* Posts by Mike Moyle

1543 posts • joined 8 Feb 2007

Boffins fix dead satellite using 'dirty hack' in space

Mike Moyle Silver badge

re: love it

"Its like how NASA spent $10M (or whatever it was) to get a pen to work is space... whereas the Russians used a pencil!"

This, again, FFS...? This has been debunked so many times -- even here in el Reg's comments pages, even an AC should have learned it by now.


Like the Russians, NASA used pencils before inventor Paul Fisher presented them with his privately-funded and designed pressurized pen for consideration. Like the Americans, the Russian space program bought and still currently uses Fisher's pen.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin also, reportedly, confirmed to author Spider Robinson at a conference once, the rumor that a Fisher pen was used to fire the main liftoff engines for the Apollo 11 Lunar Module when the original toggle switch got broken off while he and Neil Armstrong were removing their bulky EVA packs in the cramped crew compartment -- a task that would likely have been impossible with a pencil.

Moderatrix kisses the Reg goodbye

Mike Moyle Silver badge
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Thank you, Sarah...

...It's been enjoyable (for us, at least).

Apple’s long divorce from Samsung near final

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: besides the point that...

"... I loathe all Apple and would condemn it and all apple-ites to the lowest pits of hell imaginable..."

You really COULD have left it t that and had substantially the same amount of useful information in your post.

Frankly, the rest of it is full of plain foolishness and/or bile from paragraph 3 --

"What are Apple going to do if they manage to either offend TSMC or do something as stupid as go after them the way they have Samsung?"

...You mean when they go after TSMC for making an identical-looking consumer product...? Not likely, since, from http://www.tsmc.com/english/aboutTSMC/company_profile.htm:

"Established in 1987, TSMC is the world's first dedicated semiconductor foundry.";

...All the way to paragraph 9 --

"This lawsuit garbage and all the rest of it smacks of a fighter on the ropes - that has no plans other than to swing wildly at whatever shape rears its head, in the hope of connecting by nothing more than luck."

...Which, I presume, is your opinion of ANY company that sues a direct competitor for introducing a, visually, almost identical competing product (and I say this as an user whose Samsung Android phone looks, at a quick glance, VERY much like his iPod Touch) -- otherwise one might think that you... well... your post probably says it best : "(had) no plans other than to swing wildly at whatever shape rears its head, in the hope of connecting by nothing more than luck."

Seriously, dude... You may want to consider going back on the Lithium.

Woman dies of heart attack at own funeral

Mike Moyle Silver badge

"...we immediately rushed her back to the hospital..."

Personally, I probably would have taken her to a *DIFFERENT* hospital...

I mean, they already got it wrong ONCE -- why would I trust them the SECOND time?

Firing back at LulzSec

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Honey and Vinegar may work...

...but if you REALLY want to catch flies, just put enough shit out there and they'll swarm all over it.

Fort Worth joins crusade against sagging pants

Mike Moyle Silver badge

So does this mean...

..that plumbers will not be allowed to ride the bus?

Hot bodies get super-slippery when wet

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Just don't use...

...heat-sensitive payload or fuzing on your torpedoes!

Mac trojan evades Apple's brand new security fix

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Well, by THAT criterion, BOTH are better-prepared...

...than the "Patch Tuesday" gang.

Vatican crackdown at Rome's Playboy Mansion-style monastery

Mike Moyle Silver badge

A bit of meta-humor...?

Am I the only person amused by the fact that the article that talks about lap-dancing nuns has an advertisement at the end that offers "... a free... consultation with an Agile expert"?

How agile...? Trained by Sister Anna?

Okay... I'm really leaving, this time...

Mike Moyle Silver badge

@ deadlockvictim

"Well, this should start filling the seminaries again."

...or emptying the semen-aries...

On a (slightly) more serious note, OTOH, the detail of the ex-lap-dancing nun reminded me of Anatole France's story "Our Lady's Juggler" (http://www.accuracyproject.org/t-France,Anatole-OurLadysJuggler.html). It *could* simply be that -- whatever others may have made of it -- like Brother Barnaby, she was praising Heaven in the only way she knew how.

Google Chrome OS: Too secure to need security?

Mike Moyle Silver badge

I know that I'm no expert...

...but it sounds to me like Google's "defense in depth" is actually marketing-speak for "a single point of failure".

They may have sandboxing and whatever else going on on their thin client -- excuse me... Chrome OS device -- but as long as all user data is stored in the same cloud that Google's automatic updates are served from, then isn't it less a question of what OS is running the laptop than what OS is running the server(s)?

