* Posts by frank ly

6112 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Boffins BREAK BREAD's genetic code: Miracle of the loaves

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Ten badass brainy computers from science fiction

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Re: re 2001

Thank you for that David, and thank you for reminding me that I also read 2010 :)

(Was it really so long ago?)

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re 2001

" ... HAL turns fruit loop when ordered to lie to the astronauts in its care."

As I remember, in the book, the builders had put a remote controlled 'kill device' in HAL. This was some kind of mechanical cutter than would disconnect his main power feed. Somehow, he found out about this and that had consequences for his 'mental state'. Was that just one part of HAL's problem?

Have I got this right?

Troll sues Apple for daring to plug headphones into iPhone

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I understand your point, at a 'technical' level. However, if you drink his beer then you are really stealing it from him in that you deprive him of the monetary value and the ability to enjoy his own property. If you and a bunch of other strangers invade his house, then you deprive him of the right to quiet enjoyment of his own home.

If the composer of an opera, or the main singers have some strange idea that they never want their work to be enjoyed by the public again, then fair enough, the performance really does 'belong' to them and they would be rightly angry if their work was made available. I can't imagine any 'damage' to a record company if recordings that they refused to ever release (due to lack of projected profit) were made public property.

Yes, the record company own that recording and have the right to do as they wish with it, or not do anything if they so decide. But, I really can't see why you chose such an emotive analogy to express your disagreement.

MONSTER QUASAR BLAST blows stunned astro boffins' WIGS OFF

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Big and complicated science made accessible.

" ... while our Milky Way galaxy has a relatively piddly black hole at its heart, the one found in quasar SDSS J1106+1939 is whopping."

That's why I read The Register.

Ten weird Chinese mobile phones

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" ... do let us know how they went. " ?

Surely, it should be, " ... do let us know how they are going." ?

Latest scam spam ploy: Bogus pay-by-phone London parking receipts

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Re: Interesting - "some other app"

So how would the scammers get your e-mail address and link it to a 'mark' in the area? (Wonders why many Android apps want access to my contacts list.) It actually sounds like one of those strange coincidences.

Microsoft Office 2013 heads for the cloud but fails to soar

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Re: Another good reason not to upgrade.

My copy of Office 2000 has kept on installing and working for many years. I've heard that some kind of new version is available, but I see no reason to change.

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Office 2013's 'austere' windows look ...

... has similarities to the Google Docs look. Have Microsoft been 'inspired.?

Samsung printers have secret admin account

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Re: Pretty amatuerish...

I'm also wondering about permissions for internet access for that oh so helpful printer management software (which seems to be bundled with the driver, or vice versa), that keeps popping up and asking me if I want it to go check for driver updates or order supplies. Can I trust it? How do I know if I really can?

Note: My printer comments are based on my experience of my cheapo Dell laser colour printer, I wonder what amazing powers the expensive ones have. Ten years ago, I had an HP scanner (the bundled and necessary software actually) that tried three different ways to access the internet, so I blocked each one as Zone Alarm pointed the attempts out to me.

I block everything from accessing the internet, unless it stops it from working or stops the computer from working, and that includes some Microsoft Windows services and most application update services. Most people, especially home/SoHo users are not aware of the potential problems and feel they can trust something if they've paid money for it.

LHC CMS yields unexpected 'new stuff'

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Re: Flattened gluons?

I thought gluons were the quantum expression of a field/force (in the way that photons are the quantum expression of a field) and so, as you say, had to be regarded as point-like particles. Maybe the gluons 'localise' on the flattened disc of 'proper matter'?

We need a serious physicist to talk us through this.

Apple granted patent for microphone silhouette

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Re: What are you people on about?

Oh yes. It's obvious!

Antarctic discovery: ALIEN LIFE may be FOUND ON MOON of Jupiter

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I'm wondering ...

... did the microbes originate/evolve in that location, or did they adapt when they found themselves in an environment that got colder and less hospitable?

The question could go some way to being answered by genome sequencing and comparison with existing 'normal' micro-organisms.

Google parks panzers on Germany's lawn over 'link tax' plan

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Re: What do they need a law for?

