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* Posts by Petrea Mitchell

394 posts • joined 26 Jun 2007

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Yes. App that lets you say 'Yo' raises 1 MEEELLION DOLLARS

Petrea Mitchell
Coat

So what...

I want The App That Says "Ni".

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Oregon hit with federal subpoena over failed healthcare website launch

Petrea Mitchell
FAIL

Re: Oracle?

"Does anyone know if Oregon is at least suing Oracle?"

Nothing's been filed yet, but various officials have been dropping hints that it will.

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IBM accidentally invents new class of polymers

Petrea Mitchell
Go

Re: Go boffins!

Isaac Asimov said it best: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'"

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China 'in discussions' about high-speed rail lines to London, Germany – and the US

Petrea Mitchell
Thumb Up

NA-Asia link

Proposing a rail link across the Bering Strait gives me two knee-jerk reactions:

1) The person who thinks this would ever actually get built is insane.

2) THAT WOULD BE SO COOL

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Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft – A jolly little war for lunchtime

Petrea Mitchell

What it really sounds like

It sounds a lot like their early stages of the English-language version of Alteil, which I enjoyed a great deal. Later on Alteil underwent adjustments that made it basically impossible to play for free.

The deck-building mechanism for the Arena, relying on random cards rather than the ones you've collected, sounds very promising for keeping things balanced for non-paying players. Which is why I'm suspicious that it won't stay that way forever.

Anyway, this sounds like something I'll probably check out regardless.

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Gay marriage foes outraged at Mozilla CEO flap, call for boycott

Petrea Mitchell
FAIL

Speaking of the law...

I've seen a lot of assertions about what should or shouldn't be allowed, but this, the one commentary I've seen referencing actual California employment law, hasn't gotten nearly enough attention:

http://www.vtzlawblog.com/2014/04/articles/discrimination/termination-of-mozilla-ceo-likely-violated-california-law/

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Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT

Petrea Mitchell
Alert

Re: I think people here are missing the point

"This basically pulls the rug from under the feet of the 'think of the childrenz' game-censoring crusaders, which is a good thing."

Nah, it only says they're choosing the wrong reason for censoring games.

Next up, a usability rating system! Sorry kids, you can't play this one, it's labeled AO for Awful Organization...

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MtGox allows users to see a picture of their money, but not have it

Petrea Mitchell
Alert

Goon Show moment

This makes me think of the Goon Show, with the characters' habit of paying each other in pictures of money.

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GitHub probes worker's claims of hostile, sexist office culture

Petrea Mitchell
Paris Hilton

Re: A company full of gits?

"If there is a genuine claim of sexual harassment and intimidation, then the employee presumably has the avenue of an industrial tribunal, or whatever the US equivalent is [...]"

Do you mean something like this?

http://www.employmenttribunalsni.co.uk/index/employment_tribunals/industrial_tribunals.htm

There's no US equivalent. If a court gets involved, it has to be through a plain old lawsuit.

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MtGox: Yup, we're pretty sure your Bitcoin were stolen. Sorry about that.

Petrea Mitchell
Boffin

Re: Weird dates?

Yes, it's currently Heisei 26.

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Steve Jobs statue: Ones and ohs and OH NOES – it's POINTING at us

Petrea Mitchell
Windows

Re: That's one ugly sculpture!!

Exactly what I was thinking: it's what Bill Gates has always wanted!

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From 0 to ERUPTION in 60 days: You thought that volcano was COLD?

Petrea Mitchell
Alien

Re: Laser beams

Or alien death ray strike, if I remember _The Lathe of Heaven_ correctly...

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El Reg preps relaunch of Cash’n’Carrion online merchandise emporium

Petrea Mitchell
Thumb Up

Re: LOHAN Airfix kit...

That panic button sounds like a useful gadget. May have to get myself one of those.

I'd expect an El-Reg-branded one to take me to the BOFH archive, of course.

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Petrea Mitchell
Boffin

T-shirt I'd like

I'd love to have a T-shirt featuring this "geek" comment icon, with size and placement similar to the large logo in the survey. Because people around me could use the warning...

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Tales from an expert witness: Prior art and patent trolls

Petrea Mitchell
Alert

Naming patent trolls

Great article, but I have a nit to pick with: "When I was first involved in this sort of thing, it didn’t have a name."

I recently read a book from 1934* which makes reference to "the special vehicle for exploiting patent monopolies", which seems to be about the same thing as a patent troll. Only briefly, though, apparently expecting the contemporary reader to be fully aware of the issues involved.

