* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

3268 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

BOFH: Taking a spin in a decommissioned racer? On your own grill cam be it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Superb episode. Really brilliant

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Spanish village celebrates Playmobil nativity

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

They clearly want to show the nativity did happen.

After all:

Playmobil or it didn't happen!

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Europe launches search for Einstein's space-time ripples

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Fascinating stuff

Fingers crossed for a smooth launch once thy get the technical glitches sorted

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NASA pours cold comets on aliens-make-star-flutter theory

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Or perhaps it's result of the disintegration of a ringworld

OK, I am going. The one with the Larry Niven books in the pocket

More seriously, my money is on a natural explanation too

(although strictly speaking, alien life is also a natural explanation, nothing supernatural about it, after all)

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Sysadmin's former boss claims five years FREE support or off to court

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

It seems this sysadmin is in dire need of a remote, BOFH-style modded cattle prod, inserted in the chair of the former boss.

>>KZZZZEEERRRT<<

I love the smell of ozone in the morning

(napalm can be so hard to get, these days)

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Meet ARM1, grandfather of today's mobe, tablet CPUs – watch it crunch code live in a browser

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Great stuff. I will use this as extra background material for Introduction to Computing Science for our first-year students next year (just an extra for those who love detail)

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BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Tut tut...

I do not doubt they planted the evidence in SoniaMary's account.

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Who owns space? Looking at the US asteroid-mining act

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I am surprised

that the author of the article seems surprised that something done by the US Congress doesn't make sense, or flouts international law, and is mainly aimed at supporting US business interests. Sounds like business as usual for US Congress

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Sneaky Microsoft renamed its data slurper before sticking it back in Windows 10

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: As long as data-slurping is profitable...

I suggest we replace the telemetry by Marvin the Paranoid Android's autobiography. Any AI on the receiving end would quite quickly commit suicide.

More practically, I suggest we send the word "NI!" or "eki eki eki patang zoo poing zzraazrroohhhh... NI! (ssshh!)"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Just hunted down and terminated the Diagnostic Tracking service on this home win 8.1 box.

To quote queen Victoria: "We are not amused"

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Cyber-terror: How real is the threat? Squirrels are more of a danger

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: It's all about the blinky lights

The machines should also go "PING" from time to time, of coruse

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Cartoon brings proper tech-talk to telly

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

But, but, but, ...

shouldn't they first have reversed the polarity of the neutron flow?

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Google launches virtual plastic pal who's fun to be with

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: @Graham Marsden - Share and Enjoy

So is the GPP prototype called Marvin?

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Paris, jihadis, tech giants ... What is David Cameron's speechwriter banging on about now?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Facepalm

"So only people with advanced tech knowledge are allowed to write about technology? Even though it's pretty important these days?"

So Clare Forges-Ahead-Without-Knowledge (apparently distant relative of Tim Nice-But-Dim, but without the nice bit) can shoot her mouth off but she denies others the free speech right of stating she is wrong? Part of free speech is that others are allowed to disagree with you. Maybe she needs to read up on human rights, not just technology

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Taxi for NASA! SpaceX to fly astronauts to space station

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Heavy Meta Coders Needed for GOD in the Likeness and Lightness of Global Operating Devices

I am pretty sure this last Martian outburst translates to

42

Not sure what it is an answer to, however

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Love your IoT gadget but could you keep the noise down?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Very nice

I am reminded of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation and its self-satisfied doors. You can tell its going to open by the intolerable air of smugness they suddenly generate

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NASA palms off blunder-bot Valkyrie for top US universities to fix

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

I take it R5 is not an upgrade of R2D2, then?

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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Short weekend break: Skegness or exoplanet HD 189733b?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

A bit odd

to see night side temperature well above day side.

Useful guide, for the interstellar hitchhiker, nonetheless, and you can of course always claim that where it is inaccurate, it is definitively inaccurate

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Remember Windows 1.0? It's been 30 years (and you're officially old)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I never used 1.0 or 2.0 (used GEM instead), but started at 3.0, went through 3.1(1), skipped 95, 98 and ME (shudder) because I went to NT4, and later 2000, XP, 7, and now 8.1 (with Classic Shell).

I have good memories of NT4, actually. Installed it on my wife's home machine to protect it from cleaning sprees in which she would remove unused files.

