* Posts by frank ly

6112 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Twin brothers nabbed for scrap over sex with 'shared' girlfriend

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Is it the tattoo .......

.... on Aric's arm that helps her to tell them apart, or do they have other distinguishing features?

Dad hires online assassins to slay game-obsessed son

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Assassins who snitch on their client?

Failing to complete a contract or making a mess of it may be forgiveable, but breach of confidentiality is not.

USB 3.0 speed to DOUBLE in 2013

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Audio Quest Coffee cable

Thank you for the link to the Audioquest cables. I love the way they bias and polarise the insulation around the cable (10% solid silver) to minimise the multiple non-linear time delays - just one of many innovations. I'll never be able to afford one, but it's like reading about the latest model of Ferrari - I can dream.

Boffins create quantum gas with temperature BELOW absolute zero

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"The temperature scale simply does not end at infinity,"

Surely he means 'zero'? Or do they have other research going on that gets to negative values of temperature by heating something to infinity and beyond?

Where do old supercomputers go to die? New Mexico

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Re: Location, location, location

Also, install it somewhere that has a cold climate and use the waste heat to warm the building it's housed in. If we had high speed data backbones, massive computers could be installed in the northern cities and used to heat large buildings.

Victory on mobile belongs to Google in 2013

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It's ok .....

... his Google account isn't under his real name. :)

US court ungags Yelp reviewer who dissed builder

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Worse than censorship?

"A 7 December judgment had ruled that Jane Perez should rewrite her review of builders Dietz Development, ..."

When you say 'rewrite', does this mean that the court ordered her to remove certain statements (censorship) or to change some statements to a form required by the court or the builder? If the latter the that would be disgraceful (IMO).

Polaroid plans retail Fotobars to print out your pics

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In 2010 the company appointed Lady Gaga as its creative director

Where can I see some examples of her design work or read about her policy decisions?

Ubuntu for smartphones aims to replace today's mobes, laptops

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As a matter of relevant interest ....

... how does the 'computing and graphics power' of a modern high end Android phone compare to a similarly priced laptop? Going one better, take an Android smartphone plus a mouse and keyboard and LCD monitor, then compare with a laptop of equivalent total price. How would that 'computing and graphics power' compare?

Movie oldsters FAIL at internet: Online Oscar voting 'too complex'

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If it's really important ....

.... why not send taxis out to bring them to a hotel conference room and have them vote by show of hands or secret written ballot, or whatever? Or ... send awards committee members out to their homes with the ballot papers and show them how to mark a cross against their choices. How feeble are these people?

Making MACH 1: Can we build a cranial computer today?

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" ...converting kinetic energy ..."

Piezo-electric mesh, incorporated into all the major muscles, with conductive plastic 'wires' feeding to an energy storage device. I read that years ago in a sci-fi story that I can't remember much else about. I think the 'hero' had a small but powerful laser device in his middle finger, intended for one-off emergency use, since he had to have surgical repair to the tip of his finger after he used it.

Whatever you can think of, it's probably in a sci-fi story somewhere.

Ever had to register to buy online - and been PELTED with SPAM?

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@NomNomNom- Great idea

I'll process your unwanted communications, at £50 an hour; and I'll make the court applications for you, at £75 an hour. I'll also take you out for a fantastic meal every Friday lunchtime. Send me your e-mail address so we can get moving with this great idea.

It's JUST possible, but Apple MIGHT not make an iWatch in 2013

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@Bush_rat re. the take-photo-button

It's called the shutter release. You can often hear the noise made by the shutter as it exposes the digital film inside the phone. I assume that because it's a rapidly moving mechanical part, it's difficult to make a silent one.

Hm, nice idea that. But somebody's already doing it less well

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Re: Obviously Andrew hates small businessmen and jobs

Put your glasses on and take your meds.

Yes, hundreds upon hundreds of websites CAN all be wrong

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Re: re. Bootnotes

Thank you AC. There's always somebody here who knows:)

I've got off my intellectual backside and had a look in Wikipedia (an easy place to start) and found this, which has examples:


As might be expected, this contains other technical words related to the description of music............ I might be gone for some time.

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re. Bootnotes

Non-muso here: What is a quarter-note? What is a beat? What is a bar?

Can you recommend a website that has simple examples I can listen to? (Can you recommend one that gets it right?) I need a website called 'music-for-people-who-enjoy-it-but-know-nothing-about-it.com'

Boffins use laser to move maglev disk

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Re: Myself, I prefer..

Anything's better than exploding cabbages.

UK.gov: You didn't trust us with your ID, so we gave it to private biz

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... eradicate terrorism and pedophilia.

I don't have a problem with 'pedophilia' (love of feet). It's 'paedophilia' that bothers me and should be stamped on (with big feet - maybe that's where the confusion arises).

The amazing magical LED: Has it really been fifty years already?

