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* Posts by stuartnz

164 posts • joined 26 Sep 2009

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When the robot rebellion comes, this Jibo droid will BORE you to death

stuartnz

It must be Thursday (here), I never could get the hang of Thursdays (since all the obvious Sirius Cybernetics Corporation references have already been made). Except this one:

Sounds Ghastly.

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Car titans WON'T STEAL our tech, says Musk: DAMNIT, I'll GIVE IT to 'em

stuartnz

To be fair, most of the coverage has been much more of the "enlightened self-interest" type than " aww, altruism" type. It's the "enlightened" bit that's making him so exceptional, and that IS sad. The fact that so few others can grasp the concept that making the pie bigger is good for both piemakers and consumers is an indictment of our times. Also, corporate behaviour in regard to all things IP is so insane today that a quiet statement of moderation really does sound like a breath of fresh, rational, air.

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India's GPS alternative launches second satellite

stuartnz

Good point. At least, it might be, if every other country spending hundreds of millions on space exploration had totally eradicated poverty and social injustice already.

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Artists install Monty Python silly walk signs in Norwegian town

stuartnz

PLEASE tell me this sign is in Piningsfjord.

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Private space truck ready for ISS trip as soon as NEXT WEEK

stuartnz

Re: 1.6 vs 1.9?

Thanks, that explains a lot. Obviously the reason that no one can hear you scream in space is because even there you can still be choked by red tape.

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stuartnz

1.6 vs 1.9?

They are contracted for 33% fewer flights, carrying roughly 33% less cargo each time, and yet are getting nearly 20% more money than Space X? Is it just my shaky grasp of maths, or does this sound screwy to anyone else besides me?

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Shivering boffins nail Earth's coldest spot

stuartnz

A misspelling perhaps?

"both of which have enjoyed a balmy -67.8°C in "the coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth", as NASA puts it."

Perhaps "barmy" would be more appropriate here? Certainly for the residents, at any rate.

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KILO-MACH SONIC BOOM probed in fireball embers of 1572AD SUPERNOVA

stuartnz

Re: In Space, No-one Can Hear You Explode

Thanks for this! When I read the headline I thought, "Big whoop-de-doo - given the speed of sound in a near-total vacuum, I and my trusty walking stick can still beat Mach 1000 easily" :)

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SR-71 Blackbird follow-up: A new TERRIFYING Mach 6 spy-drone bomber

stuartnz

Re: It's 0 for 2

Oh yes, I know the SR-71 was definitely a military plane whose photos were intended for a kill wall not a Facebook wall, but it was still nice to be able to pretend otherwise. :)

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stuartnz

Re: Maybe...

An interesting approach - using high-speed impact to kill the malaria virus. (and its host, but omelettes and eggs) :D

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stuartnz
Meh

It's 0 for 2

As impressive as it is, it loses to "the older, more pedestrian" model in two important regards in my authoritatively subjective opinion:

First, it's nowhere near as beautiful - of course no aircraft is, since the SR-71 may be one of the most beautiful machines ever built.

Second: It's intended to carry weapons. I loved that the gorgeous Blackbird only shot photos. It allowed the conscientious objector in me to admire it pretty much guilt-free. Aesthetically and ethically, there's a lot less for me to admire about the SR-72.

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Fresh shift of 'nauts arrives at Space Station, planning torch jaunt

stuartnz

Why an unlit torch? Putin can teach geese to fly and wrestle bears all while discovering priceless archaeological artefacts, surely he could have thumbed his nose at physics and chemistry and invented a torch that would burn in space?

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Fame-hating planets don't need to hang around STARS – boffins

stuartnz
Happy

Because of my cerebral palsy my posts are often riddled with typos, so I almost never comment on those of others, but somehow there is something so fitting to this topic and so very Magrathean about the concept of a "rouge planet" that I had to applaud this serendipitous slip. One hopes that the sea there is exactly the right shade of pink, with plenty of fjords to give its continents a nice baroque feel.

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stuartnz
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MIndbogglingly big

I absolutely LOVED this quote: "“They are very small, each with diameter less than 50 times the distance between the Sun and Neptune" - an object with a *diameter* of up to 200 BILLION kilometres is "very small". As a much, much better Gooner than I once reminded us, "you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's peanuts compared to Space"

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Apple sucking triple the phone switchers as Samsung – report

stuartnz

Thanks! I understand the economic significance of the US market, but given the status Apple has as a religion there, survey results like this are totally predictable, hence my query.

