* Posts by Dr Patrick J R Harkin

805 posts • joined 22 Jan 2008

Pr0n stars to demo against .xxx

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

You haven't got long to get ready.

I suggest you open that pot of pink gloss and the crate of PlayMobil figures and get painting!

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Hollywood eyes Blade Runner replicants

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

You're walking in the desert. You see a film producer

The film producer lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can't, not without your help, but you're not helping. What do you do?

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Health experts flip over McD's burger-flip toy

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"familiar MacDonalds colo(u)rs of red, yellow and blue"

Blue? Surely the only blue in McD's is when a bandage ends up in your burger (or someone chokes on a McGiblet)?

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Ads overseer told to bring down 'up to' broadband speeds

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Happy

I'm happy with "up to" speed estimates

I was offered "up to " - can't remember, some silly figure. When they handed over the contract to sign, I carefully wrote "up to" in front of the monthly tariff.

"What's that for?"

"Well, that amount is a typical payment which many of my suppliers receive but obviously I can't guarantee that you'll get that every month or indeed, ever, as there are too many variables beyond my control." Oddly, they wouldn't accept that argument so we had to go our separate ways

Hmmm. We have a "Joke" icon - where's the "Awkward bugger" icon?

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Turing Collection saved for the nation

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Joke

From Radio 4 this morning

"Papers belonging to Alan Turing are to go on display at Bletchley Park where he worked during the war rather than go abroad."

I don't think that was his primary motivation, was it?

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Cellphone exposure linked to changes in brain activity

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

The "not heat" argument seems odd

"increase was unlikely to be associated with heat from the handset because the activity occurred near the antenna, rather than where the phone touched the head." When I hold my phone, the bit nearest my brain IS where it touches my head. I don't know where the antenna is in mine, but it can't be closer than that. I'd have though a better control would an phone with the antenna disconnected so it doesn't broadcast, but the phone is still on, to generate the heat.

And they definitely should have had left/right crossovers.

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Tosh shows off snazzy external drive

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Software is key on this sort of thing.

My wife bought a drive (Seagte, I think) and it's virtually impossible to work out whether a backup has happened and trying to get stuff back is a nightmare. They've "streamlined" the software so much (complete with pretty pictures) that there's almost no user interface left!

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Man pockets $8m running computer fraud ring

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Daddy...

What's a modem?

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Knife-waving knob nabs fat stack of jazz mags

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Last September a burglar broke into a house in Redhill

"...and swiped a pack of bacon, except for a single rasher left chillingly draped over the front door handle."

Does the CID have a Surreal Crimes Division?

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Man matches machine in Jeopardy! showdown

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I think I see a new gameshow format here

"XXXXX is very bright, very fast, and as you saw, he has some weird little moments,"

Just fill in the blank.

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Paleontologists: Standardise 3D laser image files, for pity's sake

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Joke

"A statement from Souther Methodist University"

Are they even allowed to believe in dinosaurs?

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Bold as brass metal thieves disrupt rail, comms, electric

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Pardon?

"A spokesman for Energy Networks Association (ENA) told us that cable thefts of energy transmission – for both electricity and gas"

Is much gas delivered through cables?

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Murdoch & Co unveil iPad news rag The Daily

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Beg pardon?

"The Daily's editor Jesse Angelo ticked-off what he sees as the advantages of e-published content over ink on that expensive paper" ... "the ability to save articles"

Hasn't Jesse ever had a scrapbook?

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Bradley Manning 'is British' – campaigners urge UK.gov to act

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Coat

We need to test his nationality

Get some bread and put melted cheese on top. If he says "Wadda crummy pizza! Where's da toppin's?" - he's a Yank. If he says "Look you! Rarebit! Lovely!" - he's one of ours.

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Becks offloads Posh Porsche on eBay

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

A remote CD changer?

How wonderfully 20th century. Even Volvo have stopped offering that as an option.

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Hacker warning over internet-connected HDTVs

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

You know what this means?

Hackers could make your TV home on Britain's Got Talent broadcasts and prevent you switching away or turning down the volume! RUN FOR THE HILLS - IT'S THE PIERSMORGAGEDDON!

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German exec banged up in private-dick wiretap ring probe

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I wonder if legal protection applies to all phone calls...

...or only one routed over external network. Can my employer listen to me talking to someone elsewhere in the building? (though Om help them if they're ever that bored)

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Twitter slips ads into user tweet streams

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Isn't this just 140 character spam?

