* Posts by Dr Patrick J R Harkin

805 posts • joined 22 Jan 2008

#Facebook: Now all your hashtags ARE BELONG TO US, Twitter

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: I am very disappointed by this.

I bow to m'learned friend's correcter understanding.

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I am very disappointed by this.

As a grammar pedant, I feel I must point out that the phrase "it is now using the symbol to better organise content shared on the network." should of course read "it is now using the symbol to gooder organise content shared on the network.:

AMAZEBALLS: Buy a doomed Apple TV, get a replacement free

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Avoid the Apple TV 3...

If it ain't jail-broken, don't jail-fix it.

Entangled matter the next big thing in qubits

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"We have a wonderful new teleportation device which can transmit 0.1% of your atoms! Wanna have a go?"

Why am I thinking this is more Galaxy Quest than Star Trek?

North Korea releases first computer game

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Needs a new name...

How about "Grand Collaborative Effort For The Good Of The State Auto"?

New iMac in shop windows FRIDAY but you'll wait to take one home

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"5mm thick at the edge"

That's an odd way of describing it. Is it a foot thick in the middle? I've got a nice slim waist - if you measure it at my ankles...

Apple Maps too good for Taiwanese military

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I compared the sat photos on my house on iOS6 and Android maps last night

The Apple pictures are newer, but much blurrier. Perhaps my street contains a secret Taiwanese missile bunker.

Steve Jobs resurfaces in Hong Kong

Dr Patrick J R Harkin


It looks good, is very expensive but doesn't actually do anything the other waxworks don't. I think they've nailed it...

Einstein's brain FOUND ON APPLE iPAD

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Speaking as someone who has had occasion to dissect brains - why not 170? You need to bits to be small enough to fit on a microsocpe slide, and while neuropathologists do traditionally use bigger slides than the rest of pathology, they're still not vast.

The reassembly (as has been mentioned) is a wonderful jigsaw puzzle. If ALL the slides from each of the 170 locations are available, it should be feasible to rebuild in software each chunk. Now, I know from experience that the distortion the tissue undergoes in processing means we won't get neat pseudo-cuboid chunks, (this problem totally defeated my one research attempt at 3D reconstruction using an IBAS machine many years ago), it should be possible to assign chunks to brain areas more precisely.

The big question of whether it's worth the effort, however, needs to be addressed first! No matter how finely you slice a smartphone, you won't be able to tell which software ran on it while it was still functional...

NYPD: iPhone thefts rising ten times rate of other crimes

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Are these "real" crimes?

Or phone lost/smashed/dropped in water which would otherwsie be uninsured?

Tech fault at RBS and Natwest freezes millions of UK bank balances

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Waiting on a pay check

I doubt if anyone has been kept waiting on a pay check or cheque, although some may have been kept waiting for one. More importantly, will this affect my standing order to the British Pedantic Society (which I am lobbying to have renamed the British Society of Pedants, as it is the members who are pedantic and not the society)?

US gov boffins achieve speeds faster than light

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Meh. So information goes a bit faster than light...

As we Brits know, monarchy travels instantaneously. When the current monarch dies, the next in line becomes king (or queen) without any delay regardless of how far apart he/she is. Admittedly, you can only transmit one bit of information per royal, so we don't use it for signally much.

ISPs should get 'up to' full fee for 'up to' broadband

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Thumb Up

This blog post suggested this about a year ago


Parents shocked by priestly PowerPoint pr0n

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

My sermon for today...

...is based on the saying "The pen is mightier than the sword". I searched Google Images using the phrase "pen is" and here is what I found.

Boffins crack superconducting graphene's melting mystery

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I understood every word of that.

The actual sentences, on the other hand...

Bletchley Park flogs Alan Turing first day covers

Dr Patrick J R Harkin


Probably about half of that will be direct costs - they'll ship in a cardboard-backed envelope and will be classed as 'large' (as it'll have to be bigger than the FDC). I must admit, dealing with play.com and Amazon have made me start to query almost any postage costs!

