* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

3186 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Map to the stars: Gaia's first data dump a piece of 3D Milky Way puzzle

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Great stuff. We might well let our students practice data mining on this set. Much nicer than giving them toy sets to play with

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Using a thing made by Microsoft, Apple or Adobe? It probably needs a patch today

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

I would expect ...

that whether any statement containing the phrase

"so updating your <insert device of choice here> will work as expected."

provides any comfort depends on you expectations.

If your device has just been bricked by a faulty update, your expectations may be lower than expected

I expect I should now get my coat. The one with "Great Expectations" in the pocket please

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Phones exploding in kids' hands, shares tanking – but it's not all good news at Samsung

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Re: Indeed

So I take it you do not drive a 1972 Pinto

Very wise

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NASA's OSIRIS-REx is off to nick some rocks from asteroid Bennu

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Whatever the final outcome, I'll raise a glass to its success (Affligem Tripel, today)

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IBM lifts lid, unleashes Linux-based x86 killer on unsuspecting world

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Very, very interesting

Memory bandwidth and latency often kill performance in many applications, particularly the bottleneck between GPU memory and main memory. This kind of boost would really help

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Lenovo's tablet with a real pen, Acer's monster laptop, Samsung Galaxy S3 watch

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: 8 kg laptop … five fans to keep it from melting.

But 8kg says it stays put. I do wonder if with some added rubber skirts, it would float across your desk like a hovercraft.

A mandatory question remains: will it play Cr...

never mind, I'll get met coat

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FBI Director wants 'adult conversation' about backdooring encryption

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Facepalm

Re: Disregard for consequences

The Farce is strong in this one.

If the FBI wants a back door, so will every other national bureau of spooks. I cannot imagine the FSB wanting to share a back door with the FBI or NSA. As the number of available back doors rises, the chances of blackhats getting in would asymptotically approach 100% rapidly. Even then criminals could roll their own encryption quite readily (one time pad anyone? I have said it before, will keep on saying it).

Of course if he is really honest (yeah right) about having an adult conversation, he should then also actually listen to what experts have to say. I am not holding my breath

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Blink and you missed it: Asteroid came within 90,000 km, only one sky-watcher saw it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Distance fropm the sun

Yes, absolutely

but then what are three zeroes between friends ;-)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Facebook announcement?

I trust they informed the IAU's CBAT or MPC NEO pages as well. That is the standard procedure.

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SETI Institute damps down 'wow!' signal report from Russia

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Vogon constructor fleet?

Sorry, I'll get me coat. The one with the HHGTTG radio play on cassette tapes in the pocket, please

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Phoney bling ring pinged by Tolkien's kin

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Shouldn't these rings come with a health warning?

Warning: Do not use ring in traffic, invisibility increases the risk of collisions with cars

Warning: Prolonged use may cause user to fade

Warning: May attract Nazgul

Warning: Casting ring into Crack of Doom may cause volcanic eruptions, and damage to property

Sorry, couldn't resist. Mine is the one with the trilogy in the pocket

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New booze guidelines: We'd rather you didn't enjoy yourselves

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: No such thing as zero alcohol

Bread actually also contains alcohol. Not much, but more than various "zero-alcohol lagers" (the Bavaria breweries (in the Netherlands) actually make a pretty decent one).

I do not mind the government giving out this kind of advice. I will take it in, consider it, and decide for myself what to do with the guideline.

In thins case, I think I will have a wee dram this evening. I think it will be a Talisker Port Ruighe, just to treat myself, and celebrate life.

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Sysadmin sticks finger in pipe, saves data centre from flood

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Speaking of boarding up things.

We are now well into the fourth day of a heatwave (30+ Celsius), with girls sitting in the sweltering sunshine outside of an air-conditioned cafetaria, wearing thick black jeans and woollen jumpers complaining it is too hot. It seems some people decide what to wear by looking at their wardrobe (and various fashion magazines), and then expect the weather to accommodation their whims. Worse, some think I am weird coming to work in t-shirt, shorts and sandals (and, yes, I am weird in wearing just a t-shirt and jeans in midwinter, but you will never hear me complain about the cold) .

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'Second Earth' exoplanet found right under our noses – just four light years away

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

That's impossible

Or rather, very, very improbable

My bet is on the robot being depressed

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Voyager 2's closest Saturn swoop was 35 years ago today

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Wonderful achievement

I remember the excitement well. I followed all the Mariner, Pioneer, Viking, and Voyager programmes avidly, mainly in the National Geographic magazine. Really inspiring. The images sent back by these probes were so stunningly detailed.