These promoted tweets will be meaningless to most readers. So no change there.

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First tube station to get Wi-Fi next week

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Being in Yorkshire, I don't use the Tube much...

But do people actually hang around in the area they talk about long enough to make it worth having wifi there? It's a transit area. It'll clog up with people "checking their emails" aka watching kittens on YouTube.

OTOH I can see the point of having wifi on the trains themselves.

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OOo's put the willies up Microsoft

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I did a quick & dirty test of OO with our students submission

It was a few years ago, and I'm sure things have improved, but of about 250 Word documents submitted by our students, OO wouldn't open 8 (actually, it wouldn't open 12, but 4 of those were corrupt files which wouldn't open in Word either).

If I were a business getting invitations to tender, person specifications or other documents from outside, being unable to read 3% would not be acceptable.

I've also just had to deal with a student who has found that a package (name escapes me) on his mac (not OO or Office for Mac) doesn't reads the lecturers notes from PowerPoint files, just the slides.

In the real world - especially the world of students heading for life in the NHS - Microsoft Office remains the sensible choice, like it or loathe it. "I'd like to live in a society where we all use open source" is commendable. So is "I'd like to live in a society where we can all leave our doors unlocked." But neither is going to happen in my lifetime, and the early adopters are going to get badly burned.

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Hiberno-mooner stalks Google Street View

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Isn't it the case that...

...if you zoom in on a Google Moon it changes to cheese?

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Lettuce head e-fit draws a blank

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I'm red-green colour blind

so I assume his nickname is "carrot-top"

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Portable, rapid DNA analysis tech developed

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Why?

The driving force behind the development of the technology isn't identification of people, but of pathogens. Remember Bones' medical tricorder (and Spock's science tricorder)? Wave them in the air and they can detect dangerous viruses and bacteria? That's what's being developed. Last I heard (3 or so years ago) they were back-pack sized, but three years is a long time in technology!

Microbiology has changed enormously since I was a medical student - I walked past a micro lab a few months back and I wouldn't have recognised it - not a bunsen burner or agar plate in sight, just rows of PCR machines. It's much faster than waiting for things to grow on plates.

However, once you've invented the kit, there's always the temptation to find another market.

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PARIS acquires visual tracking capability

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I'm impressed he found the target...

...although that big red arrow must have made it easier.

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Boffins baffled by 'magnetar': Ought to be black hole, but isn't

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"nothing more than a star made of neutrons"

Nothing more than a star made of neutrons PLUS a waffer thin mint. The explosive degustation balances the gravitational collapse.

Do you think I could get into astrophysics on clearing?

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Dawn raids catch 9 for massive iPhone 'fraud'

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"aged 42, 34, 32, 32, 28, 26, 22, 21 and 18"

Well, that's my lottery numbers picked for this week. But seriously - does that level of detail really add anything to the story that "between 18 and 42" doesn't provide?

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Best Buy slaps 'God Squad' priest with cease-and-desist order

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Is it just me...

...or did anyone else read his licence plate as "GODIVA"?

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New US swarmsats will scatter to avoid space-war strikes

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Six F's?

Someone spent a nice afternoon dreaming that up. Mind you, I can this of two more, although they also need an S after them.

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Chaos surrounds New Zealand iPhone 4 day

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"...they didn't know when they were coming in..."

Apparently they tried ringing, but couldn't get any reception....

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Reboot key Brit 'ready to save internet'

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Actually...

Some days I think breaking the internet wouldn't be such a bad idea. We could start again, knowing all the mistakes we made last time which we couldn't fix for reasons of "backwards compatability".

Yes, I know it's a pipe dream, but they're the best kind.

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Judas Phone: more Photoshop tomfoolery

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"We are not really set up for Photoshop madness, but we always welcome contributions."

Photoshop is so last season. Playmobil in the new Photoshop.

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Women reveal all for X-rayted pin-up calendar

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I don't think those are x-ray images.

The soft-tissue detail is all wrong. I assume someone has melded the images of a skeleton & a woman from his CGI library. And I think he used a male skeleton, judging by the angle of the pubic rami. Bone density is very odd too. But IANAR (I am not a radiologist)

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Feds cuff man in ATM skimming case

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

@Disco-Legend-Zeke

Last time I bought gas in the US, the pump wouldn't dispense. The key they had wouldn't work - so they just popped it open with a big screwdriver! So it might not be necessary to get a key to compromise pumps - just someone on the till who'll turn a blind eye while you do it.

