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* Posts by Kubla Cant

1164 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

Holly(oaks) talking head is FUTURE of face messaging, claims prof

Kubla Cant
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Frustration

a user could, for example, text the message 'I’m going to be late' and ask it to set the emotion to 'frustrated'

So much simpler than texting the message "I'm frustrated because I’m going to be late", or "I’m going to be late. How frustrating!"**. Or even, perish the thought, phoning and sounding frustrated.

Also, I'm a bit concerned that the face might express, say, sexual frustration, rather than mild annoyance at being late.

** OK, Shakespeare, that's enough emoting.

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Drilling into 3D printing: Gimmick, revolution or spooks' nightmare?

Kubla Cant
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Pirate

Spooks' nightmare

How odd that a community of the (presumably American) military and security establishment should feel so much concern about people printing their own firearms.

In Britain, and no doubt in some other countries, it's just about arguable that the difficulty of obtaining firearms restricts their use in crime. Even here, it's probably mostly unpremeditated or loony crime that's prevented. Professional criminals and terrorists can usually get all the guns they need.

But it's hard to imagine why anyone in the USA would go to the trouble and expense of printing a gun when they seem to be pretty freely available for sale.

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Lenovo: Windows 8 is so good, everyone wants Windows 7

Kubla Cant
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Re: Trying to find Windows 7 laptops for consumers is hard work

A fortnight ago I bought a medium-spec Windows 7 laptop through Amazon (the brand was Lenovo). But maybe you're looking for a different type of machine.

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New nuke could POWER WORLD UNTIL 2083

Kubla Cant
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Joke

Re: "the less someone knows about something the more they underestimate its difficulty."

I may not know much about nuclear power / rocket science / brain surgery / anything at all, actually, but I know what I like.

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Touch screens and greasy mitts: All you need is glove

Kubla Cant
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Oops!

"imagine touching a photo of a brick on an iPad and feeling the brick’s rough surface"

Imagine touching a photo of a high-tension power line and bursting into flames.

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Fake fingers fool Brazilian biometrics

Kubla Cant
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FAIL

In other news

The office where I work uses fingerprint scanners as part of its access system. I don't know how easy it is to fool them with a fake finger, but in my experience it's almost impossible to gain access with a real one.

You put your finger on the scanner, there's a long delay, then an annoying American woman says "Access denied". By that time I've usually dug the standby plastic card out of my pocket.

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Infinite loop: the Sinclair ZX Microdrive story

Kubla Cant
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Boffin

Stringy or skinny? You decide.

The article mentions the Exatron "stringy floppy", but by the end of the paragraph it seems to have become a "skinny floppy". I think you're confusing your drive with your coffee.

I remember using some kind of cassette-that-thinks-it's-a-disk on a DEC computer - probably an early VAX. I think we had to boot VMS from these things to perform a standalone backup.

The problem was that the tape's emulation of a disk drive was so convincing that the computer was fooled into thinking it really did random access. The thing was formatted with Files-11, a filesystem more appropriate to disks. My impression is that it would read a few sectors, then discover that the next sector was at the other end of the tape. Cue a long wait, with much clicking, grinding and whizzing.

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Ten serious sci-fi films for the sentient fan

Kubla Cant
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Re: Prometheus

Prometheus - what a piece of junk! Muddled, implausible and dull.

Why are the space ships in so many sci-fi films crewed by be men who would be more at home in a stoke-hole? I know space travel is in abeyance at the moment, but when we did it there was no evidence that the crews were drawn from such a population.

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En Garde! Villagers FIGHT OFF FRENCH INVASION MENACE

Kubla Cant
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Re: Roaming scotsmen

No problem. In Scotland the gloaming is an indication that you're roaming.

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Kubla Cant
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WTF?

Re: Not just France

The Isle of Man has its own mobile networks? Who knew?

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Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

Kubla Cant
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Re: The little things that annoy

Now that I've corresponded extensively on the matter, Ctrl-U is probably engraved on my brain. The problem is always with things that I don't do often enough to remember the key. The same consideration means that it would never be worth creating a macro or assigning a different key.

I found Ctrl-U a bit bizarre because most editors I've used think U stands for Uppercase and L for Lowercase.

Settings > shortcut mapper looks worth investigating.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: The little things that annoy

1. Thanks, that's useful.

4. I spend a large proportion of my time modifying stuff that already exists. I don't know of a way to use the caps lock to change the case of existing text, do you?

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Kubla Cant
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The little things that annoy

I'm a long-term TextPad user, but my current job only had Notepad++ available. These are the little things that annoy me - if anyone can tell me the solution, I'd be grateful:

1. No way to see more than one edit window at a time, so I spend my life trying to remember Tab 1 and Tab 9 while I'm editing in Tab 20.

