* Posts by Tom Melly

68 posts • joined 27 Apr 2007

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Coding: 'suitable for exceptionally dull weirdos'

Tom Melly

Re: algorithm != algebra

When you write any sort of function, its form is basically algebraic, even if it's just a bunch of statements and operators.

However, it's arguable that programming is not a bad introduction to algebra, but I wouldn't really expect anyone under 12 to be actually hand-coding (unless by choice).

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Double-click? Oh how conventional of you, darling!

Tom Melly

Re: Standards...

Regarding the Kia, fun, isn't it? Had mine for over a year and I still get it wrong about 1 in 5 times. To add insult to injury, I now also get it wrong when I drive a 'normal' car.

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Apple: iOS7 dayglo Barbie makeover is UNFINISHED - report

Tom Melly

A Design Classic

Well, I think it's a wonderful look - clearly inspired by a classic of interface design:

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2005/07/a-tribute-to-the-windows-31-hot-dog-stand-color-scheme.html

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CURSE you, EINSTEIN! Humanity still chained in relativistic PRISON

Tom Melly

Re: Stupid question

In fairness, placebos are very effective for pretty much everyone. Bizarrely, it doesn't even matter much if you're told that you're taking a placebo. Oh, and it helps if you're charged a lot of money. Seriously.

Anecdotally, I was given homoeopathic medicine when I was covered in very virulent mosquito bites. It worked brilliantly within minutes, and I know that stuff is a load of bollocks.

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Netflix plotting move to HTML5 video - but only if DRM works

Tom Melly

Re: DRM cant work

Netflix IMHO have got it right. I don't bother trying to circumnavigate the DRM because I don't need to. The monthly price is low and I can watch on pretty much any device in the home. I don't feel I'm 'buying' content, so don't feel aggrieved that it's DRM-enabled.

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Evernote joins the notably hackable club

Tom Melly

Re: Salts - one or many?

So common passwords (e.g. 'password') would look the same encrypted?

Could they have also get hold of the salt? If so, this would presumably allow them to encrypt various common passwords and then see which accounts had a match?

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Tom Melly

Salts - one or many?

Can someone tell me - does each password get its own salt or is there a global salt that's used?

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Own a drone: Fine. But fly a drone with a cam: Year in the clink

Tom Melly

Re: Tricky one

Hmm... I seem to remember a story called, iirc, "Welcome to the Goldfish Bowl". There was a huge time-viewer that allowed you to see the past housed in a massive building, and it could only look back if the event was over 500 years ago or something.

Then someone worked out a) how to make it small and cheap and b) how to get around the 500 year thing (possibly realising it was an artificial restriction). They released the machine to the public, and a very angry man from the government turned up with the simple question "how long ago is the past?" and then left, muttering the story's title. (or something).

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Facebook burnout: 61% of users have needed a break

Tom Melly

The trouble FB faces is that it doesn't really allow any development as a communications medium. No discussion threads, everything dropping out of site after a few hours - it doesn't really support anything more complex than gossip, kittens and promotional pages. Everyone's trapped in an endless loop.

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The Death of Voice: Mobile phone calls now 50 per cent shorter

Tom Melly

Observing my children and their friends, calls are ridiculously short. They seem to treat speaking as an extension of texting, and employ the same brevity. It can be quite shocking for us old 'uns, as it often (from our perspective) comes across as incredibly rude - e.g.

Daughter: Do you want to come round?

Friend: No (end of call).

1 min later

Mother of friend: I'm sorry - X was so rude. She can't come round as we're just off to see her gran.

Cue agreement from me and the wife, head-scratching from daughter...

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Wikipedia doesn't need your money - so why does it keep pestering you?

Tom Melly

Re: Out of that entire article

I didn't know that - and nor does Wikipedia amusingly...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Melly#References

check out number 7... it's a link to an el reg article about, mostly, wikipedia...

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NASA reveals secrets of Curiosity’s selfies

Tom Melly
Black Helicopters

Re: a waste of NASAs time

I suspect NASA know that there are a hard-core who will never be convinced even if you rubbed their faces in Martian dust whilst giving them a spacesuit wedgie.

