* Posts by Michael Maxwell

23 posts • joined 15 May 2007

Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere

Michael Maxwell


As it happens, I just packed two VCRs in a box today, to be given away to a used-things place that actually accepts them. BUT: they haven't picked it up yet. So if you send me 300 BC in the next 48 hours, I'll pull the VCR out of the box and ship it to you. (Free shipping, such a bargain!) Then you can watch your tape!

Brit startup plans fusion-powered missions to the stars

Michael Maxwell


"the Large Hadron Collider did not send the world screaming into an artificial black hole 10 years ago." Not in my timeline (and presumably not in yours, if you're reading this). But in a zillion other timelines, we're all gone.

Drama as boffins claim to reach the Holy Grail of superconductivity

Michael Maxwell

"claim that silver particles embedded in samples of gold can become superconductive at 236 Kelvin or -37.15 degrees Celsius" If that's room temperature, somebody really has their AC cranked up. (It would of course be considerably warmer than previous "high temperature" superconductors, but temperatures like that are found in the Arctic... in winter. Or maybe Minnesota.)

Don’t talk to the ATM, young man, it’s just a machine and there’s nobody inside

Michael Maxwell

Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

Speaking of movies, "Three Little Beers" shows that security was no better in the past: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv_Zy9qz4j8

US mulls drafting gray-haired hackers during times of crisis

Michael Maxwell

Old Man's War

Yeah, I was thinking more or less the same thing. You should read Old Man's War, by John Scalzi.

Firefox 57: Good news? It's nippy. Bad news? It'll also trash your add-ons

Michael Maxwell

vim keystrokes indeed

@Scott Gilbertson, you mentioned an add-on that provided "vim-like keystrokes" to Firefox. Years ago (I think it was Windows 3.1) I modified some code I found on-line to add vim-like cursor control to all apps in Windows. It hooks the keyboard, so Ctrl-H is left arrow, Ctrl-J is down arrow, Ctrl-D is 7 lines down, etc.; and Ctrl-Q puts you into "shift" mode, so the same keys now select. I've always wondered why Windows didn't just provide such a mechanism built-in. It still works with Windows10, except for some reason in Edge (which I didn't want to use anyway, so no great loss).

Subsidy-guzzling Tesla's Model 3 volumes a huge problem – Wall St man

Michael Maxwell

Re: Electric cars ...

But...but...but Arnold ripped up the Johnny and drove it like a stick!

Michael Maxwell

Re: Musk, the new Jobs?

No, it doesn't leaf, but its owner can make like a tree and leave.

Chinese whispers: China shows off magnetic propulsion engine for ultra-silent subs, ships

Michael Maxwell

Re: I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again...

Then I suppose a 'protocol' must be a first 'col', whatever that is. And there can be only one protozoan, all the other amoebas, paramecia, stentors etc. must be that protozoan's descendants. And only one thing can be prototypical, all the others are imposters.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. You're arguing from the etymology: in Greek, protos (προτος) means 'first', but that doesn't mean it always (or even ever) means that in English.

Japan finds long, deep tunnel on the Moon

Michael Maxwell

Re: Just supposing everyone goes through with it...

Fly: https://www.baen.com/Chapters/0743498747/0743498747___2.htm

Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails

Michael Maxwell

Re: Ch-Ch-Changes

"We old farts are DINOSAURS, sticks in the mud, living in the past, refusing to change, refusing to adapt, refusing to believe that what THEY want to do is so superior to the way things have been done for DECADES."

Stop it, I resemble that remark!

And for the record, I also resemble point (a) in your description of millenials: arrogant.

Amazing new algorithm makes fusion power slightly less incredibly inefficient

Michael Maxwell

Re: Here are some free ideas

One reason we got rid of steam trains is that it's hard to build an efficient condenser that uses air as the coolant; the heat transfer is too slow. Water, on the other hand, is quite good at heat transfer, so steam plants that use condensers cooled by water (as in lakes or oceans) are much more efficient. And as I'm sure you know, the efficiency of any heat engine is determined by the difference in temperature between the hot working fluid (steam, ICO a steam plant) and the cold working fluid (condensate).

Fossil-fueled steam-driven ships lasted a lot longer than steam trains, in part because the ocean makes a great coolant for the condenser. I was Main Propulsion Assistant on one of the last ones in the US Navy, decommissioned in 1993. Steam plants were replaced on non-nuclear naval vessels because the darned steam plants were getting too complicated and too dangerous: 1200psi steam at 975 degrees (F) of superheat, and we had around 5000 valves in our plant (four boilers, two main engines). I'm told that the gas turbines that replaced them are much simpler. (Possibly more efficient, I don't know.)