2. Every search and replace displays a stupid dialog telling me how many replacements it did. It isn't modal, so you can ignore it, but it stays around, so by the end of the day you have several dozen of them patiently waiting for acknowledgement.

3. The replace dialog is also non-modal, so you tend to leave it open. But it clears the Replace in selected text setting after every search. The result is that sooner or later you accidentally replace something in the whole file.

4. The keystroke to lowercase text is Ctrl-U. WTF?

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Chaos Theory causes password entry pandemonium

Kubla Cant
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Re: Cor blimey!

@Captain Hogwash: "Do they? I have never seen this happen."

You obviously don't go to the right sort of club...

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Kubla Cant
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Pants: too much information

"why do grown men these days feel the need to unbuckle their belts and lower their trousers while standing at a urinal?"

Most of the time I wear sober pants with button flies, but for Christmas I was given two pairs of Calvin Kleins. It seems Calvin hasn't learned how to do flies yet, so the only way out is to haul the waistband down at the front. The elastic is very strong, presumably to withstand repeated haulings down. If it slips from your grasp and twangs back in mid-pee, the result is both painful and messy.

I suppose I could overcome this problem by unbuckling and lowering, but I'd have to lower the pants, too. I flatter myself that this might attract the sort of offer I'd prefer to refuse.

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Kubla Cant
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Thumb Down

Somebody actually took the trouble to post this comment?

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BRITAIN MUST DECLARE WAR on Cervinaean menace

Kubla Cant
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Re: Control emissions?

@Don Jefe: My impression is that the oak used for hulls was mostly English, while the Baltic was the source for hemp and pine. Some ships were built from pine, but they weren't popular.

I don't suppose forest oak has been much used for firewood in historical times. It's too expensive, and probably too much trouble to cut. Most wood for domestic purposes was cultivated by coppicing. The object of the forest-burning was to open up land for farming.

@Destroy All Monsters: I don't think the idea is to use slow-growing forest trees as fuel. The idea that photosynthesis would be a good way to store solar energy by reducing carbon dioxide is plausible, but I have no idea how the actual economics work out. It's disappointing that there seems to be so little comparative end-to-end analysis of alternative solutions. Instead, as you say, we get a labyrinth of subsidies (wood chip, biodiesel), producer interest (wind farms) and hippie preconception.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Control emissions?

Burning fossil fuel releases carbon that was previously locked up in the ground. Burning wood that's cultivated for fuel sets up a cycle where the carbon released by burning is recaptured by photosynthesis in the growing trees. Ideally, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere would be constant.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: "Researchers reckoned...

"Whether something is non-native or not is irrelevant. Almost every species in the UK are non-native if you go back far enough in time."

What's relevant is how recently it arrived. If it's been here a long time, there are likely to be natural predators. Unfortunately, the deer's natural predators were big enough to eat homo sapiens, too, or at least to compete with us. So it's goodbye natural predator.

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Japanese password protector floods screen with hoax cursors

Kubla Cant
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Re: I'm unsubscribing from your mailing list

The mouse pointer is called a cursor in many GUI APIs. In CSS, a pointer is a specific style of cursor, as in "cursor: pointer" (alternatives are things like "wait" and "crosshair").

Actually, of course, a cursor is the see-through thing on a slide-rule.

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No.10 guru: UK tech scene is AN EXPLODING CHEESE

Kubla Cant
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Ignoramus

...a fine cheese – there’s a moment when it all comes together...

This half-wit clearly knows as much about cheese-making as he does about IT. It sounds like he thinks cheese is made from lots of different ingredients, and when you combine them, it's finished. In fact, cheese is mostly just milk, with the addition of rennet to induce curdling, and perhaps a mould culture. It becomes "fine cheese" with keeping.

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Wannabe infosec kiddies put Enigma Bombe machine to the test

Kubla Cant
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Re: If you have any interest at all in the subject...

I read that other cribs came from an operator who repeatedly sent his girlfriend's name as a test, and, of course, the nutters who always began or ended their messages "Heil Hitler".

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Keyboard, you're not my type

Kubla Cant
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VT100

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned the original DEC VT100 keyboard. Massive key travel, but in case that wasn't enough to let you know when you'd pressed a key, there was audio feedback in the shape of a loud CLACK. The CLACK wasn't mechanical noise, it was artificially generated because it was believed at the time that people couldn't type without audio feedback.

There was also a row of red lights above the keys that appeared to have no purpose. You could turn them on and off with ANSI-like escape sequences. I only ever saw this feature in use once, by a programmer who flashed them while his program displayed user-antagonistic error messages like "Are you an idiot?" and "You have eyes?".

