* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2610 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

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
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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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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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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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Hams: We're good in a disaster – UK Radio Society boss

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

All ur comms are belong to us!

sorry, couldn't resist

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'Extreme' solar storm speeding straight towards Earth

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Unhappy

Aurora alerts always coincide with heavy clouds

Sadly.

I would have liked to have seen some of the fireworks on the sun in my little H-alpha scope when the flare went off, but alas, cloudy again.

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UK.gov's cost-cutting 'shared services' went £500m OVER BUDGET

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Ministry of Administrative Affairs, anyone

"Yes, Minister" was so right at so many levels

Sad really

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Fusion-io server strokers show off 2.6TB RAM extension

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting

Might get a student to try something like that with the 320GB Fusio-IO cards in two of our compute servers.

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Watch out, Apple: HTC ruling could hurt your patent income

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Hear, hear!

A rare voice of sanity in that judgement: patenting should not be about the bleedin' obvious to a skilled team of designer or engineers.

I am not an Apple user (at the moment, their current hires display MacBook pro is tempting!), but I am quite happy to admit that Apple has done genuinely innovative stuff. However, this "invention" was a case of scraping the barrel. I feel it should. There are plenty of other players in the market scrapping the barrel in the same way. I do hope (vainly, no doubt) that this trends is brought to a halt.

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Is the Higgs boson an imposter?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Observer effect?

Precisely. Whenever we find out what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable.

Evidently, this has already happened

Mine is the one with cassettes of the original radio plays in the pocket. Douglas Adams, we miss you

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KIT drives off with memory win: 1-bit-per-MOLECULE storage

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Memristive spintronic memory?

Brilliant! The BOFH gets more ammo to apply Management Stack Theory

And of course spell checkers go bananas!

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Olympus MEG4.0 smart glasses will photoshop the REAL WORLD

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: view the real world with a brighter, friendlier glow.

Mo reimportantly, are they peril sensitive? will they black out the moment you might see something that could disturb you?

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