* Posts by Paul Kinsler

381 posts • joined 9 Aug 2007

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Do you know where your trade secrets are?

Paul Kinsler

There should be no over-ruling this ...

So, we need someone to develop a "write-once" filesystem? Although I suppose even that fs could be subverted, given suitable system privileges, by installing a hacked rw version of the same and mounting (and then altering) the backups filesystem with it.

OK, so all (suitably paranoid) backups should only be to write-once media, then?

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Engineer uses binary on voting bumpf to flag up Cali election flaws

Paul Kinsler

Re: There are 10 types of people. Those the understand binary and those who don't

I agree there are 10 types of people, but I would like to suggest a small correction. The list is: those who understand binary, those who dont, ... and those who understand Gray code.

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Astroboffin discovers exoplanet by accident ... in 1917

Paul Kinsler

Always keep your records in order

Here's an interesting discussion of old astronomical records, and how to preserve them... and their annotations.

The Scientific and Historical Value of Annotations on Astronomical Photographic Plates

Sara J. Schechner, David H. Sliski

http://arxiv.org/abs/1602.03475

The application of photography to astronomy was a critical step in the development of astrophysics at the end of the nineteenth century. Using custom-built photographic telescopes and objective prisms, astronomers took images of the sky on glass plates during a 100-year period from many observing stations around the globe. After each plate was developed, astronomers and their assistants studied and annotated the plates as they made astrometric, photometric and spectroscopic measurements, counted galaxies, observed stellar variability, tracked meteors, and calculated the ephemerides of asteroids and comets. In this paper, the authors assess the importance of the plate annotations for future scientific, historical, and educational programs. Unfortunately, many of these interesting annotations are now being erased when grime is removed from the plates before they are digitized to make the photometric data available for time-domain astrophysics. To see what professional astronomers and historians think about this situation, the authors conducted a survey. This paper captures the lively discussion on the pros and cons of the removal of plate markings, how to best to document them if they must be cleaned off, and what to do with plates whose annotations are deemed too valuable to be erased. Three appendices to the paper offer professional guidance on the best practices for handling and cleaning the plates, photographing any annotations, and rehousing them.

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Reusable autonomous swimming microbots soak up 95% of spilt lead

Paul Kinsler

Re: I'm confused.

quote: "the inner platinum layer decomposes hydrogen peroxide for self-propulsion"

So, with 2 H2O2 -> 2H2O + O2, presumably the bubbles of oxygen are produced in a way/position so as to push the thing one way (or at least move it around a bit more than otherwise).

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Watch: SpaceX finally lands Falcon rocket on robo-barge in one piece

Paul Kinsler

Re: "Standard" brand fireworks. Made proudly here in the UK.

I much preferred those old-fashioned Congreve ones.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: Dat link:

More to the point, is there some way to see the rocket better, using portrait? These widescreen formats are just terrible for rocket take-off/landing videos :)

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Vivaldi Jon: Mobile – yes. Feeds and an ad blocker… probably not

Paul Kinsler

Re: Vastly more powerful?

Presumably, pocket computers are "vastly more powerful than pocket computers were before", not " vastly more powerful than current desktops".

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Intel tock blocked for good: Tick-tock now an oom-pah-pah waltz

Paul Kinsler

Re: Bluntly the greatest requirement for CPU anybody really needs is for gaming,

So, my 3D electromagnetic simulations /aren't/ maxing out the cpu on my workstation after all? And I don't have to wait for them to finish?

perhaps: s/anybody/most users/

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Hands on with the BBC's Micro:Bit computer. You know, for kids

Paul Kinsler

Re: What's the point of these low powered devices?

Maybe in about 10 years time, or longer, you'll find out. It might be that these turn out to be a barely remembered oddity, or alternatively they might make the new/next generation of it-types go all misty eyed in the same way as many here do about zx81's, speccy's or Beebs.

Seems to me it's worth a shot at giving kids an easier route to poking about under the shiny graphical eye candy...

