* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

3089 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Periodic table enjoys elemental engorgement

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Nerdium, Geekium, and uhhh...

may I suggest Dorkium?

Seems to complement Nerdium and Geekium well

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Forget anonymity, we can remember you wholesale with machine intel, hackers warned

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: These detection methods don't scale.

Not only do these methods not necessarily scale, they need an ever increasing ground truth of identified code for training. This is not trivial to obtain. Besides, as more and more coders are added, you have to worry about the number of degrees of freedom in coding anything, i.e. are there enough different coding styles to distinguish the millions of coders on this planet. Besides, you have to deal with code developed by teams (which is the normal situation), which will either show a mixture of styles, or predominantly show the style of the loudest mouth in the team, with a small admixture of the other members. Similarly, what happens when a new coder refactors old stuff? I know I have seriously refactored a program written by some students to adapt it to new use cases. It is still not really like my

You could of course show that a certain style is consistent with a known sample of some hacker's work, but even then people might slowly change their coding style. Having had a look at some of my earlier efforts, I know I have changed style a great deal (thank goodness ;-)), if only by incorporating OO techniques

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You’re clever? But are you clever enough to give a Reg lecture?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Megaphone

My students tend not to fall asleep during my lectures. That might of course be because I am LOUD rather than interesting. And I don't need no steenking megaphone to reach Brian Blessed's volume levels

ARE YE DEEEEF???!!!

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EU reforms could pave way for smells and noises to be trade-mark protected – expert

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Eki eki eki patang zoo poing zzraazrroohhhh... NI!

Is all I can say

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MoJ digital software glitch sends thousands of divorcees back to negotiating table

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: digital software?

Why of course, it's called the Glooper and is run by Hubert (assisted by Igor).

Lot better than an abacus, but you will need a raincoat or umbrella

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Let's shut down the internet: Republicans vacate their mind bowels

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I do not for a moment doubt the ability of politicians of ALL parties to get things wrong, often deliberately because it suits their purposes. As stated in the Hitchhikers' Guide:

"It is a well-known and much-lamented fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Well, freedom of speech does include the freedom to speak foolishly. I rather like major Winchester's pronouncement in M*A*S*H that "It is the inalienable right of each and every person to make a fool of themselves in public".

Wise words indeed

Such wise words were sorely lacking in the debate, it seems

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Man faces 37 years for sarcastic post insulting royal dog

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

In this context that suggests insulting politicians is 7.4 times less bad than insulting a dog. Sounds fair enough

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After Death Star II blew: Dissecting the tech of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: AI must be harder than we thought.

Maybe the GPP features got SO annoying nobody wanted them any more

Share and Enjoy!

OK, I'll be out of here. The one with the HHGTTG radio plays in the pocket, please

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: It's not that unlikely

Simply look at RN destroyer design between the two world wars: The post Jutland WW-I Vs and Ws served throughout WW-II, and many later destroyers (including the then modern Hs serving in the first battle of Narvik) look very similar indeed.

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Bigger than Higgs? Boffins see hints of bulbous new Boson

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Exciting stuff!

Looking forward to the results of follow-up research

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Janet pulls open network info for good after DDoSers exploit it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Our new infrastructure is organised thus...

I prefer having piranhas in the moat. Unless sharks with frickin' lasers are available

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Curiosity Rover digs into humanity's first alien sand dune

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Your tax dollars at work!

Exactly! And it has its own frickin' laser!! Fun, isn't it!

On a more serious note, that dune image Curiosity took is just breathtakingly beautiful, as have been so many this project has brought forth.

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Spanish village mounts Playmobil extravaganza

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Playmobil or it didn't ....

Oh, hang on....

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I'd better be going

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Ceres' salty history hints at bright spot origin

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Fascinating stuff from several probes recently, Rosetta and Philae, Dawn and New Horizon have really been a treat to follow. Big thumbs up to the boffins who make this possible

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US Navy's newest ship sets sail with Captain James Kirk at the bridge

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: not a handsome beast

Actually bigger than many if not most WW-II cruisers. The RN County class heavy cruisers weighed in at 10,000 tonnes, rather less than the 15,000 tonnes quoted here, which is heavier than many pre-dreadnought battleships. A very far cry from the 260 tonnes of the earliest torpedo-boat destroyers. Churchill apparently once said that by forever increasing the size of destroyers, we move them from the class of the hunters to that of the hunted. He may have had a point.

