* Posts by Jan 0

709 posts • joined 14 Dec 2009

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It's Pablo Pic-arsehole: Turner Prize wannabe hits rock bottom

Jan 0
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You don't undertand?

Vic Reeves made it all very clear last Wednesday: BBC 4 "Gaga for Dada"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07w6j9h/gaga-for-dada-the-original-art-rebels.

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Hubble spies on Europa shooting alien juice from its southern pole

Jan 0
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Re: How did Clarke know ?!

> This is just the first bit of proof that there may be water there

No, this is the second bit of proof that there are water volcanoes. The existence of water has been known for a long time.

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Turing, Hauser, Sinclair – haunt computing's Cambridge A-team stamping ground

Jan 0
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Re: For the true Sinclair aficionado...

The A14 existed, but was still called the A45. It can't be much more than 10 years since the "formerly the A45" signposts disappeared from the A14.

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Unlucky Luckey: Oculus developers invoke anti-douchebag clause, halt games for VR goggles

Jan 0
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Headmaster

Trump Trolls?

Ahem, if they're trolling Ms. Clinton then they're either Clinton Trolls or Trump's Trolls, not Trump Trolls.

Frankly I'd hope that the Communist Party of the USA has a good candidate for this demented election.

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Latest F-35 bang seat* mods will stop them breaking pilots' necks, beams US

Jan 0
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Re: Simples...

While they're at it, maybe they could change into a ball gown as well.

(Yes, I know, it's only a missing apostrophe:)

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Jan 0
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Re: Handling the G's

> "Altitude" ..."I'm a former door gunner, Vietnam era."

More like 'Attitude': you must have been either extremely brave, or totally reckless. To the FNL* on the ground YOU, yes that body in the doorframe, were the TARGET.

* aka NLF

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MoD confirms award of giant frikkin' laser cannon contract

Jan 0
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Re: Frikkin lasers

> "It can never be 100% reflective"

So how does the mirror in the LASER survive?

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Apple seeks patent for paper bag - you read that right, a paper bag

Jan 0
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Do you ever shop at an Apple Store?

I suspect that none of the, so far, commentards have experienced the ridiculously over engineered plastic gym bags that they try to wrap your stuff in. All their small items fit straight into my shoulder bag, bigger items come in cardboard boxes with a carrying handle. Now, if you take it, all their packaging can go in the recycling bin rather than landfill. What's so bad about that? (Well they could have been doing it since 2001:)

Sent by wrangling recycled electrons on an Apple thingy.

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Conviction by computer: Ministry of Justice wants defendants to plead guilty online

Jan 0
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Re: Ive got a solution...

Just because they've changed the name from Employment Exchange to Job Centre (note the capitals) doesn't mean that it isn't still an employment exchange.

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Radar missile decoys will draw enemy missiles away from RAF jets

Jan 0
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Luton?

How did illustrious names like Aermacchi and Agusta get associated with Luton*? Where's John Hegley when you need an explanation?

*The Petaluma of the Home Counties.

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Nvidia: Eight bits ought to be enough for anybody ... doing AI

Jan 0
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Re: 8 bit sound

I was wondering why anyone with an Internet Connection would need to use Fax, then I realised it's so that the third world scammers can send you fake invoices and bank payment details from their PSTN 'phone lines.

Carry on, while I doze again.

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Upstart AI dreams of 'disrupting' digital marketing – with sex

Jan 0
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Paris Hilton

No sex please ...

> "Sentient Ascend uses the same concepts to “breed” together the individual changes in a design layout in a “million potential combinations across multiple pages” to determine which is best."

Ok, so they're using genetic algorithms. Been there, done that - the easy bit.

> "Poor combinations don’t make it through the selection process."

Ah, now there's the hard bit. Imagine you're using a genetic algorithm to generate a system to control the velocity and course of a payload so that it docks with the ISS in a specified time. It's a finite problem, you can exactly specify the starting conditions* and you can build a simulator that the selected programs can be tested on. After a lot of iterations, you'll start seeing programs emerge that can control the docking procedure. Given long enough, you may find that the selected programs can deal with a larger range of starting conditions, than the human generated programs that the ISS collaboration uses.

However, in the case of website design, we don't know the right answer. There probably isn't one correct solution and we certainly don't know how to specify it and select for it. I'd guess that they've just coded a system that uses expert recommendations to generate the selection rules. As long as the experts are HCI experts rather than pointy haired bosses, the resulting website may be an improvement.

