* Posts by David Harper 1

101 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

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We live in a world where a 'Hamdog' burger hybrid is patented

David Harper 1

Give that man a Nobel prize

Probably the chemistry one, since Alfred didn't leave money for a Nobel Prize in Cookery.

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Juno probe to graze Jupiter on Saturday

David Harper 1

That would most likely be the astrodynamics team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

As an ex-astrodynamics guy (though not at JPL, alas), I was insanely pleased to see my geeky specialist subject featuring in the movie "The Martian".

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The Internet of Cows is moo-ving fast … no bull!

David Harper 1

Re: And for sheep...

You win the Internet for today, Doctor Syntax :-)

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Brexit Britain: HP Sauce vs BBC.co.uk – choices that defined voters

David Harper 1

Which are a delicacy in some parts of the world, though I'd probably want to smother them with Hp sauce before I ate them.

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Power cut crashes Delta's worldwide flight update systems

David Harper 1

Re: @choleric

The length of the mean solar day *was* 86400 SI seconds around the middle of the 19th century. That rotation rate was embodied in the astronomical observations that were used to define Universal Time in the late 19th century. When UT was replaced as the best measure of time by Ephemeris Time and then by International Atomic Time in the 20th century, both ET and TAI were defined to have the same length of second as UT. And that's why we have a problem with leap seconds: the SI second reflects the rotation speed of the Earth almost 200 years ago, not today.

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Get ready for mandatory porn site age checks, Brits. You read that right

David Harper 1

Bad news for anyone seeking a quick Farage

This is a sad day for anyone who enjoys a quick Farage.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Farage

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Brexit threatens Cornish pasty's racial purity

David Harper 1

Re: Sarcasm

"the thought that somebody in Romania could start churning out Cornish Pasties isn't one of the overriding arguments I'm struggling with"

I seem to recall that Romania was one of the countries implicated in the horse-meat scandal back in 2013. I can see the marketing slogan already: "Fred Ceaucescu's Genuine Cornish Pasties -- First Past The Post!"

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Neo4j CEO: We're at 'a huge inflection point for graph databases'

David Harper 1
FAIL

One major flaw with the free version of Neo4j

>> “Our summary is, whenever you can use MySQL free, you can use Neo4j community for free,” said Eifrem.

Err, no.

You cannot perform hot backups on a running instance of Neo4j community edition. You must stop the instance, then backup the files, then re-start the instance. For hot backups, you must buy the enterprise edition.

You CAN perform a hot backup on a running instance of the MySQL community edition, using a free, open source tool such as Percona XtraBackup. Free database server, free hot backup tool.

You do backup your databases regularly, right?

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Ben Nevis embiggened by a metre

David Harper 1

From the Ordnance Survey blog post: "What is amazing is how close the surveyors in 1949 were. The measured height has changed by centimetres, but those centimetres mean we now need to round up rather than down."

And they did it using only theodolites and chains, the old-fashioned way. Well done, 1949 OS chaps!

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David Harper 1

Re: ffs

It's a perfectly cromulent word.

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NASA stormed by 18,000 wannabe 'nauts

David Harper 1

And since everyone has to get a prize just for taking part

A consolation prize for the 17,986 who don't make the grade:

http://despair.com/collections/demotivators/products/potential

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Learn you Func Prog on five minute quick!

David Harper 1

Another Stob classic.

Thank you, Ms Stob, from the bottom of my dark, twisted, object-oriented heart :-)

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Day 2: UK research network Janet still being slapped by DDoS attack

David Harper 1

Re: The attackers aren't very bright if they are after money

Compared to the banking sector, the oil industry, and other possible DDOS targets, UK universities are a poor choice for extortion.

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David Harper 1

Re: The attackers aren't very bright if they are after money

Yes I have. I have degrees from two of them. And I mentioned them in the original post.

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David Harper 1

The attackers aren't very bright if they are after money

If the perpetrators are planning to demand money to call off this DDOS attack, then they can't be very bright. UK universities are not exactly awash with spare cash, except perhaps for the salaries that some Russell Group institutions pay to their chief executives.

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IBM kills Hack A Hair Dryer women-in-tech vid after backlash

David Harper 1

Maybe IBM shouldn't have hired Donald Trump to write this stuff for them

It's about as appropriate as most of the stuff he says.

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Wikipedia's ON DRUGS again, complains Russia

David Harper 1

How do you say "The irony is killing me" in Russian?

Well, I assume it's the irony, and not the polonium.

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Kids' tech skills go backwards thanks to tablets and smartmobes

David Harper 1

Re: Why wasn't posting retarded comments on The Register included in this test?

I don't think we're allowed to use "retarded" in that sense any more, unless you're referring to comments that only appear after a lengthy delay. We have to say "comments with special educational needs".

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'T-shaped' developers are the new normal

David Harper 1

Not T-shaped but Pi-shaped, surely?

