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* Posts by lawndart

240 posts • joined 16 Dec 2009

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Divinity Original Sin and Wasteland 2 reviews: Turn-based gaming's NOT DEAD YET!

lawndart

Re: Sir

Lethal combat system was what Traveller was all about, and the computer game was faithful in its rendition of the combat.

I used to GM the Traveller RPG and my merry band of players took a few TPKs to realise this wasn't D&D or Star Wars and the battles were the games' climax, not something your ground your way through on your way to the next level up. They did get very wily at times and there were a few games where guns were drawn but never fired. Kudos to them for that.

A lot of old games seem to be being reborn for Linux. Hopefully Megatraveller gets a do over, as I can't run it on my current W7 64 machine and it would be nice to try it again.

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DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster

lawndart

says

Definitely not going to be advancing in column formation then.

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BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV

lawndart

says:

Clangers? I'm thinking more along the lines of:

Bungle: Hello George. What are you doing?

George: Hello Bungle. Zippy has created a new compression algorithm and passworded his file. I am trying to crack it.

Bungle: Have you tried a rainbow table?

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The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal

lawndart

says:

Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

Knowledge that there is no law covering this particular "crime" is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

Knowing your rights is grounds for suspicion in the eyes of the law.

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Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE

lawndart

Re: Flash

"Little light,

Will guide them to me."

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Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away

lawndart

says:

I first saw Hallucigenia in an old coffee table book "The Rise of Life" by John Reader (yes, I still have it.)

My first thought on seeing the picture is "surely they have it upside down". The spindly little spine legs would sink into the sea bottom ooze. The waggly other protruberances would certainly make a better method of propulsion, whether walking or swimming. I deferred to the paleontologists who discovered the thing, but it is nice to be right.

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Spin doctors crack 'impossible' asteroid hurtling towards Earth

lawndart

says:

Straightforward solution.

Get a whole load of geckos. Train them to wear little gecko spacesuits. Put them in a ship and send it off to the asteroid. Once there they all attach a line to the spaceship and float over to the asteroid. They stick themselves dipole-dipole fashion to the surface and begin squirting cyanoacrylate adhesive over the asteroid to bind it together. The lines are all wound into a single strong cable by the spin of the asteroid. The spaceship then begins a very gentle burn until the asteroid is no longer on collision course. The geckos then detach from the surface and their lines, and float back to the spaceship. They return to Earth to a hero's welcome and all the insects they can eat.

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LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms

lawndart

says (again)

Lohan Upgrade Spots Trees

Re-entry Utility Program Enables Rapid Tree Avoidance

Geomagnetic Tree Avoidance Variant (Laurel, Ash, Chestnut, Elm, Yew, Juniper, Oak, Now As Standard)

Magnetic Anomaly Detector Brings Inspired Tree Collision Hack.

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lawndart

says

Small Program Usually Reduces Tree Impacts Near Ground

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lawndart

offers:

As my last attempt at an acronym resulted with being mentioned in despatches for rudeness I offer

LARCH

Lohan Arborial Repulsion Code Hack.

Presumably Ruperta converts everything into assembly language?

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World's only flyable WWII Lancaster bombers meet in Lincs

lawndart

says:

Blood ran cold for a moment on reading the title to this article - a meet can be construed as a collision.

The nice thing about living near Sywell in Northamptonshire is the Vulcan and the Lancaster frequent the place for display training with the local acrobatic team The Blades. I have had the Lanc orbit my house at low level while waiting for its slot.

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Astounding: We're about to stick a probe in orbit of a COMET

lawndart

says:

More of a Moby Duck.

Hopefully the Philae lander has been programmed to transmit on harpoon impact, "To the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee"

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Cor blimey: Virgin Media pipes 152Mb fibre to 100,000 East Londoners

lawndart

says:

It could be all the old DOCSIS 1.0/1.1 modems still in use which are cluttering up the network; I recall reading they generate more noise than the later versions.

We are due to be upgraded by VM to 50Mbit/s in October. I called "Customer Services" in March asking whether I could have a new modem as I am still running my fourteen year old Motorola Surfboard SB4100 (DOCSIS 1.0) and wouldn't they prefer such old kit off their network?

