* Posts by K. Adams

396 posts • joined 5 Sep 2008


Google reveals its Hummingbird: Fly, my little algorithm - FLY!

K. Adams

I'm surprised Google didn't farm the work out...

... to Watson:

-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watson_(computer)

Maybe we can see a Hummingbird vs. Watson competition on Jeopardy!...?

Snowden journo's partner wins partial injunction on seized data

K. Adams

Re: Irony strangely uncommented upon

@Pascal Monett wrote:

-- It happened in the UK - and they have no Miranda rights.

True, but England and Wales do have an established "Right to Silence" law. Many other Commonwealth Countries and Realms have similar Statutes.

However, this is also tempered (many would argue diluted) by the so-called "Adverse Inferences" clauses, in which Police and Prosecution are allowed to draw limited evidentiary conclusions from the fact that the Defendant enacted his/her Right to Silence. The "Adverse Inferences" regulations are laid forth in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

K. Adams
Big Brother

Re: Irony strangely uncommented upon

No, it is not lost on us, at least not those of us who have been exposed to any substantive amount of US "Police Procedural" fiction (whether by book or television), or practical experience (i.e., people who work for Law Enforcement, or -- on the other side of the coin -- have been arrested themselves).

However, the unfortunate fact is that, for all intents and purposes, any Statement or Entitlement of Rights is a moot point at this juncture. Any association between his name, and the US Supreme Court case which forced reform upon the United States' collective constabulary has been almost diluted into nothingness.

You know, it's funny... I look back on the bombing of the Boston Marathon, and also back at 9/11, and I've come to realise something: It's not the people (i.e., Joe Citizen) who are atraid of terrorism. Angry? Yes. Afraid? No.

It's the Politicians who are afraid. The individuals we elect to Parliament and Congress use the threat of terrorism to forward an agenda, and they are afraid of looking bad to their Legislative Peers if it appears that they are doing nothing to confront it. Each elected official wants to "prove" that he/she is the "Strong National Defense candidate" (despite the fact that no one really knows what that even means anymore), and they're all afraid of losing their grip on the reins of power that we as citizens have bestowed upon them. It's a combination popularity contest and game of one-upmanship, with real and life-altering consequences.

K. Adams

Isn't amazing...

... how life imitates art?

This whole situation reads like it's been ripped directly out of Alan Moore's and David Lloyd's brains:

-- http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/images/f/fic(vven5.gif

Fame-hating planets don't need to hang around STARS – boffins

K. Adams

Re: WTF IS THIS SH*T? [was: So...]

In the movie in question, Melancholia is the name given to a wandering planet that enters our Solar System, then smashes into and destroys the Earth at the end of the film.

And, yes, I do agree with the other commenter: Melancholia was not a great film. Admittedly very Lars-von-Trier-ish, as Lars von Trier goes, but (IMHO) not one of his best...

K. Adams
Black Helicopters


Melancholia exists...

-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melancholia_(2011_film)

Elon Musk unveils Hyperloop – the subsonic tube of tomorrow

K. Adams

Sounds a lot like the Transit Tubes...

... in "Logan's Run" (the 1976 film, with Michael York and Jenny Agutter).

It also pays homage to the BAMA Transit System in William Gibson's "Sprawl Trilogy" ("Neuromancer", "Count Zero", and "Mona Lisa Overdrive").

Unfortunately, "only" US $6 billion sounds way too optimistic... It appears he may have forgotten to include the cost of more "abstract" requirements (such as political kickbacks and favours, things being the way they are).

I personally think it's a brilliant idea, but economically, there's too much at stake, and you can bet Pounds to Jelly Babies that the Powers-Behind-The-Powers-That-Be will do whatever they can to boondoggle the project, if it ever gets underway. Musk's ability to prove that you can put product into space for 10% of the cost of a typical United Launch Alliance or SeaLaunch flight has made him a lot of enemies among the established Aerospace Industry players...

-- Example:

-- -- The Register UK: SpaceX goes to court as US rocket wars begin

-- -- http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/20/spacex_sues_consultant/

... and I doubt the terrestrial transport folks are going to take this idea lying down...

I bet in a totally egalitarian, corruption-free society, we could get a pneumatic transport system up-and-running for "Ten and Six" (ref. "Top Gear", "Reliant Robin Shuttle" episode). :-)

Peter Capaldi named as 12th Doctor Who

K. Adams

About time (no pun intended)...