So my guess is genetic algorithms selected by an expert system.

The pointy haired boss will, of course love it, use it to generate a website, then use a team of developers to tweak it so that it "looks and feels right". Oh well, at least we keep our jobs until AI can replace the pointy haired bosses.

*Newtonian physics and engineering data will suffice.

Icon: let's leave sex to the experts.

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US Marine Corps to fly F-35s from HMS Queen Lizzie as UK won't have enough jets

Jan 0
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Elephant in the room

This isn't news. Of course they're going to be flying from our ships. After 71 years we automatically gloss over the fact that we live in Occupied Europe. We accept the lies that we have RAF airbases even though they're staffed and run by the USAAF. It's no more of a surprise that USMC jets will be flying from "our" aircraft carriers, than to find Italian seaports stuffed with USA navy ships. The EU will remain a sham as long as its members "invite" USA occupation. The USSR has relinquished some of its satellite states, but the USA hangs on.

NATO - just say NO!.

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Really – 80% FTTP in UK by 2026? Woah, ambitious!

Jan 0
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The only spanner?

Considering the ludicrously low rate of new builds in the UK, isn't that another spanner?

Also before we get too carried away with fibre to the home, how quick and cheap are repairs to accidentally cut fibres? (When a scaffolder snags my "wire" to the pole down the road, a repair is easy.)

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Watch SpaceX's rocket dramatically detonate, destroying a $200m Facebook satellite

Jan 0
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Re: cant see much

Oh No! Not the Molemen. Where's Captain Marvel when you need him?

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Newest Royal Navy warship weighs as much as 120 London buses

Jan 0
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Mushroom

Re: How sad

> it hasn't got torpedoes.

Not torpedos, but I presume that the helicopter might carry an atomic depth charge (assuming we only lost one in the Falklands)

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Jan 0
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Re: Speaking of Meaningless Comparison Measures ...

If you shape the pool carefully enough, a thimbleful of water would be sufficient to float it in*. I guess that a thimble is about 0.0043 Bulgarian Airbags or approximately 0.000000001 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

If you really wanted to push the boat out, you could easily manage to float it in the volume of a British Standard Egg Cup (a defunct official British measure that predated elReg standards by a few decades).

*I assumed that I could use a massive, but precise, 3D printer to create a boat shaped pool around it.

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Jan 0
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"River"-Class?

If it pops its prow into the sea, how well will this perform against a man, in an inflatable boat, with a shoulder mount anti-ship missile or an Iranian style air swarm? Come in Lewis, over...

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Waze to go, Google: New dial-a-ride Uber, Lyft rival 'won't vet drivers'... What could go wrong?

Jan 0
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What a shame.

Yet another Not Invented Here tragedy. Why can't all those Google Geeks innovate? This is just copying Liftshare.

Besides, instead of cludging this into Waze, their efforts would be better spent on getting Waze to work reliably. For example, why doesn't Waze know about roadworks, road closures and diversions? It's all available via the WWW where I live. Why doesn't Waze incorporate Google's live traffic data to give better predictions of journey times instead of relying on the tiny proportion of drivers sending updates to Waze? Oh, and how about actually recording the routes that real cars take, to avoid silly mistakes like trying to send cars the wrong way at side entrances to dual carriage ways? There's plenty more examples, but I'm getting a long way from the Liftshare hijack.

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Das ist empörend: Microsoft slams umlaut for email depth charge

Jan 0
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Re: English is wonderful

> Simply because all our characters fit nicely into 7 bit ASCII (or 8 bit EBDCIC if you prefer).

Nicely? Errm, only for small values of "English". Where are the diphthongs, superscripts, fractions, etc? Also, haven't you noticed that we use diereses in English? Naïve?

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Boffins tout The Li-ion King

Jan 0
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Plea to manufacturers:

Please give us 'phones that last twice as long, not 'phones that are (nearly) twice as thin.

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The curious case of a wearables cynic and his enduring fat bastardry

Jan 0
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Re: Ah. (Guilty of having a remote control).

That's like the remote controlled light switch! All the vauum cleaners I can remember using have a simple button on the handle that opens a valve to allow air in at that point. I have always thought of them as the device that allows you to retrieve socks or twenty pound notes from the head before they disappear into the dust collector. Loose ruge are best beaten on a washing line.

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IP mapping hell couple sues

Jan 0
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Boffin

Eh?