PC rebooted every time user flushed the toilet

Michael Maxwell

a woman computer expert

Obviously; the cistern are better at this sort of thing than the bretheren.

Stop! Before you accept that Windows 10 Mobile upgrade, read this

Michael Maxwell

Re: I've disabled

You perhaps have a counterexample to his claim?

Microsoft names September 22nd as the date for Office party

Michael Maxwell

Re: Ribbon

Um, no. It's got words, sure, but the hieroglyphics are in the way. The ribbon wouldn't be half so bad if I could turn off the icons. At least now it allows some modification (although not as much as the old menus allowed); when the ribbon first came out, it was definitely of the ilk "You can have any color you want, so long as it's black." Lots of worthless items (Mailings, for instance), and missing some of the things I need (Language). (For the record, I admit that most people probably don't use the Language item, but I also think hardly anyone uses Mailings. It's just something to get in the way.)

Another negative of recent versions of Office is the color choices. And here it really is a Henry Ford choice: any color you want, so long as it's gray. (Pale gray, paler gray, and palest gray.) And no way to tell by looking whether an Office app has keyboard focus.

SharePoint's next release delayed until deep into 2016

Michael Maxwell


That paragraph quoted from Microsoft is a Register joke, right? Microsoft didn't say that, surely. Because I thought they spoke English.

ALIENS ARE COMING: Chief NASA boffin in shock warning

Michael Maxwell

Re: Actually....

What, you think we want to look as ugly as you humans?


Michael Maxwell

Re: clumping

I'm afraid Nipher's "discovery" belongs in the Journal of Irreproducible Results.

Health & Safety is the responsibility of Connor's long-suffering girlfriend

Michael Maxwell

Not that Connor?

And here I thought this was going to be about how John Connor's girlfriend was going to ensure the world's health and safety be preventing the Terminator.

Delving into Office 2016: Microsoft goes public with new preview

Michael Maxwell


Does the title bar shift color depending on whether the window is in focus, like Office 2010 did? (and like every other app except Office still does) I can't ever tell if an Office 2013 window has keyboard focus, without looking around for some other window that might have focus. As a result, I've hit the <Delete> key too many times in Outlook, deleting an email, because I thought some other window had focus. (Yes, I can get the deleted email back with undo, but I shouldn't have to--I should be able to look at Outlook and immediately tell whether it has focus.)

What’s new in Office 2016 for Mac (and why it doesn't totally suck)

Michael Maxwell

menu and ribbon

Having a real menu is *almost* enough to make me want to switch from Windows to a Mac. Can you get rid of the blankety-blank ribbon on the Mac version, and just use the menu?

(I use OpenOffice on Windows at home, and it still has the menu. No choice at work, unfortunately.)

Vanished blog posts? Enterprise gaps? Welcome to Windows 10

Michael Maxwell

Re: What I want to know is...

About the borders: Amen, brother! At work I (have to) use MsOffice 2014. What a piece of junk. Among all its other problems is the borders. They're apparently only one pixel wide, making it frustratingly hard to find them so you can expand/contract an OfficeApp. I suppose this was done in the name of saving screen real estate, but really: a couple pixels?

One of the other frustrating things about Office2014 is the color scheme. The header, which in most apps turns gray if that app doesn't have keyboard focus, undergoes no color change in Office2014, making it impossible--yes, I do mean impossible--to tell whether the next keystroke you type will affect that Office app.

How Google translates without understanding

Michael Maxwell

BLEU score

Your discussion of BLEU scores is incorrect. You wrote:

> But all BLEU really measures is word-by-word similarity: are the

> same words present in both documents, somewhere?

The documents being compared (the machine translation, with one or more reference translations produced by humans) are first "segmented". Generally, this means broken up into units smaller than an entire document, typically sentences, and those units aligned (not necessarily one-to-one, since one translation may use a single sentence where another translation breaks the thought into two or more sentences; and of course a bad translation may omit a sentence entirely).

> "Wander" doesn't get partial credit for "stroll," nor "sofa" for "couch."

One way to get around this problem is to use multiple reference translations, on the assumption that different human translators may choose different synonyms.

> The complementary problem is that BLEU can give a high

> similarity score to nonsensical language which contains

> the right phrases in the wrong order...

> Now here is a possible garbled output which would get the

> very same score:


> "was being led to the calm as he was would take carry

> him seemed quite when taken"

Your statement is correct, your example is not, if by "phrases" you mean sequences of > 1 word. The reason is that your example shares (as far as I can see) no sequence of two or more words with the better sentence (which I omitted here). That is, the BLEU score compares not only 1-grams (that is, word correspondences), but also N-grams where N > 1. So your example would be penalized for not having any N-grams in common with the better translation where N > 1.

There is a good discussion of BLEU scores on Wikipedia.

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