* Posts by Primus Secundus Tertius

545 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010

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Dormant ALIEN SLIME LIFE frozen in SPEEDING comet will AWAKEN - boffins

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Creative Headlines

Give the el Reg journos a break. This headline may keep them going until the next BOFH time.

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Another day, ANOTHER Windows 10 build for us Insiders

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Aw c'mon. It's a damn sight easier to talk to those guys than to someone in Calais, or even Glasgow.

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Github's 'Atom' text editor hits version 1.0

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: "This is no child of mine" - Emacs

It's a bit like that with a Markup processor called pandoc.

Except I did not uninstall.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: What's next

After A_to_M I guess we have N_to_Z.

Then perhaps !to)

Or not, if you prefer EBCDIC sequencing.

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BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?

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There is an option.

You can chuck out the phone line, but then you get charged for TV channels that you never watch. As I found out.

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It's OK – this was an entirely NEW type of cockup, says RBS

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Nobody checks

Perhaps there was a data error, then.

But nobody checks anything these days until something goes very visibly wrong. The doctrine in schools is that we must not query the creativity of the little darlings by anything so vulgar as re-reading and checking their work.

And so they become the programmers who let the customer find the faults and complain.

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Hey kids, who wants to pwn a million BIOSes?

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Firmware or crapware?

I guess that firmware updates are the responsibility of the computer maker, rather than Microsoft, and would rely on the manufacturer's "value added" software being present.

Unfortunately, new machines come with so much crapware that the first thing a careful owner does is a clean install minus all the crapware.

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How much info did hackers steal on US spies? Try all of it

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Re: This is rapidly becoming a world laughing stock

@keithpeter

In the UK they just send CDs of social security data in the post. As you say, they have not admitted that anyone has actually used that information. Also they leave memory sticks in pubs and taxis, but don't admit that.

The UK Treasury clearly did not believe in spending money to protect data about UK citizens. It looks as though the USA has a similar problem.

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Wall Street watchdog publishes its ultimate rules on Bitcoin biz

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Re: What?

No, not very old.

Only yesterday I saw XP on a machine at my local council.

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It's FREE WINDOWS 10 time: 29 July is D-Day, yells Microsoft

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Re: @Paul Shirley

@dogged

I seem to recall that Microsoft, or the US Government, once disabled the Windows machines owned by whichever wicked government was wickedly ruling Afghanistan in those wicked times.

True, MS are unlikely to bother a private individual who keeps himself inconspicuous, but corporations are another matter.

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NASA plots interplanetary cubesat swarms

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Bovine backscatter

Looks to me like GOAB - Good Old American Bull****.

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Manchester car park lock hack leads to horn-blare hoo-ha

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@Lee D

I find the radio key very convenient for opening my car in a dark garage.

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Re: Hanlon's razor

@Goldmember

Not far from Strangeways (a Manchester prison) I seem to recall.

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Russia will fork Sailfish OS to shut out pesky Western spooks

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What about the toolchain?

It's not enough to have source code that you trust. You also need compilers, linkers, assemblers, library editors, etc that you trust.

Maybe Russia has spent money on these things. I doubt that the UK has.

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Microsoft celebrates 25 years' SOLITARY SELF-PLEASURE with GROUP SESSION

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Re: But what about

And what about the Pinball Jingle, if you chose "music" rather than "sound"?

Calculated to drive the whole office insane.

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Stripped to the core and full of Xfce: Xubuntu Linux loses it

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And after apt-get

Get yourself a GUI installer.

The process is one of primary bootstrap, secondary bootstrp, ...

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Microsoft: Free Windows 10 for THIEVES and PIRATES? They can GET STUFFED

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End users and promoters

MS might be trying to say that end users will be allowed a free upgrade but resellers, promoters, and wide boys in general will have to pay.

Or they might not.

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Re: 7 to 8 ...

I vaguely remember a similar situation with Vista and its upgrade from XP.

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DEEPENING MYSTERY of BRIGHT LIGHTS on dwarf world Ceres

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@apophis22

No, sir! The bright spots mean we have been rumbled, and They are signalling to us, in some exotic unicode, to F*** Off.

And they have camouflaged the rich fields of grain after which their planetlet is named.

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Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

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Re: "Shy Tories"

@Pen-y-gors

What's more, make them vote in Welsh, for their sins. Except in Wales, where they would have to use Gaelic.

