Feeds

* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2514 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Cruelest Ending!

Cruel and unusual punishment. Love the neat and understated style

1
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Re: I beg your pardon...

No, the only two spreadsheets I maintain for personal use are one to log the deep sky objects I have seen through my scopes or binoculars, listing catalogue/number,alternative names, type, constellation, date observed etc, and one in which I list the number of species of fish and seafood my kids have eaten (79 for the youngest (10), 80 for the eldest (12)), listing English and Dutch common names and who ate them. The first helps me select new objects to tackle, the second encourages the kids to try more different kinds of food.

3
0

'Sterile neutrinos' re-ignite 'we found dark-stuff' debate

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Very interesting stuff

Direct evidence of dark matter would be great. Not quite there yet of course.

2
0

Coulson GUILTY of conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Rebekah Brooks innocent?

Much as I would like, "incompetence" is not on the statute books as a crime. The legislative bodies probably omitted it for several reasons:

1) Prisons could not handle the volume of offenders

2) Incompetence was considered a given for anybody in high office (Peter Principle and all that)

3) Sir Humphreys actually prefer incompetent ministers

I was considering a "joke" icon, but then reread the post and thought the better of it. Now I will get my coat

5
0

Glastonbury debuts festival wide Wi-Fi network - fitted to COWS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Why fibreglass cows?

Darn, fibreglass. I was hoping for a whole new meaning of "roaming internet", and "roaming (dis)charges"

0
0

Firefighters deliver trapped student from GIANT GERMAN LADYPARTS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Always practice safe sex.

I jutht thought you were couthin Igor

Yeth, marthter, I'll get my coat marthter

2
0

Titan sprouts 'Magic Island', say astroboffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Let's call it Leshp!

That immediately explains the way it appeared too, and nothing to do with Kraken (but a curious squiddy connection remains)

Mine is the one with Jingo! in the pocket

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Re: The Kraken wakes.

No, those aren't Kraken wakes, they have a distinct V shape

Sorry, couldn't resist

2
0

COSMIC BELCH from supermassive black hole stuns boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Interesting stuff, once more

Bit borderline magnitude for my scope, but I should try to hunt it down if I get a chance. As Seyfert galaxy, it should have a bright core (they are not JUST bright in X-ray and UV).

3
0

DON’T add me to your social network, I have NO IDEA who you are

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Couldn't resist adding "Improbable Research" to my list of skills. Well, I do have 3 papers in Annals of Improbable Research to my "credit"

8
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Swirling JDs??

Jack Daniels? Was there no whisky available? (sorry, couldnae resist!!)

Of course, after a couple few people appreciate the difference, but mine's a single malt whisky any time (Islay or Speyside, depending on my mood), but that may be my Scottish forebears whispering in my ears (or just random voices in my head, of course)

Fancy connecting over drinks, anyone? Loads more fun than LinkedIn

4
0

LOHAN in FIGHT to DEATH with brace of cantankerous canards

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Phew!

Which might still happen on the last leg of the descent

Mission control to LOHAN: DUCK!!

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Teflon is just wonderful stuff

I have used it so often in building telescope mounts, and it just gives a thrill to see things suddenly move smoothly, without wobble or stiction. Not surprised it got the canards sorted. Smoke from servos and sticky canards don't mix, unlike smoke from apple wood and marinated magret de canard.

\

Darn, hunrgy now

3
0

Facebook goes TITSUP across WORLD! Who will look at your cousin's baby NOW?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Who will look at your cousin's baby NOW?

Your cousin?

Sorry, couldn't resist

3
0

Elon Musk: Just watch me – I'll put HUMAN BOOTS on Mars by 2026

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

But

Has he got a white Persian cat?

Kudos to Elon, though, he has the balls, and business mind to do stuff I dreamed of as a kid watching the Apollo programme unfold. I got my kids very excited when I pointed to Mars in the sky, and told them two robot cars made on earth were trundling around there. I do hope at some point I can point there and say there are people on that red dot in the sky.

2
0

YouTube will nuke indie music videos in DAYS, says Google exec

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Sounds like

"That's a nice independent label you've got there, it would be such a shame if something happened to it"

Monopolies are OK according to the law in most places provided you do not abuse that position. I would say the indie labels have a case

11
1

Missiles-on-rooftops Brit spy Farr: UK gov can slurp your Facebook, Twitter ... What of it?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Where are the Register's servers located?

Can GCHQ spy on Register posts? Well, I can see them, so at a wild guess, they can.