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Semiconductor diodes always confuse people

"...adding a battery with its positive end connected to the free electron 'n' side of the diode, and the negative end connected to the extra holes 'p' side, things change. The 'n' side electrons are attracted to the positive electrode, and the 'p' side holes are attracted to the negative electrode."

That is a reverse biased diode; no current flows and the depletion zone increases in thickness. As you say :

"No current flows because both the electrons and the holes are moving away from each other. But the depletion zone increases, ......"

But then ...

".... and the interaction between the electrons and the holes releases energy in the form of photons - which generate light."

No. There is no interaction because the electrons and holes move away from each other to opposite ends of the diode, like shy boys and girls at a dance.

It is when the diode is forward biased, with the battery anode connected to the 'p' side and the battery cathode connected to the 'n' side that current flows. Electrons are injected into the 'n' material and flow towards the depletion zone, thus reducing its thickness; 'holes' are effectively created in the 'p' side and flow towards the depletion zone (reducing its thickness to zero), where they combine with the electrons - the resulting energy being converted (partly) to light.

Wikipedia has a good diagram of this:


China switches on 'BDS' civilian nav-sat rival to GPS

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Re: "who reserve the option of denying GPS service, though this has never actually happened."

There were also rumours that the GPS signals over the gulf were gradually skewed at certain times to lead enemy convoys off track. Rumours ...... often interesting and inventive?

Major new science: Women more nude, more often online

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@Tom 13 Re: Who'd have guessed

"...toss off an innuendo or three ..."

I saw what you did there :)

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Re: Goodness gracious - " ... the tanned hides of five mice ..."

Softcore eh? I read comics where they use the hides of three small mice.

Apple supremo Tim Cook's pay packet slashed 99% in 2012

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Re: all that dosh!

Yachts, big ones, expensive ones; but not beautiful ones I suspect.

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@NumptyScrub re.

"Unless there is an infinite source of money, a value increase in share price should consequently de-value something else, surely? "

In which case, we'd be stuck in the Victorian age (or earlier) as far as share valuations and total wealth was concerned. Don't ask me to explain it, I'm just observing and commenting here. An economist will be along in a minute.

Chill out, biz barons... your new IT system might not look like the old one

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Examples are often useful

"The state set 12,310 specific requirements for deliverers of the contract but realised, after awarding the contract to a single supplier, that some of the work it specified did not need done, the report said."

Is it possible to give an example of one, or more, of these unnecessary requirements? Have they been classified and grouped according to severity/silliness. What percentage of the total number of examples do they represent. Where did these requirements come from, in terms of who wanted them? Such examples would be useful and interesting.

Steve Jobs' Apple yacht freed after family settles the bill

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If I were a rich man ...

If I had as much money as the techno-plutocrats, I'd have a replica of a tea clipper (or similar) built. It would be a thing of beauty and serious sailing people would beg for the chance to be crew members.

CSIRO mine safety tech becomes archaeological tool

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I assume the sprung suspension is to reduce shocks and sudden movements that might affect the accuracy of the inertial positioning system. Does anyone know if it uses a ring laser gyro, or something else?

Amazon outage whacked Netflix US customers on Christmas Eve

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Re: Outsourcing

"If that single source is also a competitor, ..."

That is a very scary thought. Who would let themselves get into that situation?

Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet creator Gerry Anderson dies at 83

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@Thomas 4 Re: Left out...

Z-cars was a police drama series, using real actors (and real cars). It's funny how things melt and run together with the passage of time :)

I remember watching it in black and white, 405 lines. Ah, when I were a lad .........

Trust the cloud with my PRECIOUS? You gotta be joking

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Take care of your own data - and use redundancy

I used to store my 'media' files on a 500GB NAS drive with a 500GB USB drive as backup copy. Now, I use a 1TB NAS drive with those 2x500GB drives rigged as a USB backup (USB hard drive adaptors are cheap and easy).

This has lasted me for 3 years. Soon, I'll buy a 2GB drive for the NAS box and get another 1TB drive to give me 2x1TB for backup copy, an arrangement that should last for a few more years.

What I really should do now is ask family/friends to keep the backup copies for me, in case of domestic accident or disaster. Storing large amounts of your own data is easy if you think about it and expand your capacity over time.

For 'working' files, I use Dropbox and Sugarsync and GoogleDrive, all having identical copies of zipped up versions of my folders (if i remember to update them after file changes). It's all easy to do, you just need some planning and some regular maintenance effort.

Boffins build elastic wires with liquid metal

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Re: Plastic/Elastic - Fantastic

This is why a dictionary is so useful. (Wikipedia too, if you really want to.) :)

8086 and All That. Revisited

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Through a glass, darkly

And she dances! Thank you Verity.

Rampaging gnu crashes Microsoft Store, hands out literature

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@ pollock

Can you give links to other online publications where 'OffBeatMammal' has made similar posts, in a manner that indicates 'shill' behaviour?

