* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2705 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

France says 'non' to UberPop

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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So Uber says a small fee is involved, but it is not commercial?

Mr. Spock would find this illogical

I tend to agree. Uber is all about cost-cutting. This is fair enough in commercial ventures, but they seem to want to weasel their way through, avoiding (not entirely unreasonable) rules and regulations.

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Senator: Backdoor for the Feds is a backdoor for hackers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Hooray for progress!!

Pleasant and rare surprise to hear this level of sense from a politician (of any nation, I hasten to add)

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El Reg's mighty rocket spaceplane Vulture 2 arrives in US of A

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Looking good, and looking forward to launch!

Certainly a reason to raise a glass (as if we need one). Mine will be a Westmalle Tripel or a Duvel (no microbreweries here, alas)

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Is there ANOTHER UNIVERSE headed BACKWARDS IN TIME?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: 24 the ultimate answer

Agreed: 6 bits is perfect, as 6 is the first perfect number

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Deep question with more than one mystery

The CPT and similar symmetries in quantummechanics are so neat, and then entropy comes along and immediately everything gets messy

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Ah!

You mean UKIP consists of Auditors?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

So is 24 the ultimate answer in that universe?

I'll get me coat

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Rosetta beams back colour pics: 67P shades of grey are SO HOT right now

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

So on the next mission they will bring a vacuum cleaner?

Alternatively, the colour scheme was dreamed up by the same designer who labelled the black buttons in black on a black background, and when pressed a little black lamp lit up black to show that you had done it.

Only this time they used dark grey, probably chosen from one of those colour selection pages which has 24 identically coloured squares in them (at least to my insensitive male eyes, my wife swears they are different, and only number 42A matches the drapes)

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Brit GUN NUT builds WORKING SNIPER RIFLE at home out of scrap metal!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Better title needed.

You are missing an important rule in journalism: Never let facts stand in the way of an alarmist headline. Indeed, the Reg missed an opportunity to call hysterically:

SCRAP METAL SHOULD BE BANNED!!!!!

THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!

as the Daily Wail might have done

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US Navy's LASER CANNON WARSHIP: USS Ponce sent to Gulf

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: "Ponce"

"Ponce de Leon discovered Florida, that's the best know Ponce."

By now Ponce da Quirm might be more famous to much of the Reg's readership

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Lenov-OUCH! 500,000 laptop cables recalled in burning mains cock-up

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Strange: how much power must a Lenovo laptop draw (I have one) to overheat a mains cable. Even a mere 0.75mm^2 cable (uncoiled in the open) is rated to 6 amps. At 230V that is 1.380 kW. They may have used 0.5mm^2 rated at only 3 amps (only 690 W), but even that kind of draw seems a bit high (toasted genitals high, even). At 110-120 V the issue is different, of course.

Icon, well, obvious, innit?

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Ford dumps Windows for QNX in new in-car entertainment unit

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Is it just me

or is that Ford trying to look like an Aston Martin, by the look of that front grille.

Nice try, but given the choice I would rather get an Aston Martin for Xmas ( wouldn't mind getting a Ford, and then of course neither are very likely, but a man may dream).

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

"The future is HUD.

Like on a fighter jet.

I already want one."

Me too. An F22 would be nice for X-mas

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Cool technology: Submerged blade servers escape the heat

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting and humorous read. I will point my students to this whenever they complain about difficulties in the computer lab (which is computer heaven compared to what you need to go through)

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Did rock-hard aliens turn young Earth MOIST? New probe data emerges

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Some may be further away

Ah, but everyone knows a million to one chances succeeds nine times out of ten.

That time already? Mine is the one with "Small Gods" in the pocket

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Brit boffins debunk 'magnetic field and cancer' link

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Frankly, I am not too surprised by the results of the study, but thumbs up to the scientists for putting in the hours to debunk this mallarkey. This is of course all part and parcel of the scientific method: do not dismiss someone else's theory because it sounds stupid, prove it wrong. Do not forget not all alarmist ideas are wrong. Many people long believed X-rays were just a useful tool (or even a nice fairground attraction), and were harmless. Now people treat them with a lot more care for good reason. So whilst there are a lot of idiots crying wolf, in some cases they might be right. What is tiresome is that certain people will not listen to any amount of scientific proof. Unfortunately, there is no "ignore" button you can press in real life, so they no longer bother you.

