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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2546 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Woman whipped gun from vagina in SPACE ALIEN spat, reports Officer Zook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Never Mind The Bollocks

That sir, is a classic remark!

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Intel and Asus put the dual boot in, offer 2-in-1 lapslab WinDroid

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I am tempted

to strip out the win 8 and install a full-blown Linux on such a hybrid. My experiences to date with my transformer pad have been great, but a full LaTeX install and C(++) compiler would be nice on the road. My experiences to date with the Win 8 laptop have been less than stellar.

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Thought sales were in the toilet before? Behold the agony: 2013 was a PC market BLOODBATH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Worst. Year. Ever.

For a given value of "ever". PC were pretty tough in the late iron age. To paraphrase Terry Pratchett: Try getting a druid to upgrade his 33 MegaLith system

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Two white dwarfs and superdense star. Yup, IDEAL for gravity lab in the sky - boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Interesting stuff

Also good to see the old Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope still going strong after so many years (first light was in 1970). It has undergone some major upgrades, of course.

As for quantum gravity, I am always a bit uncertain about that

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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ALIEN WORLD Beta Pictoris snapped by Earth's Gemini 'scope

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Great stuff!!

We live in wonderful times. I will lift a glass (or two) of Caol Ila malt whisky to that team tonight

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Intel ditches McAfee brand: 'THANK GOD' shouts McAfee the man

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Re: Worst software on the planet?

Ah, yes, should of thought of the various thermite variants (though a blow torch or lump-hammer are also choice stalwarts).

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Worst software on the planet?

And there I was thinking that was the Symantec Norton mess (just try removing it). Early versions were OK, but as of about 2006 it brought a powerful quad core machine with MASSES of RAM (6GB, well, it was big in those days) to a crawl. After a lengthy uninstall process (I cannot count the times I must have said "Die, Symantec!! DIE!!!!"), and install of a competing (free) product, the same machine was back to it's responsive self again.

I am happy to take McAfee's word for it, but other contenders for the title of worst software abound, I suppose.

Should the reg introduce IT Razzies?

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Will it blend?

If it's homogenized, it sounds like it has been blended already.

Sorry, couldn't resist, last Friday at work before Xmas and all that.

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Mosquitoes, Comets and Vampires: The de Havilland Museum

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Great!

That's another place I should take the kids to. The Mosquito has always been one of my favourite planes of all time. I had the privilege of seeing one fly near Bude some time around 1990. Awesome sight.. My other favourite was the Hurricane IID: A tank-buster variant which showed just how amazingly versatile and rugged the Hurricane was.

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Suffering SPITZER! Boffins discover Milky Way's MISSING ARMS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Men do not wear enough hats!

Indeed!! This is why I wear at least one every day (the roo leather Barmah today). Essential!!! The only way to fully appreciate the meaning of life!!!! Ask any wizard or witch about the importance of hats!!!!!!

Yes I'll have the kippers today! Hooray!! How do we do it? VOLUME!!!

Mine is the one with the dried frog pills in the pocket (left one, the right has a miniature universe in it)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Douglass Adams was right, once again.

I thought Rimwards, Hubwards, Turnwise, and Widdershins were the principal directions in a disc.

Mine is the one with "Raising Steam" in the pocket

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Two Brits face criminal trial for sending 'menacing' tweets

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Bit sexist really

'I think the collective term for men is "barfull".'

Good suggestion. However, in this case the word "basket" could also be used, given that men who send threats to people campaigning for an image of a famous female author to be put on a banknote, should be treated as basket cases. If people make serious threats of violence in any media (or indeed verbally). simply because they disagree with them, prosecution should certainly be considered.

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Former US POLITICIAN gets 6 years in slammer for FACEBOOK SCAM

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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One down, which is good....

It is good to see somebody getting jail time for financial shenanigans. However, I do somehow wonder whether this was because he cheated (rich?) investors. Swindling poor people out of their homes by selling them mortgages you know they cannot afford, or breaking the financial system leading to untold hardship for many poorer people does not seem to carry any penalty. For the LIBOR scandal financial penalties have been handed out to the banks, but the responsible bankers seem to get off scot free, to name just a single instance.

