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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2536 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

ARM exec: Forget eight-core smartphone chips, just enjoy a SIX-PACK

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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8 cores should also appeal to wizards

or even a wizzard

The one with Interesting Times in the pocket please

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Potato in SPAAAAACE: LOHAN chap cooks up stratospud with Heston Blumenthal

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Would you eat anything of his?

Sure, no worries! I have had alligator on pizza (seriously) in Quebec City which was very nice, and sheep's brain (rarely used, always fresh) in Indonesia, so bollock pie sounds fine to me

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Brilliant stuff

Great read over breakfast

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Report: Climate change has already hit USA - and time is RUNNING OUT

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

It seems to me

that quite a bit of global warming is clearly anthropogenic. It is all the hot air emanating from politicians and commentards alike. Most models fail to take that into account

On a serious note, I do not know (i.e. with 100.0000% scientific certainty) whether global warming or climate change is anthropogenic or not. Climate has changed a lot over earth's history, and CO2 levels are quite low at the moment, as compared to the mesozoic era AFAIK. It is also rather cold compared to e.g. the Jurassic. That suited a bunch of big lizards (OK, not really lizards), but not our current society, which has adapted to the current climate. Climate change may therefore disrupt our cosy lifestyle. To me it does not matter so much whether we are to blame. It is more important to see how we can get by, using fewer non-renewable resources, and how we can deal with a potential crisis, preferably without bloodshed. Mankind's performance in the latter case is not stellar, I agree, but maybe we can work things out this time.

Just my tuppence

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Cold War spy aircraft CRASHED Los Angeles' air traffic control

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: A U-2 you say?

Still haven't ....

I'll get me coat

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Atom, GitHub's code editor based on web tech, goes open source

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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HERESY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"The real sell of Atom is the synthesis of a lot of different things that no one editor does well."

Marches back to the Church of Emacs in a huff

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PEAK APPLE: Mystery upstart to hurl iLord from its throne 'by 2020'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

"one that we have never heard of"?

That's a relief, I thought it might be "the one that must not be named"

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Hacktivists hijack BNP Twitter account, crayon over leader Griffin's too

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I think it is wrong to hack pages (freedom of speech and all that), and linking the LGBT community to this honourable gentleman (phrase used without prejudice) might seriously offend members of said LGBT community.

Besides, the honourable gentleman (phrase used without prejudice) is much better at making a fool of himself than any parody could ever manage.

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Scariest NSA revelation yet: Spooks are RUBBISH at CIPHERS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: So to get the job

But they don't have the resumé that was hidden in a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard", and that might (or might not be) the correct one.

Besides, if they know so much about everybody, they already know who is perfect for the job, don't they?

I think my tinfoil hat is on too tight

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

So to get the job

do I send in my resume encrypted with a one time pad?

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Apple tips Shiraz down all its techies' throats (that's the rumoured name for OS X 10.10)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: MMM!

Ooh, that bring back memories. Tuscan food (all I tried last summer) takes a lot of beating. Having said that, I had some really nice Shiraz/Syrah wines last time I was in California. Some excellent food too. Not all food in the US is fast or fattening.

Darn, hungry now!

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Script fools n00b hackers into hacking themselves

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Reminds me of a line from BBC Hustle

And they do not go an complain to the Watch

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Shocking 'new iPhone' is also - BZZZZT!! - a Taser-like stun gun

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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BOFH gear, evidently

Better still, replace the head beancounter's phone by such a device modified to give the holder a shock (remotely operated?)

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Fix capitalism with floating cities on Venus says Charles Stross

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Just make Venus the ultimate tax haven

But only if you actually live there, and then have all the greedy fat-cats see how they like clouds of sulfuric acid. As a side effect, that might encourage them into terraforming Venus very quickly

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Trolls and victims watch Supremes for definition of meaningless patents

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Were they ever good for anything?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: x+delta

"Oh, you mean the law forbidding gnomes to become curators? Of course we know about that one..."

Don't be ridiculous, next you will suggest Feegles become lawyers!

Ya wee scunner!!! Bigjobs!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Trollface

Patents and trolls aren't a problem

Here is a complete list of troll patents:

0ne: Club

Two: Hit other troll over head wid der club

Many: Hit man over head wid der club

Lots: Hit dwarf over head wid der club

Infringements currently policed by sgt. Detritus

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All men are part of a PURE GENETIC ELITE, says geno-science bloke

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Genetic elite!

Just like every living organism today! After all, we are all the product of an unbroken line (or actually, massive numbers of twisting interwoven lines *) of survivors reaching back until the first organisms.

Comforting thought, I always find

* Makes a squadron of Arcturan stunt apples look tame

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Y?

Because!

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'll get me coat. The one with "Get thee to a punnery!" in the pocket

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Could read it both ways.....

