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* Posts by Astarte

132 posts • joined 25 Aug 2007

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Planning to rob a Windows ATM? Ditch the sledgehammer and bring a USB STICK

Astarte

Wouldn't it be nice ...

... if some philanthropic hacker left something really useful on ATMs. I'm thinking something like an entry code to make the terminal play Pong, Space Invaders or Rocket Raid to pass away a few minutes now and then while waiting for a bus/train/taxi etc. For a bonus win it could credit the score in the currency of your choice to an account of your choice.

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Boffins build R2-WEE-2: The urine-powered robot with a human-like heart

Astarte

Re: Anyone else

Stripped Dalek? When I read that I immediately thought of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (played by Kenneth McMillan in the Dune film) - big fat bloke, needed anti-gravity kit to move around.

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Boffins spot LONE PLANET roaming interstellar void

Astarte

Re: It's The Mothership

Rama changed direction at perihelion but to where we don't know. At least it probably took note of the religious mania and political in-fighting between humans and 'phoned home. At least the missile to destroy it was diverted to the Sun.

Keep watching; the story's closing words were "... the Ramans do everything in threes,"

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Astarte
Alien

It's The Mothership

... waiting for Rama to return home after its rendezvous with Earth.

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Our sensational rocket ship Vulture 2 REVEALED: LIVE at 3pm

Astarte

Original Directives

If I recall correctly LOHAN was to be a paper structure. Is the new 3D-printed version made from liquefied Papier Mâché or did I miss one its many evolutionary stages. Perhaps the link was broken when the use of PARIS was dropped.

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Douglas Adams was RIGHT! TINY ALIENS are invading Earth, say boffins

Astarte

Job for LOHAN

The real test about life on Earth should be about The Mice. I suggest the next high-altitude LOHAN flight should include Playmonaut holding a small piece of cheese (hard cheddar should do nicely) to see if it becomes contaminated or even shows evidence of having been nibbled by a mouse. We've all heard of pigs in space - why not mice?

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El Reg Playmonaut soars to 113,000ft

Astarte
Pint

Good Landing

Congratulations. An RAF saying is that a good landing is 'one you can walk away from'. Navigation good too - If only it had landed about 2 miles further to the south-east the ground support and emergency vehicles would have got to it very quickly.

Keep it up!

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LOHAN team regroups for second pop at SPEARS

Astarte

Hydrohelium

Perhaps LOHAN should now be renamed LOH2AN (unless you have a good supply of monatomic hydrogen).

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On the hunt for a new ampere

Astarte
Happy

ElReg Standards

Perhaps someone could define current flow as how many electrons it would take to charge an electric car or how many it takes to drive a mile, kilometre, furlong, A.U., Linguine, etc.

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LOHAN cooks up tempting Raspberry Pi spiced with Iridium

Astarte

At last - Pi(e) in the Sky

Lovely thought.

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Classic game 'Elite' returns … on Kickstarter

Astarte

Vivat Elite

I do hope the new version will be as much fun as the original and not be bloated to the extent that playability is sacrificed to just a demonstration of graphics programmers' skills. Sadly, a lot of modern games concentrate on excellent and jazzy graphics while managing to create a very impressive but ultimately boring game with little or no satisfaction.

I still have my ‘Beeb’ model B in storage complete with second processor and dual floppies (5¼ and 3½-inch) plus my library of discs – I’m going to open it up, dust it down and cross my fingers.

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Purpose of RFID finally discovered: It's for pairing up socks!

Astarte

Re: Problem Solved

I like the M&S idea, then all you'd need would be a smartphone and some image processing software to differentiate colours and positions and, and then and ...

I feel the 'I'll get my coat syndrome lurking here'. Could have practical applications for the visually impaired though.

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DNA barcodes leap out of the lab

Astarte
Go

Smartwater

We've been using Smartwater in the UK for years. It's a DNA-like coded water based liquid which can be sprayed or painted onto anything. It's often used in banks and high-value stores often in invisible and unnoticeable mist form which covers people and items. Very difficult to remove as it's absorbed into clothing, other items and the skin - washing won't remove it; it glows under UV. Samples can then be forensically examined to determine its unique 'DNA' code. Users claim extremely high conviction rates. It’s commonly seen in warning signs particularly on security delivery vehicles where they claim 100% conviction rates.

