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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2356 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Baffling barcode-on-steroids stickers plaster the EARTH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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A QR-code for "42"

is what would like to stick on every QR-code I find.

Mine is the one with the cassette tapes of the Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy radio plays in the pocket

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Hard-up Iceland plumps for cheaper open source

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Re: Free stuff

We use Linux (and OS-X and Windows) at our research institute. My own work is mainly on Linux systems (but I am at writing code that is cross-platform portable). I do not consider my work a hobby.

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BOFH: Dawn raid on Fort BOFH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The description of the box is spot on, as many have said.

I still have an old 8" floppy somewhere (staggering 128kB capacity). It's got (or at least had) a legit copy of CP/M 2.0 on it. I sometimes fancy lashing up an old 8" drive with a USB interface (where is that soldering iron), and see if I can "upgrade" someone to CP/M 2.0 running on some Z80 emulation software. Unfortunately, I doubt the drivers will be available.

Still, a man can dream.

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Space probe in orbit above Mercury sees signs of polar ice

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Cool!

In more ways than one.

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iPad subsidies axed for Microsoft S&M fanbois

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Even worse

For some brands of beer, that might be fine, in other cases (fill in your least favourite here) it is cruel and unusual punishment

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Man FLIES with Android-powered homemade bird wings

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Ye cannae break the laws of physics, capt'n!

As Scotty would say. He might well add:

"Powerrr, we need more powerrrr!!"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Headmaster

Re: Gullable?

page 478, Concise Oxford Dictionary, 6th Edition (and showing its age)

Gullable, I agree is not in that dictionary, though it may be in Ultra-Complete Maximegalon Dictionary of Every Language Ever"

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New supernova pops up just over there

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Spotted this on March 19!!

Quite easy through an 8" scope. My fourth supernova to date (seen, not discovered). There is another one in the constellation of Virgo, which I am still hoping to catch.

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Windows 8 tablet freezes in Microsoft keynote demo

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Don't see why the fuss

It's written in Murphy's Laws:

a) The chance of a demo crashing is an increasing function of the number of people watching

b) The chances of a demo running flawlessly is proportional to the inverse of the importance

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Giant planet pileups in far-flung star systems: Computer says yes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Interesting

I doubt this simulation will be the last word, but for now it explains the data quite well. Of course, the observational bias will also be there, but that does not mean the effects simulated do not exist. It does make the "habitable moon scenario" seen in star wars more likely. Whether they are inhabited by bear-like creature who using stone-age technology defeat an army equipped with technology as advanced as faster than light travel is another matter entirely (although the movie did show the physical disadvantages of walking tanks with a comparatively narrow spacing between the legs compared to the height of its centre of mass)

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Pope Benedict in .XXX pro-Islam cybersquat drama

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Did the guy miss paparazzi.xxx?

Just asking

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So, what IS the worst film ever made?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

I want to nominate a film 571 times

U571

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New steganography technique relies on letter shapes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Why bother with steganography?

Amanfrommars, is that you?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Yeah, who could possibly tell that a random-appearing string of characters .....?

And besides, a random appearing string of characters might be a program in Perl

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Supersonic silent biplane COMING SOON ...ish

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I just had this mental image of a supersonic Swordfish hurtling towards Bismarck

Which would be "interesting" for the crew in their open cockpit.

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Austrian daredevil Baumgartner skydives from 71,581ft

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Is LOHAN going to make a playmobil re-enactment of this?

Just asking.

It is exciting when people go after such a long-standing record.

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Eddie Murphy heading for worst movie ever glory

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Megaphone

I am surprised.

Worst film nominations and nobody mentioned U571?

Most bad film I can ignore, and they will go away again. U571 is such an insult to what really happened in cracking enigma that it just gets my blood pressure up (and many others).

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Lawyers of Mordor menace Hobbit boozer

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Are they also suing scientific journals?

The word "Hobbit" is used to describe small, smart hominids found on the island of Flores in Indonesia in the scientific literature. See e.g. this pdf. Do they want to sue Nature, or Elsevier?

Thought not.

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Death Star SUCKS PLASMA FROM SUN in NASA riddle vid

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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And if they do not pay, they will be clamped?

Look out for big yellow triangular thingies (technical term) in space.

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Cameron denies personal Trident missile firing iPad app

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

If iPads had been available when "Yes, minister" was produced

I wonder how sir Humphrey would have managed to subvert it. Could have made for some interesting episodes.

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Galaxies to get the Pluto treatment?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The situation is a bit different from that of planets, as the notion of dwarf planet was introduced to cover cases like Pluto and the larger Kuiper-belt objects. The notion of a dwarf galaxy has been around much longer. Proper definitions help to avoid confusion.

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Speedy 3D printer creates 285µm Formula-1 speedster

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Great, could be used to develop nan-playmobil!

for nano re-enactments.

Would find use on El Reg, I suppose

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The seven types of commentard

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: This is not a type N post

Yes, but do use El Reg approved units

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: How do you count Type N?

More importantly, how do you submit a type N post?

I really want to, but on second thoughts, I cannot be bothered

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That steady diet of EastEnders IS turning her into a shrew

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: "Study shows soap operas trigger aggression in women"

" personally think that watching that shit would wind anybody up, male or female. I only have to hear the theme tune from A Certain Famous Soap to feel my blood pressure rising."