With traditional malware, you're going after many targets and expecting to get some smallish percentage of successful takeovers. With Chrome, it seems to me that taking over the much smaller number of servers and shoving out one maliciously-crafted "update" gives you ALL of the Chrome clients. Figuring out how to make that "update" root Chrome OS/client and refuse delivery of any further updates would seem to make you nigh-invincible. Not a trivial exploit, I'm sure, but it seems that the reward would be enough to convince the crims to put major resources behind the effort.

Does Google plan to serve Chrome OS data, apps, and updates off of Chrome OS-based servers? Is it "turtles all the way down" or is there, at some point, some single or small number of Master servers running some other OS that the attackers have already had plenty of time to learn how to compromise?

Since this "single-point-of-failure" scenario seems so obvious to me and no one else mentions it, I have to presume that I'm missing something, but I'm not sure what it is.

Naked cyclist streaks through Suffolk village

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New Mac scareware variant installs without password

Mike Moyle Silver badge

@ AC 12:43

"...they will accuse Apple of having sold out and try to find some even more obscure platform."

... Linux, perhaps...?

Linux kernel runs inside web browser

Mike Moyle Silver badge

@ bazza Re: "iP*d storage

"You'd need a pretty good network connection for storage (I'm presuming that Javascript can't store data locally on an iPhone)."

I wonder if it would work with one of the battery-powered Seagate drives for iP*d that the Reg reported on on Monday... http://www.reghardware.com/2011/05/16/seagate_goflex_satellite/

Teenage duo sentenced over credit card Ghostmarket

Mike Moyle Silver badge

"“I will never get a job in IT now.”

Sure you will... just keep up your skillz and learn Russian. Or Chinese. Or possibly Farsi.

Seagate intros Wi-Fi hard drive for iKit

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Password protected...?

...or can I slurp data off any nearby drive?

(Welcome mat icon because, unless these are password-protected straight out of the box, there are going to be a LOT of people walking around with one of these on their backs!)

Apple seeks patent for keyboard that sucks

Mike Moyle Silver badge

So let me see if I've got this straight:

If Apple applies for a patent on what could be an incremental improvement -- the magnetic power connector, say -- Mark 1 trolling is to scream "Prior art! My uncle's step-brother's cousin's third-grade teacher had a magnet YEARS ago!", while if they apply for a patent on something genuinely new and untried, Mark 2 trolling seems to require screaming that it'll never work because no one has made it work before.

I'd be curious to know under what circumstances Apple could apply for a patent and NOT get one of these Pavlovoan responses. (Actually, I expect that the answer is "None" -- some people simply appear to have too much of their emotional self-worth tied up in the "Apple SUX" battlecry to let that Apple bell ring without reflexively drooling... Sad, really.)

Flame on!

Google infringes copyright by displaying and linking to news site content

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: Caching paid content

That was certainly how I read it.

Indexing for search results and pointing to the original source is one thing, caching the whole thing on your own servers and robo-prefacing with "A report published in <newspaper> today said:..." in order to squeeze under the "reporting on/commenting on the news" fair use exemption -- which is what I gathered Google was doing, from the article -- seems to me to be something else entirely.

Ten... fantasy gadgets you wish you owned

Mike Moyle Silver badge


the Lens was my very first thought, actually, but then, I'm old(ish).

@ ian emery -- Not sure about the jaunting belt, but I think you're wrong about the lens. At the very least, neither Virgil Samms, Rod Kinnison, nor, really, ANY of the patrolmen of "First Lensman" showed any sign of psi abilities before receiving their lenses.

RE: Homo Superior -- Olaf Stapledon apparentlt\y coined the term in his story "Odd John" in the 1930s, although its most common pop-culture usage was probably from Marvel Comics' "X-Men" -- dating from 1963 (Which is where Bowie probably took the reference from -- he was a comics fan). The Tomorrow People producers could have been familiar with either or both of these usages.

Vatican blogger meeting says no to copyright, yes to lifting content

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Depends on how you define "techno-saint"

St. Clare of Assisi is the patron saint of television so, strictly speaking, there already *IS* a techno-saint. Since her thing is seeing distance-seeing, presumably she is also the patron saint of the web -- or at least YouTube.

China sets out space-station plan, asks public to name it

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Would it take the People's Libration Army...

...to launch their space station into a Trojan Point orbit?

Dropbox snuffs open code that bypassed file-sharing controls

Mike Moyle Silver badge


Dropbox is trying to cover their back end...?

Boffins pull plug on SETI alien-seeking antenna array

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Not to put too fine a point on it...

