* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2612 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Scientists capture DEATH STAR in VIOLENT EXPLOSION

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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First-rate boffinry!

Really interesting stuff.

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Fuel for jets DOES grow on trees

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Fetch us a ..... SHRUBBERY!!!!!

I nice one.

And not to expensive!

NI!

sorry, couldn't resist, mine is the one with the Holy Grail DVD in the pocket

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Microsoft Surface 3 Pro: Flip me over, fondle me up

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Screen too small?

I actually rather like my 13" laptop (16:10 ratio, rather than 16:9). I am looking to replace it by a 13-14", no bigger. I am also very happy with my 10" ASUS transformer pad. That seems to be a MUCH better format for a tablet/laptoplet(or notebooklet) than this offering from MS, and gives me 15-16 hours of use (with less grunt, but I get that from my laptop. I do not mind having two or three devices, but maybe I am weird (i.e. not the category the marketeers are interested in)

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Achtung! Use maths to smash the German tank problem – and your rival

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice one again

Had not heard of this one. Very interesting read. Looking forward to the rest of the series

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FINGERS CROSSED: Apple and Samsung said to be hammering out settlement

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Or...

Maybe a beancounter worked out that the cost in lawyers' fees was outstripping the amount of cash to be gained from a victory

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Uncivil engineering: US society skewers self-published science

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: What happens-

ArXiv is an example. Some journals do not allow you to publish with them if it has been released previously (even some bone-headed reviewers have difficulty with it), but many just see it as an "author accepted" form that is OK.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Copyright transfer forms come in different forms

When you publish with any scientific publisher you almost always have to sign a copyright transfer agreement. Many publishers simply use this as a means to clear themselves of copyright infringement charges, because you have to declare that the material is your own, and you have the right to sign over the copyright to them. Any extraneous material must be covered with a separate permission from the holders (which is never a problem, because the holders are only too happy that their material is being used, and that therefore they are cited).

Some publishers also want exclusive rights to publication, although all I know allow you to use your own work freely in non-commercial publications like e.g. a PhD thesis. Springer in its Lecture Notes in Computer Science requests you not to put your material on-line until one year after publication. It is not a prohibition, but since they ask nicely I tend to comply. IEEE allows you to post your material provided you show a clear copyright statement and state that the material is only provided for quick dissemination of scientific results for research and educational purposes, but not for any commercial use. This is entirely reasonable.

What the ASCE is doing seems a bit harsh, but the authors must read what they are signing. A colleague of mine crosses out any condition he does not like, initials the changes, signs the forms, and sends it in. He has never been challenged on these changes. I suggest all authors in ASCE publications follow that example.

Alternatively, you can publish in open access journals (or use the open access scheme of some journals with hybrid publishing format). Somewhat more expensive, but compared to the cost of doing the research itself it is nothing. You then simply link to the version on the journal's website and everybody can access it.

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BEAM ME UP SCOTTY: Boffins to turn PURE LIGHT into MATTER

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Star Trek Replicators

The only downside of a replicator based on this mechanism is the formation of an anti-hamburger together with your hamburger. It may be a balanced diet, in a manner of speaking, but could lead to explosive indigestion to which the phrase "blast radius" would seem to small (swamp dragons would be jealous)

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'Executed ex' of Norkers' bonkers Kim Jong-un rises FROM THE GRAVE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble

I trust it spells something else when abbreviated in Korean

Deary me, is it that time already?

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Picture special: LOHAN makes fire in the sky at 15,000m

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I love the smell of ammonium perchlorate in the morning

Packs a punch (or two)

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Urinating teen polluted 57 Olympic-sized swimming pools - cops

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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@ magickmark Re: No way near Homeopathic standards..

Coffee went everywhere when I read this "In quantum parlance, the "wave function" of the particle is said to "collapse" into a specific state (or flask) due to the act of observing. Incidentally, this is why cats resent people staring at them: the constant collapse of their wave function is a strain on their delicate senses". Worthy of Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams.

WAY too much honour, you are making me blush

I might have a spare keyboard somewhere that I could send you

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: No way near Homeopathic standards..