They still wanted me to pay £20 for the privilege so I still have it, although it won't ever reach 50Mbit/s when the higher speed kicks in.

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Two years on, Curiosity's still in the same crater

lawndart

Unexpected behaviour

"Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose any more. Goodbye."

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Canuck reader threatens suicide over exact dimensions of SPAAAACE!

lawndart

Look, for the last time, it's not how big the damn thing is, it's what you do in it that counts.

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Plucky Rockall adventurer prepares to leave islet

lawndart

says:

I never realised the Antarctic stretched so far north.

Have they been reading the reciprocal compass heading again?

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Drone's drug airdrop mission ends in failure for Irish prisoners

lawndart

says:

The drugs. Were they from the Amazon region?

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Supermodel Lily Cole: 'I got a little bit upset by that Register article'

lawndart

says:

Here I lie, awake at two thirty AM with a broken rib.

Unikitty is doing nothing for me even though I am trying to think positive thoughts.

Do you have to be a virgin?

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BuzzGasm: 9 Incredible Things You Never Knew About PLIERS!

lawndart

Re: Missed opportunity here

There is pretty good evidence of pliers existing many millions of years in the past (grippy marks on bones, handle prints in clay etc.) but there is no known fossil example older than the early plierstocene; the species Inuria illegitimus.

There is considerable debate on when the wire stripper first evolved and whether the centre ring with cutter blade is an entirely separate species to the one with the wire cutter built in to the handle end. Determining the point of evolutionary divergence is difficult particularly when considered along side the first appearance of the knurled nut gripping ring, as the KNGR may or not appear alongside both types.

It's a fascinating subject.

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Police pen shortage threatens Irish public order

lawndart

Re: What they need is...

Crikey! I hate to think what the punishment would be for posting a humorous limerick about a limerick copper not being able to write something down.

So I'm not going to.

Someone else can take the flak.

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LOHAN chap brews up 18% ABV 'V2' rocket fuel

lawndart

says:

Time for a proper scientific experiment; what happens to mead when exposed to the environment at 20Km+ altitude? Is it still nice when it comes back?

A very small sample in a sealed polybag could go aloft with Lohan.

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Final LOHAN test flights codenamed 'Punch' and 'Judy'

lawndart

says

Punch & Judy? This is getting more and more Mad Science by the day.

I half expect to see Othar Tryggvassen plummet out of the balloon on the way up.

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El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

lawndart

Re: BS 546

The UK plugs are all in the Premium section, along with a lot of other exciting connectors such as bayonet fittings and SCART. It is £25 well spent, I can tell you.

BuzzFelch? Better than FuzzBelch, but not much.

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Herschel boffins spot fat dwarf Ceres in TEARS over astro-identity crisis

lawndart

says

A little leakage at the seals, I believe. They should fix that.

The water tanks have been inserted, the plug seals are in and the solar arrays are under construction. Once the arrays are complete, aimed and Ceres is inflated by steam pressure the Belters will have their Confinement Asteroid and us Flatlanders will be in for even more political strife.

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Mystery 'doughnut' materializes in front of Mars rover: 'OH MY GOD! It wasn't there before!'

lawndart

says

If you have a set of wheels you should take the opportunity to do doughnuts at least once in your life.

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Never mind bungled Universal Credit rollout, Maude wants UK to be 'most digital' gov by 2015

lawndart

DVLA?

My aging mum needed her driving licence renewed as she is nearly 80. I decided to show her that the internet was more than an Amazon shopping tool.

Last week I tried to renew online.

Turns out we were unable to get anywhere without registering, so I went through the registration process.

Things were going great until the "do you have a passport?" question. No to that, she has never been out of the country. We filled in driving licence number, national insurance details, etc. etc. Eventually, at the end we sat and watched the screen pop up a message saying that as we did not have a passport photo we could not continue.

So we have had to resort to sticking her licence (which is a modern credit card format with her photo on) along with the renewal form in the post.

We were not impressed and I am more than a little concerned about our "digital Gov".

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'BILLION-YEAR DISK' to help FUTURE LIFEFORMS study us

lawndart

Re: what to write

"If you are reading this, don't forget to sanitize your phone".

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UNREAL, dude: Nvidia uncloaks Tegra K1 graphics monster for your mobile ... and CAR

lawndart

says:

"your cars are going to be able to do things that most people won't be able to understand".