But let's take a balanced view: One down, many more to go .....

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HOLD THE PHONE, NSA! Judge bans 'Orwellian' US cellphone records slurp

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Judge makes sensible decision

Good for him. Whatever the difficulties in making the NSA comply, this judge made a good call

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Brilliant Brit bloke builds breakfast-belching BACON DRONE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

So who will be in command of Breakfast Command?

"Banger" Harris?

Darn, I'm hungry now!

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Teary-eyed snappers recall the golden age of film

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Lovely piece!

Brings back memories. I tend(ed) to go to extremes: Ilford HP400 pushed to 1600 for theatre photography on the one hand, Kodak Technical Pan film developed in Technidol LC for super-fine grain landscape. I still have a print of water, reeds and willow tree taken with a Carl Zeiss 85mm F/1.4 at F/2.8 in my office. Closest thing I ever got to Ansel Adams (still a LONG way to go ;-) ).

I also did a whole lot of botanical photography on Fuji Provia, and the odd wedding of friends on Kodak Portra. Still have the camera lying around somewhere. Pity really.

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Developer unleashes bowel-shaking KILLER APP for Google Glass

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

@RyokuMas, Re: Glasshole killer app involves dog turds

This suggests the killer app for Google Glass is AdBlock

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Astroboffins spot HOT, YOUNG GIANT where she doesn't belong

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Orbiting, or just a passing rogue?

Good point, it could be an "orphan planet"

I can imagine they may have some indication of the planet's radial velocity, but I doubt the data are sufficient for full orbit calculation. There is of course also the possibility of capture, as in the case of the moons of Mars

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: and now for some math...

And anyway, please express the result in Vulture-Central units

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Inside Steve Ballmer’s fondleslab rear-guard action

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: No, Liam, I won't be using a fondleslab as my primary computer.

New tools rarely replace old tools outright. Since buying electric drills and screwdrivers I have not thrown away my hammers, or manual screwdrivers, nor will I. I use tablets (just got an ASUS Transformer Pad cheaply, like the hybrid set-up) and like them for browsing, but I still use my laptop and desktop machines (writing articles and coding), and when I need more serious grunt (Gigapixel images) a 64 core compute server, and when I want to play with the big boys with big data: clusters or supercomputers. I use WIMP or touch as needed, but very often still use the command line. As new tools are added to the toolbox, we gain flexibility. Do most users need the command line? I would not think so. Do I see my students use the command line? Not as much as I do, but they still revert to it for certain types of work.

I love using editors, or word processors, but boy am I glad I still have pen, pencil and paper.

I might also suggest PC sales are going down because many people have PCs that work just fine, and are in no hurry to upgrade.

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Creepy US spy agency flings WORLD SLURPING OCTOPUS into orbit

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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At least they are being honest about their intentions. Rare enough in politicians, spooks, and bureaucrats

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Blighty's winter storms are PUNY compared to Saturn's 200mph, 15,000 mile wide HEXACANE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Looks like a copyright symbol on that storm (top image, lower part of hexagon)

SOMEBODY HAS COPYRIGHTED SATURN!!!!!

Quick! Who can we blame?

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NASA opens its Jupiter photo album to honour Pioneer 10

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

That brings back memories

I followed all the Mariner, Viking, Pioneer, Voyager mission as a kid/youngster. Awesome era of space research. I will raise a glass to this anniversary, and all the engineers and other (other) visionaries involved.

