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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2571 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Money? What money? Lawyer for accused Silk Road boss claims you can't launder Bitcoin

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Chewbacca defense

Or should that be "the alleged jury"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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It's a bit funny

If payment in bitcoin is accepted by him (i.e. some arbitrary real or virtual item of no intrinsic value is nonetheless accepted by mutual agreement to represent some value), but he then does not count bitcoins as money (which can be defined as some arbitrary real or virtual item of no intrinsic value which is nonetheless accepted by mutual agreement to represent some value)

Legal wrangling about words without looking at their meaning. Par for the course in court, I suppose

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Middle England trembles before roaring LOHAN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Yes, it is rocket science

Great, looking forward to that. I'll get my kids to see it too.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Yes, it is rocket science

Would love to have seen a video, though

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Want to see at night? Here comes the infrared CONTACT LENS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: More realistic...

I have seen interesting experiments (by Jaguar, as I recall) with near infra-red (NIR) headlights (apart from the normal ones), a simple CCD camera without IR blocking filter (required for normal visual use), and a jet-fighter style HUD showing the image ahead superimposed on the normal view through the windscreen. I heard some up-market cars now can be ordered with a similar system, but with the HUD replaced by a simple screen on the dashboard. The NOR lights can just shine straight ahead without blinding anyone (except those with (N)IR contact lenses/Google glasses).

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How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting article. I have an ancient laptop that is still soldiering on, and I am tempted to upgrade to win 7, which apparently is possible (and cheap: < 8 quid for me at uni), or failing that to wipe the entire windows partition and do a clean Linux install on the entire disk. Others, as indicated do not necessarily have such an option

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Chinese patent app tries to own Wine on ARM

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Hold your horses ....

And before getting excited we should glance at our calendar

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Can you tell a man's intelligence simply by looking at him? Yes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: And the 18th Century Says

Or in more modern guise: plastic surgery as retrophrenology!

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NSA plans to FREE YOUR DATA with range of cloud services, analytics

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Suspense of disbelief

did not last long enough

Nice try

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Researcher lights fire under Tesla security

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I smell

a rat.

Maybe it is the date that makes me suspicious.

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Boeing, Cupertino to 'explore weaponisation of Apple technologies'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"Speculative engineering"??

Sounds like a new department at the Unseen University, right next to "Woolly Thinking" and "Cruel and Unusual Geography", or is it a new section of the Guild of Cunning Artificers?

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OkCupid falls out of love with 'anti-gay' Firefox, tells people to see other browsers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Freedom of expression in action

There are many political movements with ideas despicable to me (anti-gay rights views are among them), but they have a right to say it out loud. In fact, I had rather they say it out loud, so I know what they are thinking, rather than having them scheme in the dark. In a democracy every political opinion may be expressed, and you may join or support every political party. At the same time you may be held accountable for your expressions, and if you step beyond the boundaries set by law, you may get punished. Furthermore, if you express opinions held in contempt by others, do not be surprised if they in their turn voice their contempt. It is their right.

Thus, Eich is perfectly allowed to support a political cause, OkCupid is perfectly entitled to protest, and we can hold both sides in contempt (or not) for different reasons. All part of democracy (nobody said it was going to be nice).

I still think the message of "love promoting" OkCupid comically full of bile, hence my smile.

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LOHAN team gears up for Punch and Judy show

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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It's been a long time since I watched a Punch and Judy show

But this one I'll watch.

I'll keep my fingers crossed

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Google confirms Turkish ISPs 'intercepted' its DNS service

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I never thought I would be defending Twitter

I "block" my personal access to it by never logging in to it, and effectively ignoring it, but people wishing to reach it should be allowed to do so.

Blocking Twitter (and Youtube) was a pointless thing to do anyway. People work around it easily, and all it does is show that you are a humourless bully who cannot take criticism.