That won't be difficult. Never mind the car - I'm capable of doing things that most people don't seem to understand; e.g. indicating at roundabouts.

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Guinness gives games geek world record for 10,607 piece collection

lawndart

says

31 years * 365 days = 11315.

So very nearly one new game a day.

I wonder how many of them are still unopened.

Even more impressive is how he managed to afford 342 games a year and remain within his self imposed budgetary constraints.

Well done, sir!

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

lawndart

Re: Sinclair's programmable device

I still have mine, minus the 9v battery cover. It hasn't been out of the cupboard for a few years now though, and that was to tick off a "your computer is running slow" telephone caller.

It was eventually replaced by a TI-68 calculator which does still get used (mostly for calculating nothing more complex than where I am in the Nether compared with the Overworld.) Even the TI is prehistoric now.

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lawndart

Re: Big Trak

I worked in a long-gone toy chain called Taylor & McKenna when Big Trak came out.

We sold shed loads of them and their tipping trailer, it was genuinely a must-have toy for Christmas and we eventually ran out of both.

When we opened for business after Christmas that year we discovered that the build quality was not quite as good as it could have been.

Broken keypads. Sticking wheels. Trailers that would not tip. Trailers that wouldn't stop tipping.

Most of customers wanted a working Big Trak and we had no replacements. Fortunately I had already had a rummage about in the innards of one that had been bought as a birthday present and had failed so I knew how to fix them.

The broken keyboard - peel apart the plastic layers and put electroconductive paint on the broken circuitry. Removing and reseating the wheels fixed the circling problem. The trailers had a plastic component that informed the controller whether the trailer was in the process of tipping and usually just needed reseating as it tended to stick.

We had customers holding Big Traks and trailers queuing right out of the shop and forming a line in the shopping centre. I had to triage the machines into definitely defunct, needed serious attention (keypad painting) and reseating jobs.

Customers in the queue were watching me fix a trailer and copying what I was doing. The majority of them successfully fixed their own, which took some of the load off. I think we eventually ended up with about a dozen ones that were sufficiently dead that we could cannibalise them for spares and fixed the rest.

I don't know what the failure rate was but it kept me occupied for weeks. The nice thing was I only recall ever seeing a couple come back again as faulty after we had fixed them.

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Bjork, 500+ novelist pals ask UN for 1 bill of digital rights to RULE 'EM ALL

lawndart

says

An army of herself plus Mr Peterson.

She's going to be unstoppable.

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Quadrillion-dollar finance house spams Reg reader with bankers' private data

lawndart

Flips over a card and reads:

Bank error in your favour.

Collect £200.

Ah, if only.

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OMG, Andrex KILLED the PUPPY! Not quilty, exclaim bog roll boys

lawndart

Re: Am I the only person who still buys toilet paper?

Sounds like you are provided with John Wayne toilet paper at work.

It's rough, it's tough, and it don't take shit off nobody.

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MINING in SPAAAACE! Asteroid-scoopers? Nah - consumers will be the real winners

lawndart

Re: In Apollo 13 @Pascal Monett

Yes, the Apollo 13 astronauts had to do manual Command Module stabilization and correct their flight path, however, as I mentioned in my first comment we are way beyond that now. In the same situation a group of modern on-board computers with redundancy and constant error checking of each other would be able to agree on and implement a fuel efficient and fast method of stabilization whilst the disoriented human pilot was still trying to work which way was Christmas.

Someone who knows what to do in case of failure of the machines may have the title of pilot, but the role is still one of engineer or mechanic who may occasionally thumb the EXEC button on a computer once the new destination is programmed in.

Think of a fly-by-wire plane. No matter how good the pilot is, in normal flight he simply requests the computers send the aircraft in a particular direction at a particular attitude. If the computers don't like it they don't do it. If all the computers fail then he better hope the preferred method of egress works because he certainly isn't going to fly it home.

The problem is we were all brought up on Star Wars/Buck Rogers/Battlestar Galactica (well I was). Real spaceflight just isn't like that.

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lawndart

Re: says @AC

You're not wrong about the complex stuff with mining and tunnelling, but that is not exactly the pilot's role.