Assuming that Google's webcrawlers honour the request in robots.txt (I've no idea if they do.)

Even if they don't, then any webserver can be easily rigged to check the IP source of a data request and deliver different data depending on the source of the request: e.g. 'We don't let you suck at out teat' (or whatever) when known Google IPs come a'sucking.

If the newspapers want to stop Google, or anybody else, reading their content then they can. So why don't they?

Harley allows Apple to use 'Lightning' brand on 'playthings'

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Thumb Up

Re: There's a plug in for Thunderbird called Lightning, that might be seen as vaguely computery

I'd forgotten about that, despite the fact that I use it every day. :)

Amazon's secret UK sales figures revealed by Parliamentary probe

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Re: Previously...

"Company x made y profit internationally after all various local taxes were paid ..."

Working that out correctly would need an army of forensic accountants, each working for their own government, since governments would then be in competition with each other to claim as much of the pie as possible. Also, the 'target' company would develop sweetheart deals with sympathetic (bribeable) governments.

It's a mess :(

BT.com blats small privacy bug, ignores GAPING HOLE

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Re: Related issue?

I hope you took a dump on the living room carpet before you walked out of the door for the last time.

Venus EXPOSED in predawn threesome with Saturn and Mercury

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Re: Get some, already

What is it they say about people who 'protest too much'? :)

Gangnam Style beats Bieber Baby, becomes biggest timewaste EVER

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Ummm, ..

"With K-pop, we had a whole industry of extraordinarily high quality music ... "

Is it just me whose brain did a back-flip? (I may be getting too old; if so please forgive me.)

Cambridge boffins fear 'Pandora's Unboxing' and RISE of the MACHINES

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Re: The solution is ...

How about a small and powerful, remotely controlled cutting tool that is built around the main power feed to the intelligent machine? I can't see any problem with that.

Microsoft applies for patent for 'Google Goggles'-type AR specs

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When submitting a patent application ....

... is there a requirement that you use 1950's style artwork and diagrams? It seems to be a common theme.

I'm not saying it's 'wrong', just wondering why it always looks that way.

The secrets of spacetime revealed - on your workbench!

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I'm having problems understanding this

"Photons interact poorly with matter – but they do interact. If the photon moves the block by more than the Planck distance (1.616199 × 10-35 meters), it will pass through."

If the photon passes through, surely it has not interacted with the matter of the block and so will not move the block?

If the photon is reflected or its path deviated by interaction with the block, resulting in movement of the block (which I assume is suspended and free to swing), how can such a small movement be detected? Does the detection rely on a build up, over time, of a 'classical' wave interference pattern? If so, surely the wavelength of any photon we can produce would be far too large to be effective in detecting such a small movement?

I'm lost here.

Google, Apple, eBay shouldn't pay taxes - people should pay taxes

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Re: I run a company....

You need to license your company name and logo from a Luxembourg head office and buy exquisitely priced computers, hard drives and blank DVDs from a specialist Swiss supplier. I'm sure the tax authorities would accept that way of working.

The again, they might jump up and down on you with hobnailed boots. Do you run a very, very big company?

The ‘subversive adult Disneyland’ where iPods track your every move

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Re: Tasmania !!!

The next development will be 'immersive telepresence'; so you don't need to travel to 'see' it.

Asteroid miners hunt for platinum, leave all common sense in glovebox

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They need to be careful out there

The last time I tried mining asteroids, I was jumped by suicide gankers on my way to a space station. It's a widespread problem.

Just bought an Apple product? Need support NOW? Drop an F-BOMB

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The Reg looks forward to reading your comments ...

I've left my comment on your office voicemail. You'll probably want to deal with it quickly.

Dogs would say: size is important, shape - not so much

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Re: Fundamentally distinct?

"... if humans picked up most objects with their mouth, ..."

Yes, puppies especially seem to explore the world by grabbing things with their mouths and licking them until them get bored. I've never tried it myself but I'm sure it would give me a different perspective on things.

Huawei hawks hundred quid handset hupdate

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More than good enough for me (and many others I suspect)

If I'm realistic about what I use my Android phone for, (a few phone calls, e-mail, calendar, Wi-Fi file transfer), then this would be more than good enough for me.

