* Posts by breakfast

1282 posts • joined 24 May 2007



How does it feel?

It is clearly out on it's own, but that trail does provide a direction home and thanks to articles like this it is now relatively well known. From this we can conclude it is in fact unlike a rolling stone.

Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors


Re: Two factor ...

I have soul but I'm not a soldier.


Re: @ J.G.Harston Resets?

Twiiter was the same when I first signed up...

Stanford boffin is first woman to bag 'math Nobel Prize'


Re: Professor??

I'm sure Marcus was thinking that she comes from the region that pretty much invented mathematics, astronomy and laid the foundations for much of the knowledge of the classical world. Also the numerals we use, the decimal point, algebra and algorithm all originate with the same Persian scholar ( Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī - he didn't invent the digits, but they were introduced through his work ) among many other important developments through history. So there is a massive and deep history and culture of mathematical brilliance there and it makes sense that a woman from Iran would do well in that field.

Yup, almost certain that is what he was getting at.


Good job, Mitochondrial Eve!

It's an impressive achievement not only to have every living human descended from you, but then to still be around and doing good work in complex geometry.

I notice we haven't heard much from the first man lately.

The internet just BROKE under its own weight – we explain how


Re: Good work, everyone!

I prefer the term "Bronze Badge"...

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Good work, everyone!

Nothing to add except that I have learned some new things from both the article and the comments here. Exactly the kind of thing that makes The Register invaluable.

Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy


One of the weird beliefs that has political currency, which will seem as curious and antiquated to future generations as the imperial beliefs or radium healthcare of our predecessors are to us, is that markets make everything better, or that every political problem is a type of problem that can be solved by a market.

It is, of course, idiocy. But it is idiocy of the kind that is very fashionable around the world's politicians right now - and also commentards, I anticipate a flurry of downvotes here - so I suppose there will need to be some terrible disasters before anybody with any authority has the wit to question it.

Beware of Greeks bearing spammy small omicrons, says Google


Re: stab at classically-based joke

I work with a Greek guy and he speaks English, so I don't know where you got that idea from.

WinPhone's Halo hottie Cortana to hit desktop in next Windows – report


Re: Prior Art

In sane countries it is the method for making things work that gets patented. From what I can tell in the US you do just patent an idea, a thought or something you dreamed about and then you can go sue-crazy on anyone who actually implements something remotely like it even though the patent contains no detailed design information at all.

LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms


Nominative determinism

Would PARIS have even had that name if it wasn't for a strong relationship with wood? Perhaps some things are so utterly inevitable there is no point fighting them.

Failing that:

Collision Rerouting Autopilot System Heuristic

Ballocket Undercarriage Safety Harness

HUMAN RACE PERIL: Not nukes, it'll be AI that kills us off, warns Musk


Nukes may not be the problem

As long as we don't create a Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network, I'm sure we'll be fine.

What's that? A PHP SPECIFICATION? Surely you're joking, Facebook


Re: In my experience...

The article "PHP: A fractal of bad design" that I linked above is the ideal guide to this issue. The opening metaphor is very accurate indeed and tells you most of what you need to know.


Re: PHP is like democracy

It is a fair point, but once you have used a real OO language like Ruby or Python ( or Java, C#, Smalltalk or whatever else attracts your whimsy ) the shortcomings of PHP's implementation start to become somewhat glaring - it may be no more tacked on than Perl's, but it also doesn't do a lot of things that an optimist might hope for.

That said, it's a few years since I have endeavoured to wrangle PHP's object system into something that resembled a thing a person might be able to use, so it has probably got a lot better than it used to be.


Re: PHP is like democracy

"relatively sane" and "OO" - I do not think those words mean what you think they mean.

For me, this is the definitive summary of PHP: http://eev.ee/blog/2012/04/09/php-a-fractal-of-bad-design/

By combining PHP and JavaScript you end up creating a perfect storm of badly designed but carefully implemented languages. Someone who had worked with both exclusively ( as many web developers have ) would probably think that being insane was a basic feature of a programming language.

Robot cars to hit Blighty in 2015


Re: I want a driverless car!

I'm not ready to give up my horse now, but she's not tremendously practical as a way of getting from A to B and for some reason the office don't have any stabling or grazing arrangements.

UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know


Corner ahead

Sounds like linux on the desktop is just around the corner...

Actually there may be several corners as the Linux office suite that packs with the latest Ubuntu is chaotically unreliable and gaspingly slow even on a new and powerful desktop. It's not a big part of my job, so it's fine for me, but I would hate to be having to work with it.

iOS services intended solely for diagnostics: 'I don’t buy it for a minute'



I suddenly understood the name "iPlayer" yesterday and awarded the BBC several points for coming up with a name that totally went past me for years.

Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto

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I am super excited to have made the shortlist. Went on my lunchbreak with a false moustache and suglasses which must have worked as I didn't get papped.

Also, all this latin reminds me a of the execution scene in Top Secret, still one of the greatest movies ever made.

That stirring LOHAN motto: Anyone know a native Latin speaker?


I am surprised to discover the romans had no word for ballockets.

Raises serious questions regarding what they have ever done for us.

Which provides another possible motto: Quid pro nobis Romanos?

( Google translated because I know nothing about latin beyond a bit of etymology. )


Actually the classic placeholder text would make a funny motto.

Space geeks' resurrected NASA Sun probe ISEE-3 now on collision course with THE MOON


Re: Working 'out of'

They're certainly not uncromulent.

July 14, 2015. Tuesday. No more support for Windows Server 2003. Good luck


It's enough to make me wonder whether the place I was contracting at a couple of years ago still runs Windows 2000. Discovering that was a bit of a shock to the system.

LOHAN seeks stirring motto for spaceplane mission patch


Cesarian suggestion

Veni vici ballocketi

The final score: Gramophones 1 – Glassholes 0


May contain flashing lights and strong colours

I really hope there is some way to exploit Glass using a carefully contrived set of flashing lights pointed at the camera. It would open the door to all kinds of hilarious and disconcerting pranks.

'Apple is terrified of women’s bodies and women’s pleasure' – fresh tech sex storm


Re: Misogyny?

Because people like you are still asking questions like that.

LG unfurls flexible SEE-THROUGH 18-inch display


This will be convenient when we can have a useful size of screen rolled up in a pocket. I like to imagine that phones will be around the size of a pen and just roll out as needed.

The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?


Excited for the update

I look forward to the next update to Windows 8 - when I got 8.1 it killed my wireless card in a way that has -as yet- to be fixed by either the maker or by Microsoft. It is certified as Windows Compatible, though, so I guess I must be imagining the constant network dropouts as must all the other users of the same card. Probably our own fault for having a computer that uses a part from an obscure manufacturer like Intel, I guess.

I can't wait to see what essential parts of my system stop working with the next "update" - maybe the screen? Or the keyboard? It's like a special lottery.

Fortunately I'm not doing much Windows development at the moment so I just run Mint on the machine most of the time. It seems to work fine...

Lords try shoehorning law against revenge porn into justice bill

Big Brother

A counter-service?

I guess the ideal situation would be for prospective partners to be able to find out whether someone was the kind of person who posted revenge porn. That would work as a fairly clear deterrent to them and the expectation of never getting laid again would possibly stand to deter the poster too. If it didn't, stop them, it would perhaps serve to remove that particularly tiresome type of boor from the gene pool, which would be no bad thing for the species as a whole.

Paris Hilton

What about when the subject was asleep half uncovered by the duvet and their creeper partner took their picture?

What if both people believed the pictures were kept private but somebody else stole them off a hard drive, phone etc?

There are some pretty clear cut cases here too. Do people not deserve protection in those kinds of case?

Researchers defend Facebook emoto-furtling experiment


Cute, though

Bless them, the trick cyclists think they're doing science.

Facebook: Yes, we made you SAD on PURPOSE... for your own good


Positive results

Apparently Facebook's experiments reveal that they definitely can provoke an emotional response. And not just in the users they experimented on.

Good work.

Retiring Reg hack explains how bass playing = tech reporting


I got an old bass defretted once and through the cunning means of having the fret gaps filled a different colour to the frets, it wasn't too hard to adjust by ear when my eyes missed. Eventually my hands kind of learnt the positions and it wasn't too hard. I was never much of a fretless player though.

These days I have somewhat switched to g**tar and occasional mandolin, which do get noticed a whole lot more by the audience, though my standard in both is probably considerably lower. Good bass playing is, unfortunately, invisible to anyone who isn't also a bass player.

BBC: Bumpkins, hobbits need fairer coverage


Bumpkin 4rr loyfe

As a borderline bumpkin myself I have noticed that there is a lot of reluctance to talk about rural issues and more specifically to talk about them with people who live in the affected area. At best you're going to get a representative from the NFU ( the one union for whom the government will bow down abjectly at their slightest whim ) rather than someone who knows the actual area that the story is about.

The last foot and mouth story broke just very near to where I live. Various journalists and reporters were consistently found waiting outside the farm where it happened for days. I did not see a single story on the topic that spelled the name of the farm correctly in spite of the fact it was right there. Not to mention reporters stomping around through fields where they risked spreading the pathogen further. That week I realised that I just wasn't cynical enough about the news media.


