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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2553 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Microsoft bod dreams up 'Star Trek holodeck' games console

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

The description of a device or method is enough for a patent

The US government patented ships with nuclear propulsion before they got it working. The description as to contain enough technical detail to show it is inventive.

Countless patents have been awarded on perpetual motion devices (now no longer allowed), and there are patents for algorithms that compress any bit string (including its own output) by at least one bit without loss of information. This is clearly impossible, but it has been patented.

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Opportunity finds new patch of 'berries' on Mars

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: It depends on whether you can get it to stay onna stick.

Jam will stay "inna bun"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Get your Martian Blueberry Jam right here!!!!

Lovely! Rich in iron!

C.M.O.T. Dibbler would try that.

These old rovers (hopefully) never cease to amaze. I once pointed out Mars to my kids, and added: there are two robot cars driving about on that planet. Now they want to be space scientists

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I spy: Drug drops and foxy couples

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Of course

Real men carry binoculars like these

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Reg hack uncovers perfect antidote to internet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: BTW, what is a diving rod?

Oh really?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

BTW, what is a diving rod?

I cannot find any in the nearest scuba shop.

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HTML5 isn't Facebook's 'biggest mistake'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: HTML5 is actually a mistake

MInE is tHe oNE WitH The booK ON ProPeR raNDom CApITALiZatiOn

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BT gets postcode knickers in twist, plants Shoreditch on Mount Everest

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

This was brought to you by

The expedition to scale both peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46btEgKmCTo

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One more try: Metro apps are now 'Windows Store' apps

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Ikea catalog[ue]

"HAHAHAHA!"

No that is a lamp, not a chair

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Ikea catalog[ue]

Alternatively as

Bålmer Prøjektil

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Humanity facing GLOBAL BACON SHORTAGE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Doooooomed!

As you were, private Fraser!

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Hate the Windows 8 touch UI? Try Kinect-like finger shaking instead

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

I have given various programs two-fingered salutes

Not that they respond

But then I usually give the salute when the %$#@ software is not responding to keyboard and mouse either.

I also think that gesture-controlled, just like voice-controlled software, is a really good idea for open-plan offices. Methinks the BOFH would have a field day.

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New guide: Bake your own Raspberry Pi Lego-crust cluster

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Lovely idea!

I think I will show this to my students when next I lecture on parallel computing

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The iPHONE 5 UNDERMINES western DEMOCRACY: 5 reasons why

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

People doing irrational things with money?

Shocking

Makes you wonder what fashion is all about

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Sony focuses on full-frame snappers with tasty tech

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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SLT?

Does this not mean that the amounts of light reaching both the viewfinder and the sensor is cut roughly in half? In dim light, this would be a drawback. Though we do not need a bright viewfinder to focus any more, framing an image nicely in dim light might be a problem. Less light hitting the sensor lower the signal-to-noise ratio.

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Facebook wunderkind admits share price Zuck-up on stage

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: "Facebook's troubled float onto Nasdaq was "not the first up and down that we ever had"."

Facebook floated? I thought it sank?

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Dreaded redback spider's NEMESIS: Forgotten Captain Cook wasps

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: The list of non-dangerous creatures in Oz:

"X X X X

Good on yer, Mate!"

Thanks!

But unfortunately, my name is Michael, not Bruce

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

The list of non-dangerous creatures in Oz:

Some of the sheep

Or maybe that was another place which just happened to be very, um, Australian?

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LOHAN straps on satellite comms capability

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Cheers to them!

Anyone who contributes to LOHAN deserves a pint!

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Dutch unleash intelligent robot bins: No ID, no rubbish

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

May I welcome

our intelligent rubbish-bin overlords?

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Swedish cops contain fermented herring menace

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Sounds even worse than durian fruit

Eating durian fruit has been described as being like eating the food of the gods with your head over an open sewer.

Normally I am quite happy to try local dishes, but some local dishes are local for a very simple reason: nobody else in their right mind would consider eating it. Alternatively, the locals are masochists on a diet (to quote Arthur Dent speaking to a nutrimatic machine). I think I will give this Swedish "delicacy" a pass.