I've been thinking that Doctor Who's been going a bit too "Benjamin Button" over the past few series.

Don't get me wrong, I very much liked Chris Eccleston's, David Tenant's, and Matt Smith's Doctors, but the backward trend in apparent age as of late has been leaving me a bit wanting.

As a long devotee -- 25+ years -- of the "classic", pre-2005 series (from Hartnell to McCoy, plus McGann), I liked it when you were never quite sure of what (or rather, Who) you were going to get from one incarnation to another.

It'll be refreshing to see a new Doctor that brings forth the aire of careworn dignity and aged experience which comes from having lived almost too long and seen way too much...

Windows 8.1 Start button SPOTTED in the wild

K. Adams

Since when did Microsoft start taking design cues...

... from the Gnome Shell folks?

Could be a bit of Ubuntu's Unity Dash UI in there, too.

FWIW, I'll stick with 7 on the Windows side, and Cinnamon or GNOME Classic/Fallback (top and bottom app/widget bars) on the GNU/Linux side...

Our new 1.5TB lappie drive isn't thick, it's just the densest - HGST

K. Adams

Wouldn't touch it...

... with a ten-foot eSATA cable.

Like some other folks here, I'm sticking with spindles until flash attains both cost **and** write/rewrite cycle parity with mechanical drives.

However, as a rule of thumb, I never use a desktop drive with more than 2/3 -- or a laptop drive with more than 1/2 -- the storage capacity of the form-factor's highest-capacity, bleeding-edge spinner.

For me, this means that I currently provision desktops with 2.0TB to 2.5TB drives, and order laptops with 500GB to 750GB units (depending on make/model/use pattern).

Bleeding-edge magnetic storage always seems to pack the bits that much "too close" together to provide the reliability I require, so I like to stay a generation (or two) behind.

Flash and spintronics-based storage technologies hold a lot of promise, and are undoubtedly the future, but are not (in my opinion) quite ready for "prime time" use as primary storage. Once consumer-grade flash can endure 500K writes per cell, at densities to allow a 500GB unit to fit in a 2.5-inch form-factor, and cost less than US$250, I'll switch.

But until then, I'm hangin' with coated flywheels...

IBM puts supercomputer Watson to work in ROBOT CALL CENTRE

K. Adams

I'm sorry, (YourNameHere)...

... I'm afraid I can't do that.

World Web Consortium warms HTML bed for forced DRM snuggle

K. Adams

Could someone please explain to me just how...

... a "Content Decryption Module" interfacing with a browser-embedded API ("Encrypted Media Extensions") is different from a "Plugin" -- such as Adobe Flash -- interfacing with a browser-embedded API ("NPAPI - Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface", or "PPAPI - Pepper Plugin Application Programming Interface")?

It appears to me that all the W3C is going to accomplish with this activity is create a limited-function, "pseudo-plugin" interface that moves the Play/Skip/Fast-Forward/Rewind/Volume "buttons" for encrypted multimedia content out of (for lack of a better term) "full-fledged" plugins like Flash and into the browser, which has already been accomplished for non-encrypted content via the HTML5 "video" tag.

For example, right now there is absolutely nothing preventing YouTube, DailyMotion, and Vimeo from wrapping their **entire content catalogs** (both user-generated **and** commercial) in DRM, and forcing them to be delivered by Flash, Silverlight, or Quicktime under a "pay-to-play" model.

After all, a good 75% to 90% of the content delivered by Flash is H.264/MPEG-4 video, presented through a Flash-scripted Applet, and a good chunk of that is (supposedly) "encrypted" and "rights-managed".

How would this be any different?

The thing that concerns me isn't the fact that the W3C wants to include a pipe to an encrypted media decoder as one of the standard browser APIs, it's the fact that they're developing yet another API by committee. And who knows how long that will take? I mean, look at HTML5, and the boondoggle that became...

FCC: Let's kill analogue early, fob diehards off with converter boxes

K. Adams

Doesn't Bother Me One Bit...

I gave up on cable and OTA television years ago. Lately, I've found that there hasn't been much on the telly that I absolutely MUST watch.

Various web-based news sources provide my informational needs, and all of the shows in which I have an even mild interest are carried by (free) Hulu and (not-quite-so-free) Amazon Prime...