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US insurer punts 'bestiality' to wide-eyed kiddies, gasp 'mums'

Kubla Cant
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Childcatcher

That's nothing

At least the pig's a mammal.

My attention has been drawn to several well-known stories in which nubile young women kiss frogs. Worse, they subsequently have sex with the frog. This filth has been published in numerous children's books, and several films have been made about it.

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Unwearable tech: Five ways IT garb's gone HORRIBLY WRONG

Kubla Cant
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Re: OMG it never worked before, why still try?

@Silverburn Google glasses "will be an enormous pain in the ass until both sides balance".

If you find they give you trouble down there, either they weigh a lot more than I thought, or you're wearing them wrong.

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Happy birthday, LP: Can you believe it's only 65?

Kubla Cant
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Windows

Re: HIt and miss

How to do it in darkness, when drunk, and sometimes under the influence of drugs*:

1. Plug in some headphones

2. Switch off the power to the turntable

3. Put the stylus as close as you could to the start of the track

4. Move the turntable back and forth by hand until you located the transition from silence to music

5. When the record on the other turntable finishes, optionally gabble something annoying into the microphone

6. Fade up the turntable with the LP on it, and switch on the power to it - with practice you will be able to position the stylus so you don't hear a horrible wind-up noise

7. Repeat until everybody goes home. If they won't go home when you want, start playing selections from your store of records you should never have bought.

*The guy in the icon seems to have rolled a decent-sized joint for himself.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Oh god

A 60minute tape always contained 60 minutes of music

Up to a point, Lord Silverburn. Open-reel tape recorders could record at several speeds. The trade-off between quality and capacity was the same as the bit-rate trade-off with digital recording. Admittedly, the expression "60 minute tape" implies a cassette, as open-reel tapes were measured in length, rather than time.

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Council IT bod in the dock for flogging scrap work PC parts

Kubla Cant
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: So were they for the scrap heap or not?

Recorder Michael Stevens said "... the employer says ‘put it in landfill and leave it to rot’. So there are two possibilities. Either the council is not recycling equipment, or the Recorder doesn't know what's going on. Neither is very encouraging.

If the Recorder was correct, and that's what the council said, at what point does this kit become fair game? Would you be allowed to harvest parts from this kit as soon as it's in the landfill, or would you have to wait for visible signs of rot? Hardware takes a very long time to rot (as opposed to software, which starts to rot from the day it's written).

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PSF warns on angry trademark attacks: Python coders, this is not our way

Kubla Cant
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Joke

Death threats and hactivism

That's nothing, I got downvoted on the Reg Forum for saying I thought it was all a bit over the top.

(Joke icon because you never know when a death threat is imminent.)

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Curiosity Mars rover flashes pics of GREY drilled powder sample

Kubla Cant
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Can this be?

The brown part to the right of the scoop looks like it's held together with cable ties, or possibly even extra-log wire bag ties.

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Python-lovers sling 'death threats' at UK ISP in trademark row

Kubla Cant
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Facepalm

Why is this important?

It's a programming language, not a bloody religion. Imagine if people who use C were to get steamed up in the same way. They'd be spamming disk drive manufacturers and digging up the former head of the Secret Service.

I use several programming languages, and frankly I couldn't give a stuff who trademarks any of their names. These people should get a life.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: The solution is simple - just change the language's name.

My understanding is that the Python language was named after Monty Python. If true, this is a case of pot and kettle.

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Burger King's tweets fried after hijackers pimp Big Macs

Kubla Cant
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Windows

Re: Why?

According to Bill Bryson, the name "Quick" is short for "Quick - a bucket!"

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Any storm in a port

Kubla Cant
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I used to have the same problem

But then I discovered an easy solution.

USB connectors always have two square holes (see picture) on the upper side, except when they're on the lower side or when they aren't present. They also have a USB logo on the lower side, except when it's on the upper side, when it's absent, or when it's on both sides.

The upper side of the socket is the one furthest from the floor. Where sockets are mounted vertically, it's the side that would be nearest to the floor if you laid the device on its side with the wrong side facing up. You may find it easier to think of it as the left-hand side (right-hand side for left-handed people). But then you will have to decide whether you're in front of the computer or behind it.

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'Bah, this Apple Shop is full of APPLES'

Kubla Cant
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Re: Daft name

Yeah, there's too much of this sort of thing. I went into a place called The Body Shop and all they sold was a load of soap.

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Journo says Elon Musk apologized for Tesla battery fiasco

Kubla Cant
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Re: Yes but

@Psyx et al: Certainly you can hire a car when you need to make a long trip. Two problems with that:

1. For most people the constant availability of their car is a valuable attribute. Consider the truism that inner-city dwellers can save a lot of money if they don't own a car, but use taxis for all short journeys and hire cars for long ones. If you try this, you'll find that you don't do many things that you would do if you had a car, because the cost is direct.