I'd have thought that a T-shaped developer had deep specialisation in only one area. Surely what the writer wants is a Π-shaped developer? Or a Ш-shaped developer, who has three areas of deep expertise, but is currently lying on the floor in a stupor.

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Verisign warns new dot-word domains could make internet unstable

David Harper 1

Re: telling quote

My vote goes to dot-cockwomble.

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That's gotta hurt: NASA suffers attack of the lame Orionids

David Harper 1

The Orionids are not a major shower

In fairness to NASA, the Orionids are not one of the most spectacular annual meteor showers. In terms of the average number of meteors per hour, they are on the low side. You'd be better off waiting until mid-December for the Geminids.

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Faked NatWest, Halifax bank sites score REAL security certs

David Harper 1

This is why I have a pre-paid card

When I buy stuff from small online retailers, I use a pre-paid card, because I have no idea who will actually be handling the credit card payment processing, and I don't want to give my real credit card details to a third-party payment site. Pre-paid cards are easy to get hold of, and many of them are free to use after a modest one-off account setup fee.

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We are the Knights who code Ni!

David Harper 1

Paging John McCarthy

You can do this in LISP. You could do this in LISP in 1958. And with more style.

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Music curation site This Is My Jam to be marmaladed next month

David Harper 1

Dr Pedantic writes ...

There's no trailing slash on /dev/null

It's a pseudo-device, not a directory.

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UK.gov wants to stop teenagers looking at tits online. No, really

David Harper 1

Re: Job Vacancy - queue here

OfToss, surely?

Or OfWhack, for our American friends.

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Mars needs TRAFFIC COP to stop probe prangs, says NASA

David Harper 1

Re: Just add SPICE

It may be easy to calculate a spacecraft position far into the future from a SPICE kernel, but that doesn't mean that the calculated position will be accurate. SPICE is just a data format and a set of subroutines to interpret that data. It's not a panacea for the fundamental difficulty of accurately modelling the orbit of spacecraft around Mars.

I'm guessing that the major stumbling blocks are uncertainties in the gravity field of the planet and the atmospheric drag -- remember that MAVEN is actually sampling the Martian upper atmosphere. Both of these uncertainties severely limit the accuracy of a long-term ephemeris of a spacecraft in an orbit like MAVEN's.

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Welcome, stranger: Inside Microsoft's command line shell

David Harper 1

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

It's nice to see that Microsoft is finally catching up to where Unix was, circa 1975 :-)

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BLOOD STAR of the NEANDERTHALS passed close to our Sun

David Harper 1

No Boffin reference? For shame!

I'm gravely disappointed that no mention was made of boffins in this article, given that one of the co-authors of the paper in ApJ Letters is Dr Henri Boffin.

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ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

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Magnifico! Galileo satellite nudged back into correct orbit

David Harper 1

Re: How long before we see more ion engines?

As long as you don't mind waiting a couple of centuries :-)

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That's no – actually it is: DEATH STAR MOON 'could be full of life-friendly water'

David Harper 1

Re: Please try to get the facts right

It's not the orbit. I've read the original paper in Science, and this is the area in which I got my Ph.D. Trust me, it's not the orbit. It's the rotation.

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David Harper 1

Please try to get the facts right

"The team used data from Cassini to build a 3D model of the moon's orbit and found it wobbles twice as much as it ought."

Not its orbit. They built a 3D model of Mimas itself, using surface features as landmarks. Then they used those landmarks to track subtle changes in the satellite's rotation.

I'd expect this kind of sloppy reporting in a tabloid, but the Register really should aim for a higher standard of scientific accuracy.

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VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis

David Harper 1

Seymour Cray and Apple

I'm reminded of the anecdote about Seymour Cray told by Microsoft's Jim Gray. When Cray was told that Apple had just bought one of his supercomputers to design the next generation of Macs, Cray commented that he'd just bought a Mac to design his next supercomputer.

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Nationwide Building Society's services out for the count

David Harper 1

It seems to be working again now

I just logged in and it was working fine.

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ECCENTRIC, PINK DWARF dubbed 'Biden' by saucy astronomers

David Harper 1

Re: You can't name astronimical objects after politicians

The IAU rules (http://www.iau.org/public/themes/naming/) are quite clear about pandering to politicians:

"The names of individuals or events principally known for political or military activities are unsuitable until 100 years after the death of the individual or the occurrence of the event."

So Joe Biden can't have an asteroid named after him until he's been pushing up the daisies for a century.

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David Harper 1

You can't name astronimical objects after politicians

I very much doubt that the astronomers will succeed in naming it Biden, because the International Astronomical Union has a policy which explicitly forbids naming of astronomical objects after politicians.