Re: The BBC is biased

That isn't just the BBC, though, is it? It covers pretty much all the mainstream media. It often seems as though if you could turn the M25 into a 500 foot high wall, it would take weeks for anyone in the media ( or parliament, come to think of it ) to even notice.

Even after they did and the whole thing was the biggest story of the year, it would still be six months before the chumps at Defra realised.

You want a medal for writing a script? Sure: here it is!


Re: anyone who writes Perl ...

I have used all three in various jobs and I can safely say that Ruby and Python are tidier by default and conceptually simpler. Ruby is the closest thing I have encountered to a beautiful programming language and I always enjoy using it.

BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS


Re: Access?

They're probably still having their naps.


Re: Single user PC database might be OK

One of the great things about Access is that it is so massively internally broken at the design level that it has a "repair" button so you can fix all the horrible things that your database has done to itself.

Black hole three-way: Supermassive trio are 'rippling' space


Impressive work from the SKA

The problem with the SKA of course, is that the images it produces are all two-tone.

New MH370 search zone picked using just seven satellite 'handshakes'


Re: They haven't got a clue

I find it interesting how hard most of us want to search for a deliberate explanation. The idea that there are large areas of the earth's surface that we know almost nothing about and that are not constantly surveyed seems to concern a lot of people. There is a great fear that nobody is in charge, that events can be truly contingent.

The world is a big place in which accidents happen. Sometimes a tragedy is just a tragedy and that is the human context in which you need to look at it.

If there is a terrorism element to this, it is most likely to relate to the cabin being isolated entirely from the crew compartment so if there was a problem in there nobody would be able to do anything about it. Finding what went wrong is the part of this search that would make the biggest difference for everyone not directly linked to the flight.

Microsoft tests HALF-INCH second screen to spur workplace play


Re: How long until

Ideally one would wait until an important customer or member of senior management was at said colleague's desk.

TIME TRAVEL TEST finds black holes needed to make photons flit


Re: If you accept multiverse interpretations of quantum physics

If you accept a strictly deterministic single timeline where the future and past are equally fixed as each other then the grandfather paradox also evaporates - the evidence that you can't kill your grandfather is that your grandfather did not die. Or at least he wasn't murdered by a time traveller before he could beget your parent. If you were able to travel into the past, your actions would be a matter of record.

Longer flights burning more fuel can cut planes' climate impact


Re: CO2 lasts decades?

My local garden centre seems to have quite a lot. So maybe if we went to all the garden centres we could just buy enough for that kind of increase.

I'm amazed SCIENCE hadn't come to this conclusion already. Must be some kind of conspiracy at work.

Auditors blast Blighty cops over binned multi-million pound IT project


Recovering costs

Doubtless they have paid for a lot of outsourced consultants to be driving very fancy sports cars, hopefully the police will have made a note of their numberplates so they can focus on recovering some of the money in speeding tickets.


Re: Agile approach?

Agile is a fairly poor way of designing very large scale projects. See also the big IDS benefits thing. It's great if you are a start-up or if you are a software company, but when the project gets very big you start to run into architectural concerns that you need to know about from the start and situations where refactoring the code to integrate a new requirement is a non-trivial task.

That doesn't stop the practical day-to-day process stuff from being useful- standups, iterations, sprints, kanban boards and the rest- but as regards the big picture, being able to act on architectural requirements from the start can make a big difference to your development time and the reliability of your software but the concept of doing anything ahead of time doesn't seem to fit into the pure Agile approach.

DON'T PANIC: Facebook returns after 30-minute outage terror



And yet still the sun shone and birds were singing, almost as though nothing important had happened at all.

POND SCUM shine a path to more efficient solar cells


Evolution works

I love this kind of story, really interesting.

A lot of things that are possible manage to evolve. I would actually be very surprised if there didn't turn out to be a quantum component to our own brains.

Toyota catches up to William Gibson with LED hood


Re: Attention getter

To reduce attention, have the bonnet playing a video stream of the image from a camera on the rear of the car.


Re: As seen last year in London

I saw a very eye catching black car the other day. It was not shiny black, it was black black. It was so black that it looked as though Disaster Area might launch it into the sun at any moment. When everyone has fairy lights all over their cars, that look will be even more distinctive.

Microsoft C# chief Hejlsberg: Our open-source Apache pick will clear the FUD


Sheds a single tear

The thing about ubiquitous JavaScript, even when it is placed behind an intermediary language that automatically optimises things for you, is that it is a horribly designed language. By what awful happenstance did this become the lingua franca for everyone? Could browser makers not have a meeting and choose any one of the many well-designed languages that exist as an alternative standard? I mean it's usually webkit now anyway, right? Surely they could at least look at a different scripting runtime to bring in as an alternative?

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