The jobs you are describing appear to be more of the mining expert and engineering types.

In aviation it is handy if the pilot knows which bits should be firmly attached to a plane and which ones are supposed to wiggle, but it isn't usually necessary for them to be capable of stripping down and rebuilding a turbofan or co-ordinating flight operations at a busy terminal.

In Apollo 13 none of the crew had to be a pilot to assemble the CO2 scrubber from the bits available.

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lawndart

says

"you're not going to skimp on $100k or $200k a year in wages for someone driving your $2bn spaceship."

No, you don't need to.

All your orbital and transfer orbit activity will be done by computers.

Putting humanity in the loop just adds inaccuracies in burn durations and vectors.

All your pilot needs to do is tell the computer that e.g. they want to be in Mars orbit at a specific altitude on a certain date and press enter.

The computer will tell them they will commence orientation manoeuvres for the initial burn on the 7th August at 04:26:26 and will be running the engine for 684.2 seconds at 1G.

Note the pilot doesn't even need to be aboard.

We have advanced long past the era of "The Right Stuff" and HAL was way over-specified for the job it needed to do.

This is how it will really be, and even then some fun activites have been added to give the human a sense of involvement: http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/

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Eagle steals crocodile-cam, records video selfie

lawndart

says

No cinematic skills whatsoever? Give him a chance, every budding film maker probably made a hash of it the first time they picked up a camera.

He probably thought he'd put it somewhere safe while he'd gone off to find a manual for it, and now it's been recovered.

That's almost certainly ended the career of another Seaeagleberg.

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Inside IBM's vomit-inducing, noise-free future chip lab

lawndart

Re: Cheap

That's what I thought - you couldn't get a lockup/garage around here for that price.

My mind did, however, add "million" to the back end of the figure automatically. I tend to do that when big corporate science projects are involved. Which doesn't make sense, because we are then in the Merkin Billion Zone and no doubt that's how it would have been entered in the article.

A conundrum.

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WATCH LIVE: Comet ISON DESTROYED by Sun, NASA brains fear

lawndart

says

Comet ISON,

Went close,

Is gone.

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The ULTIMATE cuppa showdown: And the winner is...

lawndart

says

Too busy to make tea? Too BUSY to make tea?

During WWII US tanks sent to Britain had to go into the workshop to get a hot water boiler fitted so that tea could be made; Brit tanks had them as standard fit.

Crews would stop at any opportunity to brew a cuppa, even during battle. Probably affected the rate of fire somewhat though.

None of this "too busy" malarkey. Kids today etc.

"Ere, Jimmy, pass the milk."

"Hang on, got a Jerry in my sights."

"That's sergeant to you, and pass the bloody milk NOW!"

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Build your own WORKING Sonic Screwdriver... for a UNDER A FIVER

lawndart

says

But the real question is "Is Matt Smith enjoying his Squid-on-a-Stick?"

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Have you reinstalled Windows yet? No, I just want to PRINT THIS DAMN PAGE

lawndart

Having read the title

For a minute I thought Lewis had rejected an article by Alastair and Al was a bit miffed.

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You're more likely to get a job if you study 'social' sciences, say fuzzy-studies profs

lawndart

says

Science and Democracy sounds an odd combination.

Is it science by consensus?

"Yesterday we repealed the second law of thermodynamics, because it was causing problems with our perpetual motion machines."

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Deploying Turing to see if we have free will

lawndart

Re: Siri?

I'll have what Siri is having.

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Brit boffins trap light in Lego-like lumps

lawndart

says

My first thought on reading the article is "rather like the cones and rods in the eyeball, then".

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Who here needs to explain things to ELEPHANTS?

lawndart

says

It all starts with the elephants passing information between each other by pointing at objects.

It rapidly becomes trunk-signal-coordinated predator stomping commando raids.

It ends with planetary invasions after asteroid bombardment.

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Our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane: Intimate snaps

lawndart

says:

Lester, is there time for a paint scheme design and vote competition?

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LOHAN cops a faceful of smutronyms

lawndart

Re: says

or

Manually

Activated

Range

Safety

Emergency

Descent

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lawndart

says

Manually

Activated

Range

Safety

Electrical

Device

M-ARSE-D

(with extra padding)

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