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Airbus predicts catapult takeoffs and formation flying by 2050

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Catapults

Darn, my kids would have loved a high G catapult take-off, judging by the sizes of their respective grins the first time they took of in an airliner (cries of "COOL!!!" clearly communicated to other passengers it was their first time). A really high G take off would have had them hooked.

A low-G catapult would leave them very disappointed.

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Judge: Apple not liable for dropped, broken iPhone screens

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Should that not be iDiot

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I'll get me coat

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Edgy penguins test-fly Ubuntu's Quantal Quetzal

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Linux

Re: am I a luddite ?

I think it is quite an irony that Unity is so divisive. Clearly people either like it or hate it.

I have never used it (we use KDE at work, and therefore I use it at home just to have the same environment), so have no opinion on its merits (or lack thereof).

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Climate denier bloggers sniff out new conspiracy

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

Must resist, must resist!..... Cannot resist

Just because you are paranoid, does not mean they are not out to get you

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DARPA builds faster-than-Usain-Bolt Cheetah robot

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Run, Run AWAY! Really fast, OR

Just run fast enough to exhaust the thing's battery, or invest heavily in tripwires

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ENCODE’s ‘junk DNA’ claims spark biological bunfight

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: As one DNA strand...

Nice one, wanted to get a new keyboard anyway

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IBM's z12 mainframe engine makes each clock count

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

I have to wonder

Could you fry an egg on those chips? I like mine with crispy bacon (and "sunny side up", as they say in the US).

Oh bloody hell, I am hungry now.

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NASA captures mind-bogglingly gorgeous solar video

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Re: Awesome

Really awesome images and video. There was a load of activity on September 1 and 2, as seen through my little H-alpha scope (our first-year students had a look and were very impressed). It is of course typical that the best fireworks took place when it was clouded over over here.

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Torvalds bellows: 'The GNOME PEOPLE are in TOTAL DENIAL'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Blame

I do not see it as a problem that Linux has made it to roughly 1% of the desktop. One percent of all desktops is still a huge number of machines, and apparently many people are happy with it. Transit vans are are a minute proportion of all cars sold, but that does not mean the Transit van is not considered a roaring success. The same could be said about Porsches and Ferraris. Seen like this there is no need to blame anyone.

It does of course pay to see if you can do better. In my book that means: Do not break APIs! If you need to change something, do it in the form of new functionality, but do not change old system calls, unless you are absolutely certain that there is no legacy code that needs it out there (not much chance of that, is there?). That at least is what we try to teach our students.

Linux is very good at certain things, for certain people. These people are neither superior or inferior to others, they just need, or like to use a different toolbox. End of story as far as I am concerned.

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'Immortal cancer' found in Australia

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Reverse the polarity of the Neutron flow.

Beware what you wish form, you might get it.

I have this image of an ageing, degenerating brain, and a mind bereft of all joy, in a perfectly healthy body, which stubbornly refuses to die. As brain cells tend not to divide, and are typically not replenished (which may or may not be an adaptation linked to our long memory, and intellectual abilities), I doubt whether it would benefit from the same rejuvenation treatment as the rest of the body.

Scary thought that.

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Global strategic maple syrup reserves hit in Canadian mega-heist

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Burn the heretics!!

In Quebec you should not just try the beer. I have VERY fond memories of the food in Quebec City when I was there. Really, really, really very good indeed. I'll toast to the thought of returning there and having an 'Assiette du Pecheur"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Burn the heretics!!

Actually, I find that a properly made galette (buckwheat pancake, Bretonne style) with crispy fried bacon and maple syrup works very well. It is a culinary version of the Dutch "spekpannenkoek" (bacon pancake) which is usually served with treacle. Despite the reputation of Dutch "cuisine" in general, the spekpannenkoek can be really nice.

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Elon Musk says he's planning a 'supersonic, electric hover jetplane'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Love the audacity and vision of this guy. Exciting stuff combined with a good business sense.