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stuartnz

I read this a few times and couldn't find any information about the size of the sample, or its geographical parameters. Is this a global study, or a US-only one? If the latter, then its newsworthiness ranks only slightly below "study finds the Earth is an oblate spheroid".

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Twee...THUD: Boffins build 'The Classifier' to seek out, kill millions of Twitter fakes

stuartnz

Re: "It's unmatched as a source of near real-time reliable information"

"What am I doing here?" - My apologies, I missed the memo requiring users to choose between El Reg and Twitter. So did El Reg, if it's Twitter presence is any indication. As - salaam alaikum.

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stuartnz
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Twitterphobes are twits

I'm not fond of change, and so it's nice that I can always rely on smug, sneering derisive comments to be the norm on any article about Twitter at El Reg. Patronsing pronouncements about its pointless are practically Pavlovian it seems, and I'm pleased about this, because it's hugely amusing to read people shooting their mouths off from positions of such profound ignorance. Every time there's a significant earthquake swarm here, as in the last hour or so, Twitter demonstrates its great usefulness. It's unmatched as a source of near real-time reliable information, and the value of this service not only makes a mockery of those who mock it, it makes the work of those trying to reduce the spam content valuable and appraceiated by those of us who don't need to to reflexively jeer at something just to feel superior.

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100,000+ Earthlings star in 'reality TV contest' for ONE-WAY ticket to MARS

stuartnz

Re: Radiation Levels Still a Problem

Set up shop on Phobos or Deimos? Given their tiny size and close orbits that sounds even more difficult to me, especially with the larger of the two having a decaying orbit.

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Badges for Commentards

stuartnz

Re: Purple Vulture

And if there was such a badge, perhaps my stupid typos like "ration" for "ratio" could be corrected. :(

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stuartnz

Re: Purple Vulture

With an up:down ration of about 18:1, I heartily endorse this idea! :)

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stuartnz
Meh

typo editing

I'm never going to qualify for a badge, as I don't comment enough to come close. I try to live by David Byrne's sage mantra, and so if I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed. Nevertheless, my cerebral palsy does cause me to make more typos than I'd like, and there are occasions when I wish I could edit them. I think it would be nice if a brief edit window was opened to commentards with a sufficiently high upvote percentage, say 95%. Anyone with such a ratio is highly unlikely to resort to trolling via edits, but would likely enjoy the granting of the privilege as recognition for the overall positive reaction to their contributions.

Oh and, yes, this is obviously a self-serving plea, but not quite THAT self-serving - my upvote ratio is not yet at 95%, so I'm not saying "give it to me, now!", just that such a target might be something for less loquacious commentards to enjoy aiming.

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Google teases hush-hush Android event on July 24

stuartnz

Re: "Invites" is a verb.

An obscure little tome calling itself the OED begs to differ:

"invite, n. view full entry 1615

...The act of inviting; an invitation...."

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Court orders Feds to hand evidence over to Kim Dotcom

stuartnz

Re: The 24/7 noise from NZ will be deafening

"The deference the New Zealand governments gives their judiciary is remarkable" - in fact, our Govt HAS been scrambling to make legal what its intelligence agencies have been doing in this whole sorry mess. Specifically, as a result of publicity generated by Dotcom's case, it has been established that our GCSB ( think tiny, low-budget NSA) has been spying on NZ citizens, something it is expressly forbidden to do. Solution? Change the law, to let them do so in future.

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FLABBER-JASTED: It's 'jif', NOT '.gif', says man who should know

stuartnz

The last word

Will never be spoke, but Stan Carey is, as always, excellent on this very issue

http://stancarey.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/you-can-pronounce-gif-any-way-you-like/

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Don't Panic! Google FCC filing reveals mystery media device

stuartnz

A new Google Mantra?

No longer "Don't Be Evil", now just "SHARE AND ENJOY", perhaps? (Only the top half, of course)

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Review: Samsung Galaxy S4

stuartnz
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Re: Anyone not liking the Samsung spin on Android

Yes, I was VERY excited to hear about this new release - so much so I'm now seriously thinking of upgrading from my S3 earlier than planned. A de facto Nexus S4 is the best of both worlds, imo.

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New Lumia 925: This, loyalists, is the BIG ONE you've waited for

stuartnz

Re: I don't understant people who want removable batteries

It seems we have different definitions of "hassle". I always have a battery pre-charged, and swapping batteries takes me, with one hand's usability significantly impaired by CP-induced hemiparesis, less than ten seconds. That's less hassle for me than having to find a socket, especially since I don't drive and thus don't own a car (buying one just use as a charger would be too much hassle, I think).