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Artists install Monty Python silly walk signs in Norwegian town

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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These bureaucrats have clearly all had their mandatory humourectomy

Yours sincerely

Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim bus stop F'tang F'tang Ole Biscuitbarrel

(Silly Party)

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Dutch doctors replace woman's skull with 3D-printed plastic copy

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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One of the best uses of 3D printing I have seen

If not the best

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Say WHAT? ATVOD claims 44k Brit primary school kids look at smut online each month

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Only 44,000?

The rest are net-savvy enough to hide their identity

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Sticky Tahr-fy pudding: Ubuntu 14.04 slickest Linux desktop ever

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Head to head

"A lot less than Windows to Linux as you're not going to have to change all your applications."

My main applications are IDEs, compilers, text editors (code plus LaTeX), MatLab and Mathematica (apart from the browser). All of them available in Linux. The odd MS-Office document I get opens well enough in LibreOffice. In our department people use Windows (7), Mac OS-X and Linux (Ubuntu) roughly equally. I myself have used all three. Despite my earlier struggles with windows versions, I quite like Win 7. For most of my work I prefer Linux.

Just goes to show: OS wars are SO last century

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VDI a 'delightful' experience... Really?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Inetersting points raised

One thing I did not see is how to deal with a highly diverse user base. What is suitable for our secretarial staff is totally unsuitable for researchers and developers, and what is suitable for a researcher in software engineering is not suitable for somebody doing image processing or CUDA development. There is a tendency towards "one architecture to rule them all" in many IT departments, which would either deliver a complete overkill system for the low end users (leading to cost overruns for which IT is famous), or frustrate the hell out of power users. All to often, the latter is chosen.

There is of course a tension between keeping things simple for the IT staff and at the same time keeping a highly diverse and constantly changing customer base happy.

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First pics: Comet-chaser Rosetta hurtles towards icy prey, camera in hand

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Science is amazing

Somebody gave me a very strange look when I said I was organising a star party. She wondered who I had invited, and when I answered that at least 4 people with scopes would be coming puzzlement was replaced by bafflement. Apparently she was expecting some celeb names.

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FINALLY Microsoft releases Office for iPad – but wait there's a CATCH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

I can readily see that happening. Working with documents in some repository is commonplace. Having your docs in the cloud has problems however. My problem is that when I am in Uganda, Indonesia, South Africa or even Australia, I must have access to the full editing suite off-line. Never mind the annual subscription, connectivity problems and roaming charges would be my main concern. Even if the hotel or institute I visit does have good WIFI, I have had issues with connecting to data on servers here in Europe, and the moment you step out of the hotel or institute (e.g. working during a train journey) your only option is by mobile internet. That bill is going to hurt. In a plane even mobile internet is an issue.

This is not a Microsoft issue alone. I have tried one or two LaTeX editing suites for Android, and the ones I tested required access to internet to give full functionality. This is far from ideal.

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Bitcoin bloodbath as China shutters all trading sites

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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As Terry Pratchett said

"Rumour is information distilled so finely that it can filter through anything"

No currency or stock is totally immune to it. The value we assign to stocks, bonds or currencies is very much based on trust (or confidence, if you like). Rumour can shatter that confidence, or at least shake it sufficiently to wipe out a large amount of the assigned value. If I held any bitcoins I would be seriously worried.

I would go for Flainian Pobble Beads any time, and I have almost got one ningi (quite a way to go before I can deposit my first Triganic Pu)

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Nvidia unveils Pascal, its next-gen GPU with hella-fast interconnects and 3D packaging

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting news

Memory bandwidth (also between CPU and GPU) is a major bottleneck, and designing algorithms to minimize data traffic over these buses is sometimes very difficult. Higher bandwidth should make designing algorithms for these machines less of a hassle.

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WOW! Google invents the DIGITAL WATCH: What a time to be alive

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

The arrival of the Vogons is nigh!!!!

As some ape-descended life forms apparently STILL think digital watches are a good idea.