But unlike squirrels, we never forget where they are

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LOHAN spaceplane's budget minicam punches well above its weight

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice footage

Amazing what cool stuff is available these days

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'Maybe I'll go to Hell, but I think it's a good thing' says plastic Liberator gunsmith Cody Wilson

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Re more guns, lower crime rate

Please note the sarcasm I intended with "quite a bit of sense". ;-)

I do not buy into his anarchistic ideal. I do not like over-intrusive government either, the best we can manage in the sublunary is some compromise.

Lower crime rates might also depend on what you consider crime. If you do not consider shooting somebody who appears to be threatening a crime, then guns are not a problem I suppose. I do see shooting people because they appear to be threatening as a crime.

Gun availability in itself need not even be the core of the issue. The core of the issue on the astronomical gun related killings may have something to do with a culture that has less problems with violence in movies than with sex.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Facepalm

“More guns in the hands of more people leads to a lower crime rate."

What a pity Cody, up until that remark you were making quite a bit of sense!

I guess he has been indoctrinated by the USA government and gun lobby more than he realises.

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True optical zoom coming to HTC smartphone cameras

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I'll keep that DSLR

until I can fit my 85mm F/1.4 Carl Zeiss Planar to my phone (fits my EOS through an adapter). My smartphone is fine for every day shots, but in low light conditions (theatre, animals around dusk, astronomy) I need to catch more photons than the puny lenses of camera phones can catch. Simple physics: double the aperture in diameter for a given pixel count, double the signal to noise ratio (when photon-noise limited). Nothing can alter that. What could change is the maximum electron density per unit of area on photosites of CCDs or CMOS chips. That would allow better dynamic range on small photosites, provided the number of photons captured allows that increase in dynamic range.

This does not mean I do not applaud the improvements in camera phones. They have come a long way from being a barely usable gimmick to a pretty decent instrument for everyday photography. The only downside is the sheer number of selfies produced. Finally, I would not like to carry the bulk of said 85mm lens (close to 900 gr) on a daily basis, of course.

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OK, we get the message, Microsoft: Windows Defender splats 1000s of WinXP, Server 2k3 PCs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Subtle hints

Your OS, hey? Should it go? Hey? Should it go? Hey? Know what I mean, know what I mean? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink!

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Is tech the preserve of the young able-bodied? Let's talk over a fine dinner and claret

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Much as I would like a chin-wag over claret, even with the chinless, or those endowed with more chins than strictly necessary for the support of a face (doffs hat to Leslie Charteris for the latter phrase), I am afraid I wont be able to hop over the Channel for that.

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KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

What about scaled-up versions?

I somehow picture a record sponge in the fossil record, holding a mosasaur in its deadly embrace.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: asbestos plume of rickets

Could easily compete with "correct horse battery staple" for a pass phrase :)

Indeed, although we use Foul Ole Ron as a source of pass phrases (but NOT "Millennium hand and shrimp").

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MIT boffins moot tsunami-proof floating nuke power plants

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Piper Alpha

somehow came into my mind. I wonder why?

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BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

The BOFH is evidently

as student of C. Northcote Parkinson

Excellent

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Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nothing is fool proof for a sufficiently talented fool

Thumbs up for fessing up!

I do not doubt that <Austrian accent>You'll be back</Austrian accent>

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Nvidia's new CUDA 6 has the 'most significant new functionality in the history of CUDA'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Hmm

In my experience hiding memory complexity is a mixed blessing. To gain maximum performance I need to understand the architecture the code runs on, to avoid costly operations, as others have said. I will get my code up an running sooner, but it will not necessarily be as fast as hand-tuned code. Where I do see use is in getting more-or-less machine independent code up and running quickly. If it does not run fast enough, you can then tune it to get the most out of the hardware and reduce costly copying from one part of memory to another, and so avoiding bandwidth and latency problems.

Nothing beats better bandwidth and lower latency, of course, but that is something the hardware guys must do for us software guys (and I know they are working on it). If the GPU and CPU truly share memory (i.e. the memory is physically unified), many difficulties will drop away, but that is something to dream about, for now

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Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Strange choice of graph type

Agreed. Any of my students presenting this kind of data like that would get points deducted (and/or instructions on how they should present these data).

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Look out, bankers! It's Lily Cole and her (Brit taxpayer-funded) WISH-PRINTING ATM

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Is it me?

Or should that "impossible" website be labelled "Unsuitable for diabetics" (and it's not just the presence of cookies)

My conclusion is: "I do not know about impossible, I prefer things that are very, very, improbable

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Live coverage: Blood Moon looms large for North, South America

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Below horizon here

And cloud, of course, but sites like slooh are just great for this. Showed the kids the transit of Venus two years back by logging onto slooh on the smartphone. It's just great what IT has brought us.