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USB charges up to 100 watts

Astarte

Plugs

With apologies to J. R. R. Tolkien -

One plug to rule them all, One Plug to find them,

One Plug to bring them all and in their Laptop fry them.

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US East, West Coasts face fast-rising sea levels

Astarte

Cutler Ridge, FL

I drove through Cutler Ridge on the Atlantic coast some a long time ago on my way to the Keys. Back then the sign proudly announced

Cutler Ridge, Pop. 97, Elevation 3ft

I thought then that if a supertanker went by a bit too close and a bit too fast it would swamp a fair amount of Florida.

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Apple's iPhone 5 connector said to be a control freak

Astarte

If 'i' Ruled the World . . .

. . . we'd all be very sad.

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Atomic time boffins build better second-watcher

Astarte

Stable Time

Eccles was right. I too have a piece of paper from the same show in 1957 and it still says 8 o'clock! Hasn't lost or gained at all.

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Father of Lisp and AI John McCarthy has died

Astarte

Dijkstra - Yea

I love my satnav - Thank you Edsger and McArthy.

I once programmed in Lisp and enjoyed it very much even if it did affect my speech for a while. I was also using FORTH at he same time but that's another story.

McArthy was a proper expert in his field and will be sadly missed, like many other unsung heroes.

RIP John McArthy (Black Border)

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1-in-3,200 chance* that a fiery satellite chunk will hit someone on Friday

Astarte

Sweepstake

Divide that part of the world's surface, where the bits are likely to fall (that's most of it), into a grid and have a sweepstake or similar where you can predict a likely impact area. Score one point if it's in the sea or an unpopulated area, two points for a populated area and three for an impact on a human. Charge each entry a Pound, Dollar, Euro or whatever and share the total take amongst the winners, minus a small administrative charge of course. More fun than a lottery.

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Icebergs measured in Manhattans: Official

Astarte

Early Unit of Measurement - just for interest

In earlier days (long before ISO), experiments with X-ray sources the radiation strength was quantified as so many 'Gillett’s'. One Gillett being the level needed to just pass through a standard razor blade. Stronger sources were measured using a staggered stack of blades on a photographic plate and the strength determined by counting the shadows.

Cutting-edge eh?

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Boffins shine 800Mbps wireless network from flashlight

Astarte

Me too, in the 60s

I wired a torch bulb across a radio's speaker terminals and used a CDS sensor and amp. A bit muffled. The Mk II version placed the bulb in its original reflector - was able to transmit accross the street (at night). We didn't have LEDs then, or much in the way of silicon devices.

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Reg readers ponder LOHAN's substantial globes

Astarte

Orientation sensors

The idea is simple but you might find that at high altitude there's more light reflected from the clouds below than the darker sky above.

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Lost 1967 spacecraft FOUND CRASHED ON MOON

Astarte

Parking

Just beyond and to the right there's a small blue plate on a post. It has a large white 'P' on in and underneath the words 'Permit Holders Only'. I expect the authorities towed the vehicle away and ordered it to be crushed for non-compliance.

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Welsh scientists 'barcode' native flora

Astarte

Welsh codes

They've been using Baa-codes to identify their sheep for a long time so they have plenty of experience.

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Hadron Collider 'could act as telephone for talking to the past'

Astarte

Contact

Already done - read Carl Sagan's 'Contact'

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Astarte

Sniglet

Hey El Reg! This is surely a candidate for qualification as a Reg unit - lovely ring to it. You could even print the Vulture on it.

Votes for 'Sniglet' anyone?

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Eurofighter Typhoon: It's EVEN WORSE than we thought

Astarte

Grand Unified Theory of Multinational Procurement

Once upon a time some clever chaps in MoD (PE) decided to test a theory. It had the right feel to it and went something like this:

If one nation can design, develop, produce and maintain a weapon system for £X then the total cost for 'n' nations would increase by the root of the number of nations. For example, for two nations to the total project would be 1.7 time more expensive. And there's a nice 'but' here – they would share the bill which meant they would actually get the weapon system for half of the total. In other words they'd get it for %70 of the original solo-nation procurement (cost 1.4X). Tempting. Increase that to three nations and the total cost would be 3^0.5 or 1.7 times the cost shared which equals %58 of the single-nation cost. Even more tempting.

Extend the theory to four nations and they'd each share the total cost of twice the original or %50 each. The more the merrier because no single nation was responsible for the overall project costs and they'd all get part of a very expensive result at a good discount.