Pirate cops bust LITTLE GIRL, take her Winnie-the-Pooh laptop

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Crime often occurs in clusters

Did they also check to ensure that her Winne-The-Pooh laptop had proper licensing agreements from the estate of A.A. Milne and/or the Disney corporation? It would have been a real feather in their cap if they'd found any infringement there.

Assault on battery

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...the ‘A’ key still doesn’t work. And now neither do ...

Are you sure you're not pressing them wrong?

Reg boffins blow lid on sheepsecs

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Re: and the music...

" ...it's a constant, an immovable fact ..."

There are variations depending on the region of space in which the sheep is travelling. The effects of dark matter entanglement in the wool can result in a significant reduction of maximum velocity. If you'd studied sheep as closely as I have, you'd know that dark matter entanglement is widespread and can be a problem.

(The woollen one with dark bits entangled in it.)

South Korean convicted for tweeting Pyongyang propaganda

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A much better Twitter handle for them?

Hexing MAC address reveals Wifi passwords

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Re: Just wondering

Yes, every MAC address I've ever seen has been in hex. However, it may be that some manufacturers have started using decimal notation; but that would be weird because surely MAC address entry fields all use hex?

Italians deploy fearsome SPY MANNEQUINS to win Fashion Wars

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Re: Do they

No, they are fembots. They have tastefully concealed machine guns.

Extreme teleworking: A Reg hack reports from the internet's frontier

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The cold cottage

I'm thinking thermal rendering, double glazing (tastefully done of course) and loft insulation. I'm also thinking thermal underwear, easily ordered on e-bay.

If you get round to it, please post the pictures for us (but not of the thermal underwear; no, no).

CERN rushes to install new anti-matter hunter

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The antiproton 'traps' were installed last June. I assume that these traps act to divert antiprotons towards a pathway that sends them to the detector, which will be placed away from the main ring and its tunnel. While the ring is running, people can still work in locations away from the main ring tunnel.

I'm wondering how they make antihydrogen from antiprotons. Does the proton 'pick up' an ordinary electron, which stays in orbit due to normal processes, or do they give it an antielectron?

PGP Zimmermann teams with Navy SEALs, SAS techies in London

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Re: Looks like China will have some new rules to add to its firewall

They could connect to a randomly selected forwarding server, that is part of a randomly changing collection of forwarding servers. (Change pattern controlled by encrypted data of course). Sounds expensive though.

Pocket Wi-Fi hotspots paralyse Chinese metro lines

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Easily fixed

The Chinese version of Ofcom should allow the metro stations to switch to 5.8GHz (or whatever makes sense) and waive licensing fees but require a check for interference with any existing local users of that frequency.

It's a public safety risk and officialdom should respond by being flexible and sensible. Ah ........oh :(

LAST EVER British typewriter manufactured in Wales

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Re: and no more secure then than today

That's what matches and metal bins are for.

BT: Olympics cyber attackers were amateurs

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Kids nowadays, eh?

"... while another replied incredulously to a colleague giving them a hard time “what do you expect, I’m only 12?”

I can't decide if that's a wonderful thing or a terrible thing. The calm, mature and responsible part of me (a small part) thinks it's terrible. The other part thinks, 'I want that kid working for me when he grows up'.

4chan founder Moot threatens site for using his handle

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@AC 22:10 Re: In American English, "moot" means "irrelevant"

From the online Oxford English dictionary entry for moot ...


1. subject to debate, dispute, or uncertainty: (e.g.) whether the temperature rise was mainly due to the greenhouse effect was a moot point.

2. (North American) having little or no practical relevance: (e.g.) the whole matter is becoming increasingly moot

Further definitions for use as a verb and a noun are also given. Note the following especially ...


2. (Law) a mock judicial proceeding set up to examine a hypothetical case as an academic exercise: (e.g.) the object of a moot is to provide practice in developing an argument.

Do you see what the Americans did there?

I suggest you learn about the real world. It's very big and varied but it may be too complicated for you.