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NASA to unsheath GIANT ASTEROID SPACE PROBE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: OSIRIS-REx?

The chances of funding are proportional to the effort put into the (b)ac(k)ronym. Politicians gladly fund a project named OSIRIS-REx, however tenuous the connection between name and purpose, they might go for Yet Another Asteroid Bashing Attempt (YAABA) because you can at least pronounce it, but Probe For Planetoid Research (PFPR) stands little chance

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Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Who at Microsoft is making up the names... and why do they still have a job?

I heard someone at MS proposed

Windows 8.1 Falls On Sword Silently

as a final option on the roadmap, instead of FU2, but management didn't like the acronym.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Re: No

"Possibly with a sharpened bargepole."

Or the type of modified bargepole known as a spar torpedo

Icon, well, because that's what a spar torpedo does

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New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

DON'T PANIC

How do you switch on large, friendly letters?

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Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: I'll definitely be buying this...

Indeed, frequently range clearly designed with Agnes Nitt (a.k.a. "Agnes-who-calls-herself-Perditax") in mind. It might be a problem to filter out the occasional thud of a falling bat from the recording

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Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: It must be said repeatedly...

The only way to be certain your files cannot be inspected on Dropbox - or any

service like it - is to NOT put them on there in the first place !

Or use a one-time pad encryption, if you do want the option to share files. A one-time pad is fully uncrackable. Getting the key to others by a secure channel is a problem of course.

If you do not want to share your files, you could stick them in a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the leopard", in a basement, in the dark (the lights had probably gone (So had the stairs)).

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Reg LOHAN spaceplane: Punch and Judy show in comedy non-explosive climax

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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So often it is some trivial component that fails. Best of luck next time

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Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice improvement, but ...

Still not enough RAM!!

I know, I know, us compute guys are never satisfied. You give them more than 640 kB? They want more than 4 MB, you give them 16MB? They want 256MB! You up your game to 16 GB, and some knucklehead wants double that, and so on, and so forth.

Having frequently run out of memory on a 64 core 512GB compute server (with 384 GB Fusion-IO card), the R3 is still not for me. Still looking for a distributed-memory solution for our problem. Not trivial.

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So you invent a wireless network using LEDs, what do you do next? Add solar panels. Boom

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Hi-Tech Heliograph.

Neat in itself, but I remember the problems somebody had whenever he put a cuppa in front of his Apricot keyboard, blocking the line of sight between keyboard and computer. The key idea behind fibre optics is that you protect the optical path from intrusion by smoke and mirror. WIFI works better because the long wavelengths diffract around objects rather better than visible light or IR.

In conclusion, though the data rate obtained is good, I am slightly underwhelmed.

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Anatomy of OpenSSL's Heartbleed: Just four bytes trigger horror bug

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: I don't get it..

I would suggest the key issue is that there are two specifications of the length of the data, not one. One has to wonder about the reason for this redundancy (it may be useful in another context, I do not know enough about the SSL libraries and protocols), but here it causes a problem. It could be used to check for malformed heartbeats, of course, but the moment you store information in two places, and fail to ensure consistency of the information, you can get into trouble.

Using a calloc rather than malloc to allocate the space for the incoming heartbeat data based on the SSL3 length field and then storing the payload_length size chunk in it (after checking payload_length<=SSL3_record.length) should have avoided the problem, I would think. Of course calloc could be a touch more costly than malloc, but in the context of security (or indeed delays in the network) I would think this hardly figures in the grand scheme of things.

Just my tuppence

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Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Nah, not OZ, Fourecks, more likely

Still, no worries, she'll be right!

Next look out for a rock in the shape of the Counterweight Continent.

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Microsoft: We've got HUNDREDS of patents on Android tech

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Of course its true!

As far as I understand it, if I develop a piece of code which infringes patents (as Google allegedly has), I do not necessarily require a licensing agreement. If I sell a product with such software on board, I certainly do. This might be the reason MS is not going after Google (or maybe there are secret agreements, where's me tinfoil hat!!)

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Raspberry Pi to serve up bite-sized modules for bulk-buying biz bods

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: I don't know...

This could provide a cheap way for students to learn MPI computing, although you can run MPI on a shared-memory architecture (but without same the penalty of communication overhead as in clusters). Using a "nano-cluster" like this you can have student mess about without interfering with the workloads of the big "production" clusters of the university, or, as the students see it, without production work interfering with their projects.

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Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Too expensive for me, alas. I will just retain the fond memories of being allowed to stay up late as a seven-year old to see men step out onto the moon on a little black and white TV. Greatest event in my life until then.

Every single boy at school wanted to become an astronaut that day.

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European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Good!

Good to hear the European Court make such a sensible decision

I'll raise a glass to that

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