* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

3727 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

I used to be a dull John Doe. Thanks to Huawei, I'm now James Bond!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coat

Nice one!

I have recently found I too am a Chinese spy, with my Wha-Hey P9, named Kyrilo Sidorovitch Razumov.

I'll be going. The one with Conrad's "Under Western Eyes" in the pocket, please

RIP 2019-2019: The first plant to grow on the Moon? Yeah, it's dead already, Chinese admit

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Maybe they should have used sphagnum moss or lichens and tardigrades instead. The latter survive being frozen in liquid helium without ill effect, and the former survive Arctic winters

China's really cotton'd on to this whole Moon exploration thing: First seed sprouts in lunar lander biosphere

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Pint

Re: Biologicals

Don't forget, the yeast can produce beer for them (at least if they bring some barley and hops along next time)

The Large Hadron Collider is small beer. Give us billions more for bigger kit, say boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Happy

One ring to rule them all?

After the FCC is built, no doubt they will want something even bigger. In astronomy, we have a related syndrome called "aperture fever" (and a tendency to run out of superlatives when thinking of names: what do we do after the Extremely Large Telescope? Outrageously Large Telescope? Obscenely Large Telescope? Humongous Telescope?). I wonder what they call it in particle physics? Circular fever?

Computing boffins strip the fun out of satirical headlines

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Ig Nobel prize in the offing?

Sounds like a good candidate

Huawei and Intel hype up AI hardware, TensorFlow tidbits, and more

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coat

Re: That is no deepfake

So this is a fake deepfake? I sense a danger of infinite recursion here (which would by nature by very, very deep)

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'll get me coat

What's the fate of our Solar System? Boffins peer into giant crystal ball – ah, no, wait, that's our Sun in 10bn years

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coat

Re: Glad they helped me understand

Assuming a core temperature of about 310 Kelvin for a standard Hilton, I obtain a value of around 32.26 kiloHiltons.

Before dipping a toe in the new ThinkPad high-end, make sure your desk is compatible

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Don't let my son see this. He will want one for his games! Of course I also want a couple, but that is for serious work. Really! Honest!

Smartphones gateway drug to the Antichrist, says leader of Russian Orthodox Church

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Re: Spin.

I think he is worried about people muscling in on the church's original racket: controlling what people may or may not do, and providing their own brand of opium for the people, to create a docile populace who accept authority based on the promise of a better life hereafter.

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Devil

Not so much bad, but more a wicked sense of humour, I would suggest.

Anyway, the only mild drawback I would see is that the Iron Maiden song is now playing in my mind on an endless loop. Quite like the song, and it is better than my mind for reasons best left uninvestigated hearing the aircraft engine on my flight back home distinctly playing "Jolene" by Dolly Parton for half of the trip. The other half it was playing Ozzy Osborne's "Crazy Train", so that was alright.

Just updated Windows 7? Can't access network shares? It isn't just you

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Re: Not a problem here

ShutUp10 is a tool I am looking into, should I be forced to switch to W10. There are some amateur astronomy tools I haven't found good alternatives for (yet), otherwise mine would be a Linux-only machine in no time at all

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Smart speakers remind me of Sirius Cybernetics

I am more likely to staple my tongue to my desk than buy one of those. If someone gets me one, I will probably ask them to hand me the stapling gun (or the BOFH-modded cattle prod (disguised as a sonic screwdriver, maybe)).

SpaceX's Crew Dragon shows up at pad 39A, nearly 8 years after the last Shuttle left

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Thumb Up

Excellent stuff!

Fingers crossed twiddling of thumbs at NASA ends soon, and the test can go ahead

Bored IT manager automates Millennium Eve checks to ditch snoozing for boozing

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

Re: !!AAEEHNPPRWYY

Genius

New Horizons snaps finish buffering: Ultima Thule actually two dust bunnies that got snuggly 4.5 billion years ago

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Thumb Up

Brilliant stuff!

Great work by all boffins involved. I was also quite touched to hear (some of) Clyde Tombaugh's ashes were carried past Pluto, and now Ultima Thule aboard New Horizons.

50 years ago: NASA blasts off the first humans to experience a lunar close encounter

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Pint

Remeber those heady days of the Apollo missions well

I followed them all, 6, almost 7, years old when Apollo 8 launched, following the mission over Xmas on our B&W TV. Amazing era. I will raise a glass to those brave enough to venture so far from earth half a century ago. Real heroes

Introducing 'Happy Quit', where Chinese smokers are text-spammed into nicotine abstinence

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Re: "which of the two habits is more antisocial"

Besides, the smoke is also harmful to non-smokers. I have never smoked in my life*, being allergic to even small quantities of tobacco smoke (pot is even worse in that respect), so I am spared the difficulty of quitting. I will applaud anyone's effort to stop, however

* Tobacco, that is. I have smoked duck, chicken, salmon, mackerel and a few other species of fish. Whisky-marinated and cedar-wood-smoked salmon is to die for. Tobacco, by contrast is to die off

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Joke

Re: Phones are good mmmkay

Or in true American style sues the phone company for not supplying a cigarette-resistant screen (demanding new phone and several million for "emotional damage")

German cybersecurity chief: Anyone have any evidence of Huawei naughtiness?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Re: it's like RAAAAAIIINNN ....