Also, I agree with him about ease of use aspects of Linux. (It may have got better since the last time I tried it, four years ago.)

Senator pushes data cap and ISP monitoring legislation

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re. "Can care less ..."

So, you do care at least a little bit. How much do you care?

Facebook tests feature to let strangers pay to message you

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I wonder what it feels like to be pimped out by Zuckerberg

Just wondering. I'll never walk that particular street.

'Shake to charge', similar crapps foul up Amazon Android store

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In the Google Play store ....

... try finding a good looking analogue clock that _doesn't_ require internet access, or even access to your phone state and more. (The ICS clock requires no permissions but isn't what I'd call 'attractive' - personal opinion.)

'Instagram, you were my favourite app and you stabbed me in the back'

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xkcd has this nailed


PGP, TrueCrypt-encrypted files CRACKED by £300 tool

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Re: that reminds me...

It doesn't have to be under the floorboards; it could be incorporated into that nice electric fireplace with decorative surround. Also, you'll have other equipment with powerline data connections, as I do, such as printer, desktop computer, NAS drive.

" ...when your laptop has a network drive listed which isn't amongst any collected gear."

That is very easy to take care of. I'll leave you to figure it out for yourself.

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Re: that reminds me...

If you're really interested in doing 'dodgy stuff', you put a small networked drive under the floorboards with power and powerline data fed by cables to the underfloor mains wiring; and you encrypt it. Then, when you get your door kicked in, they take your computer and thumb drives and NAS box in the corner and DVDs and spend ages analysing them. In the meantime, you lift the floorboards and deal with the small network drive.

Note: I am not a criminal, I'm a reasonably intelligent techie who can think about problems and propose 'solutions'.

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Re: 300+$ for such a limited tool?

I use Hibernate all the time on my Windows laptop and have done for many years. It gives a quick and simple 'back to life' experience, compared to a full Start.

US: We'll drag cyber-spies into COURT from their hideouts

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Not sure about this:

"Offensive cyber retaliation is legally fraught, especially if directed against countries with business and economic ties to the US."

So the 'legality' of state retaliation can vary depending on which country it is directed against?

Cameron defends U-turn on web filth ban, leaves filtering to parents

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Mobile service providers seem to have become interested

About two weeks ago, I changed tariff with my smartphone SIM only provider (Tesco mobile, uses the O2 network and I pay by credit card).

The guy at the helpdesk quickly ran through some required legal statements and then asked me, "Will any child have use of the phone?" My answer was, "Not at all.", after which he carried on telling me the stuff he had to tell me.

I've never been asked that before, but about three years ago Vodaphone did require a nominal £1 payment via credit card before they would unblock 'adult site access ' from a 3G dongle I had.

Samsung spaffs $3.9bn on chip factory in TEXAS

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I thought that ...

..Apple were taking steps to pull away from Samsung as component suppliers; after some recent unpleasantness between the two of them. ??

Japanese firm lifts lid on Android-controlled toilet

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"Wipe my arse."

"I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that. You could try asking Siri."

Penguin gives in to US Feds over ebooks

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This sounds weird

Penguin have been fighting it in the USA since April and have just capitulated. But in Europe, Penguin are still fighting.

Apple and MacMillan have capitulated in Europe but are still fighting it in the USA. The others caved in early, in the USA and Europe.

Do they all have some kind of multi-dimensional magic spreadsheet that tells them when to stop fighting and when to carry on, in different jurisdictions? Maybe it works with profit forecasts, legal costs, regulatory fines, notional PR and goodwill values etc., then tells them the best date to give in?

Google can't use finger-fumble patent to poke Apple - Trade panel

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Re: Hmm, typical Leach article

Oh dear; when did she stop being 'Anna'?

Mark Zuckerberg doesn't know how to use HTML5

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Re: Maybe ElReg could hire these guys to make the videos work on The Register's site

I'm using Chrome on Android (Jelly Bean) and I saw the review pic ok and it played well within the web page. Sometimes (on El Reg) it shows a grey box with 'plugin not available', and sometimes it opens up the You Tube app (with mobile web presentation). It's certainly confusing.

Don't get me started on the way the BBC iPlayer keeps changing and fouling up.

So, you want to get closer to the workers with social media?

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Re: Death to "Social Media" in the Workplace, now and forever!

Because of the work/life balance thing, HR need to check to make sure you're playing with the kids or weeding the flowerbeds, etc (choose any four from an approved list of fifteen).

You're obviously not a team player!

Hard-up Brit bankers bag endless free Wi-Fi during cig breaks

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Re: Enjoy the rampant rule breaking this will allow

Unlike the good old, traditional Post Office service, where the sender and contents of every letter and parcel is monitored and recorded with data held for two years, just in case someone sends something illegal.

Siri: Can you make a Raspberry Pi open a garage door?

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re. 1.

Because that could be confused with, "Open the cargo bay door, silly", leading to potential disaster.

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