* Posts by Dave 126

6270 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Did you know ... Stephen Fry has founded a tech startup?

Dave 126
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Re: Cruel and viscious.

And yet the comments and votes on the forum for the Reg article that Stephen Fry mentioned were mostly on Fry's side.

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Dave 126
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Re: Stephen Fry picking bad investments? Shirley not!

He was a millionaire by his early twenties. I don't think he needs the money.

Just had a look at Pindex... I can't see any adverts, or other revenue stream. It does appear to be a fair resource for learning about science.

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When customers try to be programmers: 'I want this CHANGED TO A ZERO ASAP'

Dave 126
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Re: Three glasses of whisky

> In fact it is the break of a moderate walk that is often most productive.

Of a book of error codes. "It says [error] -41 is: "Sit by a lake.""

https://xkcd.com/1024/

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Dave 126
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Akin to real life, when looking for car keys. If they are on the desk right in front of me, I don't spot them.

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'Dodgy Type-C USB cable fried my laptop!'

Dave 126
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Re: Who ever designed..

Re: http://cds.linear.com/docs/en/application-note/an19fc.pdf

What a beatiful document! Other excerpts:

1. Transformer Wired Backwards

Those dots indicate polarity, not smashed flies.

5. Fred’s Inductor (Or Transformer)

Inductors are not like lawn mowers. If you want to

borrow the one out of Fred’s drawer, make sure it’s the

right value for your application

7. Rat’s Nest Wiring

The LT1070 is not a jelly bean op amp that can be wired

up with 2-foot clip leads.

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Dave 126
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Re: Who ever designed..

Hehe!

It doesn't help that PSUs don't come branded "Seagate" or "WD", which would make reuniting the right PSU to the right gadget easier, but instead all seem to be labelled "Asian Power Supplies"

I think the troublesome 19v PSU came with an Alba LCD TV that someone bought - it was just as useless as it sounds. I either snipped the cable off the PSU, or wrapped it up in red insulation tape, I can't remember!

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Dave 126
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Re: Not just sensible cables please - sensible hardware too!

And yet I have a selection of more than a dozen sleeve-and-tip connectors in a draw (they came with a universal laptop PSU), of every internal and external diameter, some with pins. Engineers had this selection to choose from, yet they still arrived at using the same connector for 12v and 19v.

And yeah, sleeve-type connectors make tracing the polarity tricky, too.

Once these USB-C teething troubles are ironed out, I look forward to the ensuing sanity of powering bigger kit. Just as 5v 0.5A / 1.5A has become convenient for smaller gadgets.

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Dave 126
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Re: Who ever designed..

I've damaged a 3.5" external HDD by mistakenly using a 19v laptop psu, instead of a 12v PSU. My fault, though I had some ill thoughts towards the world that would use the same physical connector for both.

Luckily, snipping a certain diode off the HDD's PCB got it working again, in theory indefinitely (though I copied the data off pronto). And yeah, had I been more responsible with my back up routine, I wouldn't have needed to go that length.

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Motorola-powered Mac from 1989 used to write smartphone apps

Dave 126
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Re: Pascal on a Mac

That's a fair approach!

However:

Pascal is a common masculine Francophone given name, cognate of Italian name Pasquale, Spanish name Pascual, Catalan name Pasqual. Pascal is common in French-speaking countries, Germany and the Netherlands. Derived feminine forms include Pascale, Pascalle or Pascalina.

- Pascal (given name) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Berkeley boffins build cut-price robo-crutches, er, sci-fi exoskeleton

Dave 126
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Why? Where would the Wallace-and-Grommit-inspired remote-controlled Techno-Trouser fun be in that?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wrong_Trousers

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GCHQ’s Xmas puzzle proves uncrackable

Dave 126
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Wasn't there are certain Starfleet captain who solved an unsolvable computer-based puzzle?

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Dave 126
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uncracked =/= uncrackable

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Rooting your Android phone? Google’s rumbled you again

Dave 126
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Re: Rooting...isn't what it was.

>They root because it allows them to achieve whatever the goal they want to reach,

I believe Jason's point is that as Android and its hardware matures, there are *some* things that once required rooting that now don't.