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Calling Doctor Caroline Langensiepen of Nottingham Trent uni

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Neat, but...

a true compute science approach to generate an ElReg-style paper would be to write a script to turn an ordinary paper into and ElReg paper by auto replacement of terms like "scientist" into "boffin", "psychologist" into "trick cyclist", and convert every SI unit into approved ElReg units. Alternatively, adapt the SCIgen automatic scientific paper generator into an ElReg article generator

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What is thy bidding? Han Solo’s shooter goes under the hammer

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Z: "Imagine I have a blaster ray in my hand"

Captain: "But you have a blaster ray in your hand"

Z: "So you wouldn't have to tax your imagination too much"

Mine is the one with the Genuine Kill-O-Zap Gun in the pocket

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Top comet-watcher pens ISON's emotional obituary

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Great In Memoriam! I'll drink to that (as if I needed an excuse )

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Saturn's moon Titan had swamps, say astroboffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Yes, they were all called Zem

The one with the radio plays on cassette tape in the pocket please

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Fun-killing fireshow-flunking ZOMBIE COMET ISON only LOOKED alive

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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RIP ISON

Pity it fizzled out. For those eager to see a comet, try Lovejoy, a finder chart can be found on the same site. Nice comet to view in binoculars

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India's Martian MOM leaves the nest

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Alien

Re: Wrong Priorities

You are right. By not going on this mission they could have spent a whole $0.06 per capita on education and the like. Besides, by developing the capability to launch hefty kit into any orbit they please (cheaply), they are not gaining access to any kind of useful market. After all, satellites aren't money spinners, and level-headed business men like Elon Musk steer well clear of this kind of frivolous, money-wasting projects.

Aliens, because, well, it's about Mars, init?

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China's Jade Rabbit takes great hop for mankind

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Big thumbs up to the Chinese

I'll keep my fingers crossed for Yutu (is there a U2 fan in the team? ;-) )

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Fancy knocking off early? Just run our fake computer crash 'virus', say admen

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Utter Bastards

The UTTER bastard is the one wielding the cattle prods and sending abusive e-mails in your name to the CEO to get you fired. Oh, and his PFY would put you on some most-wanted (armed and dangerous) list to give you a well-deserved wake-up call by armed police.

Isn't that about right, Simon?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

I sense a little student project with webcam and computer vision software coming on. Detect hat + coat = crash system.

Hat and coat please!

Deary me, the computer cra...

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Asus Transformer Book T100: Xbox One? PS4? Nah, get a cute convertible for Christmas

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

I have seen it for 349 Euro here in the Netherlands also too much compared with US prices, but not as ridiculous as the UK. Rip-off Britain at work?

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'Schrödinger's Comet' ISON LIVES (or DOESN'T) after Thanksgiving solar roast

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: 'Schrödinger's Comet'

No, no, no!! Quantum theory states:

1/√2 | IsON ⟩ + 1/√2 | IsOff ⟩

Until the observers can reach agreement, I suppose

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RIP Comet ISON: ???-2013. We hardly knew ye

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy
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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

If it does emerge again if should say

"I'm not dead yet!!

I'm feeling better"

Alternatively, we should train larger scopes on it to see if there is a card

"I aten't dead!"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Unhappy

There does seem to be some remnant there, but it is unlikely to give us a spectacular show. Pity for those living in parts of the world not covered in solid clouds for the next week or two.

I am happy I took the time to spot it in the morning sky (and was lucky enough to have two whole clear mornings this whole autumn),

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I ATEN'T DEAD?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

I ATEN'T DEAD?

Latest SOHO image suggest ISON is lighting up again. Now all I need is a clear patch of sky

ftp://sohoftp.nascom.nasa.gov/incoming/lasco/rtmovie_jpg24/20131129_0818_c3.jpg

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Anglo-Australian cricket brawl spills over into coding clash

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Howzat!!!

For a lame game?

Sorry, I'll get me coat. The one with Wisden in the pocket please

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Mass Effect: Ten lightweight laptops that won’t bust your back

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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No nVidia = no CUDA = No deal

For me at least, though for many others it is no problem.

My battered old VAIO SZ series machine came with an nVidia card, and weighed in at onl 1.67 kg. I seriously need to replace it, but this crop of machines does not fit the bill. Pity, because there are some nice screens out there that finally push beyond the poor 1366x768 that plagued so many 13.X" screens (and beyond).