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Nvidia unveils Titan Z: An 8TFLOPS off-the-shelf supercomputer disguised as a gfx card

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Would love to have one for certain HPC loads, not for others

It is amazing what can be done with "cheap" HPC systems. I do note that this kind of architecture is not that good at the type of compute load I tend to work on: heavily data-driven processing order. GPUs still prefer SIMD-like problems of "lots of the same" type seen in many physics problem. Alternatively, I need to rethink my algorithms, but at the moment the fastest kit we use for our problems is a 2U rack server with 64 AMD cores and 512 GB RAM.

As you might guess from the above, 12GB is also too small for most of my data sets, and we still haven't quite worked out how to do our work in distributed-memory machines. It would be great if we could find a way to harness these beasts for our kind of work, however

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Stop fondling that slab and shag, says lover rubber-glover

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I thought that it was mandatory that every item used during Earth Hour must be reusable.

hmm, condoms? Reuse?

Yech!!

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NASA: Vote now to put FLASHY LIGHTS on future spacesuits

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Any votes for Cylon style sweeping red leds?

Sorry, couldn't resist

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As WinXP death looms, Microsoft releases its operating system SOURCE CODE for free

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Anybody else ever used brown-bag word processor?

I got the disk for HFL 4,- (less than 2 euro) and my wife wrote her MSc thesis on it. Simple, but it worked. I was more of a Wordstar user, as my documents (text data files from our image processing system) exceeded 64kB frequently. The column-mode editing in Wordstar was ideal for certain tricky manipulations with columns of data. I did like the first Word for Windows editions, but have switched to LaTeX since. I only ever use Word or Open/LibreOffice if I get documents from our management.

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Improbable: YOU gave model Lily Cole £200k for her Impossible.com whimsy-site

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

The words of Trillian ring true

"I don't know about impossible but it's very, very improbable."

In fact, it is so improbable I think they must have hooked up the logic circuitry of a Bambleweeny 57 sub-meson brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian motion generator to get this far.

I'm of to get a really hot cup of tea

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Ray-Ban to produce Google Glass data-goggs: Cool - or Tool?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Like the Blues Brothers reference

Or the more extravagant ones of Elton John or Dame Edna

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Like the Blues Brothers reference

I now have this mental image of Jake's jilted fiance in the film aiming her rocket launcher using a google glass

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It's 2014 and you can pwn a PC by opening a .RTF in Word, Outlook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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And people wonder why I use LaTeX. Not for everybody, I know, but it works for me.

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IBM Boffins KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE, thanks to Twitter

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Paris?

Paris Texas, Paris Utah, or the real deal?

OK, geo-tagging and time zone info can help, but an effin' big Eiffel Tower in the picture should give us a hint.

Garçon, l'addition s'il vous plait!

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Stop skiving: Computers can SEE THROUGH your FAKE PAIN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

But it still cannot see

the terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side

We need a Marvin icon

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Bletchley boffins go to battle again: You said WHAT about Colossus?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Can anybody rid us of these turbulent managers?!

For goodness sake, get on with providing service and stop this pointless bickering! If they prove incapable of sorting out their differences, could somebody get the lot of them fired, and replaced by people with more IQ than ego.

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What does people-centric IT mean, anyway?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

People-centric IT?

And there I was thinking IT solutions were designed for semi-evolved simians.

Or nematode worms.

Darn, need to redesign my UI

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Apple to switch HUMAN iPhone-juicer-fiddlers with ROBOTS – report

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Here I am brain the size of a planet and they ask me to make batteries!

call that job satisfaction, 'cause I don't!

Sorry, couldn't resist. Mine's the one with the radio plays in the pocket

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Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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So what is the correct unit in the Register's System

It's area should be in nanoWales, but the linear size might be in double-decker buses. Or will the humble linguine (unboiled, sea level) suffice?

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Tornado-chasing stealth Batmobile set to invade killer vortices

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Are there any test results?

I assume the construction is mainly metal, creating a good Faraday cage. That should withstand being zapped. Any sensors outside the cage would be in serious trouble, however.