2. Unless you live next door to the car hire office, hiring and returning a car will probably add at least two hours to your journey time. You will also have the annoyance of having to load and unload your luggage and find somewhere to park your electric car.

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Cambridge White Space boffins cook up Weightless chips

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Bluetooth and Iceni

I think Mr Bluetooth's name was Harald not "Herald".

He lived from about 935 to 985. If the Iceni were contemporary with Harald Bluetooth, and were "all killed by the Romans", then the Romans must have made a special trip back to Britain about 500 years after they left, by which time there was no longer any such thing as the Roman Empire in the West. Why they should be so vindictive, I can't imagine.

The fact is that nobody killed all the Iceni. They might have been displaced by the Anglo-Saxons and gone to Wales, though I think the view these days is that the incoming migrants merged with the existing populations.

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Public told to go to hell, name Pluto's two new moons

Kubla Cant
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Underworld

Mornington Crescent and Cockfosters

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Rogue Squadron: Unit of X-wings Kickstarts in response to Death Star

Kubla Cant
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FAIL

Kickstarter

If it has a kickstarter, it's not an X-Wing Fighter, it's a motor bike.

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Montana TV warns of ZOMBIE ATTACK in epic prank hack

Kubla Cant
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Jerry Springer-style show

It's a well-known fact that the audience and participants for a Jerry Springer-style show are mostly zombies anyway.

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BT copper-cable choppers cop 16 months in the cooler

Kubla Cant
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Holmes

Scrap metal

This stuff wouldn't be worth stealing without dishonest scrap metal dealers to sell it to. Why isn't there a regulation and licensing scheme? Or, if there is one, why doesn't it work?

You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to spot scrap that's probably stolen: copper cable, sheet lead and copper off roofs, manhole covers.

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The business mullet: Cool or tool?

Kubla Cant
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Re: Sometimes it's like punkrock never happened!

people still judge someone's ability, worth and morality by whether or not they have matching jacket & trousers

In most cases people don't do anything as simple as this. What they do is judge your sense of what is appropriate to the occasion. You'd make at least as bad an impression attending a business meeting in white tie and tails as you would in jeans.

The problem is that people's sense of what is appropriate differs. So what you're really being judged on is the quality of your risk assessment, particularly when you stand to gain or lose significantly by the outcome of the meeting.

It's significant that the people who claim their personal appearance is unimportant rarely think the same about the appearance of the devices and UIs that they produce.

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Boffins find RAT-SIZED bug-muncher links man to beast

Kubla Cant
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Re: Re: But...

*Welch

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Earth-like planets abound in red dwarf systems

Kubla Cant
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Don't know about the Admiral Graf Spee, but Tirpitz and Bismarck were referred to as "pocket battleships".

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Tidally locked?

Try growing plants under nothing but halogen lights...

And expect a visit from the drug squad.

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The Register: Our all-new app now available for Android

Kubla Cant
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FAIL

Where?

Immediately I read about this I went to Play Store and searched for "the register".

There were two results shown in Apps: The Register (Unofficial Feed) , which described itself as "not maintained or updated", and (tee hee) The Moron Test . If it's the latter, I think El Reg should keep its opinion of its readers to itself.

Can anyone explain how "the moron test" is a valid search hit for "the register"? I know they both contain "the", but I would have though that was a noise word.

There were a further 12239 results in Apps, but I don't expect to live long enough to check them all. I guess I'll just stick to reading El Reg on a computer as nature intended.

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Pinging in the rain: Boffins track wet spots using phone masts

Kubla Cant
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Happy

"Pinging in the rain" - love it.

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Boffins find 17,425,170-digit prime number

Kubla Cant
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Re: Why are we paying for this research?

@NomNomNom: "Everyone enjoys a prime hunt"

Are you sure about that? Have you asked them?

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Big Data versus small data: Unpicking the paradox

Kubla Cant
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Eh?

So a number is atomic and can be operated on with a condition like "salary > 50000". A string is non-atomic because it suits conditions like "third letter is ‘n’". But this just reflects two patterns of comparison and decomposition. One might equally say "third digit of salary as binary is 1", or "name < 'Jones'" (neither a very realistic example, but the point is clear).

Also, the author writes of a function that scans satellite images and looks for aircraft. It might return data like:

Delta winged – 0

Swept winged – 3

Date of Birth

Straight winged - 2

Rotating winged – 2

This looks like a pretty crap function. Why does it return a DOB when looking at aircraft images? Why are two wing types coded identically?

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First video inside thinking fish's brain captured by boffins

Kubla Cant
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Re: "prosecute their possible intent"

At best, it will turn out like weather forecasting.

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