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Reposting 8-second sports clips infringes copyright

Paul Kinsler

Re: It's not really clear [...] what the point was even.

Perhaps with the right metadata, and a diverse enough distribution of 8 second clips, you could automatically glue them all back-to-back in the right order and watch the whole game, or most of it :-)

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A Logic Named Joe: The 1946 sci-fi short that nailed modern tech

Paul Kinsler

Leinster

... there's a fair number of other stories written by Leinster on gutenberg, if anyone (else :) is interested in reading some creaky old sf.

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Better mobe antennas a stretch goal for radiocomm boffins

Paul Kinsler

Re: I don't quite see how

I think you need to read the article more carefully, you appear not to have understood what was done.

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LG builds a DAB+ digital radio radio into a smartmobe

Paul Kinsler

Re: I give you, The Dablet!

... something that will be coming soon, to a weekend near you.

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NAO slates UK.gov's 'haphazard' sci-tech money-chuck plan

Paul Kinsler

Re: the only qualified resources are the very people asking for funds.

Usually scientists don't get to referee their own grant applications.

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'Microsoft Office has been the bane of my life, while simultaneously keeping me employed'

Paul Kinsler

Re: Fortran program, [ran] fine in debug, but wrong results once compiled normally.

IME of fortran, most (almost all) weird heisenbugs were due to out-of-bound array references or data size mismatches. Except for the one that turned out to be due to tiny differences in numerical integration, combined with (crossing or not) the branch cut in the complex square root function.

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Boffins bust biometrics with inkjet printer

Paul Kinsler

I have thought of a cunning plan...

I'll print myself a fake fingerprint, and carry it around to unlock my phone. Then anyone who copies and then tries to use my actual fingerprints will be wasting their time! :-)

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MAME goes fully FOSS

Paul Kinsler

@Mongo "Or down on Commerce St, [...] Luna World?"

I have no idea, but I do remember playing the occasional game of Bosconian there.

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Third of US banks OK with passwords even social networks reject

Paul Kinsler

Re: when does 92^n > 62^(n+1) ?

n log(92) > (n+1) log(62)

n (log(92)-log(62)) > log(62)

n > log(62) / (log(92)-log(62))

n >= 11 (for integer n)

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Paul Kinsler

Re: when does 92^n > 62^n+1 ?

if n>0.

Did you mean 92^n > 62^(n+1) ?

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Intravenous hangover clinics don't work, could land you in hospital

Paul Kinsler

Re: eating something with salt to spare

Crisps?

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Humans – 1 Robots – 0: Mercedes deautomates production lines

Paul Kinsler

Re: Until the sneaky bastards get their revenge. Don't trust 'em.

And what sort of revenge is it the humans have planned, do you think?

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Does the Internet of Things need an indie security assessor?

Paul Kinsler

why the hell should my toaster be connected to anything else but the nearest power outlet

... indeed, toasters etc will soon come with integrated powerline networking :-)

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Reminder: How to get a grip on your files, data that Windows 10 phones home to Microsoft

Paul Kinsler

Re: "Change your network settings to metered and the power source to battery."

But how do they determine "metered"? If my ISP charges per byte between my router and 'net, how (or why) would this necessarily manifest on some hypothetical W10 machine talking (only) via the router?

Does "metered" really mean "mobile/data"?

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The paperless office? Don’t talk sheet

Paul Kinsler

nice photo

on that adobe article's byline :-)

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Backdoors are bad, Euro security wonks ENISA tell governments

Paul Kinsler

"an average skilled programmer could implement them.”

... albeit with the occasional added bug or two, if current evidence is anything to go by... :-)

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Free science journal library gains notoriety, lands injunctions

Paul Kinsler

Re: DOAJ

Elsevier do do open access, in at least some of their journals. The authors have to pay them a wodge of money (perhaps £1k - £2k) for that. But it's a not dissimilar sum of money (albeit a bit larger IME) as for the same deal/service in a scholarly society journal such as PRL or NJP.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: Universities?