It is perfectly plausible that an individual might their phone for a specific purpose. If that 'missing feature' is then added to a newer version of Android, then this user has less motive to root.

That's fine, YMMV.

My phone seemed to work pretty darned well out of the box, as a phone, as a Walkman, as a spare camera - whatever. So I don't faff around with it. But hey, I can understand if not everybody's new phone works as it should for them, either because of dodgy vendor software, or their own individual needs.

So no advice from me... Except for Known Hero: don't buy the official Sony case for your Xperia, it doesn't protect one edge of your screen, and the repair bill isn't cheap :)

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Sorry slacktivists: The Man is shredding your robo responses

Dave 126
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Re: one glaring problem

It was a strange choice to use the word 'prosumer' in that context.

I've always taken it to designate kit, not people. That is, equipment that a skilled professional could use to produce professional quality results but isn't as pricey as their normal tools, and that is usually sold to enthusiasts, would-be professionals, students, or 'all the gear and no idea' idiots.

In the context, the word seems to have been used to describe amateur film makers who are earnestly attempting to make a film based on IP owned by someone else. I.e, fans.

You're right, it's not the right word.

As for coffee, I use a £30 Aeropress for convenience (don't need a wall socket for an espresso-like brew, quick to use, easy to clean), whereas my friend uses a £1000 (bought second-hand) Jura bean-to-cup machine... again, for convenience.

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Dave 126
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I've been trying to find any news about Adam Curtis since I noticed he hasn't been active on his BBC blog for about year - just before his film Bitter Lake appeared on iPlayer.

If it wasn't for a small paragraph and a photo of him appearing at a small film festival to collect an award in the Autumn for the above film, he might as well have disappeared off the face of the planet as far as the internet is concerned.

He hasn't used his Twitter account in years.

Anyone here know what he's up to?

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Dave 126
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Re: I'm with Morozov

So, to summarise your post: Slactivists exhibit much the same dynamics as normal politics.

Okay, so I don't completely mean that, but a discussion about the difference between the two might be constructive.

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Microsoft sinks to new depths with underwater data centre experiment

Dave 126
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>As anyone who deals in matters maritime learns quickly, things left in the sea for a long time don't do well, even when sealed into tubes.

For some values of 'sealed', maybe, but not the one I normally use.

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I love you. I will kill you! I want to make love to you: The evolution of AI in pop culture

Dave 126
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Re: @Cranky_Yank - IBM loved 2001

>Come on. That' be HPA, HPAC or HPC

None of which lend themselves to single-syllable pronunciation.

Clarke and Kubrick were writing a movie. That we all know of HAL is good evidence that they did their jobs well.

"Open the pod bay doors, Aitch-pee-ai-see" would detract from the drama.

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Dave 126
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Re: Marvin

>Hawking opinion on it is worthless...

Anonymous Coward opinion on it is worthless...

FTFY

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Dave 126
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Re: you missed one

Dark.Star

co-written by, edited by and starring Dan O'Bannon

- Star Wars [computer animator]

-Jodowosky's Dune [never made, sadly]

-Alien [writer, effects supervisor]

-Total Recall

Screamers, a science-fiction film about post-apocalyptic robots programmed to kill. Adapted from the Philip K. Dick story "Second Variety".

That's some career!

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Dave 126
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Re: An opinion

Well the joy of short (sci-fi) stories is that the author can speculate about different outcomes of the same premise... In the Asimov universe I read, Susan Calvin is long dead before the Robots develop the Zeroth Law. :)

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Dave 126
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Re: Adding More than Simple Depth to the Widening Web

Bug powder dust and Mugwump jism. Wideboys running around Interzone tripping.

The fruits of their “scientific” labors are what have created our societies and they have been, in the main, if not ignored, dismissed. They have always been perceived as being “eccentric”, “a little bit odd” even “barking mad” but they have left us with all things, some which we can treasure and all that we thought we needed. - dDutch Initiative

Intelligence, which is capable of looking farther ahead than the next aggressive mutation, can set up long-term aims and work towards them; the same amount of raw invention that bursts in all directions from the market can be - to some degree - channelled and directed, so that while the market merely shines (and the feudal gutters), the planned lases, reaching out coherently and efficiently towards agreed-on goals. What is vital for such a scheme, however, and what was always missing in the planned economies of our world's experience, is the continual, intimate and decisive participation of the mass of the citizenry in determining these goals, and designing as well as implementing the plans which should lead towards them. Iain M Banks

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Dave 126
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Re: Nice review of Robots in fiction ...