Latin would be a very civilised voting language. Graduates of Oxbridge would be allowed to use it, as it was a traditional entry requirement there.

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Re: We don't vote for parties...

@Grikath

Yes, yes, but then you look at the alternatives, of which the most important is the European Parliament.

There, one votes for a party list. There is no way of voting against a particular candidate unless you also vote against his or her colleagues. Voting against is a very important facility.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: "shy tory"

@John H Woods

The newspapers are allowed to be biased, and they are generally honest about their bias. The BBC is supposed to be not biased, and therefore hides its bias.

BBC election night began at 9.55pm, and for a few minutes they were relishing the prospect of a Labour coalition. Then they were stunned by the exit poll, and more or less behaved themselves.

However, in 1992 they did not admit until the following morning that the Conservatives had actually achieved a majority of parliamentary seats. Same again this time.

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Weird ARCHAEAN LIFE FORM found at 'Loki's Castle' DEEP beneath Arctic Circle

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Re: Eukaryon with your research

He may be a fun guy but I am with the protistas.

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Is Grant Shapps being naughty on Wikipedia – or did a Lib Dem stitch him up?

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BBC and sources

The BBC are not supposed to call anything "News" if there are not at least two sources. That is, or was, written into their "Guidelines for Producers".

Some ten years ago I prepared a set of comments relating to the renewal of the BBC Charter, and studied those Guidelines.

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Ruskie hackers nab unclassified Obama emails

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Re: Why??

@Keef

There are so many different versions of unicode that she could claim they were using the wrong version.

In the computing world, the prefix "uni-" is a disaster.

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Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC

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@Rich 11

Who said anything about faith? He was selling the stuff, not believing in it.

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Something's missing in our universe: Boffins look into the SUPERVOID

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Re: Does there have to be a reason for it?

@boltar

Yes.

The very early universe went through an "inflationary" phase, when everything was smoothed out: the geometry, and the distribution of photons and other particles.

The reported temperature deviation is about four standard deviations, so is worth investigating.

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Thank heavens for the silicon chip: A BRIEF history of data

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Perhaps interesting

Maybe this was an interesting article, but I am not prepared to wade through four pages.

PLEASE bring back the "print as one page" button.

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Google drives a tenth of news traffic? That's bull-doodie, to use the technical term

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Re: How many of these are using Google as their address bar?

Duh?

Am I the only one who just clicks on a URL in my favourites list?

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Scummy transients FOUND ON MARS by NASA rover

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@boltar and generally,

What puzzled the people who before ca 1930 speculated on the origin of life on Earth was, how could life get started in an oxidising environment?

Then astronomers realised the universe was mostly hydrogen - had to be to explain our sun - and people realised that life here began in a reducing or at least neutral environment.

I cannot see how any kind of life could survive a perchlorate environment, unless it is at most a trace component.

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RELICS of the Earth's long lost TWIN planet FOUND ON MOON

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@sureo

Even if it had been so placed at one time. perturbations from the other planets would have moved it.

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Saturn's rings, radio waves ... poetry? At home with Scotland's Mr Physics

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Not measured

Apols in advance for tips & corrections in these comments, but my email is down while I rebuild my main computer. But, as others have said, interesting article.

1. "The breakthrough was his measurement of the speed of electromagnetism".

It was not a measurement but a prediction: a formula based on known electromagentic constants, arising from his equations.

2. "(Principle's) daughter". No, principal's.

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Virgin Media goes TITSUP, RUINS Tuesday evening

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Whose fault?

I thought it was no longer Beardie's fault, but some American: name of Malone.

The Mal One indeed!

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It's the FALKLANDS SYNDROME! Fukushima MELTDOWN to cause '10,000 Chernobyls' in South Atlantic

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Had a good lunch?

It seems that Team Register had an energetic lunch the other day. The hot curry was descending from the entrance aperture to the exit, but was countered by violent body movements and got into some kind of oscillation. No amount of beer could cool it down, but the beer made them start thinking.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Afterwards?

@DropBear

That would give a whole new meaning to the phrase "blue ocean water".

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Ding Dong, ALIENS CALLING

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Re: A baseball can do 30 megatons of damage?

More likely is that the ship will hit a speck of galactic dust, perhaps one micron across. So 10**-18 cubic metres, or ca 10**-15 kg. The rest mass energy is therefore 90 joules, so its kinetic energy at relativistic speeds will be similar.