Scholarly societies already do this - the Institute of Physics has a substantial publication business, for example, as do the US equivalents. Universities could, but as far as I recall mostly they stick to book publishing rather than journals.

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Women devs – want your pull requests accepted? Just don't tell anyone you're a girl

Paul Kinsler

Re: Of these project owners ... how many are women?

From what I read (skimmed) of the work, that isn't addressed in the study.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: Somehow I doubt it.

I just skimmed the article, and it seemed fairly carefully argued; my guess would be its status is more like "not peer reviewed yet", or "in the process of peer review", rather than "not up to peer review standards".

This is not to say that it is beyond reproach, just that to me it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. And since the text is freely available, you can read it and then make whatever specific technical criticism you feel is relevant.

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Nest thermostat owners out in the cold after software update cockup

Paul Kinsler
Joke

Re: Remind me why one needs a thermostat connected to the web?

Becasue you can keep it disconnected from your heating system, and feed it fake data? It'd be like the heating version of those timers you use to turns lights etc on & off to make the house look less unoccupied. :-)

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Mozilla: Five... Four... Three... Two... One... Thunderbirds are – gone

Paul Kinsler

Re: telnet pop3.superfrog.com 110

That's a bit hair shirt for me. I prefer this newfangled "mutt" email program I found...

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Lights, power, action! Smartplugs with a twist

Paul Kinsler

Re: Does anyone make smart plugs that are actually built into the powerpoint?

Wow! What kind of presentations do you make that need integrated smartplugs? It'll take libreoffice presenter & latex/beamer a while to catch up with that one :-)

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Many UK ecommerce sites allow ‘password’ for logins – report

Paul Kinsler

Re: " I'll have to wave a strange shape in the air at them.

while intoning : "these are not the cards you are looking for"?

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Goodfella's attack smacks Slack chap for whack crack? It's a fact, Jack

Paul Kinsler

Re: Getting Slack

Getting slack? Easy!

http://www.slackware.com/getslack/

:-)

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Drones are dropping drugs into prisons and the US govt just doesn't know what to do

Paul Kinsler

Re: OTOH you don't stop people who are already breaking laws by giving them more laws to break.

Hypothetically you might, /if/ the new law that they will now (also) break enables you to either (a) disrupt the specific lawbreaking activities more easily, or if it (b) enabled you to catch and/or convict them more easily.

But you are right that merely passing the law is not what will stop them - its the enforcement that counts. But enabling easier or simpler enforcement can still be beneficial.

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Rosetta probe delivers jaw-to-the-floor find: Molecular oxygen

Paul Kinsler

Re: the sound is "BASTARD!!! I based my grant funding around the old science.

Not really. If the funding has already been awarded, you just use it to do some science in the same area, but based on the new data.

The "BASTARD!" would come in if you've just /submitted/ an application whose premise is ruined by the new data; because it now has 0% of getting funded (instead of e.g. 30%), and all the work writing it will have been for naught.

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California enormo-quake prediction: Cracks form between US boffins

Paul Kinsler

historical observations from England in November 1755

just because I think it's interesting:

"An Extraordinary and Surprising Agitation of the Waters, though without Any Perceptible Motion of the Earth, Having Been Observed in Various Parts of This Island, Both Maritime and Inland, on the Same Day, and Chiefly about the Time, That the More Violent Commotions of Both Earth and Waters so Extensively Affected Many Very Distant Parts of the Globe; The Following Accounts, Relating to the Former, Have Been Transmitted to the Society; In Which are Specified the Times and Places When and Where They Happened "

http://rstl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/49/351

doi:10.1098/rstl.1755.0059

Nowadays they'd just say "OMG!" on twitter

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Hackers can steal your BRAIN WAVES

Paul Kinsler

Re: alter your brain waves , and take control

well, I suppose they could tweak your brainwave recording, either in transit or after storage, so that the EEG now matches both you and the criteria for being a bit murdery (or whatever worse thing can be thought up) ... now /that/ could cause you a few problems.