"the coordinates 38.0000,-97.0000 if no location was defined. That's rounded up from 39.8333333,-98.585522"

What is this "rounding" that you speak of? How does it work and what is it used for?

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Watch hot 'stars' shower ... again. It's Perseid meteor showtime

Jan 0
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Boffin

Up to 200 meteors per hour doesn't sound very impressive!

Back in the days when my eyes could still focus on infinity, I could always see about 1 meteor per minute if I lay on my back on any cloudless night without light pollution. (Three examples out of many: on a Norfolk beach, up in the Pyrenees, on a boat in the Ionian sea.) Nowadays I always seem to be in the wrong place and haven't seen much Perseid activity. If somebody with good vision and a dark site does get a good view this week, please do some counting for us and see if you can't comfortably exceed 200 per hour.

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Jovian moon Io loses its atmosphere every day

Jan 0
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Boffin

Re: Cognitive dissonance?

The difference is indeed due to the lower pressure of Io's atmosphere. Have you never seen water boil at room temperature in a partial vacuum?

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Jan 0
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Re: Sudden loss of atmosphere

Well, of course, "trump" is synonymous with "fart" in my part of the UK.

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Jan 0
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Re: Sulfur

I see a trend here. While we in the UK are busily contracting words, the US has also replaced the simple word "start" with "get go". (How long before they're talking about the "ready, get set, go"?:)

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VMware: We're gonna patent hot-swapping your VMs' host OS

Jan 0
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Re: Ksplice

No this isn't prior art. As described they want to push a new kernel across the hardware. Ksplice is hot patching the running kernel and adjusting the filesystem to match, so Ksplice is prior art.

I remember patching a running SunOS kernel on a Sun 4 back in the 90s to allow a WAN application to continue running without interrupting the flow on the WAN. It was a bit hairy as I did it from the command line using adb, rather than by running a patching program. It was only a modest set of kernel changes and I could hardly have altered all the (450KB?) kernel by hand in a reasonable time, but a suitable program could have. I imagine that people did similar things with mainframes in the 1960s, to avoid downtime.

There will be limits to what you can alter in a running kernel, on current hardware architecture. This is a different way to approach the problem, but will also have practical limits.

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Death of 747 now 'reasonably possible' says Boeing

Jan 0
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Headmaster

Iconic?

Isn't the icon the 707 which set the style for this kind of passenger aeroplane with 4 pylon mounted jet engines?

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Juno's 1,300-pic Jupiter vid

Jan 0
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Can somebody explain?

Why the moons keep popping in and out of view? Are they being obscured by external parts of Juno, by other astronomical objects, is the camera faulty, or what?

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US standards lab says SMS is no good for authentication

Jan 0
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Re: Most uses of 2FA via SMS...

> "So what if you have a bad brain, a poor memory, and a tendency to lose things (including your wallet, IN the supermarket)?"

In that case, you can't keep a job and your ESA isn't of much interest to fraudsters?

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No, the VCR is not about to die. It died years ago. Now it's VHS/DVD combo boxes' turn

Jan 0
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Re: Stop making me feel old

You've forgotten Metrum drives that used a VHS style cartridge. I used them for high bandwidth data transfers (air courier) in the '90s because the transatlantic ISDN line wasn't up to the task. There were also Ampex and Sony digital drives, also in the '90s, that used 1" tape cartridges. What else have el Reg readers come across?

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IETF boffins design a DNS for digital money

Jan 0
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Thanks to BBC Radio 4 this morning...

I now understand why governments and banks are so keen on digital currency. When interest rates go negative, sensible people will keep their money as cash under the mattress/<name your favourite hiding place>. If money becomes entirely digital, alternatives such as gold under the mattress will be used but don't have a fixed relationship with money.

iPlayer: BBC Radio 4 Thursday the 21st of July: "How Low Can Rates Go?"

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Nitwit has fit over twit hit: Troll takes timeless termination terribly

Jan 0
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His words:

"netting me more adoring fans"

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An anniversary to remember: The world's only air-to-air nuke was fired on 19 July, 1957

Jan 0
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> "Vacuum tubes are not entirely resistant to EMP."

But they don't matter once the EMP has fused the coils (inductors) and condensers (capacitors).

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Reader needs Aircon help

Jan 0
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"windowless room" suggests that it's deep in a building. Are there ducts, or can you drill through to the outside? Without an external heat exchanger, you won't achieve very much.