What they didn't expect was that government and industrial management and bureaucracy costs for each nation would increase steeply because of the complex multi-national relationships most and differing work practises. Each company would use its own standards methods, standards and work practises but English would be 'the Language' for everything; they'd need more committees and more complex management to deal with the three other nations. Why care – they'd still be paid and, with no single nation in charge, they couldn’t be told how to do things. With hundreds of companies involved came many hundreds of methods. Remember, there was no leading design authority. At the time it was not thought important – like buying a Sony TV for use with a Panasonic PVR.

The technical requirements were far from ideal – vague and poorly often worded but perfectly well understood by each company in their own context and so there was no end of confusion. It was clear the requirements had needed a re-write at a more 'atomic' (non reducible) standard. Fair enough but it didn't happen until after contracts had been let and of course everyone wanted more money to adopt the re-written requirements.

A central authority was necessary to make sure the bits came together correctly but the companies were often reluctant to divulge their rationale for the way they did things. This resulted in countless disagreements and a fair amount of bullying.

How on earth did the ISS turn into a successful project with more than 20 nations and world-wide input get off the ground? Answers on the back of a postcard please.

Eurofighter is still a very good weapon system, it's a pity it's been smothered and strangled – a bit like the rest of the UK I suppose.

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Portsmouth redefines the Olympic-sized swimming pool

Astarte

Spot-on Sarah

Didn't Einstein say that?

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US robot ornithopter spy-hummingbird in flight test triumph

Astarte

Does it 'Tweet'?

Interesting demo - I expect there'll be a big following on the birdseed, sorry - birdbrain, site.

Congrats to the developers, it must have been fun developing it.

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What sealed Nokia's fate?

Astarte

N8 UI

>Mark Jan,

Tell us the name of the 'app' you're referring to for N8 UI?

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Techies floored by 'virus' after Playboy mansion party

Astarte

Headache, stomach ache

One day when one of my daughters was two or three years old she looked glum. 'What's wrong dear?' my wife asked. 'My tummy's got a headache' she said.

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Joy Division get the Playmobil treatment

Astarte

Missed point

Interesting how so many experts can jump on the content for criticism and so few applaud or even acknowledge the effort put in to making this work of art for our delectation. It must have taken ages - good camera work, choreography, editing and direction. How many rehearsals there must have been.

Congratulations to all involved - Encore, encore.

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Malawi poised to outlaw farting

Astarte

Before DNA analysis was common - with Derek and Clive

Here's a certain story http://www.phespirit.info/derekandclive/live_05.htm

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Astarte

Toot Tone

Stewart,

I think you may be referring to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LvwYUnSoQo

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Next smartphone tech? Predator style thermal cameras

Astarte

Add a VR Headset

I don't see why this idea shouldn't be commonplace in the not too distant future. If the purpose is simply to locate hotspots a relatively low pixel count will suffice. I can imaging a phone clipped to a shoulder strap with the video fed to a Head-Up-Display as used in so many applications today - attached to a pair of glasses or a hat. Add to that the phone's video recorder with GPS data and sound plus the ability to use visual and/or IR or even mixed imagery and you'd have quite a nice little self-contained low profile surveillance system. I'd have thought that mass production would make the cost of small quartz, ZnSe or other IR-transparent material lenses low enough for general use. An application for remote control would fairly trivial to produce.

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Gatwick Airport security swoops on 3-inch rifle

Astarte

Dangerous Things

I agree with you about 'Come Fly With Me' - a wonderful satire. Mind you plastic bullets can be effective (e.g. the ones used by riot police). But I'd feel really intimidated if someone threatened me with said statuette, I mean, really, he might throw it at me and make me spill my drink.

Remember that even pictures of weapons are banned - even fictional weapons. See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/03/transformers_bust/ (nice one Lester)

Perhaps the baddies could smuggle a pencil and a piece of paper on board and then, at the appropriate juncture, 'draw' their gun and make their demands...

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Mac daddy predicts all-knowing, all-seeing UI

Astarte

Déjà vu

Dave: Shut yourself down, Hal.

HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that.

Arthur C Clarke's forward-thinking was iconic but I don't like the thought of anything which will increase the amount of moronic jabbering into mobile phones on the trains, on the busses or in the street.