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Now Apple wants Samsung S III, Galaxy Notes off the shelves too

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Go

Hmm, popcorn

I'll have another carton

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Bruce Willis didn't Buy Hard: His girls can't inherit his iTunes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Is that the sound....

"Besides, what child actually wants to be able to listen to their parents' music collection?"

It is all a matter of indoctrination: I've got my kids headbanging to "Smoke on the Water", so now they are looking up other Deep Purple stuff on the web.

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Patent flame storm: Reg hack biteback in reader-pack sack attack

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

I agree very much (as I did in my post to the previous article) that the patent system needs repair, and the key is proper examination of patents. I know a patent (US patent 5,533,051, an analysis is given here) was awarded for a means and method to compress any string of bits without loss of information (even it's own output). Anyone with half a brain can see that this is (ahem) patently false, as repeated application of the method to any finite bit string would result in a zero bit string, which mysteriously should still contain all the information of the original. I remember commenting at the time that the process might be correct for certain types of music, because they contain no discernible information anyway (the precise type of music for which this holds may differ between people).

Had this patent been examined properly, it would never have been awarded. The same holds for quite a few others (though fortunately very few are as stupid as the one abive). Having said that, there are plenty of inventions that thoroughly deserve protection, and the patent system, if properly implemented can provide that.

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Curiosity parks for a day, looks back in wonder

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

He could have been writing Vogon poetry in Morse code, but then maybe there is a treaty against that.

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War-Droid: Smartphone app 'that could CALL IN drone strikes'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Ultimate app for the viligante?

or for those with a "disproportionate response" sign in their front yard

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The dead reanimates as HP ships Open webOS beta

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I liked the look of WebOS when it came out (as a long time Tungsten T3 user, I liked many things Palm). I did not rush in and get a Pre or TouchPad, but I still like many of the ideas behind WebOS. I fear that this latest release may be too little, too late for WebOS however. I hope I am wrong.

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Boffins create super-muscular 'Hulk' mice: Humans next

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

But...

do they turn green when angry?

At least they do not have David Banner's clothing bill

Mine is the one with the Marvel comics in the pocket

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So, just what is the ultimate bacon sarnie?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: A prize for the best should be called:

Bit of a mouthful I will admit, but then so is a good bacon sarnie!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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A prize for the best should be called:

The Sir Samuel Vimes, Commander of the City Watch, Duke of Ankh's Annual Bacon Sarnie Award

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Facebook co-founder Moskovitz scrambles to offload his shares

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: optional & untitled

20$ for the servers? Doesn't it cost more to dump them these days?

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Robot rover Curiosity sets out on first long Mars trip

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Hmmm

If the former, does I hope it doesn't develop a pain in all the diodes down its left side.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Why so slow?

"Because the mighty nuclear power plant produces a whole 100W of power, so it isn't rushing anywhere. And the rocket blast might have uncovered something interesting."

Precisely, no need to overclock the on-board computer

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'FIRST ever' Linux, Mac OS X-only password sniffing Trojan spotted

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Simple explanation for non-windows focus:

The authors of this malware have all the complete set of passwords for windows boxes

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Mars rover will.i.am 'cast: A depressing day for space and technology

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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STEAM

I for one would much rather have the A stand for Arts rather than Accountancy.

Just my 2p

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Open source author pulls code after GPL abuse

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Free Beer License

I prefer to release under the Free Beer License, or my preferred derivative, the more lenient Free Beverage License, which allows the licensee to specify his or her preferred beverage (12 year old or older single malt will do nicely)

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Why the Apple-Samsung verdict is good for you, your kids and tech

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Patents are valuable if they protect something truly innovative. In the US, the USPTO does a particularly bad job of sifting out the duds, that is the core problem. The USPTO lets past many patently false claims, or things for which prior art clearly exists. They then assume that the patent holders will fight over it in court. In Europe, the situation is very different, and the investigation into prior art is much more thorough (as it should be). This prevents the need for fighting over the validity of the patent in court. That also means such well-researched patent offer better protection to inventors with smaller pockets to pay legal fees.

So the patent system itself is not broken in my opinion. The the current implementation is bug ridden and badly in need of updates.

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