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False Northern Lights alert issued to entire UK because of a lawnmower

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I thought the alert was odd, as I have been watching the sun closely, and had seen little activity to suggest a coronal mass ejection of any size. In fact, many solar observers had been bemoaning the lack of activity (although a few spots have bubbled up in the last few days). I am surprised, however, that a single station reporting weird values isn't trapped automatically. It would seem easy to detect this as an outlier and ignore it (or flag it to let somebody inspect it before issuing an alert.

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NASA tried turning lost spacecraft STEREO-B off and on again... but it didn't work. True story

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

You have to admire the tenacity with which the NASA engineers continue to create work arounds for problems with spacecraft.

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Radio astronomy pioneer dies at 92

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Sorry to hear of his death, but he has had a very good innings. I will raise a glass this evening

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Beauty site lets anyone read customers' personal information

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Facepalm

Mind-bogglingly stupid

Not only do they have this "feature", they then tweet about it so everyone knows they have this security leak you could drive a herd of overweight mastodons through. If their users really prefer this feature over security, they apparently have room-temperature IQ (centigrade scale, that is)

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My headset is reading my mind and talking behind my back

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Besides, wearables are harmless, right?

I think the term "mostly harmless" should be used

Doffs hat (Panama today, it is sunny!!) to the late, great Douglas Adams

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The calm before the storm: AMD's Zen bears down on Intel CPUs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Interesting development

But it is not in the nature of Zen to get excited by the hype around a chip, is it, Grasshopper?

Sorry, couldn't resist. Now where is that motorcycle manual?

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UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: A legal work around?

I have said it before, and will say it again, but politicians never listen: One-time pads are fundamentally unbreakable, and really not hard to make. The argument that CSPs are making a "safe haven for terrorists" is flawed, because it is rather easy to roll your own

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By Juno! NASA delivers first new snaps from Jupiter

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Underwhelmed?

@Wilkinson

Your pictures are obviously a hoax. There are no stars in the background. Clearly you made that in your garage to fool the world.

Joking aside, that is a kick ass photo!

Darn, you guessed it. I also did the lunar landings in the same garage (when I was 7)

Where has that tinfoil hat of mine gone

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Underwhelmed?

Yes, I did shoot that myself. My 20 year old scope still delivers the goods. Cheers

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Underwhelmed?

Depends on the scope. My 8" shows more.

Still, very good to see things working well, and really looking forward to the August results

Great work from NASA

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Pokemon Go oh no no no, we're not reading your email, says gamemaker

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

The only version of Pokemon I would be interested in

is Pokemon Go AWAY

But then I am the kind of old-fashioned person who uses his computer to, well, compute things.

Weird, I know, but there it is

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Linus Torvalds in sweary rant about punctuation in kernel comments

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

I tend to see a lot of "scientific" code, and I am typically too far over the moon if there are comments in there AT ALL that I am quite tolerant about the format, especially if the comments actually make sense.

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Drowning Dalek commands Siri in voice-rec hack attack

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Drowning Dalek?

Apparently I can also understand drowning Dalek. Odd that. I never felt like exterminating the doctor. I was always quite fond of him (certainly as played by Tom Baker, the only version I remember seeing on Dutch TV).

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You can’t sit there, my IoT desk tells me

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

There may be worse to come: IoT desks with the GPP feature!

To paraphrase Marvin: "Here's another of those self-satisfied desks. I can tell it is going to want me to stand up shortly by the intolerable air of smugness it suddenly generates."

Doffs hat (roo leather Barmah today, it's pissing down again) to the late, great Douglas Adams

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Behold the ROBOT RECTUM... medics' relief

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

So is this a true SmartArse (tm)?

This must be a candidate for the Ig Nobel prize in medicine. After all, it is certainly research to first make you laugh, and then make you think. Good work!

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Space prang of cosmic proportions blamed for giving Mars its moons

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Interesting stuff. Speculative on the one hand, but if they make first testable predictions we can certainly make progress. It would be absolutely great if JAXA pulled this mission off.

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ZTE Axon 7: A surprise flagship contender

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Re: Optional

Handy link, thanks

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Down to Earth: NASA's kilo-kitty balloon lands after 46 days

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: balloon develops fear of heights

Or it got cold feet?

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Mozilla emits nightly builds of heir-to-Firefox browser engine Servo

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Rust vs Shooting yourself in the foot?

They need to add a line for Rust here.

Maybe just copy the one from Pascal:

The compiler won't let you shoot yourself in the foot.

by the sound of things. I might give this language a spin at some time.