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Primate-phobic Brit attacked by crab-eating Macaques

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

@David Simpson 1

"I'm not keen on spiders and having a functioning brain I realise a holiday to Spider Island would certainly not help my fear."

Actually, it might - it's a technique called "flooding", basically the opposite of desensitisation. Rather than "Here's a piece of paper with the word spider on it, now here's a drawing of a spider, here's a photo of a spider, a small dead spider in a box, a live spider in a box, a live spider on my hand" it goes "Could you just take a seat in the next room? WHICH IS FULL OF SPIDERS!" See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flooding_(psychology)

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Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Here we come....

Walking down the beach

We get the funniest screams from

Each tourist we eat.

Hey hey we're the Monkees!

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Google hits coder G-spot with Linux command line tool

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

So how long until I can type

$ reg comment --file mycomment.html --icon "paris"

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Nobel Prize winner on dodgy World Cup ball

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

If you've read "Roller Ball Murder"...

...the William Harrison short story on which the (excellent) 1975 and (dire) 2002 movies "Rollerball" were based, you'll remember that at the end they started making the ball uneven to make its path less predictable. They also introduced "multi-ball". Perhaps that could be the key concept for the UK's bid to host a World Cup?

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Philippines declare war on cyberlingo

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Students sometimes e-mail me in txtspk...

...so I reply in txtspk. Do I mean txtspk? No, it's that other name, what is it, oh yes, "random collections of letters, numbers and symbols, spaced so it looks like sentences and with just enough recognisable bits thrown in so they think they're missing something important."

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Amazon Kindle flunked by college students

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I have a Sony ereader (the non-touchscreen one)

I have to say I find it "barely acceptable" as a device on which to read a book and a complete no-hoper for a reference book BUT I can carry a lot of books at once. Though I'm not sure how often I want or need to carry a lot of non-reference books.

I think the problem is we've spent 6000 years honing the user interface for written material and the eBooks are just starting on that development path.

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Britons: iPhone eighth most important invention — ever

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Prrof, if proof were needed, at #34...

...that putting hot things near your head is Not Good For The Brain.

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Clegg promises liberties restoration

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

It's OK, I don't need my fingerprints back

I kept copies.

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3D TV sales to soar, says researcher

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Three percent?

I expect it to be nearer three.

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Boffins warn on car computer security risk

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I don't really understand cars, but...

...isn't packet injection something they put on fast cars?

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Boffins snare swollen 'excited giant' in forcefield prison

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Quantum science writing

You can understand the individual words, or complete sentences, but not both at the same time.

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Feel.me up for grabs in dot-me domain auction

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I'm gonna pre-register all of them.

Annoyed? sosue.me

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Wayward 'zombiesat' poses risk to other satellites

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Well, there's yer problem, guv...

"Since then, engineers have sent more than 150,000 commands to the roving craft in an attempt to regain control of it."

You've flooded the control message buffer. Once you've double-clicked on the icon, you have to sit and wait for it to work - clicking again just makes it worse.

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Reverse-engineering artist busts face detection tech

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Is this confusing face identification and face recognition?

I.e. one says "That's a face, just there" - as used in many camera to sort out the focussing - and the others says "This face is HIS face"?

OK, you have to find the face to run recognition on it - but given that faces tend to be found on top of bodies, it's not going to be that had for a suitable algorithm to work out where your head should be. French nobility and a few wives of Henry VIII excepted.

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C language inventor spurns Google's language exam

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Ah, Mr Thompson...

...for question 3, "What is the smallest data type in C?", you've put "Captain Jack Sparrow".

Yes, that's right. I changed the language spec just before I sat the paper. I've changed it back again now, but that was the right answer at the time.

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Cybercrooks befuddled by Icelandic volcano name

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Isn't it interesting that Icelandic has a word for...

"Dreadful flooding caused by a volcano erupting under a glacier". We don't havethat in Yorkshire.

I've also been told that there's a single SHORT word for "A friend who, under the influence of alcohol, become attractive enough". And short words tend to have been around a long time. But then, the nights can be very long in Iceland!

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US librarian in chief puts Twitter into aspic

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Might be a better use of storage...

...if they summarised the 4 years of tweets in just 140 characters.

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