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stuartnz
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Different strokes

For different folks, I guess. I read so much about the Galaxy's "cheap plasticky construction" but I'm very happy with my S3's construction precisely for the reasons that seem to be dismissed as of less worth than "luxury engineering" - its replaceable battery and expandable storage. Give me a plastic shell that comes apart to allow swapping out a battery and a microSD slot over a shiny metal unibody ANY DAY. I hope that Samsung keeps bucking the trend for a while longer, so that when I replace my S3, I can do so with a phone that still offers both a replaceable battery and expandable storage.

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Penguins in spa-a-a-ce! ISS dumps Windows for Linux on laptops

stuartnz

Brought of the gravity well?

Isn't LEO still very much IN the gravity well?

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British bookworms deem Amazon 'evil'

stuartnz
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Re: Fundamental dichotomy

"welcome to the long history of literature that preceded the Internet" and just what exactly do these elitist "book-lovers" have against the long history of literature that preceded the invention of books by millennia? Why not a collection of codices, scrolls and cuneiform (or stone) tablets? The idea that one's choice of reading MEDIUM says anything significant about the quality of one's reading MATERIAL is the sort of concept for which the word risible seems to have been specifically tailor-made.

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stuartnz

Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

It's the same here in NZ, at least with my local library. When they first announcedd they were getting into ebook lending I was very disappointed that the Kindle was not supported. Then I saw the selection of books available and realised I was missing out on precisely nothing.

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stuartnz

Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

I'm not a hardcore techie, but I do know who Neil Gaiman is (The Doctor's Wife was a great episode) and I did consider my options before buying my first Kindle a couple of years ago. I have yet to see any signs of being trapped in "proprietary DRM-saturated Hell". Amazon's range of available books continues to grow, Calibre continues to make adding books from non-Amazon sources a total doddle and I continue to enjoy reading on my Kindle while experts keep telling me I've been enslaved by a malevolent megacorp.

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stuartnz

Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

I'm sure you would love the Paperwhite. I traded up to one a few months ago and love it. I really liked my Kindle keyboard, but the Paperwhite is even better, and reinforced my preference for e-ink over reading on backlit devices like my S3 or Nexus 7.

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Nearly a quarter of all books sold in US in 2012 were ebooks

stuartnz
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Re: They haven't caught up to real books

Someone asking a genuine question about ebooks out of a desire to be informed, rather than just slagging them off reflexively and demeaning their users' intelligence and taste in literature? That makes you seem positively out of place in this comments thread!

To answer your question strictly from my own experience with reading 35 or so of Pratchett's books on my Kindle and Nexus 7 - every ereader app I've used had no trouble mixing font sizes, so that Death always spoke in small caps. I've also read books with Hindi (devnagari) included and had no display issues. The ability to change font size, page size and line spacing is one of many features that make ereaders much, much better than one would believe if one only listened to the braying of the naysayers dominating this discussion.

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stuartnz

Re: ebooks -- no thanks

"ebook" does not automatically equal "DRM". It's still true that the overwhelming majority of ebooks are DRM-laden, but the range and number of DRM-free ebooks is growing. The developers of Calibre actively promote the sale of DRM-free ebooks through their facebook page, one of the many reasons I enjoy using their product.

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stuartnz

Re: They haven't caught up to real books

What reader are you using - my Kindle's Pratchett novels are littered with highlighted passages, as are the epub editions I use on my Nexus 7 with Aldiko or Moon Reader.

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Euro satellite ‘heard’ Japanese megaquake in SPACE

stuartnz
Thumb Up

Thank you very much for that clear, concise explanation.

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stuartnz
Facepalm

Can someone reduce my ignorance?

If I were a character from the HHGTTG series, I'd be know-nothing-bozo the non-wonder dog, so I hope someone will have pity and throw me a scrap of a clue on this one:

I thought sound waves travel faster in a denser medium than in a less dense one, but the illustration shows that wave accelerating from 350 m/s to 1150 m/s when it reaches the much thinner part of the atmosphere. Clearly I was asleep during the relevant lesson, so what am I missing here?

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

stuartnz

Re: Ave Kindle, te morituri salutant

I use Calibre A LOT, but at times its epub to mobi or azw can be patchy, so some epubs I read as such using Aldkio on my Nexus 7.

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stuartnz
WTF?