>Iain M. Banks is self indulgent fantasy.

To be self indulgent is point of fantasy. Self awareness is throughout Bank's 'A Few Notes On The Culture', an excerpt from which is here:

Certainly there are arguments against the possibility of Artificial Intelligence, but they tend to boil down to one of three assertions: one, that there is some vital field or other presently intangible influence exclusive to biological life - perhaps even carbon-based biological life - which may eventually fall within the remit of scientific understanding but which cannot be emulated in any other form (all of which is neither impossible nor likely); two, that self-awareness resides in a supernatural soul - presumably linked to a broad-based occult system involving gods or a god, reincarnation or whatever - and which one assumes can never be understood scientifically (equally improbable, though I do write as an atheist); and, three, that matter cannot become self-aware (or more precisely that it cannot support any informational formulation which might be said to be self-aware or taken together with its material substrate exhibit the signs of self-awareness). ...I leave all the more than nominally self-aware readers to spot the logical problem with that argument.

It is, of course, entirely possible that real AIs will refuse to have anything to do with their human creators (or rather, perhaps, the human creators of their non-human creators), but assuming that they do - and the design of their software may be amenable to optimization in this regard - I would argue that it is quite possible they would agree to help further the aims of their source civilisation (a contention we'll return to shortly). At this point, regardless of whatever alterations humanity might impose on itself through genetic manipulation, humanity would no longer be a one-sentience-type species. The future of our species would affect, be affected by and coexist with the future of the AI life-forms we create.

- http://www.vavatch.co.uk/books/banks/cultnote.htm

-Iain M Banks

(Sun-Earther Iain El-Bonko Banks of North Queensferry)

Copyright 1994 Iain M Banks

Commercial use only by permission.

Other uses, distribution, reproduction, tearing to shreds etc are freely encouraged provided the source is acknowledged.

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Dave 126
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Re: Interest in AI has definitely flucuated over the years

Sounds like your instructor was an old hippie who had read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance...

A tutor suggests that a student overcome their inability to write about a house by writing thousands of words about a brick.

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Dave 126
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>"Books have formed the foundation for many filmic adaptions and contemporary creative investigations into the relationship between AI and human consciousness."

>I see what you did there.

So do I :)

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Dave 126
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Re: And also in 1994....

Captain Keyes in Halo exhibited the same infuriating tendency to get himself killed.

As did that woman in Goldeneye.

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Dave 126
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Re: "what it is that makes us human when computers and machines can educate themselves"

More than arms, what it would need is:

Motivation.

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Dave 126
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Re: GLaDOS

Yep, he did gloss over fictional AIs from video games.

He mentioned SHODAN, but missed out:

- Durandal (though only 90s Mac gamers could be expected to know it)

- Cortana, and 343 Guilty Spark. Cortana was a fictional AI aide to military commanders, and later her gave her name to Microsoft's 'personal assistant' software, which itself was, as was Siri, derived from Department of Defence projects in the 90s designed to triage tactically-relevant information for real battlefield commanders.

Quazatron (okay, that was on the ZX Spectrum)

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Dave 126
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Dr. Minsky himself co-authored a novel about an AI robot... it took the form of a cylinder, and had appendages that kept sub-dividing, which it uses to perform brain surgery on its human ally.

EDIT: Found it: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1807642.The_Turing_Option

Hahaha Minsky's co-author was Harry Harrison! Fantastic!

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Dave 126
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Re: Directors...

>Apparently some footage from "The Shining" made it into the U.S. theatrical cut. Who knew?!

That was fairly widely known, ever since the Director's Cut in the 90s, and again later in the internet age when Scott released the Ultimate Edition. What was new to me, however, was that the footage was given by Kubrick to a fed-up Scott, and the difference in aspect ratios made this re-purposing possible (otherwise there would be a VW Beetle in Blade Runner).