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Prominent Brit law firm instructed to block Brexit Article 50 trigger

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Bollocks

I can only assume that mr. Slant would say: "That is an interesting grey area" which is legalese for: "That will be expensive". Legalese has many phrases that boil down to that.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware goes FULL SCREEN in final push

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Advantages to Windows 10

The only reason this laptop still runs a windows version (8.1 + GWX Control Panel to keep Win 10 out) is that FireCapture (astro-imaging software) and AutoStakkert! 2.0 are windows only. The latter runs with varying degrees of success under WINE, but doing capture from planetary cameras under WINE seems risky. The Linux alternative oaCapture is not quite as mature, so I will work with windows until I find a Linux software suite that lets me mae these kinds of images

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A trip to the Twilight Zone with a support guy called Iron Maiden

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Dimensions

An orthogonal dimension?

Hmm...

Yes, that would do, the UK is at right angles to reality

Doffs hat (roo leather Barmah today, its been pissing down) to to Douglas Adams, one of the very few authors who got the mathematical meaning of beings occupying higher dimensions

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Jupiter's throwing a firework party for Juno – and Hubble's peeking in

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Fascinating stuff!

I do however note that Juno will descend into the magnetosphere of Jupiter on July 4, not into Jupiter itself. Nice to see lots of activity as it is about to arrive.

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Visiting America? US border agents want your Twitter, Facebook URLs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Would I be accused of lying if I said I didn't have any?

The onus of proof is wherever they feel like putting it.

So guess .....

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: What a load of cobblers

Simply use the "cunning plan" (doffs hat to Baldric) of opening an account with next to nothing on it.

The proposal is really, really stupid, the usual practice of adding more hay in order to find more needles, instead of getting a bigger magnet.

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Florida man sues Apple for $10bn, claims iPod, iPhone was his idea

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Newsflash: Nebuchadnezzar cliams prior art on rounded corners!!

I am really baffled why anyone would want to bang on about the rounded corners bit. Functionality and general form-factor (easily hand-held/pocketable) make sense, but the rounded corners bit is already ancient. Clay tablets could be used to record things (OK, cuneiform rather than mp3), and certainly had rounded corners. Playback is a little cumbersome, granted, but the rounded corners bit is not the bit I would personally focus on when claiming novelty.

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Those Xbox Fitness vids you 'bought'? Look up the meaning of the word 'rent'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Refund? ... as a service?

If they don't refund, disappointed customers might want to use this service

I particularly like the

/shakespeare/:name/:from

entry

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Hillary Clinton: My promises to America's tech industry

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Pfffttt!!!!!

I always prefer a trebuchet, for that extra kick.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

...or what OS the IRS should run when they try to modernize their operations.

I thought everybody knew they were upgrading to CP/M 2.0

Sorry, couldn't resist

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You know how that data breach happened? Three words: eBay, hard drives

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: Has it been six months already?

Nuke'em from space, it's the only way to be sure!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

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The best way to find oxygen on Mars? Friggin LASERS, of course

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Nice work by the Curiosity team!

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Countdown to Jupiter: Juno just seven days from orbit

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Very interesting project

Will follow this with interest, as Jupiter is receding from view in my 8" scope. No doubt a lot will be learned. A pint to all the engineers and scientists who have made this possible

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Holy Crap! Bloke finishes hand-built CPU project!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Hydraulic valves, I trust?

Not thermionic. The world needs a CPU that doesn't rely on this new fangled electricity.

Real valves? Just ask Hubert.

And Igor, of course

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Utah sheriffs blow $10,000 on smut-sniffing Labrador

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Bag of chips?

So would the dog be able to tell the difference between a bag full of assorted logic chips, cpus etc, and a working USB drive?

Did they train the dog on legacy storage devices (for "vintage porn"?) such as the old 8" floppy disk still somewhere in my office (granted, not much you can store in the way of smut on 128 kB and still store CP/M 2.0 on it).

Can it detect bubble memory? Magnetic tapes? Punched cards?

Enquiring minds need to know

As an aside, my estimate is that you would need 228 metric tonnes of punched cards to store a DVD (smut-filled or otherwise) full of data, so that might be a tad inefficient.

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Happy Mappiversary, Ordnance Survey

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Re: Happy days

Great fan of OS maps too. Whenever I am on holidays in a part of Britain I haven't been before, the first course of action is to get a good set of local OS maps (Exlporer or Landranger, as a rule).Wouldn't go hiking without one

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