The point is that potential converts (who might otherwise be convinced by a 'no way this could have been taken on Mars' argument) have an alternative - and correct - explanation.

I guess they've learned from all the nonsense that sprung up around the moon landings with regard to shadows and fluttering flags, and so on.*

* what I love about conspiracy theories is how they require the conspirators to be both superhuman geniuses and complete cretins - they build a convincing moon set, but then decide that a gentle breeze and some extra lighting would improve the ambience?

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London Blitz bomb web map a hit-and-miss affair

Tom Melly

Lots of ommissions

A pair of houses in Greyswood St, SW16 were bombed and rebuilt, but no sign of that either (we used to live opposite, and I was puzzled for some time by the discontinuity in the architecture and design).

Do they give any rough idea of what % of bombs are recorded?

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Copying Wikipedia's lies is not just for hacks, right Lord Leveson?

Tom Melly

One of the problems with wikipedia - and relevant to this issue - is that the inaccuracy is now verifiable - the article can cite the levenson report (citation is more important than truth).

It's a constant problem with wikipedia - an incorrect or unverified fact is lifted from wikipedia by a lazy journo, and the journo's article then becomes the verification.

See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/03/15/tom_melly_wikipedia_comment/ for an example (and for added irony, note that the reg article has become one of the citations).

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Legal wigs to sort out rules on internet defamation, contempt

Tom Melly

What worries me is that they seem to be heading towards a "if enough people complain" standard. Mob justice and faux outrage as law... great.

Personally, I'd be happier if they picked the cases they're going to prosecute out of a hat.

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What happened to comics for kids? Hell, what happened to COMICS?

Tom Melly

But what about the Beano, Dandy, etc.

Some interesting stuff in the comments (I really must give 2000AD another go - several years since I even looked at a copy), but no one is really addressing the issue of what went wrong for the old-style UK kids comics.

Take the Beano - it was fairly clear picking up an issue even 10 years ago that this wasn't really a comic - more of a magazine with a few strips. Why did that change? Once would assume that it was economic necessity, but I'm not sure where the necessity came from. Both my kids will happily read old Beano annuals, so why did kids stop buying kids' comics?

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Habitable HEAVY GRAVITY WORLD found just 42 light-years away

Tom Melly

Re: What? No 'Mission of Gravity' reference?

'Mesklin' was mentioned by another poster...

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Tom Melly

Mostly correct, but I don't know where you get the 'years younger' bit. At 1G, it will take you about 12 years (ship time), and you will therefore be 12 years older...

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Tom Melly

Re: Optional

Ah, I was wondering who would make the Mission of Gravity connection...

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Tom Melly

Re: whats the point

AFAICT if you accelerate/decelerate at 1G the whole way, then you can make it in around 12 years (ship time).

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Dr No, Thunderball, Casino Royale? Vote now for the best Bond film

Tom Melly

Sorry about this...

Bono and the boys decide to retire and move to Australia to take up surfing. Anyway, a reporter goes to interview them in their new beach pad. Unfortunately, on the day of the interview, the entire band is drowned in a freak accident, and on arrival, the reporter is greeted by a tearful manservant. The reporter asks if the band is ready to be interviewed, to which the manservant replies, "No, Mister - Bondi-expats U2 die."

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Is lightspeed really a limit?

Tom Melly

Re: Am I On Youtube?

... and apparently they're spending their life talking (and thinking) bollox.

... and that's ignoring the fact that 'boring' in this case is referring to experimental evidence that time and space change their relative dimensions in order to maintain a constant value for c.

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Tom Melly
Facepalm

Am I On Youtube?

For a tech-site, I'm amazed at the fundamental ignorance shown by many posters of the basics of relativity.

How can people spend what appears to be quite a lot of time dreaming up nonsense when a little reading would at least give a basic understanding of the principles (which have been proved time and time again in the lab)?

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Tom Melly

but c is not the speed of light - it is the speed that any particle with zero rest-mass MUST travel at. Actually, and iirc, it is more complicated than that. In a sense, everything travels at speed c all the time - it's just that massless particles travel at c in 3d space as well as 4d space-time.

In other words, to travel faster than c requires you to behave differently from every other particle in the universe.

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Tom Melly

Re: FTL - easy-peasy...