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Ace Reg reporter in career suicide shock

Astarte

Bon Voyage

Dear Chris,

I'll be sorry to see you go as I've always respected and enjoyed your views, opinions and reporting style. I wish you all the best for your future with the Telegraph and I'm sure you'll be a tremendous asset to that mighty organisation.

Make it work and don't let the standards slip.

You've been a stalwart member of El Reg – thank you for being here.

Astarte

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Primary school miss flashes porn vid at kiddies

Astarte

The Archers

I think it was the BBC Archers radio program where, in one episode, a baby-sitter made the same mistake with a group of young children in her house. She went to make tea and saw the mistake when she returned. The kids described it as 'People playing games with no clothes on'.

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Sex abuse fax leak costs council £100k

Astarte

Procedures

Having been involved in transmission of sensitive information the recognised correct method is to telephone the intended recipient, confirm their identity or authority to receive such information and confirm their fax number then ask them to wait at the fax machine. The fax is then sent and the recipient has to confirm receipt. If the confirmation is not received an investigation can be initiated immediately and appropriate action taken. The first step in this case is to send a statutory notice to the same number regarding how to deal with the fax.

It is the sender's responsibility to confirm correct receipt of the fax. The sender's fax machine should not have automatic re-send activated.

This is a simple procedure which should be in the sender's job description along with a notice regarding action to be taken if the procedure is not carried out.

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Unarmed Royal Navy T45 destroyer breaks down mid-Atlantic

Astarte

Already Prototyped

Didn't they have a early version of your container ship in Waterworld?

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MoD battles copycat hackers

Astarte

SQL in URL

Any sensitive data open to queries from the public internet should not be subject to user-crafted SQL strings. If that's the way it's got to be then the data tables for public access should exist on an isolated server as a quarantined image of the actual data. Any corruption caused by malicious attempts at data modification or deletion will affect only the ‘public’ version. Changes to the public areas can easily be detected and dealt with. This approach also allows for data sanitisation before publication.

The site might as well carry a caveat with something like ‘Please don’t change our data because if you do and we find out well feel a bit miffed.’

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Moms stand firm against antenna madness

Astarte

Think about the children.

I assume there will be a similar law prohibiting children entering any area within 1500 ft of the antennæ.

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Microsoft Windows glider crashes

Astarte

Beta Version?

I'm sure MS would have done some research and field testing on this product before 'The Day'.

I mean, I can't imagine a prestigious company like MS releasing a faulty untested product to the world with such a glitzy and loud fanfare, only to watch it fail at its first public showing.

Says a lot for the "team of smart guys and girls" employed by MS (Sorry, I know that's unfair on the "team of smart guys and girls").

Perhaps they should have named it Icarus, then they could have blamed the failure on (the) Sun.

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Turkish groom accidentally sprays wedding guests with bullets

Astarte

Recoil

Not an AK47 but interesting. At least was in a training booth.

http://davestopher.com/images/Videos/irak2.asf

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Nokia C3

Astarte

Exclamation Mark and Apostrophe

Mr Oliver,

Er, I know I'm not always quite sane but aren't those two 'missing keys' perching like parrots on the shoulders of the 'Question Mark' and 'L' keys, eh? Come on, tell me they're not.

They are not missing, they just need the shift key. And claiming that "Handy punctuation like @ and the full stop have their own keys" is not true because they are also shared.

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Nexus One phone rockets to 28,000ft

Astarte

Image Clarity

An interesting experiment. It could have been a good test of a camera's image stabilisation system.

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Futurologist defends 'malevolent dust' warning

Astarte

Smart Dust

1996 Arthur C Clarke and Mike McQuay: Richter 10

Smart dust played a significant part in the espionage activities employed during earthquake research. Good read, weak ending but still a good read. Earthquakes, Tsunamis et al.

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EU boffins aim to reinvent the hard disk

Astarte

Good use of technology

I see it as a scaled-down version of the equipment use to place eggs in their cartons. Kidding apart the idea of self-assembly is attractive and highly cost-effective. With a predicted six-fold increase in areal density, the larger problem will be with the mechanics - how to produce a read-write system capable of coping with not only the positional but also the magnetic accuracy plus dealing with I/O bandwidths.

Good development, and one that sounds highly promising.

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Piles for Windows - a pain in the arse?

Astarte

What's in a name?

'Piles' is the cut-down version of another program; it was going to be called ‘HaemorrhoidsLite'.

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