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Boffins: We have found a way to unlock the MYSTERIES OF SHEEP from old parchments

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Well obviously

If the document is a legal one, it is very likely the DNA makes more captivating reading

The effect is even more pronounced in the case of accountancy

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So - you thought you knew all about the INSTANT COFFEE DUNES of TITAN?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Lakes of methanol and ethanol

Have a lakeside holiday on Titan, OK it's cold, but you can get blind drunk for free once you get there (ethanol will see to the drunk, methanol to the blind).

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No NAND's land: Flash will NOT take over the data centre

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

If it is a disk world .....

DOES THE PERMANENT ERASE FUNCTION SPEAK IN CAPITALS ONLY?

Sorry, couldn't resist. Mine's the one with "Thud" in the pocket

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Home Wi-Fi security's just as good as '90s PC security! Wait, what?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Plus ce change, plus c'est la même chose

Ah, reminds me of an old BOFH episode

"But I like the word Maggot!"

"And I like the words Grievous Bodily Harm, but I don't use them as a password. Not any more, anyway. "

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NASA prods sleeping New Horizons spacecraft: Wakey, wakey, Pluto's calling

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Beep, beep, beep ...

Or should that be "brain the size of a dwarf planet"

Runs for cover

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Thumbs up to NASA

Great news. Looking forward to the results, and my eldest son will be chuffed the closest encounter is on his birthday.

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BOFH: Santa, bloody Santa

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice one. It has a nice recursive feel to it.

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Orion BELTS UP: Space shuttle wannabe preps again for test flight

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: "fuel valve that refused to close properly"

At least the valve is not sulking in basements, as our elevators have been doing lately. Should never have gone for the Sirius Cybernetics model

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Sinclair is back with the Spectrum Vega ... just as rubbish as the ZX

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

And from the left field comes the Elan Enterprise 128. I still have fond memories of the little joy-sticky thing with the at least half-decent full size keyboard, and a WHOPPING 128 kB of RAM. Even managed to program a discrete Fourier transform on it. It worked, ...., if you were very patient. Won't claim it was better than any other out there, but it shared several features with the Spectrum: Z80 processor, and only appeared WAY after the promised date. What was very nice is that like the Acorn Atom and Electron (we used many of those in the labs) you got the entire schematic, and many ports were properly buffered, so you could add your own external devices without risk of frying the computer.

Regarding this project: More keys might of course be added if they exceed their target by a sufficient margin

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Orion: To Mars, the Moon and beyond... but first, a TEST FLIGHT through Van Allen belt

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Of course it can fly

About 1% better than this half brick I have here

On a more serious note: I do not care about the political reasons for the project, if it can get people deeper into space, I am all for it. Maybe it's nostalgia for my days as a kid stuck to the TV screen watching all Apollo-related programmes, but more likely its just that I applaud all serious exploration of space.

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Hominid ancestors beat humans to the drinks cabinet, say boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Maybe the history of drinking has a similar three-phase pattern as warfare, which has the Retaliation (I am going to kill you because you killed my brother), Anticipation (I am going to kill you because I killed your brother) and Diplomacy (I am going to kill my brother and then kill you on the pretext that your brother did it) phases. Here we have

Avoidance: Don't eat that fallen fruit, it will make you drunk for a week!

Tolerance: Do eat that fruit, it won't make you drunk for a week

Binging: Let's brew our own stuff so we can get drunk for a week again

Raises glass and doffs hat to Douglas Adams

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Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Hard surface

No, they were expecting the Spanish inquisition, or were they?

I'll get me coat

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BOFH: Everyone deserves a little DOWNTIME

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Did anyone notice the small surge of acceleration

"There is a God after all"

Yes, he is called Simon

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Samsung to boot out Shin after Galaxy S5 tanks – report

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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My wife bought a Samsung, I have almost exclusively had (cheaper) HTCs which I found very usable since my first Desire. After seeing all the bloatware on the Samsung, I steered well clear and got my first higher-end phone: the One M-8. Love it.

