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* Posts by Caesarius

171 posts • joined 25 Oct 2011

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Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM

Caesarius
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Stop

Do not blaspheme against the mighty XOR

Don't blame the XOR. If I were to use a one-time pad to apply a sequence of bytes to my data using XOR, my code would be unbreakable. Therefore XOR is not a weak link. You'd have trouble managing such keys to cover unlimited data, but that isn't the XOR's fault.

You might as well say that the processor can't be expected to do much, because it's only manipulating a bag of bits using very simple operations.

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New Snowden leak: US and Brit spooks 'tap into German telco networks to map end devices'

Caesarius
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Technical Limitations

I remember looking at James Bond etc., where someone is bundled into the boot of a car and driven to the other side of a mountain range. Fortunately, he has a beacon inserted into his person, and his friends can monitor his position, to the nearest metre, at a range of a hundred miles. Oh my, how we laughed at such fiction, barely managing to suspend disbelief.

But I do not hear myself laughing at Treasure Map.

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Profitless Twitter: We're looking to raise $1.5... yes, billion

Caesarius
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Go

Judging the value of content

The internet has a very large quantity of worthless drivel, but enough interesting material to make it worth the effort of getting involved.

Some parts have a high concentration of goodness, like The Register (1).

Others have a low concentration of goodness, like Facebonk (just my prejudice?!).

My impression is that Twitter is not significantly worse than the internet generally, but that isn't a very good reason to invest in it.

(1) If El Reg doesn't pay me for this, then I'm deleting it. Mutter mutter mutter.

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Leak of '5 MEELLLION Gmail passwords' creates security flap

Caesarius
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"up to three years old"

"Our analysis reveals that there is substantial evidence that this data is up to three years old and primarily [linked to the] geographical catchment area [of] the United States and England, but [we've] also confirmed [a] dozen Danish Gmail accounts"

If the data is 3 years old then they haven't got my recent password. If the data is 0 years old then they might have it. If the data is up to 3 years old then they might have it. So to my mind that makes the "3 years" entirely irrelevant.

"the data is probably three years old" FYTY?

(Like the retail outlet headline "up to 50% off", which actually includes the case where there is no reduction at all, and so the claim is annoyingly content-free.)

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Microsoft introduces text search … for videos!

Caesarius
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I bet the NSA (et al) already have this facility

Well, they would, wouldn't they.

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IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

Caesarius
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Coat

Poetic style to reduce innuendo?

Perhaps we could avoid embarrassment if we used quite a different style of error message. My favourite is haiku, see Salon Magazine competition (which I could only find using the archive site).

On the other hand ... oh sod it. I mean, bugger. Perhaps I need to wash my mouth out...

That's why this icon is used so many times. Mine's the unwashed waterproof ...

(I need help. Shit. I mean...)

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Nude celeb pics wrongly blamed for DDOS at New Zealand's largest ISP

Caesarius
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Paris Hilton

Nice for a change...

...to hear of a site managed well enough not to crash, not to leak details, etc., even though it was bound to suffer with that scale of attack. I suppose it's not normally news unless a site goes horribly wrong.

And so back to lures of the flesh ;-)

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Judge: Google class action 'usual suspects' cash-fling 'smells'

Caesarius
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Big Brother

Is it just me...

...or does anyone else remember feeling just a tiny bit of foreboding when they committed any personal data to the big uncontrollable out-there?

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Nvidia blasts sueballs at Qualcomm, Samsung – wants Galaxy kit banned

Caesarius
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Boffin

Close your eyes!

Yes, it looks like a patent for image processing. I have some personal capability for image processing, and I've helped produce and market three similar instances with such capabilities.

(Icon for appearances. Not that I looked at it.)

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OH SNAP: Getty Images sues Microsoft over Bing pics widget

Caesarius
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Re: Bizarre

I'm sure I read about Microsoft conning art galleries into selling the rights to use images of the paintings at scandalously low prices, but I can't find a link quickly.

So just having the copyright is not sufficient to convince me that they are behaving honourably.

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Flaming heck! Watchdog scolds Apple Mac, iPad fab in staff safety probe

Caesarius
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Falling between two stools

Actually seven stools: I can imagine the seven companies named all hesitating to make changes, because none is the majority user. That's a possible explanation, not an excuse.

So it's interesting that Apple is singled out for blame. Like Gray Ham said, what about the other companies?

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PHABBA-DABBA-DOO! Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Edge, Gear VR – feast your eyes

Caesarius
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Pint

Re: just turn it upside down @Malcolm 1

Not only should you turn it upside down, but it should realise what you are doing and adjust the graphics to suit. I'm sure that's been done before somewhere...