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This changes everything: Microsoft slips WinXP holdouts $100 to buy new Windows 8 PCs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Windows 8.1?

I moved to XP from 2000 after at least SP1 (and dual booted it with SUSE Linux). I manually tweaked security settings (and was fairly paranoid in setting router firewall settings). I found XP useful, but actually prefer Windows 7. For me, Windows 7 is the best version I have used, but then I have little or no experience with the 98, ME, and Vista incarnations (my loss, I know ;-) ).

Win 8 on a new laptop is much less to my liking and I must still get round to setting up the machine to dual boot with Linux. A single try getting round the effing EFI boot loader failed.

I will try upgrading one ancient laptop from XP to Win 7 and failing that make it a full Linux machine.

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5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Re; LeeE Of course it's military...

Regarding the "unclassified" classification, all satellite images gathered by DigitalGlobe and the like must be screened by a government agency before release to the public (by law). Nothing surprising there. I have processed many satellite images (all previously cleared) and in terms of resolution this looks like many commercial images I have seen. I have no clearance (nor feel an urgent need to get one) for military work.

The only higher-resolution remote sensing images I have seen were aerial (not satellite) images taken after the Haiti earthquake. These were 15cm in resolution. More is probably possible, but not needed in most applications, as it only leads to an explosion in data size. For commercial images, this is an important consideration. Many, if not most applications only really need a resolution in the order of 1m which already leads to roughly 150 terapixels of data to cover just the earth's land mass. Moving to 0.25cm you have a 16-fold increase in data size (and processing time if your processing algorithms are O(N), otherwise it is worse). You need a very good business case to justify that.

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BOFH: On the PFY's Scottish estate, no one can hear you scream...

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Nice!

"Sending money to Uganda" has a nice ring to it

As a veiled threat for those in the know

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Proof Apple is GOING BACKWARDS: It's trying to patent a Newton-ish touchscreen stylus

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Childcatcher

Maybe the cost of filing a patent could be made variable

A fixed component + a DON'T WASTE OUR TIME fine (DWOT-fine) if prior art is found

The latter could be expressed as

DWOT_fine = base_fine * num_hits * age_oldest / rank_first_hit;

with

num_hits = number of hits on prior art in relevant search engines;

rank_first_hit = the rank of the first hit on prior art in a relevant query

age_oldest = age (in years) of first mention of prior art

base_fine = a figure in the order of 1,000,000 $

Alternatively, crowd-source this: publish the application, and have a contest who can find the oldest prior art. The DWOT-fine (computed based on age of oldest prior art, number of valid responses, and speed of first response) is split between the person finding the oldest prior art, and the person giving the first valid response.

THAT would cut back frivolous patent applications

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A sysadmin always comes prepared: Grasp those essential tools

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

What? No cattleprod!!

Indispensable, I would say

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Planes fail to find 'credible' candidate for flight MH370 wreckage

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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To summarise

We still do not know.

Frustrating for us commentards, but agonizing for the relatives of those on board. Fingers crossed for more information. The sooner the better.

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Bing accused of out-censoring the Great Firewall

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: I just hope...

Nothing specific to Microsoft. Many if not most businesses when faced with the choice of conforming to local laws or not doing business don't chose the "not doing business" option.

Nothing personal, it's just business, they say.

Sad, perhaps, but true.

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Monkey steals iPod touch, loses interest in minutes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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OOK!

I think the monkey in question would as easily lose interest in "War and Peace", which to many humans is absolutely riveting.

I asked, the only simian I know who appreciates books, and he said "OOK" so there!

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Keep your quinoa, hipsters: Boffins back healthy slabs of choc

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Great news

I'll break open those bars off extra-dark chocolate my kids gave me for my birthday to celebrate in style

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So. Farewell then Steelie Neelie: You were WORSE than USELESS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Once upon a time

Neelie deserved the "Steelie". Maybe she should have clung on to the competition portfolio. I always felt the "digital agenda" portfolio had "FAD" printed over it in large friendly letters

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