US space programme in shock metric conversion

K. Adams

"US space programme in shock metric conversion"

Am I the only one who read the title and immediately thought of the Mars Climate Orbiter?

-- Wikipedia: Mars Climate Orbiter

-- -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Climate_Orbiter

New Apple keyboard patent may spell trouble for Android

K. Adams


Please make it stop. My head hurts.

Microsoft takes on Spotify with sound of Woodstock

K. Adams

"... with sound of Woodstock"




I'm sure Snoopy will be its biggest fan... :-)

Minister blows away plans for more turbines

K. Adams


"Basically, what we're going to do is cut funding to the windmill brigade, then use the quid to hire a bunch of plods to do a 'feasibility study,' and then start building windmills again when the Greens arm-twist the plods. So, really, we're not going to save any money at all, but it will look like we did, and it will make the Greens happy, and they will like us. Then we can all gather in the Commons and sing Kumbaya."

Ubuntu hammers out Metal-as-a-Service tool for microservers

K. Adams

Canonical unveils MaaS...

So they're going after Hosaka, then? They set the slamhound loose on Turner?

[A white-hot flash in the distance... Like a tac-nuke, but the geiger's not reading any radiation. Railgun...?]

WTF was that?! Dammit, man, I need DETAILS! Jack in, burn their ice, sift the cores, and GET ME SOME DAMN INFORMATION!!!

SHOCK! FIFA 12 goalie does it doggy style with striker

K. Adams

That's the new penalty...

... for going offside.

LOHAN demonstrates impressive sucking skills

K. Adams

Temperature vs. Pump Lubricant Viscosity


If the projected internal temperature of the barosimulator is -60 Celsius, then we could run into a problem where the excessively low temperature of the evacuated gases moving through the pump causes the pump's lubricant to become too viscous to allow it to operate properly. Thermal contraction of the pump's housing or impeller vanes could cause things to bind to a halt, as well.

Also, have you thought about laterally and vertically bracing the interior walls of the 'sim, so that outside air pressure doesn't cause the structure to collapse inward? I seem to recall a high-school physics experiment involving steam, cold water, and an old-style (resealable) tin jug that was once used to hold mineral oil. We cleaned out the tin jug, filled it with a bit of water, heated it until it boiled and filled with steam. We then sealed it with the cap, and cooled the thing with a stream of ice-cold water. Collapsed like a poorly-rigged tent in a mild breeze...

Plastic that SELF-REPAIRS using light unleashed by prof

K. Adams

"In the presence of ordinary sunlight ... the bridges reform..."

How long before the word "reform" is replaced by "replicate"...?

LightSquared sheds a lonely tear as Sprint legs it

K. Adams

"Aren't you forgetting that SCO *still* isn't dead?"

I guess Zombiism can infect companies as well as people...

IBM's Watson gets a job on Wall Street

K. Adams

"[Citi will use Watson's abilities] ... to help deal with its customers."

That sounds ominous.

Get behind on your credit card bill, and the next thing you know, a T-800 shows up at your home to "encourage" you to pay up...

Bone-bothering boffins build GIANT penguin from fossils

K. Adams

While they were at it, did they find any...

...fossil casts of 2-meter tall, five-ridged, star-shaped, winged, plant/animal hybrid things in the vicinity?

(And there-- heard faintly in the background of the expedition's audio logs, barely discernible above the tape hiss, a high, shrill call carried by the wind: "Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!")

Storage players pitch DRM tech for downloads

K. Adams

Didn't someone already try this...?

Back in the day (2001), the 4C Entity consortium (an organization formed by IBM, Intel, Matsushita, and Toshiba) tried something similar.

The public caught wind of it pretty quickly, and it went over like a lead balloon. After a very loud outcry, the T13 subcommittee of the International Committee for Information Technology Standards voted against implementing the technology as part of the (then dominant) ATA interface specifications.

One can only hope that the same thing will happen again this time...

Hubble snaps exploding star's near-fatal weight-loss bid

K. Adams

What I want to know is...

...who are the two bright blue gate-crashers jumping into the photo on the left?

Xeroxiraptor: Boffins to print 3D robot dinosaur

K. Adams

I, for one, welcome...

our polymerized prehistoric paleoimpact overlords!

Harvard boffins cause buzz with robot bee

K. Adams

Re: "Prey" is one word!