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Govt waves stick at pirate-friendly Google search

Caesarius
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Don't shoot the messenger

I agree with Khaptain: leave the search engines alone. We know that Google can manipulate the results, but we'd much rather that they didn't.

And yet there are ways for someone to manipulate search engines to promote their site, so we want Google to intervene, which is manipulation.

Does this mean that we should shoot the messenger? Difficult.

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If you think 3D printing is just firing blanks, just you wait

Caesarius
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Stop

Re: Imagine if you could print the kits @ Alistair

Hang on: the fun is in assembling the kit into a model, and the benefit for the supplier is that he can "stock" everything ever supplied.

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Caesarius
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Go

Re: Title goes here: "[something] a bit more, well, 3D really"

Actually, even 2D is only 1D most of the time. And, in a CRT, it's only 0D in some sense.

I suppose something like a Star Trek transporter would be truly 3D? Assuming that the info wasn't transmitted serially...

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Google flushes out users of old browsers by serving up CLUNKY, AGED version of search

Caesarius
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Unhappy

Re: Tell them why (was Re: Yay, usable maps again)

No! Don't tell them! I have this horrible feeling that they will take away our toys more effectively.

Too bad. The cat's out of the bag.

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'I think photographers get TOO MUCH copyright for their work'

Caesarius
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Joke

Re: Arlo (@ downvoters)

Oh come on: you can't possibly downvote a reference to father rapers just because ST7 forgot to fly the the JokeAlert flag!

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Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts

Caesarius
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Re: Real coding!

@Martin

Perhaps there is some non-standard stuff before the partition table, or something missing.. Try photorec which looks for stuff on corrupted disks: it might find the start of something usable.

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'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder

Caesarius
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Joke

Re: ...workers could hire and fire their doctors.

"The Great Unwashed"

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We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie

Caesarius
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Facepalm

Timescales

"Last March, the US announced that it would work towards a multi-stakeholder model of governance by autumn next year."

"The Commission will also want to talk about future funding for the IGF secretariat, whose mandate runs out in 2015 and which relies on voluntary funding."

Let's review this in, say, ten months. No? You won't exist then? Pity.

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Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables

Caesarius
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Wire Terminations Re: Its OK, I have a Samsung...

In my experience, poor terminations are the most dangerous. Thin wire will distribute the dissipation along the cable; a break in thin copper midway will soon burn itself out, but, I expect, without setting fire to the insulation; a termination tends to be where more substantial conductors can withstand more current and temperature rise (1). It is too easy to crimp badly and then hide the mess in a block of plastic.

(1) c.f. arc welding

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Caesarius
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Childcatcher

How the mighty are fallen Re: Thanks, El Reg

I remember HP being the proud manufacturers of electronic test equipment, always our first choice. HP 8640, anyone? (1) And then they chose to split their business: The old and thoroughly reputable test equipment side got a new name, Agilent (we resented it bitterly); The burgeoning PC and printer side retained the Hewlett Packard name.

So it is ironic (2) that their hardware (or some of it) is cheap and poor quality. Sigh.

(1) If you don't know what one of these is, you're too young. But that's my point.

(2) It is also ironic that I can't do colour here. Or did Proud Mr Bronze Badge miss something?

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Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?

Caesarius
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Re: The problem is

The problem is that the media is generally painting this as "brown people far away" while ignoring the growing number of British citizens travelling out there to join ISIS...

Government policy and the media narrative are threatened by this video. People might start to think something other than what they're meant to think.

Well, that makes sense. But how about looking at it like this:

"They" must know that prohibiting viewing the video will make people watch it all the more. So that would mean that "they" are not afraid of it. Perhaps it is preferred that people associate evil with extremism, rather than with "brown people far away" or Muslims at home. Or is that too sensible?

(I've been trying out theories of reverse psychology quite a lot today. I think I'll go and lie down.)

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Caesarius
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Pint

Re: Science is about how, religion is about why.

That's always what I say.

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Caesarius
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Childcatcher

Re: Two girls and a cup

http://xkcd.com/467/

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

Caesarius
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Pint

Re: heard similar please before

grab the phone and throw it away

I was so going to say that!

That was the solution most people wished they had the courage to go for when we were first annoyed by antisocial use of mobiles in e.g. trains.

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Look, no client! Not quite: the long road to a webbified Vim

Caesarius
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Thumb Up

Re: Perl ... that actually is the sourcecode

Perl pwned my eyeballs. It took a bloody good surgeon two days to unscramble my retina.