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Reg tries out Google's Chromecast: Yep, we even tested smut sites

David Harper 1

Way better than Virgin Media TiVo for BBC iPlayer

I bought a Chromecast via Amazon this week to find out whether it would help me to escape from Virgin Media TiVo / BBC iPlayer hell. In short, VM's TiVo system cannot play on-demand TV using the BBC iPlayer. The video stream glitches every few seconds, making it pretty much unwatchable. According to the VM engineer who came to check our newly-installed TiVo after I complained about the crap iPlayer video quality, this is apparently a known problem, but neither Virgin nor the BBC will admit responsibility.

Anyway, I'm happy to report that Chromecast solves the problem. I can now cast BBC iPlayer video streams from my smartphone or tablet to my TV, and the quality is excellent. Thank you, Google.

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UK.gov recruiting 400 crack CompSci experts to go into teaching

David Harper 1

What about the kids who have no aptitude for programming?

Nobody has mentioned the elephant in the room -- not everyone has an aptitude for programming, just as not everyone has an aptitude for maths, or languages, or music.

Some years ago, Richard Bornat (a computer science professor at Middlesex University) and his graduate student Saeed Dehnadi did research which demonstrated that in their class of first-year computer science undergraduates, there were two distinct groups: those who intuitively understood how to write programs, and those who didn't. Worryingly, the performance of the second group could not be significantly improved by training them. This was published as a paper titled "The camel has two humps". (You can find it by googling the title.)

Now Gove wants to try to force school kids to write computer programs, when most of them will have neither the interest nor the aptitude for it. It's a recipe for disaster.

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

David Harper 1

Han shot first

As anyone who saw the movies the first time around will tell you :-)

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Be prepared... to give heathens a badge: UK Scouts open doors to unbelievers

David Harper 1

And the IT angle is?

Curious to know why El Reg now has a theology correspondent.

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Amazon's weekend cloud outage highlights EBS problems

David Harper 1
FAIL

How ironic

It's a delicious irony that the ad surrounding this news article at the moment is for Amazon Web Services :-)

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Back up all you like - but can you resuscitate your data after a flood?

David Harper 1
WTF?

Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???

"MySQL built-in replication just doesn't work unless you have a properly designed application. By "properly designed" I mean something that's aware of DB replication scenarios and which uses the database architecture for relational key tracking."

I'm sorry, Trevor, but either this is a troll or you really don't understand MySQL replication and you're just repeating what some bloke down the pub told you once.

Applications do NOT need to be aware of replication. I should know -- I've written large-scale applications which talk to MySQL databases that had replication slaves. Not once did I have to alter my code because of that. And these days I get paid to manage hundreds of MySQL servers, ALL of which have replication slaves, a fact that most of the developers are blissfully unaware of. And that's how it should be, of course.

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David Harper 1

Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???

Are you talking about multi-master replication? <Shudder>

There are open-source solutions that allow you to avoid that kind of thing, such as Galera Cluster, as well as commercial products.

Thankfully, I don't have to support multiple primary sites, so I've avoided having to implement such setups.

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David Harper 1
Facepalm

You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???

You say "None of the databases for our public websites can be set up for live replication because that would require rewriting code to accommodate it." and in the next paragraph, you state that you're using MySQL.

MySQL has had built-in near-real-time replication to a remote mirror server for over a decade. I was using it as a data-protection solution back in 2002! It doesn't require any changes to client code, since it happens within the database server.

And there are robust open-source solutions for backing up a running server, such as Percona's XtraBackup.

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Mozilla devs plotting to put a stake in <blink> tag – at last

David Harper 1
Happy

Re: Haters gonna hate

Yes. And don't call me Shirley.

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Hold on! Degrees for all doesn't mean great jobs for all, say profs

David Harper 1
FAIL

What's even more depressing ...

... is that one of Scotland's ancient seats of learning is now handing out Ph.D. degrees in Human Resource Management.

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Rocket boffinry in pictures: Gulp the Devil's venom and light a match

David Harper 1

Why no mention of Sergei Korolev?

It's a pity that this otherwise excellent article fails to mention Sergei Korolev, who was as great a rocket scientist as Werner von Braun.

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Tablets aren't killing ereaders, it's clog-popping wrinklies - analyst

David Harper 1

Re: Dead boomers already?

IIRC, "baby boomer" is anyone born between 1946 and 1964, so some of us haven't even reached 50 yet.

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BEST reiterates ‘no solar forcing’ claim

David Harper 1

Re: Open Journals

"Will never have the endorsement of the scientific community as a whole."

The scientists who publish in the open-access, peer-reviewed Public Library of Science (PLOS) journals would be surprised to hear that. In the life sciences community, the PLOS journals have a strong reputation.

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NoSQL's CAP theorem busters: We don't drop ACID

David Harper 1

But is it web scale?

I wish these guys every success, but I'm reminded of the excellent "MongoDB is web scale" cartoon from a couple of years ago:

http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/6995033/mongo-db-is-web-scale

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