* Posts by frank ly

6112 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Oprah Winfrey too late to save Microsoft's Windows 8

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@RISC OS Re: The kind of people who care....

You try mugging the Valkyries for their laptops and see what happens to you.

Glorious silicon globes could hold key to elusive PERFECT kilogram

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Definition of a metre

" .. one metre is equal to the distance travelled by light in vacuum in a 299,792,458th of a second."

The problem with this is that you need an accurate clock to measure the fraction of a second.

I thought that the 'latest' formal definition of a metre is a certain (large) number of wavelengths of a particular emission line from some named element isotope. Using this method, all you need to do is count them, not measure anything else. (Similarly, the second is defined as the time taken for a certain number of cycles of a caesium spectral emission line; only counting is involved with no reliance on other standards.)

The idea behind the definition of the kilogram as a particular number of a certain type of atom has the same principle, obviously.

Once you have the metre, kilogram and second defined in this way, every other SI unit can be derived from them, which is why it used to be called the MKS system (or mKs if you want to be picky).

No hiding now, fandroids: Smartmobe chip STALKS YOU INDOORS

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Great for supermarkets

Goes into supermarket with phone turned on. Ten minutes later....

"Welcome back Mr. Ly. I notice you've spend quite some time standing by the wine and spirits display. I've consulted the customer purchase records for the past three months. Would you like the address of the local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting room?"

London gets huge Defecator Enthroned statue for World Toilet Week

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A giant squatting man has been erected ...

I stopped reading at that point.

Chinese cloud firm offers 'love bonus' to amorous staff

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I assume that's a tight fitting latex coat you're using.

US paper spaceplane disintegrates at 107,000ft

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A missed opportunity

Why didn't Felix Baumgartner take a paper aeroplane up with him, then throw it out at 128,000 feet?

I realise that a manual PARIS release would not count for the record attempt, but valuable data on low pressure flight characteristics, as well as giggles, could have been obtained.

Apple iCloud collapse forces fanbois to shower, meet face-to-face

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Why don't they have failover ..

.. to Google Messaging in cases like this? It seems an obvious solution to me. Spread that cloudy goodness and use the redundancy.

Astronauts (or other 'nauts) could find life on Mars quite healthy

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Mars may be more hospitable to life - ...- than had been feared,

I think that should be 'than had been hoped for'; unless it's the possibility of native Martian lifeforms we're worried about. How much do you know?!

Boffins biff over ‘twisted radio’

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Re: Actually

So, after all that time at MIT and Bell Labs and becoming known as 'The Father of Information Theory', it turns out that Claude Shannon was wrong?

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As well as infinite sensitivity and infinite resolution and zero noise. It sounds very unlikely. They say that the 'spin' can be varied infinitely; what they mean is that it can be varied continuously. Well, the amplitude and frequency of a radio signal can be varied continuously but nobody would suggest that this implies an infinite number of detectable states that can be used to encode data.

How can the BBC be saved from itself without destroying it?

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On the other hand ....

... I, and just about everybody I know, do share the mentality you describe. Maybe I should get out more and meet a wider variety of people.

'Mount Doom' rumbling ominously

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Theories about why this is happening

I'm looking forward to reading them over the next 24 hours.

What are quantum computers good for?

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Re: Do what? !!

"Smacks of smoke, mirrors and magic to me!"

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from smoke.

(Beer: to have with your smoke - assuming you do.)

Boss wrong to demote man over anti-gay-marriage Facebook post

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@AJ Stiles 16:58 Re: Outrageous

"The actual, official, wedding should take place in the town registry office."

That is what happens in this country as well. It's just that for the C of E (i.e. the official church of our Monarch), the building is legally a sub-office of the town registry office.

Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Jedi, etc, can have whatever ceremony they like (as can CofE adherents if their vicar is 'progressive') but they have to make an extra journey to the town hall registry.

Boffins: Proto-humans had stone spears HALF a MILLION YEARS BC

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Re: I know I'm being picky, but ....

Thank you Psyx.

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I know I'm being picky, but ....

"... the case is proven that the makers of the South African points used them attached to spears. .."

The case is not proven. They didn't test other possible forms of damage/wear processes that may have indicated different usage. Did they find any stone points still attached to spears or adjacent to remains of wooden spears? It's a reasonable theory backed up by some very convincing evidence. In the absence of any competing theory, it's as good as any and worth accepting.

Reader input required: review our reviews

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I once bought a product based on a Reg Review

It was (and still is) a Plextor NAS box. As I started to use it, I found that it had several important characteristics that had not been covered at all by the review, some good for me, some bad for me. (Please note: I'm not complaining, I'm observing.)

It took me a week of detailed furtling and fettling to figure out everything (more or less) about the operation and characteristics of this NAS box, and with a bit of detective work on the internet I deduced some interesting facts about its origins. (It was actually based on a previous Japanese product)

The thing is, we can't expect you and your colleagues to spend a week doing detailed digging and operational observations. However, I'm sure many Reg readers would be willing, at least once, to perform a detailed review task for you. I'd be prepared to do serious work reviewing a product (of my choice) if I got to keep it.

