the test

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: CWMTWRCH

Yep, Navaho "wind-talkers"

There was even a movie about that

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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CWMTWRCH

I wonder if I could confuse would be code breakers by using Welsh (encrypted that is, although places like the above look like crypto to the uninitiated eye).

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Europe tickles Microsoft with €561m fine for browser choice gaffe

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Fine, but......

Quite a bit of research around here gets funded by Europe.

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First C compiler pops up on Github

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Neat!!

I will post a link for our students in the history of computing section of our Orientation in Computer Science course.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Ironic? No

Convoluted? Let's compile a ZX-Spectrum emulator using this old C-compiler to use the PDP emulator, running a ZX Spectrum emulator, running a basic interpreter to run a computer game.

That's convoluted

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Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: "blood flowing through"

If the hand is severed two changes occur either of which might be detected: (i) the blood stops flowing, leading to a change in the Doppler signal (can be integrated into fingerprint scanners as well), and (ii) the blood in the arteries also becomes deoxygenated, leading to those showing up as well. I do not know which is used.

I suddenly have this mental image of the device shouting MURDERER at 100dB when it detects a severed hand of a client. Could be a neat addition.

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No.10 guru: UK tech scene is AN EXPLODING CHEESE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Sounds like Corsican cheese

It blew up a ship in Asterix on Corsica.

Reported to be rather "pungent" as well

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Gnome cofounder: Desktop Linux is a CHERNOBYL of FAIL

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Only windows lets you upgrade...

OpenSUSE upgraded seamlessly from 10.X to 11.X to 12.X for me. It work fine even to the point that between 10.X and 11.X the system partition was upped from ext3 to ext4, but it left the user partition untouched.

I work with a Debian-based distro at work. As long as my compiler/matlab/LaTeX work (oh, and a browser) I am happy with essentially any OS. Multi-media (sound in particular) can be a pain now and then under Linux. On the other hand, I like it when my computer SHUTS UP.

I have used OS-X when visiting other institutes and had no problems with it. The only problem for me is that the current crop of MacBooks in the size I want don't have nVidia graphics (me use CUDA).

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US lawmaker blames bicycle breath for global warming gas

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Facepalm...

I would tax the politicians first, they seem to be producing far more hot air than anybody else, and heating that air must be fuelled by burning carbon-based stuff, so they are producing excess CO2.

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Incoming comet will probably miss Mars, says NASA

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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As the late sir Patrick said

<morose voice>

Whenever there is a comet all the crackpots come out of the woodwork

</morose voice>

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Banged-up Brit hacker hacks into his OWN PRISON'S 'MAINFRAME'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Prison Mainframe?

Wasn't COBOL (Capitalization Of Boilerplate Oriented Language) classified as cruel and unusual punishment under the Geneva Convention (or the declaration of human rights, I forget which one)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: I am conflicted...

"What sort of IT qualifications can you get at her majestys? ..."

MCSE?

(Master Criminal Solutions Expert)

runs for cover

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Belgian boffins find colossal meteorite

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: no touching?

That is a typical MS fanboy dig at linux! Typical Steve Balmer FUD, and totally unfounded too!!!!!!!!!

I, I, I,....

...

Oh wait, you are talking real penguins. Please excuse me; do carry on.

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Seagate takes 7.2k notebook drives out back - and shoots them

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Momentus decision

Sorry, couldn't resist

Mine is the one with the dictionary of bad punnery in the pocket

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New Japanese craze: Knickers for iPhones' nether regions

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"Protect your home button"

I read that as "protect your home bottom" in this context

Am I the only one?

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SpaceX rocket reaches orbit but Dragon fails to spit fire

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: It's the Vogons!

Don't forget a packet of peanuts!

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