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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2568 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

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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RIP Neil Armstrong: The reluctant American hero

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

I remember well

that in the queen's birthday parade in my home town in Groningen, the Netherlands, in 1970, so many boys were dressed as astronauts. I was one of them. Nothing trumped astronaut for cool as a kid. I am glad my kids got a glimmer of that excitement as they followed the exploits of Andre Kuipers in the ISS. They are now also considering astronaut as a career.

May there forever be nerdy engineers to follow in those famous footsteps on the moon, and beyond. Let's raise a glass to that.

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Huawei, ZTE hit with ITC patent probe

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Patriot Scientific Corporation?

How can the US government fail to heed their "throaty call"? That would be unpatriotic, wouldn't it?

Their case may well have merit, but it does seem their name is chosen with future litigation in mind, especially against foreign firms, rather than with any "patriot science" (whatever that may be) being carried out.

Me cynical?

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Neil Armstrong dies aged 82

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: He would

I have never had the privilege to meet the man, but aged seven I did successfully nag my parents to let me see the fuzzy image of Neil Armstrong stepping off that ladder. It was one of the things that set me off in a career of science (first astronomy, now computer science). I have seen many interviews with the man, and always appreciated his modesty. I will not miss Neil Armstrong at a personal level, because we never met. The personal loss is that of his family and friends. However, at this point it is fitting to express what a role model he was, both professionally, and as a human being. As his family stated to the press:

"The next time you look up and see the Moon smiling down at you,give it a wink and think of Neil".

That is the best monument to a modest, but great man.

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Police mistake reveals plan for Assange's Embassy capture

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Big Brother

SS20?

Is it just me, or is than not the most sensible way to codename a police unit?

I trust it does not stand for Schutz-Staffel 20, but it is a codename like that is bound to cause comment, post WW-II, and certainly in these times when people accuse the government of setting up a police state.

Just my 2p

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Boffins confirm sunspot-weather link

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Correlation and Causation?

Yes there are: low sunspot activity means a weaker solar magnetic field, which leads to more cosmic rays penetrating the atmosphere, which leads to more ionized particles, which leads to more clouds (as ionized particles are condensation kernels which seed clouds), which leads to higher reflectance of the earth, which leads to lower temperatures. Quite a series of steps, but there is supporting evidence.

Statistically there have been many studies linking the Maunder Minimum to a "little ice age". I read a paper by Danish astronomers in about 1990, showing a 98% correlation between sunspot activity and temperature on earth over a period of about 150 years. Of course, this is correlation, not causation, but it is a very strong correlation indeed. Besides, I would hesitate yo suggest that temperatures on earth cause an increase in solar activity ;-).

Assuming the changes on the sun do not affect climate in any way is saying the main energy source of all earthly weather has no effect on the weather. However, saying the sun is the only cause behind climate change, and pollution has no effect at all is over-simplification as well.

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Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Pierogi versus patatas revolconas

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Great artery-clogging food

Now for some clootie dumplings with slumpie

and extra butter of course

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Red hot chilli peppers floor Bristol shoplifter

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Flame

You can't fence that merchandise, it's too hot!

Sorry, couldn't resist. Flames, well, obvious, init?

I will stick to my home-made sambal setan (devil sauce) made from Madame Jeanette peppers, some vegetable oil, a bit of salt and vinegar, and a dash of sesame oil.

Nice and fruity

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Akihabara unplugged: Tokyo's electric town falls flat

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

I was in Akibahara in 2001, and it was very much geek paradise then. Did not buy any electronics, I was too busy not losing 25 science students in the maze that was then Akibahara. I did get an eyepiece for my scope at the time. I also remember the "German Beer Cellar" they had in Ginza street, with waitresses in German dirndl dress. Weird (but they had good beer).

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Investor pulls out of Facebook, pumps cash into pork-printing joint

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Someone print me a burger

Cannot be worse than the alleged burgers sold in some dives

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LOHAN sets clock ticking for explosive climax

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Cool, very cool indeed

Best of luck with the tests

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REVEALED: Everything Everywhere new 4G logo ... a SNAIL?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Could be an ammonite

And they are extinct. Not just six foot under and pushing up the daisies, but many, many strata below.

Makes as much sense as the other explanations

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Curiosity spins its wheels and shoots up the Martian landscape

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Re: African or a European Brontosaurus?

And do they migrate?

Mine is the one with the Holy Grail DVD in the pocket

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Interesting spectrographic output...

Calcium is a relatively common element in space (as are most even elements before iron).