Absolutely! My wife frequently wonders why I leave the room when certain shows are on TV (not just soaps, "talent" (word used without prejudice) shows have an even more pronounced effect). I tend not to say I am looking for more fun things to do, like stapling my ears to a wall, or putting my hand in a meat grinder. Somehow, remarks like that do not go down well.

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Nuke clock incapable of losing time chimes with boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

By improvements in (time) management?

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Solar storm has a 'sting in its tail', warn space weathermen

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: "Region 1429"

Active regions on the sun (groups of sun spots) are numbered. This one happens to be 1429.

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Solar storm arrives, nobody notices

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I had a look north of the city

No aurora to see. Moonlight may have been the culprit, or maybe there was just nothing to see (apart from the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Mars)

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MYSTERY programming language found in Duqu

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Or Befunge

A 2D programming language. Loops are real loops! Maybe there is a befunge++ out there

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Flying Spaghetti Monster's works spotted in space

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pity I did not hear this yesterday.

I was accosted by evangelical Christians yesterday evening and was asked what I believed in. I pointed to Venus, Jupiter, and Mars in the sky stating that my Goddess of Love, Father of Gods, and God of war were all now visible in the sky, so who was I to doubt. They were genuinely shocked.

On the other hand, if I started out about the FSM they would probably know immediately I was pulling their leg (which I was of course), so suggesting belief in ancient gods is probably the better ploy.

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SUPERCOMPUTER vs your computer in bang-for-buck battle

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Cool!

I will test the 64 core 512GB single box (4U rack server) we are getting shortly (for processing large astronomical and remote sensing images rapidly). I will compare the cents per MFLOP/s to the figures here. We already know it will kick the backside of the 32 processor Cray SV1e we used to have performance wise, at less that 1% of the cost. I am really curious what the figures will be. Linpack has its limits of course, but it is still nice to know where you stand, even roughly.

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GRAIL lunar orbiters get down to business

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Is it just me?

But whenever I hear the name of these orbiters, I have an image of John Cleese as "Tim the Enchanter" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The way he bawled "GRRRAIL!!" in a Scottish accent at Graham Chapman as King Arthur is forever etched in my memory.

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Sun belches wonking solar flare

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I just hope we get some clear skies

Maybe there will be some aurora activity.

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Mammoths, sabre-tooths MURDERED by second giant space boulder

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Mexico again

Maybe they like enchiladas?

Mine is the one with the sombrero

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nano diamonds

The perfect gift for fashionable protozoans?

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STUNNING NEW APPLE DEVICES that will follow the iPad 3 HD!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: if this is what you have for the 7th of march

Isn't that when they release the iFool?

Sorry, couldn't resist

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

"The Jobsian legacy calls for a new product thrust into every niche in your life."

Sounds painful

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: or maybe laying on the chaise longue

Eggs?

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Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Diesel-electric? Should it not be called U3008?

I'll get me coat.

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UK.gov holds summit to stop satnav-driven smash-ups

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Foreign lorries @Matthew 3

1.80m

But then I do not live in Blighty

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AOL pulls the plug on Brizzly

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: picture sizes?

I just got me a 2 Terabyte disk for picture backup, which should keep me in business for a while. I might put some stuff in cloud storage for cloud processing, or access when not at home, but I will certainly keep local backups.

Given the price of a NAS, you can store shed-loads at home for very little.

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Bletchley Park gets personal with new Alan Turing exhibition

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Men were real men in those days

This is proven by the fact that the Delilah speech scrambler shown in the picture was called "portable".

By implication, we assume women were real women, and small furry creatures from alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from alpha Centauri.

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No 10 develops Terminator iPad app 'to fire ministers'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

How many of us want that app?

Could get messy if everyone could fire a minister, but I know we have all wanted to at times.

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Giant stick insect saved from extinction

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Perhaps we should equip them

with FRICKIN' LASERS.

That'll show the rats!

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Space FIREBALL over Blighty sparks hunt for rich meteorite

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Somethings wrong here...

Glare can cause a non-circular object to appear round quite easily.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Re: Spectral Analysis

Usually the brightest fireballs show up red and green N2 and O2 lines. A very bright one may show other traces, but it might have been difficult to get spectral readings on such a fast moving object.

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3D processor-memory mashups take center stage

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Kudos to these guys!

The lot of them. Really interesting stuff is being made out there.

One caveat: Igors disapprove of near threshold computing:

"Tethting the printhiple? Thtick a bolt of lighting through it! Igorth alwayth make thythtemth that need more power!"

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Daniel Craig like Connery, Skyfall helmsman suggests

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Re: Perfectly plausible

Ah, now you are talking. Proper Bond movie with no fewer than 7 James Bonds (well, 6 and one Jimmy Bond).

"Who is this le Chifre?"

"Nobody knows. Not even le Chifre."

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Apache releases first upgrade to HTTP Server in six years

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

UNIX has a card in its hand:

I ATEN'T DEAD!!

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Cameras roll on 'blockbuster' new Who series

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Spinners?

Where they using procrastinators to get the filming done quickly?

Mine is the one with "Thief of Time" in the pocket

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