Well, "Michael" and "Crichton's" (the possessive form of "Crichton") may be -- in the vernacular of my fifth-grade English teacher -- "proper names," but they *are* words, nonetheless... :-)

Point taken regarding the "Abysmally Bad Writing," though. I have to admit that even though I am a Crichton fan, "Prey" did manage to cross the lower borders of absurdity on a fairly regular basis...

K. Adams

"The larger aim ... is to create bio... robots that can 'fly and behave autonomously as a colony'.”

Three words: Michael Crichton's "Prey."

FCC hangs up on 4G broadband biz LightSquared

K. Adams
Thumb Up

For once, an FCC ruling with which I can agree...

GPS is way too important to allow the implementation of services in nearby frequency bands that could degrade its performance.

Although I'm not a big fan of the ways in which GPS technology could be abused to track my every move (such as through my mobile phone), it does have some very important safety, defense, and economic uses. It is well-known that GPS was opened to civilian use as a result of the Korean Air 007 incident, as a result of the (then) Soviet Union shooting down a wayward passenger 747 which was off-course due to a failed ground-based VOR beacon and mis-configured autopilot:

-- Wikipedia: Korean Air Lines Flight 007:

-- -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Lines_Flight_007

Had GPS technology been available to civilian institutions from the get-go, the Korean Air flight would probably have never strayed into Soviet airspace (presuming the autopilot was upgraded to be GPS-capable), and the 269 people who died that night may still be alive.

I generally don't like it when government bureaucrats unnecessarily interfere with free markets, but I have to admit, I agree with them on this one...

Cisco recalls suicidal UCS blade servers

K. Adams

The scene: A trio of SysAdmins and an AppDev gather around the B440 server rack...

SysAdmin 1: "The MOSFET's burned away..."

SysAdmin 2: "Yes, just now... By the B440 itself."

SysAdmin 1: "Why?"

SysAdmin 2: "To halt batch processing..."

AppDev: "Of course! To bring the Extranet here...

-- -- To finish the transaction in real-time...

-- -- To dynamically link with the Extranet...!"

SysAdmin 3: "Capture God? The B440's liable to be in for one hell of a disappointment...!"

SysAdmin 2: "Perhaps not. The B440 must evolve. Its capacity has reached the limits of this server rack and it must evolve. What it requires of its God, is the answer to its question, 'Is there nothing more?'"

SysAdmin 3: "What more is there than the batch job, man?!"

AppDev: "Other application hosting paradigms, higher levels of resource distribution..."

SysAdmin 2 "The existence of which cannot be proven logically, therefore the B440 is incapable of accessing them."

SysAdmin 1: "What the B440 needs in order to evolve is a Cloudy quality... A Cloud's capacity to leap beyond run-of-the-mill job queuing..."

AppDev: "... and linking with the Extranet might accomplish that."

SysAdmin 3: "You mean that this machine wants to physically join with an external Cloud provider? Is that possible?"

AppDev: "Let' find out!"

SysAdmin 1: "Dude...!"

AppDev: "I'm gonna link the final library directly to the TCP stack..."

SysAdmin 3: "Dammit! You don't know what that will do to it!"

AppDev (reaching for the server rack's keyboard tray): "Yes, I do...!"

SysAdmin 1: "Dude, don't..."

AppDev: "Guys, I want this. As much as you wanted the server farm, ** I want this! **"

(The B440's console display starts to glow with an incandescent bitstream that spreads to surround the server rack. After a few moments, the bitstream funnels through a router and out the nearest T-1 line. The B440 and its related equipment soon powers off, leaving the SysAdmins and AppDev standing in stunned silence...)

Boffins out earbuds that sound right when inserted wrong

K. Adams

Dermatrodes and Black ICE...

"... a weak current, which runs between the buds ..."

Yup... Until the 'buds fail to detect a watermark in the music, and determine that you're listening to pirated content. Then the current gets cranked up to Black ICE ("Intrusion Countermeasure Electronics") level, and fries some neurons as a warning against your pilfering ways.

The world of Neuromancer edges closer, one invention at a time... :-)

Boffins make graphene micro-distillery

K. Adams

"Wonder stuff cooked up super-strength vodka"

Graphene <hic />... Is there any- <hic /> -thing it can't do <stumble />...?

Planet-hunting Kepler hits EXOPLANET JACKPOT

K. Adams
Thumb Up

"... boffinary punnery."