German city dumping OpenOffice for Microsoft

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What amazing modern MS Office facilities do they need?

I can't think of any reason why a town council couldn't use Libre Office or MS Office 2000 for all its needs.

Can anyone think of anything?

World's oldest digital computer successfully reboots

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The first line of output was ....

"I remember when it was all valves round here"

Swedish woman cuffed for sex with skeleton SHOCKER

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I was going to make a serious comment ..

.. about the self imposed emotional prison of fetishism, sexual dysfunction and social alienation ....... then I remembered where I am.

Glorious silicon globes could hold key to elusive PERFECT kilogram

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Re: Easy?????

The gramme was originally defined as the mass of a certain volume of water, yes, but this leads to the problem of how you construct a container with that volume. Easy, you say, use accurate rulers to construct and measurer it. Do you see the problem there? It's a lot better and easier to have a lump of stable metal as your defined standard.

As a side note, "a certain number of atoms of a certain substance (i.e. Water)" - water is not atoms, it is molecules. Even then, there are different types of water molecules that have different masses due to containing different isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen: not good for extreme accuracy.

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Re: Definition of a metre

OK, so the 'caesium second' is so accurate and repeatable that it's good enough to be used to define the metre. Thank you for explaining that.

As for Avogadro's number, we can know that as accurately as we can define and measure the kilogram ...........aha.

It doesn't matter what Avogadro's number is, as long as it is accurately linked to the 'best' standard kilogram available at the moment. After that, we all agree on that value of Avogadro's number and we don't need a standard reference mass any more.

After that, everything can be linked back to a carefully constructed caesium clock and he ability to count.

Microsoft's OWN tests on Kin 'social phone' foretold its doom

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I found the original/traditional one

(NSFW?) http://www.fprintf.net/isms.html

Swollen SUPER-GIGANTO PLANET sighted in Andromeda

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As the sensitivity and resolution of our instruments improves......

My god, it's full of planets!

EE touts 4G Sim-only tariffs

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Re: So

3's SIM-only One Plan gives 2000 mins, 5000 texts and 'all you can eat' data with tethering allowed; for £25 a month on a rolling one month contract. I'm seriously thinking about going for that next May, when my VM cable contract reaches its expiry date.

Kobo Glo illuminated e-reader review

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A few points ...

"... you’re forced to connect it to a computer onto which you’ve downloaded Kobo’s library software before you can use it. This despite the fact that the Glo has single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi on board and could easily verify its activation that way."

I had mine up and running over Wi-Fi in a very short time, after I stopped making typing mistakes on the oh so slowly responsive on-screen keyboard. (Just learn to type slowly). I loaded up some 'test' e-books onto an SD card, plugged in it, powered it up and there they all were, ready to read. :) I'm sure I registered with Kobo over WiFi but it's not important for me so I can't remember properly.

It was the next day that I tried the Kobo PC app and Glo connection to a PC via USB. USB gives you direct access to the onboard storage and the plug-in SD card. The only reason I would use the Kobo PC app would be to buy books from Kobo, or try their freebies, because that's all it does for you.

I found .pdf files to be quite poorly presented, especially if they were scanned pdfs. Anything that relies on what is effectively a 'photographic' representation is bound to be poor compared to internal fonts.

The built in browser is stated as being 'beta' so in theory you can't complain about it. In practice, I was satisfied with it, except that the screen size, resolution and e-ink are not suitable for just about any website you might want to look at; but it does work.

I did some digging around in the internal sqlite database and found the storage location names. If you want to set up a local website (for whatever reason), you can set the browser home address to be:

file:///mnt/onboard/{dirpath}/{startfile}.htm or file:///mnt/sd/{dirpath}/{startfile}.htm

Note: the browser will not start unless WiFi is on, but you can turn WiFi off after the browser has started running. Also, if you load up some .htm files, they will all be listed in your Library which could be messy. I've tried 'hiding' them in LOST.DIR and tried other tricks I thought of, but nothing worked. All you can do is manually mark each one as 'read'.

I haven't tried file:///192.168.1.xx/{dirpath}/--- yet, but it should work because it works on my Android devices, so I'll give it a go soon.

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