Thanks! It's been translated to Czech and Spanish much to my amusement.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: No way near Homeopathic standards..

I wonder whether believers in homeopathy ever worry about the "memory of water" theory. It would certainly worry me, if I believed in it, because one of water's persistent memories must be being piss at many times during its existence.

I once wrote a paper on a quantum mechanical theory homeopathy. It got accepted in Annals of Improbable research. A preprint is here.

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Cloud computing is FAIL and here’s why

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I can't do that for you, Alistair!

As HAL would say, or as Sirius Cybernetics would have it "Share and Enjoy!!", which does sound better than "Go stick your head in a pig!" but amounts to much the same.

This is my problem with several LaTeX offerings available for Android. All the ones I know require you to be online to actually compile the LaTeX source. Not easy (or affordable if available) somewhere outback in Uganda or the like.

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How to catch a fraudster – using 'top cop' Benford and the power of maths

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Very nice read

We use Benford's Law in some assignments. I'll point students towards this nice informal introduction. Looking forward to the rest of the articles

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Stop bullying SUPER FAT GODZILLA, urge movie stars

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Americanized Godzilla?

Nah, he's into sumo. Perfectly Japanese

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LA air traffic meltdown: System simply 'RAN OUT OF MEMORY'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: nagative altitudes

Even if the system was designed with a limited altitude range in mind, it still should be able to cope with input outside that range, e.g. by flagging an error in the input. My very first job as a programmer was to write a (half) decent UI for a DOS image processing package written mostly in Pascal. The previous programmer's effort used READ and READLN to get floating point values from the (mainly Dutch) users, which resulted in frequent crashes when users entered 0,23 instead of 0.23. I wrote a simple parser that only assumed it was getting a string of characters, tried to parse it, and flagged syntax and other errors to the user. Not rocket science, but simply going back to basics: does the string of characters entered as input meet the preconditions of the code that is going to use that data, if so, use it, if not, flag an error. This very basic approach ensured that medics could use the program without swearing at the computer several times each day.

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Indian climate boffins: Himalayan glaciers are NOT MELTING

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"Yes it is!"

"No it isn't"

"Yes it is!"

"No it isn't"

"Yes it is!"

"No it isn't"

"Yes it is!"

"This is not an argument, this is plain contradiction"

"No it isn't"

"Yes it is!"

.....

Sorry, couldn't resist

Mine is the one with Monty's Encylco Pythonia in the pocket

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We're from the SAME DUST CLOUD, BRO: Boffins find Sun's long-lost sibling

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: "...4.5 billion years ago...” Ramirez said. “A lot of things can happen in that amount of time.”

Still haven't invented slood, however

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting

I'll give HD 162826 a wave next time the clouds part and I can do some stargazing

Stellarium is a great (free) tool for finding the star (and much more besides)

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US alliance strengthens LOHAN imaging arsenal

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Last Words

If the heroic playmonaut has a sense of history he will say "Pojechali"

Also used when raising a glass in Russia

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Kudos to David Patterson

Really nice to see such generosity

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Quick Q: How many FLOPPIES do I need for 16 MILLION image files?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: 16-page document I was working on last night won’t fit onto a floppy

Still got an 8" floppy lying around somewhere; one from Digital with CP/M 2.0 on it. 128kB capacity, WOW!

And yes, I still have an Iomega Zip drive somewhere.

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Amazon granted patent for taking photos against a white background – seriously

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

One might well argue the USPTO has negative credibility.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: What needs to happen

I have yet to see patents so patently absurd awarded in the Netherlands or indeed the EU. I have one patent to my name, and the process appeared to be quite thorough. There may certainly be the odd one that slipped through (would love to see one), but not the spate of silliness coming out of the USPTO.

Note that the USPTO gets funded based on how many patents it awards not how many it processes. That is a perverse incentive if ever there was one.

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Apple files patent for typo-sensing buttons

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Force feedback?

<Aussie accent>

That's not force feedback, proper force feedback is when the button punches you in the face when it thinks you have punched the wrong button! That'll teach ya!

</Aussie accent>

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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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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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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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"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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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