I therefore do not see any reason for them not to have a look see

Corollary: Do not mention "plans for the revolution" on the Register

Oops

10
0

Microsoft 'Catapults' geriatric Moore's Law from CERTAIN DEATH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Interesting stuff

Maybe SIMD is not the best turn of phrase. As I see it, FPGAs could work well if the processing steps are fairly predetermined. I do not see FPGAs working on the data-driven processing order required for my kind of image and volume filtering work, but then I haven't got much experience with FPGAs, so maybe I am wrong

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Here's a Lesson Learned (from SDR) for anyone going down this road...

Absolutely true. Reprogramming FPGAs is a bottleneck to many. A software platform which could ease that pain would help, but I trust that might be as difficult as compilers which "automatically" recognize how to parallellise code. I have seen examples of the latter which handled quite a few situations admirably, but feed them e.g. a queue based algorithm and they are stuck. Many challenging problem require real originality.

4
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Interesting stuff

FPGAs do offer interesting ways to extend the power of computers, especially for SIMD type situations (and there are loads of these). I will see if our library has that paper available.

I thought Moore's law was not so much an assertion as an observation. I gather he observed a trend in the data so far, and suggested the exponential growth might go on for a while yet. I do not think he envisaged it to last as long as it has.

I do tire of people who still suggest Moore's Law will come to the rescue of their pathetically slow algorithms. I always like to point out that even if Moore's Law continues unabated, the amount of data their quadratic, cubic, or even exponential complexity algorithms algorithms can handle will not grow in the same way. Instead, the amount of data will grow by the square or cube root of two for each doubling, and in the exponential case you can add one data item per doubling of speed.

The end of Moore's Law might put an end to this form of sloppy thinking

9
0

Han Solo headed for lengthy stay in bacta tank after Bay Door Control cockup

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Lego re-enactment?

No playmobil available?

0
0

BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

Nut allergy

I must use that. The rest was brilliant too

Our IT department (originally computer centre) was rebranded CIT (Communication add Information Technology). Some people bacronymed that to Communication Is Taboo.

2
0

MIGHTY SOLAR FLARES fail to DESTROY CIVILISATION. Yes!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

These weren't pointing at us

I spotted one of the two through my solar scope, and caught the aftermath of one on camera (it is the bright spot on the left on the linked image). The active region shown here has produced quite a bit of fireworks, lately.

As can clearly be seen, these were not pointing anywhere nearly in our direction (even accounting for the rotation of the sun. Even an X20+ would be highly unlikely to harm us in that case. The headline is therefore the equivalent of "Bullet aimed elsewhere fails to kill man"

0
0

'CAPTAIN CYBORG': The wild-eyed prof behind 'machines have become human' claims

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: BAFTA.

An Ig Nobel prize might be on the cards, however

2
0

DAMN you El Reg, CALL ME A BOFFIN, demands enraged boffin

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Weren't the Boffins related to the Bagginses?

Or was that the Bulgers?

Sorry, I'll get me coat

1
1
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Shock!

Boffins really, really need a sense of humour. If you cannot poke fun at life, the universe, and everything, you might end up starting to take yourself and (worse) your ideas way to seriously. You might even end up believing in them, which totally scuppers your critical attitude. A good capacity for self-deprecation or even self mockery is important in science.

This is why I like writing the odd paper for Annals of Improbable Research. Must get that paper on pasta-antipasta collision experiments finished.

12
2

Texan parks quadcopter atop Dallas Cowboys stadium

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Dallas, we have a problem

Sorry, couldn't resist

6
1

Plucky Playmonaut bails out of smoking Vulture 2

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Luckily the story is supported by evidence

otherwise it would be seen as a canard about a canard

OK, OK, I'm off!

2
0

Boffins publish SciFi story to announce exoplanet find

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

I wonder

if they will be raising a glass at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute here in Groningen.

I sure will (as if I need such an excuse)

0
0

AMD tops processor evolution with new mobile Kaveri chippery

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

hUMA is very interesting

For many problems, getting things to work efficiently on a GPU is limited by the small working memory of the stream processors, and the costs of transferring data to and from this working memory. Besides, certain tasks have parts best performed on the CPU, and other parts better suited to the GPU, be removing the need to pump data from one memory partition to another, speeds could increase dramatically.

6
0

Balls to the World Cup: Brazuca wins in the wind

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: I remember the old leather footballs

Concrete AND nails?! That's, posh, that is

We would have just LOVED to have concrete. We had a ball of depleted uranium (IF we were lucky), and died of radiation poisoning after EVERY game, and our dad would come and dance on our grave and sing "Hallelujah!"