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Ubisoft: 'Vast majority of PC gamers are PIRATES'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pirate

I am surprised that nobody ...

used the pirate icon for comments yet.

International Talk Like A Pirate Day is just weeks away!

ARRH!!

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UK.gov's minimum booze price dream demolished

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: I'll drink to that!

wah whash that??

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Curiosity preps for first Martian road trip

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Neat!!

Love this kind of science, even if I first misread the "Russian instrument looking for water" as "Russian instrument looking for wodka"

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NASA gets funding for Mars InSight mission in 2016

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Hmm, seismic stuff

Tremble, ye Martians

Sorry, couldn't resist

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Work for the military? Don't be evil, says ethicist

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Igor! Pull the lever ...

Yeth, Marthter!!!!!

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Sally Ride, trailblazing Shuttle astronaut, dies at 61

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Sad news

I was very sorry to hear this news. She was an inspiration for many women to join in in the fun that is science and technology.

I will raise a glass to her memory this evening

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Hubble spots ancient spiral galaxy that SHOULD NOT EXIST

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Looks more like a Celtic Triskelon. No wories

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Hmmm...

You are right about Northern Siberia: nothing to see except blizzards

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Pyrotechnic boffin poised to light LOHAN's fire

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Re: "The solution? A more potent igniter"

and if it breaks, it needed replacement anyway

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"The solution? A more potent igniter"

True to the spirit of Real Engineering:

- if it doesn't fit, force it

- If it can't be forced, use a bigger hammer

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McDonalds staff 'rough up' prof with home-made techno-spectacles

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Kids

"Actually yes, but thats besides the point. No reason kids can't eat French cuisine. I'm fairly sure French kids do. I'd take steak tartare over a mc horse scrotum burger. I'm no fan of frogs legs, but escargot is awesome."

Agreed, my kids (8 and 10) love to try exotic stuff like snails, or eyes and brains of fish (they learnt that from a Croatian friend (I passed on those myself)). It gets them huge bragging rights at school.

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Nasa guides Mars Rover with Kinect

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

But do they add an 8 to 40 minute comms delay

depending on the relative positions of Earth and Mars?

Just to add realism?

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Study: Users prefer Google+ over Facebook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

They didn't even include Stargazer's Lounge and CloudyNights in the survey

I'm miffed

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Finally some QUALITY apps for Android: PalmOS emulator ported

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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$49.95?

I beg your pardon? I can get a two new batteries for my old Tungsten T3 for that?

Pity really, I loved the Astromist application for Palm

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iPhone 5 to be skinniest Apple yet SHOCK

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Hmm, 7.9 instead of 9.3 mm

And suddenly a whole new target demography fits through the doors of our stores!

Those 1.4 mm really count!

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Behold: First look at Office 2013, with screenshots

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

I have recently had to edit some docx forms in both LibreOffice and OpenOffice. It almost made me scream! Actually, the almost in that sentence is wrong. Things kept changing position in unpredictable ways, bits of text in tables became invisible. I have had similar hassles with MS-Office for that matter. Exporting stuff to PDF is colourful as well (words stuck together, layout shot to pieces).

Ultimately I just hacked together a LaTeX style file to generate the same forms (as they wanted PDF sent in). End of (my) problem.

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US, Iraqi lawn chair balloonists blown out of sky

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: "The landing was very intense."

Best ever euphemism for a crash, I would say.

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Patent scrap loser RIM ordered to cough up $147m

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Patent Nationalism?

Not just recently: try looking at the Philips Philishave patent spat with (IFAIK) Remmington.

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Fukushima powerplant owner forced to cough teleconference vids

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

They should have claimed it was radiation damage

More plausible, but might be considered shooting yourself in the foot

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Prince Charles whips out jumbo red ball for Blighty's code-breakers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

In congratulation I would like to say

JFADF IUKHK JUYKL HLKHH DBXUW NWXPG HJDSG UYQWJ BXXXM

ZOPQW KSXWQ SLWHF AAGHF THEOPS GHFML QWEBN IITHQ

The people who need to know will get it

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Native Americans arrived to find natives already there, fossil poo shows

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Hooray! New Textbooks on the Way!

"Clovis? It's just the name of a Town in Southern New Mexico again, where some people passing through dropped some arrow heads and forgot to pick them up."

And they weren't even fined for littering!

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Christians get God-optimized 'Edifi' Android fondleslab

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Holiest tablet since Moses was gifted by a burning bush

That made my Friday! Need to clean the keyboard now

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