The same book also bewails what's now called a patent thicket (they don't seem to have had a specific term for it at the time), mentioning for instance a mechanical loom which had to license 80 different patents.

*Technics and Civilization, by Lewis Mumford

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Parents can hide abortion, contraception advice from kids, thanks to BT's SEX-ED web block

Petrea Mitchell
Alert

That's nothing...

...here's a report that HMRC is blocked:

http://sf-encyclopedia.co.uk/?p=blocked

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John McAfee punted from Portland party pad

Petrea Mitchell
Go

Montreal, eh?

I'd've thought he'd fit right in in Toronto.

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Doctor Who: From Edwardian grump to Malcolm Tucker and back again

Petrea Mitchell
Happy

Re: The Goons, really?

Wow. Thanks for the link.

The only way this could have been even cooler is if the TV adaptation of "The Canal" had had the same cast as the radio episode it was based on-- which included guest star Valentine Dyall, the future Black Guardian!

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Petrea Mitchell
Paris Hilton

The Goons, really?

Is the massed mainstream media all incorrect in reporting that the program bracketing Who's initial slot along with Grandstand was something called Juke Box Jury?

The idea of Doctor Who scheduled right next to Telegoons is too wonderful for my mind to comprehend.

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Native Americans were actually European - BEFORE the Europeans arrived!

Petrea Mitchell
Boffin

Re: Why is this a surprise?

"Genes don't record who raped who."

...unless they're in mitochondria or Y chromosomes.

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Petrea Mitchell
Facepalm

Re: Modern Europeans weren't...

Argh, I mean "...headed EAST for new lands across Beringia...". Muphry's Law [sic] strikes again.

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Petrea Mitchell
Boffin

Modern Europeans weren't...

...at the time. Keep in mind that the ancestors of most of today's Indo-European-speaking European inhabitants didn't actually arrive in Europe until at most 3-4000 years ago. What we're talking about here is a population where one part headed west for new lands across Beringia, and another part just kept bouncing around inner Asia for the next several thousand years.

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Hot digital dog: A man’s best friend is still his... K-9

Petrea Mitchell
Megaphone

Robots of renown

"No robot in TV history has enjoyed such renown as K-9"

I dunno, if you can remember K-9's heyday then you can also remember KITT, and there were way more people watching Knight Rider back in the day.

K-9 is probably more recognizable to today's young 'uns, though...

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GALACTIC YO-YO: Doctor Who’s trips to Earth... and beyond

Petrea Mitchell

Re: Lack of ambition

The episode count was typically 4 episodes in the Tom Baker and later eras, but typically 6 before that.

I do remember watching movie-style edits of some Baker stories, with opening credits only at the beginning, and closing credits only at the end, on my local PBS station-- they'd run individual episodes on weekdays and then the movie versions Friday or Saturday nights. IIRC, when BBC America first came into being, part of their programming was a seemingly random rotation of the movie edits.

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What a plot of nonsense: Ten Master master plan FAILS

Petrea Mitchell
Happy

The Claws of Axos

Simply because it contains my favorite Delgado bit ever: Having finally schemed his way into capturing the Doctor's TARDIS for his own use, the Master looks over the decrepit equipment and the state of the Doctor's haphazard attempts to get it working again, and finally mutters, "Might as well try flying a secondhand gas stove!"

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Who’s Who: a Reg quest to find the BEST DOCTOR

Petrea Mitchell
Boffin

Forgotten Doctors

Indeed, there's no way to reconcile those movies with the series...

OTOH, when I say I like "all the classic Doctors", I do include Richard Hurndall and Michael Jayston.

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Petrea Mitchell
Happy

Re: Your first doctor is YOUR doctor

Yeah, you're always going to have a special place in your heart for whichever Doctor got you to keep watching.

I was 5 when the local PBS station started airing it, and the very first episode I saw was the start of "Robot". I didn't fully understand what was going on, but it looked like fun...

Least favorite classic doctor: I don't like the McCoy era as much as the rest, but I don't have any problems with McCoy's portrayal, more with the writing during that time.

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DE-MON-STRATE! How a DALEK SAVED AUSTRALIA from a Dr Who drought in 1977

Petrea Mitchell
Boffin

Fandom was not so nascent

I can't tell if the "nascent" fandom is supposed to mean DW fandom specifically or Australian science fiction fandom in general. If the latter, Australia had hosted its first World Science Fiction Convention, which requires a well-established and organized local fan community, in 1975.

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Are you experienced? The Doctor Who assistants that SUFFERED the most

Petrea Mitchell
Unhappy

Re: Tegan

It hadn't occurred to me that Tegan would be one of the top scorers, especially, in comparison to the much less stressful lives of her contemporaries! No wonder she eventually ran off saying "I've had enough!"