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Netherlands votes to splash cash on encryption projects

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Token gesture, really

500,000 euro is very little. Welcome, of course, but hardly a major push. Knowing Dutch politics, and minister Kamp in particular, he will use every opportunity to weasel out of this or procrastinate it for YEARS. The plans will no doubt go through the usual process of being "sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters."

Doffs hat to the late, great Douglas Adams (the black Mayser Trecking today)

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Japanese hack gets space probe back on track

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

I will see your Kirin and raise you an Asahi Black!

Well done those boffins!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Dear alien overlord (not mine, so I fear you not)

If you have successfully designed a spacecraft and got it to orbit around another planet, you can comment on the design. Except that you would probably not, because you know how hard it is, and how much luck is needed. For all you know, the component failed due to micro-meteorite impact.

And yes, I did notice the smiley, but I am afraid the joke fell a bit flat, but it is always difficult, attempting humor in an alien language ;-)

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Russia's blanket phone spying busted Europe's human rights laws

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Grand Chamber panel included the Russian Judge

Very enlightening. I do note however that this Russian judge carefully notes past experiences from the Soviet and Imperial eras as contributing to the suspicion that "political and economic figures, including human-rights activists, opposition activists and leaders, journalists, ...." are targeted. The current regime isn't mentioned. Very diplomatic

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France mulls tighter noose around crypto

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Facepalm

I think the icon

says it all

it will be a sad day for common sense, let alone civil liberties if this bill passes, even if it is only for the duration of a state of emergency

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BOFH: Taking a spin in a decommissioned racer? On your own grill cam be it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Superb episode. Really brilliant

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Spanish village celebrates Playmobil nativity

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

They clearly want to show the nativity did happen.

After all:

Playmobil or it didn't happen!

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Europe launches search for Einstein's space-time ripples

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Fascinating stuff

Fingers crossed for a smooth launch once thy get the technical glitches sorted

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NASA pours cold comets on aliens-make-star-flutter theory

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Or perhaps it's result of the disintegration of a ringworld

OK, I am going. The one with the Larry Niven books in the pocket

More seriously, my money is on a natural explanation too

(although strictly speaking, alien life is also a natural explanation, nothing supernatural about it, after all)

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Sysadmin's former boss claims five years FREE support or off to court

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

It seems this sysadmin is in dire need of a remote, BOFH-style modded cattle prod, inserted in the chair of the former boss.

>>KZZZZEEERRRT<<

I love the smell of ozone in the morning

(napalm can be so hard to get, these days)

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Meet ARM1, grandfather of today's mobe, tablet CPUs – watch it crunch code live in a browser

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Great stuff. I will use this as extra background material for Introduction to Computing Science for our first-year students next year (just an extra for those who love detail)

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BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Tut tut...

I do not doubt they planted the evidence in SoniaMary's account.

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Who owns space? Looking at the US asteroid-mining act

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I am surprised

that the author of the article seems surprised that something done by the US Congress doesn't make sense, or flouts international law, and is mainly aimed at supporting US business interests. Sounds like business as usual for US Congress

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Sneaky Microsoft renamed its data slurper before sticking it back in Windows 10

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: As long as data-slurping is profitable...

I suggest we replace the telemetry by Marvin the Paranoid Android's autobiography. Any AI on the receiving end would quite quickly commit suicide.

More practically, I suggest we send the word "NI!" or "eki eki eki patang zoo poing zzraazrroohhhh... NI! (ssshh!)"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Just hunted down and terminated the Diagnostic Tracking service on this home win 8.1 box.

To quote queen Victoria: "We are not amused"

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Cyber-terror: How real is the threat? Squirrels are more of a danger

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: It's all about the blinky lights

The machines should also go "PING" from time to time, of coruse

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Cartoon brings proper tech-talk to telly

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

But, but, but, ...

shouldn't they first have reversed the polarity of the neutron flow?

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Google launches virtual plastic pal who's fun to be with

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: @Graham Marsden - Share and Enjoy

So is the GPP prototype called Marvin?

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Paris, jihadis, tech giants ... What is David Cameron's speechwriter banging on about now?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Facepalm

"So only people with advanced tech knowledge are allowed to write about technology? Even though it's pretty important these days?"

So Clare Forges-Ahead-Without-Knowledge (apparently distant relative of Tim Nice-But-Dim, but without the nice bit) can shoot her mouth off but she denies others the free speech right of stating she is wrong? Part of free speech is that others are allowed to disagree with you. Maybe she needs to read up on human rights, not just technology

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Taxi for NASA! SpaceX to fly astronauts to space station

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Heavy Meta Coders Needed for GOD in the Likeness and Lightness of Global Operating Devices

I am pretty sure this last Martian outburst translates to

42

Not sure what it is an answer to, however

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Love your IoT gadget but could you keep the noise down?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Very nice

I am reminded of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation and its self-satisfied doors. You can tell its going to open by the intolerable air of smugness they suddenly generate

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NASA palms off blunder-bot Valkyrie for top US universities to fix

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

I take it R5 is not an upgrade of R2D2, then?