Ave Kindle, te morituri salutant

As a creaking, senescent 45-year old, I was horrified to learn that my preference for reading on my Kindle is just one more proof that Blinky's rider will soon be speaking to me in ALLCAPS. Either that, or a marketing division need another excuse to justify their existence. I read a lot on my Nexus 7,but only when my Kindle is charging or, more frequently, if the book is an epub that requires using Aldiko rather than Kindle. As others have pointed out, it is far more likely that the sales stagnation of e-readers is a reflection of the "if it ain't broke don't waste money upgrading it" axiom than of time scything the market.

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Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet creator Gerry Anderson dies at 83

stuartnz

Never had the glasses

But adored Joe 90 as a kid - it was my favourite of his shows, with Space:1999 probably runner-up. Naturally, for a high school friend with an IQ of 175+ AND the glasses there was only one nickname possible.

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Australia’s biggest IT moments of 2012

stuartnz
WTF?

To paraphrase Arthur Dent

"This is obviously some strange usage of the word 'Antipodean' that I was previously unaware of"

The OED offers "Of or pertaining to the opposite side of the world; esp. Australasian"

Collins suggest "from Australia or New Zealand"

M-W says "often used of Australia and New Zealand as contrasted to the western hemisphere"

But according to the authoritative final word on matters lexical, El Reg, it seems that "antipodean" is an exact synonym for "Australian". Period.

There have been some pretty significant stories of an El Reg nature (both with and without an IT angle) that happened on the non-penal side of the Tasman. A pity that no one would learn that from reading Vulture South's wrap of "antipodean" news.

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Court ruling means Kim Dotcom can sue NZ spooks

stuartnz

Re: Do tell.

"Is this anything like the Star Wars scandals where everyone except the actors and screenwriters and whoever make money?"

Pretty much. All the crew are no treated as contractors, exempting the studios from having to worry about trivia like worker safety or liability in the event of accidents. Jackson screamed and whined and howled and threatened, and got what he wanted, and a fortnight before the Hobbit premiere complained that NZ needs to be much MORE accommodating to Big Media if it wants more productions here.

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stuartnz

I got to participate in the TPI survey this year, and was delighted when NZ once again came 1st equal in the results. The proof given of the independence of our judiciary is probably the most encouraging thing to come out of the Dotcom saga, and this latest decision reinforces that. There is no way that the same NZ Govt which has allowed Jackson and his Hollywood mogul mates to destroy basic worker protections in the local film industry would be happy to see NZ judges so consistently standing up for the rule of law and doing their job. Especially since the PM is the Minister in charge of the intelligence services, the outcome of any case is likely to be a further embarrassment to him and his insistence that he's never even heard of Dotcom before he was arrested.

I look forward to watching developments in this case, as it is increasingly shaping as a fight between the judiciary and the executive, with Dotcom as the proxy, and so far, the judiciary is way ahead on points.

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The best e-readers for Christmas

stuartnz
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Fewer distractions = more reading

I find that when I want to get on and read, my Kindle wins hands down, not just for the quality of the visual experience, but because it's only a book. When I read on my Nexus 7, I'm always getting distracted by notifications from Twitter, Facebook and GMail. The Kindle's singular focus is great for my lazy mind, obviating any need for self-discipline, and allowing me no choice but to keep reading.

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E-reader demand slumps, slapped down by slates

stuartnz

Outliers

This year I bought my wife a Kindle for an anniversary present, then a Nexus 7 when they came out. The tablet practically rusts from lack from use, while the Kindle gets hours of use every day. My own experience is not quite that extreme, but I definitely do much more reading on my Kindle than on my Nexus 7. Sufficiently so that I gave my Kindle keyboard away and got a Paperwhite last month. I agree that if money is really tight, buying the mutlifunction device makes sense, but e-ink is still vastly superior for reading. E-readers may end up being niche products, but since the niche in question is "avid readers", I don't think their financial viability is threatened.

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Internet shut-down easier, in more countries, than you think

stuartnz

Re: "Poor suffering New Zealand has one trans-Pacific connection..."

Yes, I figured it was implicit, but thought I would make it explicit just in case. :)

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stuartnz

Re: "Poor suffering New Zealand has one trans-Pacific connection..."

" if Kim Dotcom is to be believed"

As "if"s go, that's kind of supermassive black hole type size. The only thing less reliable than his self-serving media hogging pronouncements is our poor PM's increasingly erratic memory, it seems. The two of them deserve each other, but not as much as NZ deserves and desperately needs at least one more trans-Pac cable. .

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Ten technology FAILS

stuartnz
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Re: VCD's

Also India - the online store I buy my Hindi movies from has almost every movie in both DVD and VCD formats, except for those which are ONLY in VCD.

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