....

like config.sys, and some other stuff cluttering the home directory.

and, no, I did not give here the admin password

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Kids' tech skills go backwards thanks to tablets and smartmobes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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There is hope yet

Enter the Arduino

My eldest (who loves his tablets and smartphones) is now in second year of secondary school, and in his research and design class was introduced to an Arduino, and had to do some basic programming on it, wiring up and controlling traffic lights and the like. He was totally captivated by it! That is the way to teach understanding and stimulate fascination at a young age. I want to go to that school and hug the teacher.

At home I showed him a little Arduino set-up programmed to play "pong" by some first-year students of mine, as part of the course Introduction to Computing Science. Both he and his younger brother found this totally cool. So for Xmas my eldest wants an Arduino set. Guess what he is going to get (and I might get one for myself as well)

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Astronomers catch first sighting of a planet's birth pangs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I checked the original paper and it is indeed 450 light years. It is quite easy to see further into the past. Even naked eye you can see the Andromeda Galaxy at 2.5 million light years, and Edwin Hubble could already study individual stars in it from earth. Furthest I have managed so far with my 8" scope is 3.5 billion light years (blazar OJ-287). Odd to think those photons exciting my retina (and brain) left the source 3/4 of the age of Earth ago.

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Microsoft chief Satya drops an S bomb in Windows 10, cloud talk

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Newspeak from Nadella?

I do not seem to be able to understand his use of the words "privacy" and "trust", given the way Windows 10 works

I am consequently looking hard for replacements for those few programs I still have to run under Windows (8.1, 10 will not be installed). I have used both Windows and Linux for a long time, and never liked the "OS wars" because I just want an OS that works, and I can trust. It seems I am now forced to make a choice for just one OS.

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Symantec's salvation plan is more and better integration. No, really

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Contradictions?

Maybe the balance he was talking about his bank balance.

Sorry, couldn't resist, I'd better be going

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French Playmobil heist: El Reg denies involvement

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Re: Perhaps time for a change of format?

lego?

LEGO!!!

HERESY!!!!!!!

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Aircraft laser strikes hit new record with 20 incidents in one night

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"Putting the laser where the sun doesn't shine" is the phrase that somehow springs to mind. Can't think why. Of course, it is the perpetrator's minds in need of illumination, not their lower intestines

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Now we know why Philae phouled up comet landing

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

I will be looking forward to the last stages

of this epic project.

Well done those boffins!

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Got a time machine? Good, you can brute-force 2FA

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: This might be useful

Some banks don't seem to know what century it is

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GCHQ director blasts free market, says UK must be 'sovereign cryptographic nation'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

So what if you encrypt in such a way that password A gives access to some innocuous data (maybe embarrassing enough, or personal enough to want to encrypt, but nothing illegal), and password B (possibly in combination with A) gives access to the real deal. If you hand over password A, could law enforcement know about the extra payload, especially if the payload has a limited number of bits compared to the other content?

The above scheme is hardly rocket science (or even computer science for that matter, more like a simple form of steganography). If I can think of a way of circumventing a law requiring me to hand over passwords in 60 seconds, so can many others. This does make me feel that laws like that are either simply ill though through, or just a matter of lots of sound and fury to show people the government is taking ACTION!!!!! whilst signifying nothing in real terms. Could be both, of course.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Rasputin?

"Rasputin, bring hither the skindiving suit with the bottom cut out and unleash the rampant Wildebeest"!

Shouldn't that be Igor?

Yeth, Marthter!!

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Glowing dust doughnut circles white dwarf

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Radii confusion

Actually, the Doppler tomograph shows the velocities of the materials in different directions. Faster things (further away from centre) are objects in a tighter orbit. Hence the remark of an "inside out" image.

Thumbs up to the astroboffins for capturing all this detail

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Ice volcanoes just part of Plutonic pandemonium

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Fascinating stuff

Really great work by the New Horizons team

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Space fans eye launch of Lego Saturn V

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Count me in!

I grew up worshipping the astronauts (and cosmonauts, when we did get the news of them) as heroes. I successfully nagged at my parents to allow me to stay up late to see the first moon landing live on our old B&W tele.

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Sun of a b... Solar winds blamed for ripping away Mars' atmosphere

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Easy!