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Caesarius
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IT Angle

Oh Jemima, look at your uncle Jim...

...scrubbing the floor with Ajax and Vim (1)

And that is about as much reference to vim as I got in the article. Crushing disappointment.

(1) Enough with the duck pond: this is the version I learned at my Grandma's knee.

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UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones

Caesarius
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Windows

@AC convicted monopolist ... lock-in, reducing freedom ... accused of ballot stuffing

Eadon? Is that You?

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Ad regulator pulls down Branson-backed magic undies

Caesarius
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Pint

Scary invisible rays

This reminds me of the joke played on freshmen in my college. A note was placed in each of our pigeon-holes advertising a new technique for marking serial numbers on bicycles, using nuclear radiation. This was to be provided free, as were the lead-lined underpants that should be used when riding the bicycles during the initial stage, when the radiation had not died down to a safe level. We were to apply to the Porter's Lodge: the Porters showed a range of emotions, ending with hilarity and derision.

At least those precautions would have been effective but unnecessary, rather than ineffective and unnecessary.

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New voting rules leave innocent Brits at risk of SPAM TSUNAMI

Caesarius
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Unhappy

Re: What register?

The government site has this:

If you’re asked to register and don’t do so, your local Electoral Registration Office could fine you £80.

So how do you avoid being asked? (Clearly I'm heading towards not voting!)

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A-level results: Before you smile at that jump-for-joy snap...

Caesarius
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Pint

Re: once you are IN a big company the focus isn't on the degree any more

When you have A-levels, people take less interest in your O-levels (1).

When you have a degree, and apply for a job, people take less interest in your A-levels.

When you apply for a job, they ask "what have you been doing these last few years?"

Seems fair to me.

(1) showing my age here, but you know what I mean

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Caesarius
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IT Angle

Re: a three year course in Hair Care

Someone once challenged a history undergraduate to show that his degree was useful. Whereas the study of history does benefit society (1), I chose to point out that "useful" studies should earn that description by improving society's quality of life, like having the opportunity of studying e.g. history.

But a degree in hair care is just taking the mick.

(1) but a history degere is probably less useful in IT

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Caesarius
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Headmaster

Re: concept of a degree has been watered down

Decades ago, the idea was that undergraduates studied what interested them, and that their supervisor nudged some of their activities to maintain sanity. I have a degree in engineering, but that kind of subject requires so much specific teaching that there is hardly any room for striking out on your own. So really my course should not have been called a degree. It was exactly what I wanted, but not really a degree in the old sense.

Naturally, the polytechnics abandoned their title because they clearly offered the same teaching as universities.

And so now we have more and more apprentice schemes. That strikes me as always having been a good idea. It is a great pity, however, that companies need to tempt apprentices with the opportunity of getting what is called a degree: they are keeping degrees watered down.

(Icon for subject matter as much as for my pedantry.)

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Dead Steve Jobs sued by own shareholders in no-poach pact brouhaha

Caesarius
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WTF?

Hang on a minute

If the no poaching pact was done for profit, and if it succeeded, then the shareholders got more value not less. Why would they cut off their own noses?

Or perhaps the pact had run its course, and was generating less money (but how can anyone know that?). Then it might be good to be first in the queue suing for compensation.

Sorry, that's a bit cynical.

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Just when you thought you were alone in the bath: Hi-res mapping satellite ready for launch

Caesarius
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Re: Big Data Prophets

As for the Big Data Prophets, whereas I can see they want some Big Data to play with, I don't know how they will afford that much data. Perhaps it's all Wizard of Oz, smoke and mirrors, the Big Data TV Evangelists asking for investment, but for ill-specified returns.

(I think the storage vendors will be among those who are hoping for sales of satellite images, rather than those paying for the images themselves.)

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Caesarius
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Re: Who says they can?

Of course! The main customer is the military, but the company is allowed to make a little more money by selling data elsewhere, and the military will probably want a discount.

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Caesarius
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What's the point

I'm struggling to think of uses for this resolution, apart from military ones. There's also the refresh rate to specify. And who will pay for a licence to use it?

I've found something by the Earth Imaging Journal: oil, gas or mineral exploration will pay good money for images, and the higher resolution is good for the required detailed analysis. But otherwise, who will pay lots of money for these:

Geological studies, cliff erosion. 1m, monthly or less frequent

Geological studies, glacier movement. >1m, yearly

Animal population distribution. 1m but possibly less, monthly or yearly

Weather. >10m, daily

Policing (environmental): mining, settlement, building, deforestation. 1m, yearly or more frequent

Policing safety concerns: oil spills, toxic waste, fires. <10m, weekly (or more frequent?)