What do you say? (I don't mind if you're amusingly rude.)

Ancient vulnerability sparks world-wide hypegasm

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Re: Ancient...

I've got some explosives. I'll blow them off for you.

Sun’s lost cousin may be to blame for wonky ecliptic

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Re: This does not make sense

That was a close finish :)

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" ...the planet responsible for tugging Earth into its odd orbit ..."

I thought the theory states that a (used to be) nearby star did it?

US petitions Obama for better policing of its mega-cities

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@EsskayRe: What to do with all the leftovers (ie lawyers)

There can be no justification for giving people, even starving people, food that has been made from lawyers.

Curiosity clears Mars radiation levels for fleeting human visits

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@DJ Smiley

You are right; it's the thyroid gland that will absorb (and store) all the iodine it can get its hands on. Iodine exists in very low concentrations in the diet, so the organs of the body that need it tend to grab at it greedily. This is especially true of the thyroid gland which stores iodine for its processes, and also continuously uses it to produce essential hormones.

When exposed to relatively large amounts of radioactive iodine, by drinking contaminated water, the thyroid gratefully absorbs it and fills up its storage areas thus concentrating radioactive material into its own small local volume. This is disastrous, for obvious reasons.

If iodine pills (actually potassium iodide salt) are taken before contamination of the environment occurs, then the thyroid will 'top up' with the non-radioactive iodine and will then not absorb radioactive iodine when the body is contaminated with it. The radioactive contaminant will be gradually eliminated in the urine, as will the excess iodine from the pills. Radioactive iodine has a half life of eight days, so it's necessary to take the iodine pills for a while to ensure that the thyroid gland stays 'topped up' with with non-radioactive iodine and thus has a low chance of absorbing the radioactive contaminant.

How can UK TV product placement do better, asks report

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I'm wondering .....

.... why they don't make them on the premises. They already have hot fryers running, so the profit on a portion of fresh or recently cooked crisps could be very good.

Lawyer sues Microsoft rather than slot an SD card into his Surface

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Lawyers eh?

That is all.

World's LEGGIEST BLONDE is super-rare millipede living in SF

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I was waiting for it to tie itself in a knot.

I wonder if they ever do that.

Fart-buster underpants selling well among Japanese salarymen

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That front access slot ....

.. looks like the worst design ever. You'd twist your leg off before you managed to get ready for splashtime.

(I know exactly what _somebody_ is going to say in reply.)

'I'm a PIRATE' confessions spew from OED iPhone dictionary

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What could go wrong ?- What would be the consequences?

These, and other questions, were not asked. It's funny how often that happens.

ViewSonic VSD220 22in Android mega tablet

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Just a few changes needed

I'd enjoy using this with a USB keyboard and mouse attached - cheap and easy, not a problem. For public use, as a kiosk style terminal, it could do with some device above the screen that sprays and wipes every ten minutes or so. I don't touch my Asus Transformer screen often, but it's still covered in gunge.

So you broke our encrypted files? Ha! They were DOUBLY encrypted

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If you encrypt it seven times ...

.... it's impossible to crack it. (I read that somewhere on the internet, so it must be true.)

Sydney Uni boffin wants database to track smokers

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Re: Hey you, citizen! You really suck.

" ... make them pay for treatment of smoking related illnesses."

Some years ago, the back-office people in the UK civil service did some calculations involving the cost of healthcare for smoking related illnesses and also considered the 'benefit' to the state of not having to pay state pension to those who died early from smoking related illnesses. (I'm not sure if they also considered similar benefits to private/corporate pension providers.) According to newspaper reports, this study was shoved down the back of a filing cabinet because the government thought it was an embarrassing subject to be studying.

Their conclusion was that smokers dying early was of overall financial benefit to the state. So, if you're concerned about money, you should call for smokers to be paid to smoke. Is it the money that concerns you?

Facebook beats the heat in North Carolina data center

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Just Wondering

"... the operators would have to be pretty strange people ..."

Is this true of all people who live and work in northern Canada? I'm just wondering because I've never been there.

New York Times uses palpably fake pic to illustrate Syrian warfare

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Re: Real?

Hey, I've got a crowbar. I'll help you get your tongue out of your cheek.

Federal advisors urge Congress to look into China's cyber attacks

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"The relevant commission .." "The relevant report .."

Do they not quite understand how to use the word 'relevant', or have they cleverly constructed a canned statement that can be used in many circumstances? Maybe they expect to have to use it often in the future.

New flexible lens works like the one in your eye - and could replace it

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Have you tried varifocal lenses? They take a couple of weeks to get used to (don't get cheap ones), but I've had them for years and I'm very happy with them. An alternative for your particular problem might be carefully prescribed trifocals...?

ROGUE PLANET WITHOUT A SUN spotted in interstellar space

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Re: Oh crap...

Thanks for the warning. I'm going out now, to buy a bigger freezer and begin stockpiling beefburgers.

Subjects bestow Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 on Queen

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It's not like that when you're very rich.

She'll hand it to a servant and say, "Have this rooted and reflashed. I'd like to try MoDoCo's latest stable offering."