ISP ordered to drop 'three strikes' rule against pirates

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

is it just me...

...or does this ruling actually say "It's illegal to identify the users from their IP address and warn them before blocking their internet connection" but it DOESN'T say "You can't block their access", so what we've lost is the "three strikes", but not the "you're out".

Duff Mars probe's flaming shards to rain down mid-January

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

The "landing zone" is over 7000 miles wide - more than half the planet...

But they happily specify its limits to 0.1 degree. I must rush off the check my current latitude.

Pop teen beats Steve Jobs in Google's 2011 popularity contest

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

@Chris_Maresca it could easily be people constructing a query string....

No way! That would mean they were trying to Google "Google" and if you type "Google" into Google, you can break the internet. EVRYONE in IT knows that.

Microsoft's futurologists virtualise the poor

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

It would seem that in the future

Beggars will be cleaner, tidier and more polite than now. Why has everyone assumed he's a beggar, rather than a charity fund raiser? Or a someone working for the chairty in the field, or at an organisation the charity supports?

Dare I suggest closet racism? "He's wearing funny clothes - must be a foreign beggar!"

Man gets £12,500 after girlfriend probes his medical data

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Limitng staff access to medical records...

...is a no-win area. It's possible to lock down records so nurse X can only read the records of patient Y - and then patient Y is transferred to another ward where nurse Z can't read his (medical) records until (patient status) record is updated. Or nurse X phones in sick and nurse W covers for her. Or (this is the NHS, remember) both of the above, plus sixteen other random confusing events all occur at once. So the usual compromise is: the records are open and readable by appropriate grades of staff (eg nurses, doctors, clerical, but not management, catering, security), but access is logged: read without just cause, and you'll be disciplined. Some data is "siloed"; GU medicine clinic records are kept apart from general records, but within the "silo", same access rules apply.

PROVEN: Violent video games mess with your head

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Hmm. Doing the same thing a lot affects your brain.

Who'd have thought it? I'd like to have seen a study with 1 group playing FPS, one perhaps playing computer puzzles, one doing paper-based puzzles and one watching the Discovery Channel, or soething else "innocuous".

Hell, I reckon a week baking bread will change your brain somehow, somewhere.

Groupon BUSTED for bulging breasts bargain boob

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I see your BAAPS and raise you...

...the Sexually Transmitted Infection Foundation (STIF) course - see http://www.bashh.org/education_training_and_careers/stif It's run by the Bristish Accociation of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH). I don't know if any of the members are bishops.

Water utility hackers destroy pump, expert says

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I don't suppose there's any hope...

...that the X-Factor broadcast system is SCADA controlled?

Microsoft and Samsung uncloak slimmer Surface

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I'd love one of these

But I have no idea what I'd do with it. I did have an idea for a variation of their chess game - my pieces would be real (with barcodes underneath), the computers would be images but look as similar as possible.

Consumer Reports: iPhone 4S antenna doesn't suck

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Of course there's no problem with the antenna on the 4S

There was never a problem with the antenna on the 4. Apple told us so. It was a software thing, remember? The signal strength gauge wasn't showing the right number of blobs and would be fixed by an update.

Feds nab granny in moon rock sting

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I have some moon rock.

I know it's real, it has "MOON" written all the way through.

AOL demos the human-free datacenter

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Didn't Dilbert cover this recently?


Android app logs keystrokes using phone movements

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I don't THINK it'll work on my Galaxy S

I use the "Swype" input system and even it doesn't hit 70% accuracy some days...

eBay shopping lands wild colonial in lock-up

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"activated within 15 minutes"

That's quite a loooong fuse....

STUDENTS EXPOSED in university IT blunder

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Over a year...

...and only 148 records accessed.

From that, I'd be tempted to assume that only Google or other spiders ever found it! Especially if there was no link from the live site.

US Supremes to hear warrantless GPS tracking case

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

A gun which fires GPS at passing cars?

Really? Wow. How does it make the unit stick? And doesn't it make a hell of a clang as it hits?

NASA's nuclear Mars tank arrives at launch site

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Did we learn nothing from Alien?