Policing: mass graves/genocide. <1m, monthly

Enlighten me!

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Caesarius
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Coat

Re: Dates??

Left your tin hat on the coat stand? Rookie mistake.

I'll get my coat, and yours.

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IBM boffins stuff 16 million-neuron chips into binary 'frog' brain

Caesarius
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WTF?

Leave my jargon alone

"...and matches the emulator model exactly – modulo yield faults – so you can develop the model on the emulator and then download it to the chip for real-time use..."

Modulo? MODULO?!

x mod y < y

So there is something worth having that is less than the number of yield faults?

"...and matches the emulator model exactly – minus yield faults – so you can develop the model on the emulator and then download it to the chip for real-time use..."

FTFY

But, then again: “Words strain, Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, Will not stay still.”

And back to Eeyore mode.

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Twitter can trigger psychosis in users

Caesarius
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Pint

@Dan 55 Re: I'm too busy with El Reg all day

Nervous laughter.

(And an upvote)

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Caesarius
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Joking aside

I used to joke about these things along with the best of them: "just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't out to get you". But having seen symptoms of psychosis, too close for comfort, it's too painful for me. The rest of you carry on.

Various things can trigger it, e.g. stress and drugs, so it is easier to point to the drugs than twitter, especially the marijuana in this case.

Whereas the psychiatrists investigated whether she had a history of psychosis in her family, I should have expected them to check for other mental illnesses with milder symptoms, because they also are indicative of risk.

And yet I recall the case of some psychiatrists who wanted to prove the inadequacy of diagnosis in mental hospitals. They presented themselves as schizophrenic, acting out the symptoms, and were duly admitted. Later, they played their hand as intended, and challenged the institution for having misdiagnosed. And so they proved their point. But, having behaved in a certain way, they had actually become schizophrenic, and had to undergo treatment themselves.

So bad behaviour can make you mentally ill. You must decide for yourselves whether Twitter is healthy.

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BAD VIBES: High-speed video camera records your voice from trash

Caesarius
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Paris Hilton

Mary had a little lamb ...

... the doctors were surprised

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Caesarius
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Pint

Re: Macroscope

There's an Asimov story that pre-dates the Macroscope by 13 years: The Dead Past, Asimov, where being able to see and hear anything in the past, including only 1 second ago, has devastating implications for everyone's privacy.

(Not that I'm casting aspersions on The Macroscope: I'd not heard of it, and now I want to read it.)

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Caesarius
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WTF?

Re: Insufficient data

MATLAB?! I've heard MATLAB referred to as "FORTRAN meets APL in car crash", but my point is that it is useful (very very useful) to prove an algorithm but not as quick as "proper code". (Oh, and it does very pretty graphics for little effort.)

So I wonder what 2 hours would come down to.

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Caesarius
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Boffin

@The last doughnut Re: Er....

I thought that the laser technique required a splitter, sending one ray via the moving surface (window), and then combining them, and looking at the intensity of the combined rays. The phase modulation is thus recovered, but you clearly need some very stable fixings for the laser, the splitter, the combiner, etc. And anyway, every time a lorry goes by everything will move and the wanted signal will be drowned out.

That's one seriously difficult technique.

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Your fitness tracker is a SNITCH says Symantec

Caesarius
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Terminator

When it really matters:

"No connection, no breach"

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Facebook goes down, people dial 911

Caesarius
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Pint

Re: Same idiots as

Unnecessary instructions have been noted before.

"Hold stick near centre of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion."

—The toothpick instructions that annoyed Wonko

(from http://hitchhikers.wikia.com/wiki/Wonko_the_Sane)

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Samsung faces down TAB and smartphone MOUNTAIN HORROR

Caesarius
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Mushroom

Meteors (slightly off topic)

Why does everyone say "meteoric rise"? Meteors fall, crash and burn (1). Not necessarily in that order. So we should say Samsung are becoming more meteoric, not less.

(1) Hence icon

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Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins

Caesarius
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Holmes

Accident waiting to happen

If the food chain were precarious, then a meteor is only one option to topple the dinosaurs. It doesn't sound like luck to me.

See "Foundation", Asimov, (and even "The End of Eternity") for theories of things taking their course in spite of perturbations. In that sense, perhaps the end of the dinosaurs was inevitable.

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