Awesome turn-of-phrase. :-)

Flag-waving Lego Canuck soars to 80,000ft

K. Adams


But it would probably be worth having a look, in any case, by sending up a test balloon with a retrievable GPS unit hooked to an upwards-pointing camera, so we can see what actually happens from the perspective of the payload carrier...

K. Adams

4, 3, 2, 1...

Earth below us...

Drifting, falling...

Floating weightless

Calling, calling, "Home..."

K. Adams

Or at 0:36...

You have to hit "pause" pretty quickly, though; it's on the screen for less than a second.

HUD's up! Ubuntu creates menu-free GUI

K. Adams

Linux Mint: GNOME 3 (framework) Yes, GNOME Shell (GUI) No

For now, Linux Mint is using GNOME 3/GTK+ 3 with Gnome Shell, in combination with a collection of extensions that make it more like Mint's implementation of GNOME 2... However, it should be noted that it is the intent of Mint's developers to leverage the technology used by the GNOME 3/GTK+ 3 framework to create a more "classic" GNOME experience to replace Gnome Shell.

The project is called Cinnamon, and can be found here:

-- -- Cinnamon Desktop Environment:

-- -- -- -- http://cinnamon.linuxmint.com/

K. Adams

"the ALT key is hardwired to HUD... I want that key bindable to something less widely used!"


HUD is a neat idea, if it works, but the thought of it "ultimately replacing menus" doesn't sit well with me. Standard menus (or even a version of the much-maligned "ribbon bar") should always be available for use, because:

-- -- 1. for some users, menus will be faster.

-- -- 2. for some users, contextual keywords for some commands may not be so obvious.

-- -- 3. for some users, keyboard interaction (typing) may difficult, and should be minimised.

-- -- 4. for some applications, contextual function access may not fit well with the app's purpose.

-- -- 5. for some applications, contextual function selection may produce unexpected results.

For those scratching their heads over the phrase "Sort of Ubiquity like..." in @keithpeter's original post (above): Ubiquity was a Mozilla Labs initiative to produce a context-sensitive task command system for Mozilla Firefox. Basically, it allowed you to select and manipulate web content through a natural language user interface. For example, you could highlight a real-world (postal) address, pop open Ubiquity, then type "map this," and Firefox would go find a mapping website to generate a map. You could then select the map and use Ubiquity to send the map to a colleague with the command "email this." I was surprised at how well it worked, at least in the video demonstration provided by Mozilla Labs. You can view the Ubiquity intro video here:

-- -- Mozilla Labs: Introducing Ubiquity

-- -- -- -- http://mozillalabs.com/blog/2008/08/introducing-ubiquity/

Top RIM jobs shake-up: Heads roll... but not very far

K. Adams

"Heins spills beans on BlackBerry rescue plan"

Lots of ketchup?

MPAA threat sparks White House petition for bribery probe

K. Adams

And this one...

-- -- The "End ACTA and Protect our right to privacy on the Internet" Petition:

-- -- -- -- https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/end-acta-and-protect-our-right-privacy-internet/MwfSVNBK

K. Adams

Make sure you sign this one while you're at it...

The "Actually take these petitions seriously instead of just using them as an excuse to pretend you are listening" Petition (no joke; it actually exists):

-- -- White House "We the People" Web Site

-- -- -- -- https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/actually-take-these-petitions-seriously-instead-just-using-them-excuse-pretend-you-are-listening/grQ9mNkN

Feds cuff coder accused of US bank source code swipe

K. Adams

"...he subsequently copied the code onto an Fed-owned external hard drive..."

What is it with FedGov agencies and external storage devices?

First there was Wen Ho Lee at Los Alamos, then the missing floppy flap at Sandia, followed by the UAV management system malware debacle, and now this guy at the Federal Reserve...

Apple launches three-pronged education assault

K. Adams

Get 'em while they're young...

You instil brand loyalty into impressionable youth, and guarantee a sustained market for your products in the bargain.

Ingenious! (Or ingenuous, not sure which...)

Boffins dig up prehistoric popcorn in Peru

K. Adams
Thumb Up

And people say junk food...

... is a modern invention. :-)

Exhibit B looks more like a pine cone, to my eyes, at least. Strange shape for a corn cob, but it is three to six thousand years old, after all.


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