I don't think it quite works like that (but I could be wrong). Apart from anything else, remember that your propulsion mass is increasing too...

Thought experiment - can the people on the ship measure that they have more mass? If not, how would they explain the sudden need for shed-loads of energy?

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Tom Melly
WTF?

Re: there is already something faster than light

I down-voted you and el reg said it was sorry I didn't like your post. This is not true. I loved your post. Still chuckling...

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Tom Melly

FTL - easy-peasy...

Travelling faster than c (as in "reaching a star x light years away in less than x years") is perfectly possible - it's getting back in time for tea that's the problem...

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Tom Melly

Point of order (hopefully an interesting one). C is not the speed of light - it is the speed that anything with zero rest-mass will travel at - i.e. light is one of the class of things that travel at C.

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Internet Explorer needs fresh dev infusion for a full recovery

Tom Melly

Re: IE deliberate bug

Actually, almost all browsers screw up in some way or another when it comes to 'split', and IE only screws up when the delimiter is a regex rather than a string. Not defending IE - I only use it for one must-use-IE application - but cross-browser JS implementation issues are not going to go away any time soon, irrespective of which browser you use.

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M.R. James, master of the ghost story, was born 150 years ago

Tom Melly

Favourite MR James lines?

Mine (from Casting the Runes):

There was more unpleasantness, however. Either an economical suburban company had decided that their light would not be required in the small hours, and had stopped working, or else something was wrong with the meter; the effect was in any case that the electric light was off. The obvious course was to find a match, and also to consult his watch: he might as well know how many hours of discomfort awaited him. So he put his hand into the well-known nook under the pillow: only, it did not get so far.

What he touched was, according to his account, a mouth, with teeth, and with hair about it, and, he declares, not the mouth of a human being. I do not think it is any use to guess what he said or did; but he was in a spare room with the door locked and his ear to it before he was clearly conscious again. And there he spent the rest of a most miserable night, looking every moment for some fumbling at the door: but nothing came.

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'People should be free from Peeping Toms' snapping pics of them!

Tom Melly

Re: Sir

Which would be fine if they hadn't made it clear that it was to 'protect' their catering staff rather than the pupils. Since she wasn't actually photographing anything but her plate of food, they basically made themselves look like twats.

Anyway, whatever, thanks to the council, she's raised nearly £100,000

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XP - Latest KB updates

Tom Melly
Thumb Down

XP - Latest KB updates

Anyone else having problems with today's (?) security updates? KB 2518864, 2572073 and 2633880.

Keeps prompting, installing, prompting again, installing again, and so on...

I don't appear to be alone (http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_xp-windows_update/windows-update-keep-installing/03b79e2b-da93-4e63-99b5-f933e3841036)

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Ten... freeware gems for new PCs

Tom Melly

No fans of TrueCrypt or PGP?

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PlayStation Suite SDK beta opens today

Tom Melly

Re: what devices are supported?

where does it say that it's only for mobile devices?

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Aliens Blu-ray disc set

Tom Melly
Thumb Down

Hmm... apart from the sound (and I'm partially deaf) I can't think of any particular reason to buy this.

So... moving on, is it just me or does the special edition suck? (as in "adds nothing, takes away a lot")

The main crimes:

1. The scenes with the colonists

2. Boring shooting gallery scene with the automatic guns in the corridor

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Sugar content now to be measured in Cadbury Creme Eggs

Tom Melly
Thumb Up

More useful info from XKCD

Nice, but, if you're going to start referencing XKCD, can we have something more useful?

http://xkcd.com/936/

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Gov IT contractors hire staff in India to work on benefits system

Tom Melly
FAIL

Just pretend it's foreign aid...

... because otherwise it makes no sense at all.

You could pay twice as much to have it developed in the UK and it would still make sense not to off-shore. Not only is this tax revenue leaving the country rather than being spent back into the economy, but you've also just increased the unemployment figures...

This is like using your petrol to fuel someone else's car on the basis that they get better MPG than you... (I admit that this fails to include the possibility that we might get some decent software at the end of it, but then how likely is that?)

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Lego space shuttle hits 114,000ft

Tom Melly

I don't want to complain, but...