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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Short weekend break: Skegness or exoplanet HD 189733b?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

A bit odd

to see night side temperature well above day side.

Useful guide, for the interstellar hitchhiker, nonetheless, and you can of course always claim that where it is inaccurate, it is definitively inaccurate

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Remember Windows 1.0? It's been 30 years (and you're officially old)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

I never used 1.0 or 2.0 (used GEM instead), but started at 3.0, went through 3.1(1), skipped 95, 98 and ME (shudder) because I went to NT4, and later 2000, XP, 7, and now 8.1 (with Classic Shell).

I have good memories of NT4, actually. Installed it on my wife's home machine to protect it from cleaning sprees in which she would remove unused files.

....

like config.sys, and some other stuff cluttering the home directory.

and, no, I did not give here the admin password

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Kids' tech skills go backwards thanks to tablets and smartmobes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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There is hope yet

Enter the Arduino

My eldest (who loves his tablets and smartphones) is now in second year of secondary school, and in his research and design class was introduced to an Arduino, and had to do some basic programming on it, wiring up and controlling traffic lights and the like. He was totally captivated by it! That is the way to teach understanding and stimulate fascination at a young age. I want to go to that school and hug the teacher.

At home I showed him a little Arduino set-up programmed to play "pong" by some first-year students of mine, as part of the course Introduction to Computing Science. Both he and his younger brother found this totally cool. So for Xmas my eldest wants an Arduino set. Guess what he is going to get (and I might get one for myself as well)

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Astronomers catch first sighting of a planet's birth pangs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I checked the original paper and it is indeed 450 light years. It is quite easy to see further into the past. Even naked eye you can see the Andromeda Galaxy at 2.5 million light years, and Edwin Hubble could already study individual stars in it from earth. Furthest I have managed so far with my 8" scope is 3.5 billion light years (blazar OJ-287). Odd to think those photons exciting my retina (and brain) left the source 3/4 of the age of Earth ago.

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Microsoft chief Satya drops an S bomb in Windows 10, cloud talk

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Newspeak from Nadella?

I do not seem to be able to understand his use of the words "privacy" and "trust", given the way Windows 10 works

I am consequently looking hard for replacements for those few programs I still have to run under Windows (8.1, 10 will not be installed). I have used both Windows and Linux for a long time, and never liked the "OS wars" because I just want an OS that works, and I can trust. It seems I am now forced to make a choice for just one OS.

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Symantec's salvation plan is more and better integration. No, really

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Contradictions?

Maybe the balance he was talking about his bank balance.

Sorry, couldn't resist, I'd better be going

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French Playmobil heist: El Reg denies involvement

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: Perhaps time for a change of format?

lego?

LEGO!!!

HERESY!!!!!!!

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Aircraft laser strikes hit new record with 20 incidents in one night

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"Putting the laser where the sun doesn't shine" is the phrase that somehow springs to mind. Can't think why. Of course, it is the perpetrator's minds in need of illumination, not their lower intestines

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Now we know why Philae phouled up comet landing

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

I will be looking forward to the last stages

of this epic project.

Well done those boffins!

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Got a time machine? Good, you can brute-force 2FA

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: This might be useful

Some banks don't seem to know what century it is

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GCHQ director blasts free market, says UK must be 'sovereign cryptographic nation'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

So what if you encrypt in such a way that password A gives access to some innocuous data (maybe embarrassing enough, or personal enough to want to encrypt, but nothing illegal), and password B (possibly in combination with A) gives access to the real deal. If you hand over password A, could law enforcement know about the extra payload, especially if the payload has a limited number of bits compared to the other content?

The above scheme is hardly rocket science (or even computer science for that matter, more like a simple form of steganography). If I can think of a way of circumventing a law requiring me to hand over passwords in 60 seconds, so can many others. This does make me feel that laws like that are either simply ill though through, or just a matter of lots of sound and fury to show people the government is taking ACTION!!!!! whilst signifying nothing in real terms. Could be both, of course.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Rasputin?

"Rasputin, bring hither the skindiving suit with the bottom cut out and unleash the rampant Wildebeest"!

Shouldn't that be Igor?

Yeth, Marthter!!

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