And if you tell kids they never believe a word of what you are saying

4
0

Spammer sprung to run Russian national payment system

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Going Postal ...

springs to mind. As does "Making Money"

Although in this case one wonders if the "angel" was bought. After all, I would hesitate to equate Havelock Vetinari to Vladimir Putin. Someone might raise an eyebrow at that

6
0

How to grill an EMC division chief

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

If you grill an EMC division chief

does it smell like bacon?

Sorry, cross-talk with other thread. All that talk of bacon has made me hungry

1
0

Watch: Sun BELCHES PLASMA large enough to ENGULF 35 EARTHS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Great video at stunning resolution

The sun has been very active over the weekend too, some massive prominences visible. I imaged one which was still active this morning. Hugely fascinating object, that sun of ours

0
0

ASUS launches 5-in-1 Android Windows Phone laptop tablet (breathe)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

That device is perfect ...

to freak out my missus. While she is working in windows mode, and slips out to make a cup of coffee, slip in the phone (which is behind the screen and therefore not visible), tap the screen, and sit back to observe the ensuing panic. As my wife panics whenever a button or menu is shifted in software she demanded me to install, I cannot imagine the degree of panic caused by an "inexplicable" change in OS.

Tempting, very tempting

9
0

Readers' choice: What every small-business sysadmin needs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Like

the mention of the cattleprod

but then I love the sound of KZZZEEERT in the morning

2
0

Fat-fingered admin downs entire Joyent data center

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Fat fingers or ...

BOFH keyboard, or BOFH control centre

1
0

What can The Simpsons teach us about stats algorithms? Glad you asked...

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Or you plot the data or residuals at check out if the linear trend you are assuming is evident.

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Not just government officials, but many others in big data. Too often they assume that arbitrary aggregation will result in better statistics (e.g., because the standard error in the mean is reduced), whereas all too often piling up data from different sources in fact obscures certain effects.

Well-written article again.

3
0

Did NASA probe detect a KILLER GAMMA-RAY burst in Andromeda?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Off-axis in this context means outside the centre of the field of view of the instrument. Raw brightness data from many instruments need correction for contamination from nearby bright sources.

1
1
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: NASA have changed their mind

Pity

1
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: That could mean a VERY bright supernova in visible light

I do not doubt that (in the words of sir Patrick Moore) this will have "all the crackpots crawling out of the woodwork". A type 1a in M31 would be about magnitude 5, but that would not cause a GRB-like event. I would expect this to be brighter (although much depends on extinction by dust)

1
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

That could mean a VERY bright supernova in visible light

Naked eye most likely. I'll be getting out the bins the moment the clouds clear (not likely at the moment), but supernovae last quite a while, so we should get to see it.

2
0

Watch: Kids slam Apple as 'BORING, the whole thing is BORING'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Re: When I were a lad

LUXURY!

We would have LOVED to have a hoop, people with hoops were posh.

All WE had was a broken twig, but we were happy!

</Yorkshire accent>

27
0

Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Slood?

sorry, I'll get me coat

4
1
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Print dialogs

Or printers that do not refuse to print a black and white document just because the yellow ink has run out (again!). Funnily enough, some Linux printer drivers will allow B&W printing, whereas the windows version won't

16
0

Beautiful balloon burst caught on camera

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Wonderful footage and images

One to show my kids for sure

0
0

CERN: Build terabit networks or the Higgs gets it!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Alternatively

You need to realise that 1 PB/s is 0.02% of what is detected. 99.8 or so % is discarded on detectors "boards" already, before it hits the first cable.

Very true.

1
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Alternatively

True, as a scientist you do not like throwing away anything, but with projects like LOFAR, SKA, and the like there is little other option. One trick in the case of LHC-like is to store the detected tracks in a parametric way rather than storing every point that made up the track. That makes a big difference. Might we miss things? Certainly, can we store all the data for later reuse? Not at the moment.

You really want to be able to do both. Processing faster to get the information from the data and store every bit quickly.

1
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Alternatively

They need faster data reduction methods. We are actually working on much faster processing methods to extract the information from the raw data, so the raw data need not all be stored before processing. They do use preprocessing methods for reducing storage now, but existing methods do not scale well, so for ever faster data rates better, lower complexity algorithms are needed.

Not that I would mind kit with the specs they want. I want that too. And not to run Crysis!

1
1