"Just /look/ at the EEG response we have on file when we show the accused this type of picture instead of all these other ordinary pictures. Clearly, etc etc"

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Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more

Paul Kinsler

on the subject of climate science,

here's an interesting take on how the scientific conclusions on climate differ from most; broadly that any conclusion useful to society at large is by /necessity/ a judgement made by averaging over a vast range of disparate data, models, simulation, and theory:

http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/article/68/9/10.1063/PT.3.2914

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Hurrah! Doctor Who brings us a bootstrap paradox treat in Before the Flood

Paul Kinsler

Dr Who wrote Beethoven's 5th?

... and also made Frankenstein, apparently :-)

http://xkcd.com/1589/

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Paul Kinsler

Re: Osgood

The killed Osgood "smelled bad" according to Missy. Thus, posssibly it was Zygon Osgood that got vaporised?

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Doctor Who's Under the Lake splits Reg scribes: This Alien homage thing – good or bad?

Paul Kinsler

Re: Event Horizon in the same league with Alien?

I recall seeing Event Horizon in a cinema in Leeds - a proper pre-multiplex job, with a screen so wide I can only assume it must have been built at peak cinema. Quite enjoyed it, even if it did go a bit toosupernatural horror at the end.

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TREE-HUGGER? Your WOODEN HAREM is much BIGGER than thought

Paul Kinsler

Re: 3 Peta-trees vs 7Giga-humans.

Yikes! Did I say Peta-trees?

I meant Tera-trees (10^12 trees). Peta-trees would be 10^15 of the leafy blighters.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: Wrong units!

While I'd once have agreed with you, I think the argument has been utterly lost in terms of real-life usage. I can't think of a single case where I might use (eg) a 10^12 "billion" instead of a 10^9 one without also having to explain what I meant. IMO, you may as well try to argue against the primary modern usage of the word "gay".

Might I suggest that a better strategy would be to argue for the SI prefixes instead? Hence 3 Peta-trees vs 7Giga-humans.

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West's only rare earth mine closes. Yet Chinese monopoly fears are baseless

Paul Kinsler

Re: Surely the final line should be prefaced with 'contestable'?

I think a contestable/uncontestable division is a bit too binary. After all, the Microsoft or Google (near) monopolies are eminently contestable in principle, except that they have too much cultural and financial momentum and to make them easily contestable. Other in-principle contestable monopolies might (e.g.) be in-effect uncontestable because of agressive and well-funded lawyering, or other factors.

Rare earth mining might easily contestable from a technical point of view, but might be hard from a raising-finance, or environmental-permissions perspective.

It would be better to focus on whatever makes the monopoly under discussion most-hard (or least easy) to contest, rather than claiming that it is "contestable" in some idealized sense.

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Earth wobbles on axis as Google rebrands

Paul Kinsler

Re: Yet another serif logo goes the way of all print

Well, it has been nearly a century since the notion of "modern" embraced, amongst other things, an enthusiasm for sans serif fonts. It's nice that Google have finally got around to catching up, although maybe they should also lose the upper case G if they really want to get with the program.

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The Raspberry Pi is succeeding in ways its makers almost imagined

Paul Kinsler

Re: Programmer-archaeologist

... some of the requests for help on comp.lang.fortran get pretty close to this concept. :-)

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Exploding Power Bars: EE couldn't even get the CE safety mark right

Paul Kinsler

Re: The CE logo looks better when compressed

Think of it as a sort of checksum. If the logo is altered for reasons of appearance, you can be sure that they are interested in only superficial criteria, rather than them actually being interested in meeting the required standards and specifications :-)

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Rise up against Oracle class stupidity and join the infosec strike

Paul Kinsler

Re: Now Fuck Off And Die in an Orlowski thread.

Ah! a FOADIOT :-)

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