Maybe these muppets are electronic monks, which can hold many contradictory beliefs without necessarily blowing a bank of illogic circuits

Doffs hat to the late, great Douglas Adams

Memes, messengers, and missiles: From Twitter to chat apps and weapons, security is ho-ho-hosed this Xmas

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Mushroom

BMDS not secure?

As in: Ballistic Missile Defence System??!!!

What could possibly go wrong?

Almost sounds like Bergholt Stuttley Johnson was involved

Microsoft flings untested Windows 10 updates to users! (Oh no it doesn't!)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Joke

"production quality"?

That is precisely what I fear

Ding dong merrily on high. In Berkeley, the bots are singeing: Self-driving college cooler droid goes up in flames

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Alien

Maybe it had a chat with Marvin

and consequently committed suicide

Phew, galactic accident helps boffins explain dark matter riddle

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Joke

And there I was thinking ...

"Galactic Accident" in the title referred to a cosmic prang seen all too often when those in charge of galaxies fail to watch where they are going. Really, really, really! You put them in charge of a galaxy and they think they are rulers of the universe!

Here's 2018 in a nutshell for you... Russian super robot turns out to be man in robot suit

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

As one of my kid's likes to put it:

Trust me, I'm an engineer

Darn, now I'll have that song stuck in my head all morning

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Re: Here I am ...

But I still think you ought to know I am feeling very depressed

College PRIMOS prankster wreaks havoc with sysadmin manuals

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Crash programs

I remember writing simple MS-DOS programs that could (harmlessly) crash a computer, basically by catching interrupt 9 (keyboard) and processing it with my own interrupt handler, which did little else than IRET, effectively ignoring any keyboard input. We had two versions: crash.exe and hang.exe. Both did essentially the same, but hang cleared the screen and printed "Your computer has crashed", whereas crash made the entire screen blink as well, along with producing an annoying beeping sound. I just put these amongst the programs people were supposed to use, and waited to see which users were inquisitive and adventurous enough to find and then run these executables. I did not have to wait long before I was called to a computer that was beeping its top off, with an annoying flashing screen. I asked the used what he thought a program named "crash" would do, and got a rather sheepish look. They generally tried (in vain) to reset the machine using ctrl-alt-del, but hey, that is keyboard input, so got ignored. The trusty old reset button on the front of the beige box was the only way out. I didn't tell them that. Otherwise they would know what to do when next they tried hang.exe.

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Security through hilarity

Genius! Sheer genius

Wow, what a lovely early Christmas present for Australians: A crypto-busting super-snoop law passes just in time

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: "Ship! Come back!"

Better break out that pack of one-time pads

BOFH: State of a job, eh? Roll the Endless Requests for Further Information protocol

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Re: Talking of " in the system"...

Defenestrations? Just teething problems with, er, ... windows installs, you mean, or of course it could be a data normalisation warning

Tech support discovers users who buy the 'sh*ttest PCs known to Man' struggle with basics

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

Priceless!!

Reminds me of the BOFH episode when Simon had helldesk duties

FYI: NASA has sent a snatch-and-grab spacecraft to an asteroid to seize some rock and send it back to Earth

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coat

Giant wombats in space?

It's just that Bennu's shape reminds me of wombat droppings.

Actually, "Giant Wombats in Space" sounds like a 1950s Aussie SciFi B-grade movie title.

Deary me, I'd better get going. The roo-leather Barmah hat too please

Here's the list of space orgs big and small sparring to send next NASA gear to the Moon

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coat

Re: Probably not, because there isn't a cloud in space.

And then there is the Oort Cloud: Ideal in terms of cooling for your cloudy IT solution, but latency and power supply are iffy, I am told

I'd better be going, I think

Sysadmin’s plan to manage system config changes backfires spectacularly

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Automation does have its place

We had one sysadmin (who is no longer with us) who tended not to like automating stuff too much. This meant that whenever we needed new accounts for students or guests, he would fiddle around a while, and give you a list of new user names and (temporary) passwords on a bit of paper. I learnt the hard way, after many complaints by students, that it paid to check all accounts manually, to see if

a) the login actually worked,

b) things like home directories had actually been made for each account, and

c) that account A didn't by default write in home directory B and vice-versa.

I currently administer a small compute server used for teaching and research, and I have never been able to replicate these kinds of errors when using "adduser" to create new accounts.

Blockchain study finds 0.00% success rate and vendors don't call back when asked for evidence

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coat

"the industry is itself opaque"

Maybe, for more transparency and trust, they should develop blockchain technology (a meta-blockchain?) to add transparency and trust.

Sorry couldn't resist. I'll get me coat, it's beer o'clock over here

Apple in another dust-up with its fans: iMacs, MacBooks lack filters, choke on grime – lawsuit

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Happy

Re: It's for your own safety

Another reason for not smoking, then

Support whizz 'fixes' screeching laptop with a single click... by closing 'malware-y' browser tab

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Facepalm

I have "repaired" a mouse that would work properly.