On a tangential side note, some people important to Scott's film Alien (Dan O'Bannon, HR Giger, Chris Foss) were first assembled by the director Jodorowsky for an abandoned adaptation of Herbert's Dune. Dune is set in an apparently post-AI universe, long after a human crusade to destroy all AIs in a 'Butlerian Jihad'. A similar issue is explored in Iain M Bank's non-Culture sci-fi novel The Algebraist.

And yeah, in interviews an exasperated Scott has confirmed the theories about Deckard by pointing out a detail in what should be the last scene (before the extra Kubrick-shot footage was bolted on); a character dops a certain item on the ground. The actor playing him would later play Admiral Adama in the new Battlestar Gallactica.

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Why a detachable cabin probably won’t save your life in a plane crash

Dave 126
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There has been a case of a woman who survived an airliner crash because she was in the loo at the time. Something to do with the loos position in the aircraft, and the deformable structures under the loo.

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SpaceX breaks capsule 'chute world record

Dave 126
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Advanced alien technology?

The NASA Blog talks of "The mass simulator and parachutes were released thousands of feet above the ground from a C-130 cargo aircraft. "

By 'mass simulator', do they just mean a big weight, or have they some sort of Einstein-worrying technology? If the latter, what the hell are they doing messing around with rockets?!

- https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2016/01/27/spacex-tests-crew-dragon-parachutes/

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Dave 126
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Re: The correct number of parachutes to own is n+1

Nah, it's like a four-leaved clover - it's luckier than the regular 3-leaved variety!

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Open source plugin aims to defeat link rot

Dave 126
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Re: Hosts

To late-comers to this thread: There was a ghastly animated GIF that has now been replaced by a nice warm picture of some chains.

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The monitor didn't work but the problem was between the user's ears

Dave 126
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Re: Autopilot

And the tree-surgeon equivalent is loping off the very same branch to which they have secured their harness. This is sadly not unheard of.

***

My new favourite tool is an LED floodlight that runs off 18v power tool batteries. It is so bloody handy! Unless, of course, you are accustomed to using mains-powered halogen floodlights to help walls dry.

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Dave 126
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I've thinking of installing another cup holder on my laptop - the current one is one the right hand side, even though the fan exhaust* that would do a lovely job of keeping my coffee warm is on the left hand side of the laptop. That's poor design, if you ask me!

(* cooling a Core 2 Duo T9550 and an nVidia card... the machine is a fan heater that also does sums. I can't remember when I last used its optical drive. )

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Dave 126
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>If I had a quid for every colleague who hadn't caught onto the fact that the monitor isn't "the computer" so switching it on/off doesn't of itself make computing happen I'd be a good few pints better off.

I've encountered a few people who referred to the monitor as the 'computer', and the PC itself as the 'hard disk', and I've never been in (paid) IT support.

So, anecdotally, accounts like Terry's are (or at least were) far from rare.

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AI no longer needs to fake it. Just don't try talking to your robots

Dave 126
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tl;dr

What some people find fun can be useful to society.

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Dave 126
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Maybe hedonism, but I know quite a few retired engineers who amuse themselves, when not in the pub,with some silly projects. Last month, for a few days, a pub table was covered in schematics of a washing machine motor control box, being looked at by some very qualified physicists, engineers and mechanics... someone wanted to re-purpose the motor to make a hovercraft.

Then there is a local billionaire, founder of a very respected high-end manufacturing concern, who could have retired years ago. But no, in his seventies he goes to work everyday because he evidently enjoys engineering. If he retired, what would he do - build a model railway?

Then you have the Felix Dennis types, who in retrospect wished they had stopped earning when they hit £30 million. He clams to have given up the cocaine and prostitutes at the age of sixty, but even when he indulged it didn't take too much of his time from working.

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Dave 126
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Re: @ Mage Actually ...

Oh come on guys, the references to Judge Dredd and various computer games, not to mention light-hearted touches (Japanese pensioners being crushed by a robot, poker players being meatbags) should have suggested that the article was not a sober academic piece about AI.

Of course, a real human would have noticed that the article was partly tongue-in-cheek, leading me to suspect that some of the comments above were made by 'AI's in Beta.