In space, no one can hear your attitude control thrusters. (At least I think that was the tag line).

Shame the re-enter, parachute, retro-rockets, pulley sequence fininshed so soon. I think a big white-gloved hand should have popped out from behind a panel a carefully placed the Rover on the Martian surface (after clearing the dust away with a handerchief first, of course).

So, how many rhinos does a tram weigh?

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Oh. It said "tram".

I thought it said "train". Got my hopes up for nothing.

Latest Hubble Snaptastic goodness: Centaurus A

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Neighbourhood Watch

You gotta keep an eye on these Centaurans. Did we learn nothing on Babylon 5?

Blimp fireball disaster in Germany, Aussie pilot killed

Dr Patrick J R Harkin


Is this the first time a captain has gone up with his ship?

Heavy coffee drinking wards off deadly cancer in men

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Speaking as a professional deadologist...

...everybody dies of something. Prostate cancer isn'r great, but I'd rather have it than pancreatic cancer which, IIRC, is associted with heavy coffee drinking. Perhaps that's why the study found less prostatic disease - they were all dead from something else before they got it!

UK student hacker sentenced over gaming Trojan

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

US resident. University of Salford.

How long is that keyboard cable? (Or do you mean "US citizen"?)

Where's the pedantic icon - apologies, where's the icon for use by pedants? (The icon itself cannot be pedantic, after all.)

Linux kernel runs inside web browser

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"it could eventually let you play old DOS games."



Skype sex cadets charged for misusing telco services

Dr Patrick J R Harkin


I think that would count as "social media"; it's social and it uses media! The mechanics - whether it was Skype, a live video feed, a hole in the wall, a T3 line or dial-up - aren't really the issue. I was in Australia when this broke and there was discussion in the papers about whether the concealed camera invalidated the consent and this should be charged as rape, but I left before I heard any more.

Free iPad content for Time, Fortune subscribers

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

App pricing must be a very hard business

"This limitation was wildly unpopular with readers, who gave the Sports Illustrated, Time, and Fortune iPad apps overwhelmingly negative reviews."

And no one predicted that. People are just so fickle...

Calling all commentards: Want some new icons?

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Quill pen in bottle of green ink

I DEMAND that this USEFUL and VITAL icon is institued IMMEDIATELY. I AM UNABLE to comment IN THE way I WaNT withoUT IT.

Chinese man jailed for provoking nuke panic

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

@geejayoh "Table salt doesn't even come from the sea"

True - but in many places (no idea about China) it's artifically iodinated. Oddly, this forced mass medication with one halogen seems to cause no upset, whereas putting another one in drinking water causes rampant baying at the moon.

Dutch courts: Wi-Fi 'hacking' is not a crime

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I can sort of understand this.

AFAIK it isn't a crime to open the combination lock on your locker - though it would be a crime to take anything out. Likewise, figuring out the password for the connection does no harm in itself. Actually USING the connection is a different matter.

I don't like it, but i can see the reasoning.

Apple sues Amazon over 'App Store' name

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Solution is obvious.

"App" is short for "Application" so just use a different abbreviation. Instead of the first three letters, use the firsr four and call it the ApplStore. All solved!

Interwebs stunned by musical atrocity

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

That isn't her real voice.

She's miming to a track by Stephen Hawking.

Actress meets feds investigating nude photo Gmail hack

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Perhaps "internet" is a bad name

It sounds like it's inside, or under control - no wonder kids get confused. Let's start a campaign to call it the publicnet, no one could get confused about what's on publicnet. As long as your monitor clearly displays the "l"....

London's Olympic clock claps out

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I've emailed them a possible fix.

"Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

Another year, another iPhone time slip

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Peopel keep saying "Apple have had time to sort this"

But actually, they've had two hours less than you think...

Average Brit has three mysterious keys

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I find this curiously reassuring

Only last week I was looking at my keyring wondering "What the hell do those ones open?" and thinking I was going senile. But if everyone is in the same boat, my memory is no worse than - what were we talking about?

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