As an aside, to Jake, I'd call an air conditioning company to avoid having embarassing conversations with High Voltage or High Vacuum engineers. The FLA "HVAC" is Highly Ambiguous.

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Ad blockers responsible for rise in upfront TV ad sales, claims report

Jan 0
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Re: Easy way to avoid TV ads

Recording the show, then editing out the adverts before you watch is the way to go.

Even skipping the adverts diverts your attention too much when you're watching something interesting.

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The History Boys: Object storage ... from the beginning

Jan 0
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Thanks for the chart and history. However I wonder what, in the meantime, has happened to its complement: Content Addressable Memory? Back in the 80s, I remember it being used in support of some CPU operations. There was also academic research into its use in bulk. What's the state of the art today? (Yes I've just had a squiz at Wikipedia, but I doubt that it represents the current status.)

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If we can't find a working SCSI cable, the company will close tomorrow

Jan 0
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Re: Backups underwriters and overpriced household furniture

@Walter Bishop

You don't for a moment think that an accountant might exaggerate to pile the pressure on? Oh wait, are _you_ an accountant?

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Jan 0
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Full marks for extra experience!

I imagine that Jean has prospered. I too have found myself unbending pins in the middle of the night while the administrators with no hardware nous were reading logs and rerunning diagnostics. Understanding how the kit works from mechanical, optical and electrical viewpoints will always give you an edge. Nowadays, for example: scratched faces on fibre interconnects? Been there, because I used to work, in the 90s, in a company where they used to cut and terminate their own fibres for ATM and Fibre Channel. Do you have a microscope and polishing kit to hand?

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Kids’ shoes seller Start-rite suspends sales following breach

Jan 0
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Pint

Norwich Based?

They may have started in Norwich, they may still have an office just outside Norwich, but surely a manufacturing company that does all its manufacturing in India has to be called "India Based" (c.f .Dyson.)

I won't deny that they make excellent children's shoes.

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Free concert! Against TPP?

Jan 0
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Debatable?

> which they fear will give corporations too much power (debatable).

You may debate that this will give corporations too much power, but it's not debatable that there are groups that fear this. Their fear is beyond debate.

It's heartening to hear that there's an anti-TPP movement in the USA, is there any reason why the concerts/movement aren't also anti-TTIP?

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Next big thing after containers? Amazon CTO talks up serverless computing

Jan 0
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Was Vogel built by Frankenstein?

Well he seems to have a spanner in his hand and a poorly disguised bolt in his neck.

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175-year-old in storage deal

Jan 0
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Re: Is this an article...

> ...or an advert?

It's clearly an advert. Can anyone recommend a better adblocker?

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When is a refurbished server not refurbished? Ask this Dell reseller

Jan 0
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> xByte puts out Dell quality systems and support and helps Dell maintain their brand image

Surely, when you are seen as the Gerald Ratner of computer manufacturers, you don't have a brand image to maintain. "Cheap and nasty", or "Well, it copes" is hardly a brand image.

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Teen faces trial for telling suicidal boyfriend to kill himself via text

Jan 0
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Boffin

> that brief time when the stupid people hadn't worked out how to access the internet.

It was quite a few years actually and they never did work it out. Clever people made it is easy, hoping that stupid people would pay to use the appliances that the clever people created.

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New DNA 'hard drive' could keep files intact for millions of years

Jan 0
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Headmaster

Could you sort out your prepositions please?

The data is not written onto DNA. It is written in DNA. That is, only DNA is used for the writting by assembling it from four types of nucleotide bases.

(Compare this with a computer writing data onto words. No! It writes data in words by assembling them from two kinds of bits. That's not a perfect analogy, because we can create bits in many ways: discrete electric charges, discrete magnetic domains, holes in paper tape, etc.)

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Obi Worldphone MV1: It's striking, it's solid. Aaaand... we've run out of nice things to say

Jan 0
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As usual, you've forgotten that it's a phone!

I assume it's not got dual SIMs, but what's the call quality/reception/microphone/AGC like?

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Lightning strikes: Britain's first F-35B supersonic fighter lands

Jan 0
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Re: The supersonic Lightning II, as it will be known in RAF service,

It is a sad day that sees the official name of the English Electric P1a hijacked so thoroughly. This is an insult to the great British designers and engineers that emerged after World War II. I am wrenched by the contempt I feel for the politicians and financiers who have conspired so thoroughly to destroy British engineering and trade.

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