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30 years on from Challenger, NASA remembers the fallen

Dave 126
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Re: Was a very long day for me.

>I've watched NASA and, sorry, they haven't changed a bit. Even worse, actually.

That's as maybe, but they're not putting people into orbit any more.

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Dave 126
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Re: RIP the few -a testament to pioneer spirit.

It turned out Mr Feynman wasn't joking.

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Dave 126
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Re: I remember Challenger...

>I really wish Buzz Aldrin had been "first out the gate" as he would have been far more public and outspoken.

That was exactly the reason the mission planners chose Armstrong over Aldrin. They considered Aldrin a hothead.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/why-neil-armstrong/6362508 ( mp3 download )

Highlights of Why Neil Armstrong ? presented by the Space association of Australia and the Royal Aeronautical society. RMIT 24th March 2015

James Hansen, Armstrong's official biographer, untangles some of the facts from the fiction and looks in great detail at the events and circumstances that led to Armstrong being remembered as the first man on the moon.

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Major Hollywood studio eyes Paint Drying sequel

Dave 126
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Primer

The second film from the writer/director/actor/etc of Primer, Shane Carruth, was Upstream Colour.

Unlike my suggestions above, I'm not making this up:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2084989/

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Dave 126
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Robbie Coltrane

[Paint] Runs on the Run

The [Cellulose] Dope Must Dry

[Eggshell] Cracker

(I'm sorry, I have a cold and didn't get much sleep last night. I had strange dreams too, in which Robbie Coltrane did not feature. I don't where the above line of thought has come from)

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Dave 126
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Re: Paint Drying 2: Dry Hard

That should be:

An Emulsional Roller-Coater ride

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Cops hate encryption but the NSA loves it when you use PGP

Dave 126
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Re: RE: Start encrypting every bit of Internet traffic

>How do you monitor a language you don't know ?

There would be patterns, and statistical anomalies. Such techniques have been used to decipher long dead languages.

Of course, the bad guys could use rules to change the meaning of code words, ( e.g 'mango' mean 'bomb' but only if the football team who are currently 3rd in the premier division wear a blue strip, else 'ten mil spanner' is the magic word) but that requires discipline in their op sec. and perhaps wouldn't be considered a 'language'.

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Sensors, not CPUs, are the tech that swings the smartphone market

Dave 126
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Re: A computer without sensors is a pitiful, useless thing.

>OK as a sat nav - but not as accurate or durable as a dedicated unit

As a sat-nav, phones do have one trick up their sleeve over dedicated units: real time traffic information. Indeed, if you are feeling social, you can install an app that will add to the pool of real-time data, to everyone's benefit.

>- OK as a music player, but not the sound quality of a dedicated unit

That depends on the phone; some are very good, like the LG G2 or some variants of the Galaxy S3. But yeah, a dedicated player can be left plugged into your amp when a phone call comes in.

But yeah, I absolutely accept your general point, my quibbling aside.

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Dave 126
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Re: At the Apple koolade again?

>Then why define the need for it to be running spinning rust?

No worries, Known Hero! The spinning rust was just was just low-hanging fruit. Like I said, there are many ways of judging 'faster', and the 'last-but-one desktop*' could cover such a range of machines that it's silly. :)

It's all good though - even a £25 Chromecast or Raspberry Pi can shunt out HD video at a faster framerate than many a desktop I've seen, desktops that for many popular tasks aren't frustratingly slow.

*The original author would not be too unusual if he had last bought a desktop in, say 2005, and had since just used laptops.

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Dave 126
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Re: >we tend to judge of our computers by their CPUs, rather than their complement of sensors

>Give me a phone which can run a bog-standard linux distro and applications please, and give me a linux distro which can run on a phone.

I won't give it to you, you can buy it yourself! If you want command line Linux applications on a phone, a Ubuntu phone will do that, or a Sailfish in some circumstances.

If you want to use Linux GUI applications on a phone, then you are a masochist.

(I tried using Inkscape on an Android phone. It was a horrible experience. I can imagine the same is true of many GUI Linux applications on a small touchscreen. )

Good luck.

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