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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2575 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

British spooks seize tech from Snowden journo's boyfriend at airport

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: No need for a third runway at Heathrow

"And exactly how are you going to get to Schipol from Blighty?"

Easy: swim the Channel

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

But

why would I be carrying sensitive data around on my electronic devices, knowing it could be confiscated, or at least searched? I could instead store the data using one-time-pad encryption, and hide it steganographically in a bunch of files containing photographs of various tourist attractions and send it to a computer back home (stuck in the back of a disused toilet with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the leopard") using scp or the like. You could even upload them onto the very cloud services PRISM scans, because even the NSA would have trouble with a one-time pad.

Appalling treatment of the guy. It does very much sound like bullying.

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Curiosity looks up, spies Martian double-mooning

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Great stuff by Curiosity

Haven't been able to spot Phobos or Deimos myself (despite observing Mars many times). I need a bigger telescope!

(that's called aperture fever)

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T-Rex tooth find shows dino may have been a pussy

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Re: Spine?

Basic anatomy shows that the spine of a Hadrosaur runs all the way through its tail as well (in line with quite a majority of land-based vertebrates). As the article states the the tooth was lodged in the caudal section of the spine, the article is accurate

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Microsoft lathers up Windows 8.0 Surface RT for quick price shave

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: I just got two nicely working Android tablets for less than that

Yes, indeed.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I just got two nicely working Android tablets for less than that

One for the kids, one for the (alleged) grown-ups in the house ;-)

Both sport 1280x800 resolution, dual core processor with quad core graphics, so quite decent spec for (ultimately) fairly light use. OK, they have a "mere" 16GB storage (and micro-SD slot for expansion), but they run LOADS of useful apps, and I do not need MS-Office. Why should I go for WIN-RT (RT for runt of the pack?), if I can get two android tablets for less money?

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Man sues Apple for allowing him to become addicted to PORN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

But I thought

Owning a gun was legal in his neck of the wood

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Did I create an account just to call this guy a bellend of the highest order?

Rest assured, there are worse reasons for joining ;-)

Welcome aboard

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Facepalm

Somebody

Really, really, really, needs to get a life.

I thought the US ethos was all about citizens taking responsibility (not a bad thing) and small government (the jury is out on that one). This person seems to think responsibility ends when there is a rich company you might fleece. I am not a fan of Apple or its products, but in this case I have no choice but to side with Apple.

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Microsoft biz heads slash makes Ballmer look like dead STEVE JOBS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Devil

Re: In the process of this discussion

He who must not be named is back, hence the down votes

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

In the process of this discussion

some people are going to miss Eadon

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Hubble spots ALIEN NAVY world – and it's pelted with GLASS RAIN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Alternatively, it might be home

to super-intelligent shades of the colour blue

Mine is the one with the cassette tapes of the Hitchhiker's Guide in the pocket

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Giant human-powered quadricopter wins $250,000 Sikorsky Prize

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Brilliant achievement

And now, for a tilt-rotor version

;-)

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US Navy robot stealth fighter in first unmanned carrier landings

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Better landing than Topper Harley

Sorry, time for me coat

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US Congress proposal: National Park will be FOUND ON MOON

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"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.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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.

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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

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Inventor lobs spherical, throwable camera

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I think in the case of serious fast bowlers you would get some serious motion blur as well

Neat device, nonetheless

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Universities teach us a thing or two about BYOD

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

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Alternatively

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

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Star Wars missile intercept fails for fifth year running

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

The BASTARDS!!!

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

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D-Wave IS QUANTUM, insist USC scientists

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Uncertainty about quantum computing?

Well, it's quantum, innit?

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At last: EU slashes mobile roaming fees

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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

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What's the difference between GEEKS and NERDS?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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And remember

Beware of Geeks bearing gifts

Sorry, couldn't resist

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Is it just me

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

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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@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.

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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....

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

@Ugotta B. Kiddingme

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

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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.

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Korean doctors: Smartphones really ARE doing your head in

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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?

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Microsoft talks up devices, Windows 8.1 at developer shindig

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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"

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Alternatively

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

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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).

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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A Norwegian blue?

Sorry, couldn't resist

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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?

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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

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

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

Did not do much for their popularity, did it?

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Top Norks bone up on Hitler

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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".

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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

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What should replace Linpack for ranking supercomputers?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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.

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El Reg rocket squad poised to select Ultimate Cuppa teabag

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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.

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I, for one, welcome our GIANT TITANIUM INSECT OVERLORDS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

@Theodore

Cheers, mate!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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>

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Splat!

Tungsten boots? Do you have an infestation of Feegles?

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Ah those were the days..

DIBOL, short for DIABOLIC ?

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Boffins build headless robo-kitties

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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

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New material enables 1,000-meter super-skyscrapers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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.

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