A Bluetooth mouse.

One with batteries, don't you know

A few months later, it broke down again. Guess what? They complained it must be broken

It's all a matter of time: Super-chill atomic clock could sniff gravitational waves, dark matter

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Thumb Up

Cool!

Literally and figuratively

Huawei MateBook Pro X: PC makers look out, the phone guys are here

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Happy

I must say I like that display and spec. I frequently process BIG images of astronomical objects, many of which have a more-or-less 1:1 aspect ratio. 3:2 is fine, an 3000x2000 rather better than my current FHD screen. Sorely tempted, I must say.

Sacked NCC Group grad trainee emailed 300 coworkers about Kali Linux VM 'playing up'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Re: Neither

Would that be security professional or security consultant? In my book the former actually diagnose and deal with real issues, whereas the latter know the right buzzwords, and get paid more if they can increase the hours they can declare whenever they scream intrusion!!!!. I suspect the plaintiff would be ideal for the latter category.

The alternative explanation would be that someone in system and networks at admin level is called Simon

NASA's Mars probe InSight really has Mars in sight: It beams back first pic after touchdown

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Pint

Re: Well done

Thanks for the link, that is a rather better image

Great Scott! Is nothing sacred? US movie-goers vote Back To The Future as most-wanted reboot

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: Why not go the whole hog....

As long as they don't do "Dr Strangelove 2: The Rematch" with Bruce Willis saving the day

I think I need more dried frog pills, actually

NASA has Mars InSight as latest lander due to arrive today

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coat

Re: marCO-A and marCO-B

The guy who comes just after the one shouting "NI" (tall guy, antlers on his helm)

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'll be going. The one with the Holy Grail in the pocket, please

Oh, I wish it could be Black Friday every day-aayyy, when the wallets start jingling but it's still a week till we're paiii-iid

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Re: @ Dabbsy

Well, what with all the insecurity around brexit, I am glad I could get Dutch citizenship (having a Dutch mother and being born and raised in the Netherlands), but much to my surprise I could simply keep my British citizenship (which I got automatically through having British father). In the past they did a lot of huffing and puffing about dual nationality, but now suddenly there wasn't a problem. I still have a good five years of validity on my UK passport, and given the price of these things, I was glad I didn't have to discard it and get a Dutch one instead (and yes, I have Scottish and Dutch ancestry).

Laptop search unravels scheme to fake death for insurance cash

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Re: I thought Igor was just the lab assistant

Yeth, marthter? You called marthter?

It'th nithe to thee tho many great mindth thinking alike (and tho many Igorth) in thith thread

In Space, Still: 20 years since Russia hurled first bit of floating astronaut hostel into orbit

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Pint

When stargazing, I am always amazed to see the ISS pass overhead, usually fairly early in the evening, when still illuminated by the sun sitting just below the horizon. With my big 16x80 binoculars, it shows some resolved structure, although it is hard to keep in the field of view as it moves along at quite a clip.

Whatever its problematic start, and doubtful future, it is an amazing achievement, and shows what we humans can achieve if we stop bickering for any length of time (or at least, bicker more productively). I'll raise a glass to all those who have contributed to this success.

Malware scum want to build a Linux botnet using Mirai

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coat

So we might see people

ripping YARNs.

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'll get me coat and silly walk out of here

What the #!/%* is that rogue Raspberry Pi doing plugged into my company's server room, sysadmin despairs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coat

I am a bit disappointed ...

there wasn't an saffron-clad, vaguely oriental-looking, elderly man with a broom named Lu-Tse involved.

Or maybe there was!! Nobody ever notices a sweeper!!!

Ah-hah!!!!

I can feel an extra exclamation mark coming up right now!!!!!

OK, I'll get out of here. The one with "Thief of Time" in the pocket please

Can you trust an AI data trust not to slurp your data?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coat

This is clearly some strange new usage of the word "ethics" I wasn't previously aware of

to paraphrase Arthur Dent in the first episode of the HHGTTG radio play

Let's appoint a bunch of cronies from industry to write the rules in such a way as to optimise profit, and hang the consequences for the general public. What could possibly go right?

Sounds like another sell-out by government

My coat please, I want to get out of here!

Big Falcon Namechange for Musk's rocket: BFR becomes Starship

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coat

Missed opportunity

to call it "Heart of Gold"?

(Im)probably not

Doffs hat to the late, great Douglas Adams

Linux kernel Spectre V2 defense fingered for massively slowing down unlucky apps on Intel Hyper-Thread CPUs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

Re: That's multiprocessing, not multithreading

True, make -j 32 on our 64-core Opteron machine does absolutely fly through big builds, but that is indeed multi-processing rather than multi-threading proper. We do write code that scales well up to 64 threads (up to 50x speed-up), but that only really works if you have serious compute loads (like multi Gpixel images) to process. Many applications don't use multiple threads very heavily.

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