Suppose there is one such dust grain per cubic metre. At the speed of light, each square metre of the ship will hit 3x10**8 such grains, releasing at least 2x10**10 joules.

The ship will rapidly be reduced to galactic dust.

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Hated biz smart meter rollout: UK.gov sticks chin out, shuts eyes

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Let Downing Street lead

I propose that the first "smart" meters be installed in Downing Street, numbers 10 and 11.

If that does not make the occupants smart (i.e. flinch), nothing will.

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Mature mainframe madness prints Mandlebrot fractal in TWELVE MINUTES

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Re: Pi in the, er, print

Why use BCD?

Answer, there were no 64-bit computers in those days. Few people had a 60-bit CDC6600.

24-bit was common, allowing +or- 8 million. 36 bit would give +or- 32 billion.

What we did have were COBOL compilers allowing very large numbers to be specified. But to compute them efficiently BCD was the way.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Pi in the, er, print

The IBM 1620 I once programmed used binary coded decimal arithmetic. That meant one could manipulate very long numbers. I used it to calculate pi to 300 places.

Part of that calculation involved finding the square root of three to 300 places, which entailed a loop in which a 600 place number was divided by a 300 place number. A single hardware divide instruction took about one second to do that, as shown by the flashing lights.

The real use of BCD is in finance, to represent billions of dollars to the nearest cent without rounding errors for simple addition and subtraction. Percentages and currency conversions still have to be rounded, of course. VAX computers included BCD instructions for use with their COBOL compilers and variables of type COMPUTATIONAL.

Nowadays this long-length arithmetic would be useful for cryptography.

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HUGE Aussie asteroid impact sent TREMORS towards the EARTH'S CORE

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Joke

Re: Devonian?

@Voland RH

OK, you and I have problems with chicklechub. It all depends what language you grew up with. And whether you like using two prepositions to end a sentence with.

Just ask ze olientals.

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Re: Devonian? @ ~Spartacus

@Dewix

I would have thought that pottery and reinforced concrete would survive. Have not heard of any being found, though.

Also remnants of diamond jewellery.

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UK.gov shovels £15m into training new quantum engineers

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Time to market

Dr Anderson: "advances made by scientists might take twenty years before appearing in the market".

Consider the transistor, invented in 1948. It did not show its full importance until the late 1960s when integrated circuits became available. But the quantum mechanics that underlies the transistor was developed in the 1920s.

So that was a gap of some forty years between scientific research and major pay-off. The moral is that a short term approach to science funding will not spend money wisely.

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Cable's fables

@Dr Syntax

Long ago, I interrupted Vince Cable with a point of information during a debate at the Cambridge Union Society. He is a courteous debater, but that is the only positive thing I can say about him.

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Blighty's 12-sided quid to feature schoolboy's posterior

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Re: Homage to the old 'Thrupenny Bit'...

The original seven-sided replacement for the ten-bob note was sometimes called a Wilson - cheap, nasty, and unpopular.

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Kaspersky Lab hits back at Bloomberg's Russian spy link hit piece

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@croc

No, They are are not concerned with you as an individual; you are just a statistic.

What They are interested in is statistics by the million, just like the ad agencies and supermarkets look at the millions. Snowden has said little or nothing about Big Statistics. Maybe he is not a statistician, or maybe that is where the real secrets are.

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Rosetta SNIFFS molecular nitrogen on Comet 67P

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Mostly as hydride

Given the overwhelming abundance of hydrogen in the universe, one might expect carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen to be present as hydrides: CH4, NH3, OH2.

So the existence of molecular nitrogen needs to be explained. Cue hand waving about evolved planets.

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Noobs can pwn world's most popular BIOSes in two minutes

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Trollface

Re: Cut to the chase

There many be many layers of "open software that's simple enough". That's where the complexity will be.

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Re: Maybe the operating system shouldn't use the BIOS.

@AC

Or even "Whom do you trust?".

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Dark matter surveys turn up new satellites … orbiting the Milky Way

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Re: Get it right

As I understand it, many a globular cluster has more than "a few hundred stars".

How about exo-cluster, rather than some sort of downsized galaxy?

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OpenSSL audit kicks off for post-Heartbleed strengthening program

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Types of error

The Heartbleed bug was not a subtle cryptography error but poor interface design, with two variables representing block size. Even if both variables were desirable, there should have been an 'assert'.

So we may need a redesign rather than a review. Also a zero-tolerance policy for compiler warnings.

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