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Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

Here on the continent I prefer to get my beer from Belgium. Where's that Westmalle Tripel?

Next time I am in the US I will certainly try some of the micro-brewery beers I have heard good reports of.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

“As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees,” Hansraj writes.

Having studied astronomy and physics, let me assert:

The scientific unit of force is NOT pounds!!

If you do not use SI units in science writing at least have the decency to convert to more accepted units like the Norris (so moving from 1.2 Norris to 2.67 Norris).

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ESA's spaceplane cleared for lift-off in February 2015

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: "land on conventional runways"

Nah, bankers don't do fiddling small change like six million dollars

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Bryndzové halušky

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: How could it not be good?

Especially if the bacon is fried such that it contains enough BCBs (according to the Samuel Vimes school of gastronomy)

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NASA revisits Europa with modern image-processing software

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Very interesting image. It is stunning how well modern mosaicing software works compared to the older stuff. I use those methods a lot in lunar (33 pane mosaic here) and solar (31 pane mosaic) imaging. Different deconvolution techniques really help as well.

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BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice start to the weekend

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FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: I'm three terrorists at least!

At least you aren't illiterate as well

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: A better measure...

Height to girth, or chest to belly girth ratios are dimensionless and MUCH better for that reason.

The BMI based on a power of 2.5 might be better, but why not the power of three that simple geometry suggests? There may be empirical or statistical reasons for the power of 2.5, but it does look a bit like some people do not want to admit how totally stupid the power of 2.0 was and switch to 3.0 directly. After all, if I simply scale a short, skinny athlete by 10% in all directions, his weight should go up by a factor of 1.331, keeping his body fat percentages, height to girth ratios, etc identical. Thus, I feel 2.5 is a compromise, rather than entirely reasonable. Even if some fit was made to empirical data, I am deeply suspicious that the result would be 2.5 exactly, right between the traditional value and the one suggested by geometry.

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Useless 'computer engineer' Barbie FIRED in three-way fsck row

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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To paraphrase Marvin

I get a headache trying to think down at the level of those storytellers (prhase used without prejudice).

The "quality of that story reminds me of a snoopy cartoon, where snoopy gets a rejection letter for a story he has submitted, together with a rejection for the next story he might want to submit.

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Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Let me get this straight

So one objective is to take somebody's selfies and cat videos and drop them down a deep, dark hole on the moon.

Sounds like an excellent plan

More seriously, if that's what it takes to get even a little more funding into space research, I can live with that

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YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Simon will be recharging the cattle-prod

"Some sysadmins will go to extremes to secure a network, viewing it (wrongly) as their property."

What do you mean WRONGLY?

>KZZZEERRT!!!<

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Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Slack

Using free wifi for a security update? Call me paranoid, but I have seen so many security issues in fre wifi that I only use it for non-sensitive stuff (like browsing the Reg)

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Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Parkinson's Law, or the Pursuit of Progress

Is one of my favourites. Excellent guidelines on how to understand bureaucracy. For superb moral guidelines I find the Discworld series offers a lot, like the definition of sin by mistress E. Weatherwax:

"Easy, it's treating people like things!"

It is more fun to read than the bible, and does not threaten you with eternal punishment.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: The Bible

If we are going to play the numbers' game, the Ikea catalogue would beat the bible in terms of numbers printed and number of different language translations. I would not count it as a contender for this list, however.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: The bible is a book ?

And not 666, as some might have believed

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SUPER-JAMMY Philae comet probe got down WITHOUT harpoons

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Great work despite the glitches. I will certainly raise a glass.

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FIRST for HUMANITY: Fridge-size PROBOT headed for COMET TOUCHDOWN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Wonderful stuff from ESA

Hope they pull it off. Will raise a glass of "distilled beer" (the single malt variety) if they do (and drink a consolation one if they don't)

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That 'TECH-FREE' Nophone? It was already out years ago

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: John's phone.

Don't be silly, that one seems to work!

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CATACLYSMIC Sun BELCH causes hour-long RADIO BLACKOUT in SPAAACE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

It is an amazing sunspot, and some massive flares going on

Finally managed some quality time looking at that spot. Missed the flare, but the images I did manage weren't half bad, both in H-alpha and white light detail

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