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Thai man reportedly dies clutching his scorched iPhone 4S

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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@ Stoneshop Re: The wonders of having a metal phone body

You are right: the filter is the main culprit. Possibly the reduced distance between mains and low-voltage ends of the small transformer (compared to the beefier old ones) increases risk, but that distance is not smaller that the distances typically found in optical couplers (and they are safe, as a rule).

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: The wonders of having a metal phone body

As the charger is only designed to deliver a few volts, and almost any plug you think of has the zero/earth on the outer shell of the plug, a metal casing should be perfectly safe. An old-fashioned charger with transformer would insulate the low voltage circuit completely from mains, and is therefore the safer option. However, with copper prices the way they are, and the weight and bulk of a transformer, most supplies are now switching power supplies, in which there is a potential conductive path from mains to low voltage. Properly designed, there should be fail-safes that should prevent accidents happening. In cheap replacements, these can apparently fail. So while I can understand why phone designers can get metal casings approved, a plastic case would provide an extra fail-safe. Not buying dodgy chargers is another.

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Sysadmin job ad: 'If you don’t mind really bad work-life balance, this is for you'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

They clear studied C. Northcote Parkinson

This ad is a page out of The Short List. The aim is to frame the ad in such a way that you only get one candidate,

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China: 'JADE RABBIT' will be FOUND ON MOON

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Rabbit?

What will it's first instruction be: "Go forth and multiply"?

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'll keep my fingers crossed for their mission. It is great to see more people get involved in serious space exploration.

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Our Sun menaces comet 'of the century' ISON with FIERY DESTRUCTION

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Fingers crossed

But I fear clouds will spoil the party here.

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Revealed: How Microsoft DNS went titsup globally on Xbox One launch day

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Translation from MS BOFH speak to English...

A BOFH would have issued some non-maskable interrupts to the groinal area of those responsible. Next time (and I do not doubt there will be a next time) Azure and Office 365 fail be on the look-out for heads of IT or beancounters showing signs of discomfort in said area

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Vintage WINE laid down in SIXTEEN HUNDRED BC was 'psychotropic'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

If you are right

there should be a HUGE room full of ancient shoes nearby

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BOFH: Resistance is futile - we're missing BEER O'CLOCK

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Very nice indeed

Simon is on form. The long wait we had before this sudden burst of episodes has been spent well, methinks. Or maybe he had to recharge a battery (of the cattle prod, no doubt)

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Google deletes Maps satellite photos of 14-year-old's unsolved murder

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Re: @SeeingMole

Good points. I do satellite image analysis as part of my research, and most satellite data are used (panchromatic) at 1m resolution (these are often down-sampled to 2m to reduce the compute and storage load by a factor of four). To process the entire land surface of the world (150 Tpixel at 1m, give or take) in a week is quite a challenge, logistically and computationally. The new generation of satellites can give 30cm resolution, so roughly ten times more data: 1.5 Exapixel (ouch). Recognizing anybody at 30 cm resolution is impossible. Better resolution may be available in military satellites, but normally higher resolution work is done by aerial imaging.

What I do not understand in Google's reaction is why they do not apply some simple morphological filters to the image patch to remove the details. This is quite easy and fast. Using simple area-open-close, or levelling from markers you could remove the small features on the road without affecting the rest. Alternatively, edit out the data manually, and use image inpainting to stitch up the hole.

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Reg hack fondles a sexy Pro: An Apple MacBook 13in with Retina display

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

The lack of upgrade option is slightly ironic

Given that the original Apple II was a runaway success precisely because it could be upgraded and extended so easily.

Having said that, I have never yet upgraded my laptop. My desktop is another matter. That has had its guts removed frequently, and between complete rebuilds has had many graphics card, memory, and disk upgrades. Most people expect to replace laptops every 2 or 3 years, which is why they wonder why I still use my battered old VAIO SZ (8.5 years old). The reason is probably that I am cheap and/or too lazy to get another one.

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