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Eric Schmidt joins board of weighty biz journal The Economist

Petrea Mitchell
Alert

Not the way you were expecting

"Technology is supposed to be destroying the traditional media, but tech gurus can't seem to keep their mitts off the sector."

I for one am willing to believe that this is much more likely to be the death of traditional media than any other mechanism yet proposed.

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PUNISHMENT gluttons: The Dr Who monsters that come back for more

Petrea Mitchell
Stop

Re: Time Lords as foes?

"[T]he other time lords aren't enemies except that the Doctor stole the Tardis"

...well, other than the Rani... and the War Chief... and Omega... and Borusa that one time...

(Unless this all got retconned in the new series, which i've never watched.)

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Your kids' chances of becoming programmers? ZERO

Petrea Mitchell
Unhappy

Re: No programming required

Isn't it the approach in most college subjects to start from the beginning, as though the kids have learned nothing in their previous decade-plus of schooling? (Bitter comment about the quality of schooling in your home country left as an exercise for the reader.)

Anyway, assuming that no programming had been learned beforehand was certainly reasonable with most of my college classmates (US, late '90s).

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Planet hopper: The Earthly destinations of Doctor Who

Petrea Mitchell
Boffin

Closing scene of "The Hand of Fear"

IIRC, Sarah Jane's remarks in that scene made it pretty clear at the time that it wasn't Croydon. (Though the information about exactly where it was did come much later.)

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Unsung DEAD WHALE EXPLODER hero, who gave the early internet a purpose, passes away

Petrea Mitchell
Go

Don't forget the book

The reporter on the scene later wrote his autobiography and gave the whale top billing:

http://www.powells.com/biblio/9781558687431

And if you think the state of Oregon learned its lesson about trying to get rid of large beach debris by blowing it up, look up the tale of the New Carissa.

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Ten top stories from Classic Doctor Who

Petrea Mitchell
Megaphone

But what about...

Totally with you on "Inferno"; that's the first thing I thought of when reading the introduction. It's also got one of the best commentaries of any of the classic Who DVD releases.

But some days I'd say "Warriors' Gate" is the best Doctor Who story ever. (Other days, I think it isn't possible to pick one.) The depiction of the slavers, some of whom might even be decent guys in other contexts but who have completely lost all sight of the fact that their cargo consists of sentient beings... the chief villain done in entirely by his own actions... the glimpse of the Tharil empire and the turnabout it's suffered. And sure, you can tell the effects were done on a '70s TV budget but IMHO they still hold up surprisingly well.

I think I'd put that in place of "The Pyramids of Mars" or "Robots of Death" and replace the other with "Mawdryn Undead". Partly that's because I'm a sucker for any story where they bring back an old favorite like the Brigadier, but partly also the sleight-of-hand involved in setting up the mystery of how two groups of people can be in the same place but can't find each other.

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Tech today: Popular kids, geeks, bitchfests... Welcome back to HIGH SCHOOL, nerds

Petrea Mitchell
Thumb Up

Biting the hand that feeds IT

Indeed! The strongest of all human emotions is the urge to *not make a fuss*. It's a useful one-- human civilization couldn't exist without it-- but it can be used against you. One of the basics of resisting any form of social control is being able to be the jerk sometimes.

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Digital deviants: The many MAD COMPUTERS of Doctor Who

Petrea Mitchell
Boffin

What about the TARDIS itself?

I mean, in "The Edge of Destruction", a stuck switch has it hurtling back to the Big Bang to be obliterated, and the only way it's able to communicate this error condition is to show cryptic images on the video screen and induce psychosis in the passengers. What Gallifreyan BOFH came up with that interface??

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That time when an NSA bloke's son borked the ENTIRE INTERNET...

Petrea Mitchell
Alien

From great pain comes great art

Without the Morris Worm, we'd never have had _A Fire Upon the Deep_, easily one of the best books ever to win the Hugo Award.

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Google barge erection hypegasm latest - What's in the box?

Petrea Mitchell
Devil

Party venue?

Four floors full of drunk people, surrounded in all directions by water... gosh, I can't think of any liability concerns there, especially at US levels of litigiousness.

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Bucket? Check. Toilet plunger? Check. El Reg's 50 years of Doctor Who

Petrea Mitchell
Paris Hilton

Re: Only 11 actors?

Not to mention... John Hurt? I don't even watch the new series and I know about him.

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The Raspberry Pi: Is it REALLY the saviour of British computing?