... would it have killed them to wait for a nicer day?

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Netflix vs Lovefilm

Tom Melly
Thumb Up

Netflix - two probems

At the price, the lack of recent releases doesn't bother me so much, and seems pretty much inevitable, and I assume that their catalogue is going to expand.

My two gripes so far are occasional problems with the sound/picture being slightly out of sync and the fact that you can't browse the entire catalogue. The syncing thing seems to sometimes go away if you stop and restart the film, but I don't even understand how modern hardware and codecs even allow that to happen...

I would add some of the categories it offers me to the complaint, but they're more just bizarre rather than a problem ("Dark thrillers with a strong female lead", or something like that - that's a thing?).

Price-wise, netflix seems to be a clear winner - either that or I misunderstood what lovefilm was offering.

Anyway, lovefilm's not an option. We have a good dvd deal with them which their desperate to make us switch from. Every new service they offer requires us to switch away from it. TBH I haven't even used the deal we have (pay-per-disc rather than monthly), but I don't want to cancel it, I want to pass it on to my children when I die....

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BT comes clean on Infinity modem 'upgrade'

Tom Melly
Stop

Indeed. I presume BT pay their PR people and don't just crowd-source them or something. How do large companies keep making the fundamental mistake of thinking no one will find out?

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The moment a computer crash nearly caused my car crash

Tom Melly
WTF?

More than one occasion?!?

"That computer has legitimately saved my life on more than one occasion."

This is the bit that scares me... I'm tempted to forgive it as hyperbole, but imagine the same statement about, say, smoke detectors saving one person's life on more than one occasion. I'd humbly suggest that they might be doing something wrong...

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Lost memory stick had 87 NHS patients' info unencrypted

Tom Melly
Facepalm

No surprise

My job involves a lot of work with the NHS. For all their ICO bollox, they rarely train or provide any encryption software.

We've largely given up the battle of trying to persuade some of our clients to stop sending us unencrypted patient data via email...

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Webcam sextortion perve gets 6 years

Tom Melly
WTF?

Shocking of course, but...

... someone managed to trick users into taking the pc into the shower with them by generating a fake error message?

I have to admit that I'm sort of vaguely impressed - although whether by the stupidity of the users or the recognition of that stupidity by the culprit, I'm not sure...

Oh, and it was on a Mac ;)

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Sony quietly tests PlayStation Network revamp

Tom Melly

I'd rather they had a better process for handling username disputes

Any shite-stirring bugger can report you to sony and get you barred, and getting stuff back that you actually paid for is a nightmare.

And what exactly is wrong with P3n1sVanLesb1an anyway?

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Spam volumes show massive drop - but why?

Tom Melly

Right but wrong

It's worded very confusingly...

I think it means:

before 10% legit email, 90% spam - eg. 10/90

now 25% legit email, 75% spam - eg. 10/30 (since the amount of legit is unchanged)

or not... no, you're right. It still doesn't make much sense...

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Cameron calls for ISP-level parental censorship tools

Tom Melly

Because...

... if you're in government, the answer to every problem is always more complexity.

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James Cameron to amp up Avatar frame rate

Tom Melly

I think they did it on purpose

I think they deliberately went very generic - they wanted something that they could sell everywhere and would offend nobody.

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Fukushima's toxic legacy: Ignorance and fear

Tom Melly
Headmaster

Simple lesson to learn

I have no real comment to make on the seriousness or otherwise of what happened, but it seems there's a fairly simple lesson - make sure that you factor in not having mains power for several days.

Jesus - don't these people read Jurassic Park or anything?

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Reactions to iiNet's copyright win

Tom Melly
Thumb Down

address the growing demand for studio content to be delivered in a timely and cost-effective manner

The above quote from the article is the point IMHO.

I looked into using iTunes to watch films with the family. Could I burn them to dvd? No. Torrent it is then...

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Judge guts suit against Sony for killing Linux in PS3

Tom Melly
FAIL

Stupid Sony

The really dumb thing was offering it in the first place without a clear strategy to cope with the PR fallout when they (inevitably) had to remove the feature.

They should have never offered it, and, if for some reason they felt they had to offer it, they should have shouted from the rooftops what was going to happen when it got hacked...

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