El Reg mulls commentard icon portfolio shake-up

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Re: Definitely need icons for

You're thinking about Apple/Samsung aren't you?

Kobo Mini 5in compact e-reader review

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Re: only those books downloaded from Kobo

This is the case for my Glo reader and I think it's to be expected. If it could sync and display all your sideloaded content (which would have to be possible on any PC you logged in from), then it would have to upload that content to the Kobo servers and then download to the PC (or provide page content on demand). Apart from the data transfer and storage burden on the Kobo servers, that might cause legal problems for them.

I can't think of any use for the Kobo PC-app apart from buying books, or getting freebies, from Kobo. As far as I can see, Calibre is the gold standard for management of an e-book collection and gives you the tools to make an e-book suitable for any reader device.

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Format and margins

" ...manually loaded books - ... - don’t take notice of margin settings, ..."

I noticed this problem with many .epub books in my collection and .mobi books I converted for my recently acquired Kob Glo. They also did not allow you to adjust font, etc and the Glo often locked up if I tried manual adjustment.

The way to deal with this is to reconvert them in Calibre with the Look and Feel -> Filter Style Information -> Fonts checkbox and Margins checkbox ticked, after which they display properly with full control available to you.

Apple granted patent for ebook page-turning

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Re: Lotus Organizer, 1995...

Yes, first time I saw it. It even made the 'rustling' sound as I remember. I thought it was 'cool' at the time.

Omnishambles beats off mummy-porn, becomes English word of 2012

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Re: 'the verb "medal" (from the Olympics)'

Me too John. It should be 'medalise', obviously.

Google, Amazon, Starbucks are 'immoral' and 'ridiculous' over UK tax

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@John Colman Re: It's Political Grandstanding, that's all

"By calling in the big firms and identifying their practices, the MPs can then start to close the loopholes starting with the biggest ones through proper legislation."

I fully agree with your sentiments John but I'd say the following:

These MPs are there for the opportunity to look good and tough and hard talking. You don't identify the practices of these firms by modern gladiatorial interrogation in a public arena, (that's just to impress the party bigwigs and the people who might vote for them at the next election.

Any accountant worthy of the job title can figure out exactly how these companies perform their accountancy tricks. Hint: they use opportunities provided by the tax legislation and the standard accountancy practices.

The legislation and accepted practices have been set in place, and in legislation, by Parliament which is the group of all MPs. The legislation and resulting 'loopholes' were deliberately constructed to be of great benefit to those 'traditional' companies who gave lots of money to political parties and gave directorships to MPs and senior civil servants. I'm thinking banks, large accountancy firms, etc.

Nowadays, there are many new rich companies who are using these loopholes but don't form part of the traditional pig trough for MPs and senior civil servants. That is why the politicians are annoyed.

Plastic screen outfit teams with Epson to offer screen on your plastic

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Re: Popular with consumers? Yes

I'm sure you're right about the 'user experience' with a credit card but we can consider other forms of personal card that might benefit from similar psychology.

Consider supermarket or shop chain loyalty/points cards. If the shopper had a card with a displayed balance that increased after every shopping experience, that would make them feel good about having just spent money. (Yes, I know it's pathetic but many people are like that and they look forward to using their points to buy Christmas gifts, etc. I can cite most of my family as examples.)

'Perfect' INVISIBLE SHED stuns boffinry world

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Re: Be careful where you leave it

If you could afford an invisible shed, you could afford GPS.

Star Wars VII: The Disney Movie signs Toy Story III script genius

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For an alternative analysis ....

... see South Park season: 16 episode:14; available from 'various sources' since last Thursday morning.

BBC places news chief and her deputy beyond use in Savile row

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"Why was the chief of BBC TV called "Head of Vision" ....?"

It seems obvious to me, but I've always been very literal-minded. (I'm assuming that the chief of BBC Radio is called "Head of Sound".)

Man, 19, cuffed after burning Remembrance poppy pic is Facebooked

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Logical progression:

Senior politicians and senior police officers have often made public comments that offend me. Can have them arrested and charged from now on?


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" ...use the hydrogen to drive a vehicle or in other areas where batteries are less practical."

Compressing and then storing hydrogen under pressure takes energy and infrastructure. It also takes maintenance effort on the compressor and storage containers to prevent them from becoming extremely dangerous, instead of just very dangerous. I'd prefer batteries if at all possible.

IBM begs Britain's new top cops: C'mon, set up pre-crime units

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"Fellows said it had reduced crime by 30 per cent by predicting where a crime would happen."

This is, of course, impossible. What they actually did was put more plods on the street in areas where there was a high level of crime. They also did the 'community liaison and outreach ' thing in a sensible manner. Apparently, the marvellous computerised system was able to predict that areas with a historically high level of crime would have lots of crimes committed in the near future. It sounds like old fashioned and sensible policing to me. It's a pity they'd lost those skills and needed computers and consultants to teach them about it.

Facebook's IPO was a disaster? RUBBISH, you FOOLS

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Re: Buy a turd

I see what you did there. Or do I?

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