Send all the politicians, they tend to generate LOTS of hot air. Pulling together they should be able to regenerate an atmosphere in no time. It might be a nasty atmosphere, given the source, but at least it's an atmosphere

Bit like the B-Ark idea, only without the telephone sanitizers

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UK cyber-spy law takes Snowden's revelations of mass surveillance – and sets them in stone

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

I have said it once, I will say it AGAIN

Three words:

One .... Time ... Pad

To explain to the apparently hard of hearing (i.e. those in government): If people REALLY want to encrypt, they can, and NOBODY can even tell it is an encrypted message, not just a load of digitized line noise. Hide the line noise in a cat video and only those who know which one it is, and what pad to use can decrypt. GCHQ knows this, the NSA knows this.

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Music lovers move to block Phil Collins' rebirth

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Not my music but ...

I remember Alexei Sayle stating German scientists had discovered the gene that turns you off pop music at the precise age of 37.5

Still like some modern music, but I do sound more like me mum these days

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Linus Torvalds fires off angry 'compiler-masturbation' rant

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Goto vs Break

Come on you guys, give goto a break

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'll get my coat. The one with that Kernighan and Ritchie book in the pocket please

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Linus looses Linux 4.3 on a waiting world

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Confusion can be a real problem. Confusing the order "loose the dogs" with "lose the dogs" could have bad consequences for the canine companions, especially in certain shady circles

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How Microsoft will cram Windows 10 even harder down your PC's throat early next year

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Stonehenge

Nah, all the Druids know it is far easier to build a new 64 MegaLith computer than upgrading the old one

Doffs hat to the late great Terry Prattchet

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Safe Harbor 2.0: Judges to keep NSA spying in check – EU justice boss

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Meh

Somehow ....

I am not impressed. Can't think why

</sarcasm>

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

Re: And??

"I am sorry, Dave, I am afraid I can't tell you that."

Where is that HAL9000 icon when you need it?

Oh well, black chopper then

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Ex-Microsoft craft ale buffs rattle tankard for desktop brewery

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: It looks like you're trying to get pissed...

Nah, I have plenty of experience

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'Govt will not pass laws to ban encryption' – Baroness Shields

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Big Brother

So how do you distinguish REALLY good encryption from noise?

now where did that one-time pad go?

Trotting out the security excuse is getting tiresome. You fundamentally cannot be free without an element of risk being present, just as a democracy cannot function if there is no guarantee of privacy at some level (the election booth at minimum).

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Brit boffins build 'tractor beam' out of sound

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

well obviously the sargent shouts

but the grunts to the moving

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

There is some prior art for single sided emitters moving things

Brian Blessed can move things with sound, especially people, many of whom move away with alacrity.

Joking aside, this is a very interesting development, and well done to the acousto-boffins! This might also be an interesting project to simulate for our students. I'll give the paper a thorough read

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Mutant space germs threaten International Space Station

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Opportunistic pathogens

are simply bacteria that are harmless under most circumstances, and happily coexist with us on our skin or in our bowels. Only when there is serious suppression of the immune system can they become a problem (i.e. when there is an opportunity). It should come as no surprise that these creatures were found, and I would go along with the advice on the cover of the book

"What book?"

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

"Oh, that hack rag"

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Anons blow Japanese airports off-course in dolphin cull protest

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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At some point the dolphins will just be gone

and we will find in our inboxes the message:

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

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'Death star' reaches out invisible hand, rips planet apart

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Very interesting

Makes you wonder what fireworks would go of if the planet (or its remains) finally nosedive into the white dwarf

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Don't Panic: Even if asteroid showers cause mass extinctions ...

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

We really, really

need to invent slood!

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Elderly? Disabled? You clearly need a .38" Palm Pistol

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Vimes is going to go spare!!

This reminds me of the pistol crossbow from The Fifth Elephant: the one shot nobody expects. Given the short barrel you would almost need to press it against somebody to be sure of hitting him. At zero mm range, almost any ammo can cause severe damage. As such you might go along with Vimes' conclusion that it is a weapon designed to kill, not to deter, as a more fire-arm shaped object might. No doubt, if he found it, he would insert it where the sun doesn't shine.

No doubt various secret services who might find such an object useful have more Q-esque versions readily available

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Second Time's A Charm?

I thought they were Holy Hand Grenades? Those should be booked under clerical supplies, shouldn't they

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