Petrea Mitchell
Go

Re: "So what do you suggest, Mr Clever Clogs?"

"I'm concious that I was once a young boy, and that these points would benefit from someone who was once a young girl:"

All right then, here I am! Actually, I don't think there are many differences in how to get young boys and young girls interested in programming. The big one is that with young girls you have to work against enormous cultural pressure steering them away from geekdom. I count myself very lucky that I first encountered home computers in a time before media depictions of programmers were common.

I was told repeatedly in primary school that girls weren't supposed to be good at math, but luckily I hated that school and everyone associated with it, so I didn't listen.

Being able to see how stuff is put together and works certainly helps stimulate interest. For me it was Zoids and Capsela and occasionally Heathkit.

I think there's something to be learned from the popularity of the steampunk movement. I've long thought that it's partly from a reaction to all our gadgets evolving into shiny slabs with no moving parts. If you could get at what still fascinates people about gears and steam and bring it into the classroom somehow...

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Police constable 1337 stunned by Lego lookalike

Petrea Mitchell
Boffin

That many?

"Pretty much one in one, we'd say, given a police force using simple four-figure numbers and with 1337 or more constables in it."

Given that it's a common practice to skip everything with leading 0s, I'd think the minimum force size in many cases is 338.

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Myst: 20 years of point-and-click adventuring

Petrea Mitchell

Re: Dullville

For a few years after playing it, I would insult it by saying it played like someone threw it together in Hypercard.

It took those few years for me to find out how it had actually been developed...

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Petrea Mitchell
WTF?

Difficult? Seriously?

"Still, many gamers found Myst's approach too slow, and its puzzles too opaque."

...

"Straightforward, yes? Well no, because achieving both requires a high degree of lateral thinking or, to be honest, plenty of inspiration. Clues are opaque. A couple of times, I found myself resorting to the internet and, when learning the answer, accepting there was no way I would have thought of the solution."

Did we play the same game? I remember something so pathetically simple and with so little interactivity that I finished it in two sittings.

I loved the adventure-game genre for as long as Infocom kept churning out devilishly complicated stories that could keep me engrossed for session after session on a timespan of weeks and weeks. Myst and the stampede of imitations it inspired are what killed the genre for me.

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Mind-reading MRI reads letters in the brain

Petrea Mitchell
WTF?

Never trust a single-subject study...

...especially with fMRI. Sadly, the brilliant Science News article on fMRI a few years ago has vanished behind a paywall.

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Just add creepiness: Google Search gets even more personal

Petrea Mitchell
Black Helicopters

The next step...

"That power can, according to the Google Blog, answer questions such as ... 'what are my plans for tomorrow?'"

The next step, I presume, is a function that decides for you what your plans for tomorrow should be.

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Can't agree on a coding style? Maybe the NEW YORK TIMES can help

Petrea Mitchell
Headmaster

Not even all this part of the world

I was raised on Strunk & White, myself.

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Hankering for a Nobel Prize? EAT MORE CHOCOLATE

Petrea Mitchell
Boffin

Causal test?

But what were their chocolate habits before winning? Did they eat more than was typical for their cohort then? Or is chocoholism a side effect of winning a major scientific prize?

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Goodbye Blighty: The alternative reality of Quatermass II

Petrea Mitchell
Megaphone

Re: Recently watched Quatermass II on DVD

There's some excellent science fiction* being produced in anime, an increasing amount of which is available to the UK (Free! Legally!) via Crunchyroll. My current top recommendation is Space Brothers, which is practically the definition of a show that Hollywood and the BBC could never make. If that's too low-key for you, try From the New World or Steins Gate.

North American readers should also go over to Hulu and check out Tiger & Bunny, which despite the title is a Watchmen for our day and age.

* And plenty of crap, per Sturgeon's Law. But seriously, there is some really, really good stuff out there.

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How City IT is under attack from politicians, diesel bugs, HR

Petrea Mitchell
Boffin

Smalltalk: We've heard of it

I graduated in 2000, and I heard about Smalltalk and its use in the banking industry at school. In fact, I took a class in it! So some of us younger 'uns do know what it is.

(Note that I do not claim I *know* Smalltalk: the guy teaching the class was clearly enthusiastic about the language and made most of his living doing contract work in it, but he was hopeless at actually communicating any of his knowledge or making the language look in any way useful. For instance, he would demonstrate examples by hopping around between a dozen scratchpad windows, highlighting random sections of code and "inspecting" (running) them to make something happen. One day a classmate tried to ask him how to make a standalone program, and after several iterations it became clear that he just could not conceive of doing such a thing.)

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