"The USA are clearly shutting up shop and winding down any contact with the rest of the world far less extrasolar ones"?

I'm quite sure that the SETI Institute has been seeking alternative sources of funding for some time, as their problem became ever-more apparent, and would gladly have taken donations by governments and millionaires from OUTSIDE of the United States in order to continue their work.

(...sound of a solitary cricket...)

Samsung countersues Apple on new ground

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Here's the thing...

The point that the commenters here and elsewhere seem (to me) to be missing in all of this "My Grandma's Morris Minor thad round corners LONG before the iPhone, so THERE!" is that, once you get past functional design (You can't design an efficient airplane with both wings on the same side, for example) aesthetic design and trade dress are common ways that you differentiate your product from someone else's.

In the cellphone design space, there are a LOT of ways to make your product look DIFFERENT from someone else's and ONE way to make it look the SAME.

Looking at other cellphones, you can see that some are taller than the iPhone, or wider, or have visibly larger- or smaller-radius rounded corners, or concave or convex tops or sides, or trim/detailing placed here or there, or different styling to the interface (vis. WinPhones), or any number of ways to differentiate and make any particular product stand out.

...And then there are ones with essentially the same physical proportions, essentially the same diameter corner rounds, essentially the same detailing and styling, and essentially the same styling to the icons as used on, and identified in the public mind with, the iPhone.

In the one case, the manufacturer is trading on the reputation and appeal of its brand and its particular engineering and style to sell its product. In the other the manufacturer is trading on the reputation and appeal of another company's popularly-desired product, saying "You can get something that's JUST LIKE that but cheaper, from us!"

If Ford made a car that, except for the badge, was physically identical on the outside to a Mercedes or a Ferrari, you can bet that those makers would be taking Ford to court over it. That styling is what sets their products apart to the casual observer. If you turn to stare enviously as a Ferrari drives by, you are extrapolating everything that you identify with the concept of "Ferrari" -- power, speed, hot babes, and the money to afford all of them -- with the external appearance of that car going by. This is why companies defend their appearance and trade dress so vigorously.

From what I've read, Apple is not saying that all your round-cornered rectangle are belong to them -- they're saying that they will aggressively defend their designs from any efforts to make a similar product that is visually indistinguishable from theirs to the average observer.

I don't really see that as being unreasonable.

Hubble celebrates 21st with gorgeous galactic 'rose' snap

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: Galaxy spotting

Is that the 21st century's version of tainspotting...?

Scientists reveal eight-legged Jurassic beast

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Ahhh... But just suppose...

"The males are a pretty puny bunch, being much smaller than the females in an example of "extreme sexual dimorphism". The researchers are keen to see if that was also true of the ancient Nephila."

It could well be true -- but are they ABSOLUTELY sure that this one is a female...? I mean, if they're wrong about that, then the female could be the size of a small car.

But not to worry... Such things went extinct eons ag... Huh... What's that odd scratching sound...?

Excuse me... I just want to check that out and I'll be right back!

Facebook twins lose court case

Mike Moyle Silver badge

@ Subliteratus

Their problem, I suspect, is that their lawyers worked on contingency, so the Winklewhoozises may have only gotten half of the adjudged amount -- cue new lawsuit for more money so they could get the amount that they THOUGHT they were getting.

Of course, since they lost, they get nothing more AND their lawyers get to take home ANOTHER chunk of their settlement, which strikes me as some sort of cosmic payback for their being greedy...

Google hits 'prove we killed no Afghans' – Assange™

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Middle School semantics...

"The title said he told international reporters: 'Well, they're informants so, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it.' The book continues: 'There was, for a moment, silence around the table.''"

Back in the Dark Ages when I was in Middle School, we had a short session on critical reading and word "slanting" ("I am big, you are heavy, he is fat," "I am a freedon-fighter, he is a terrorist." and so on.

Has Assange ever clarified the difference between "whistle-blowers" and "informants"?

Nude Florida man in gunfight with police SWAT robot

Mike Moyle Silver badge

"...the tooled-up, unclad homeowner..."

If seeing Brillo coming in the door is what gets his tool up then I think he's probably got some serious personal issues to work through.

Fire-quenching electric forcefield backpack invented

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Just shut off the ventilators

My recollection is that, since hot air doesn't rise in zero-g, simply shutting off the ventilators allows a fire to build a sphere of CO/CO2 around itself, snuffing itself out pretty quickly.

...Which is not to say that I wouldn't want a backup system, in case the fire was keeping me from getting to the fan's "off" switch, but I'm just saying, in general...

Apple bashes 'gay cure' app

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: How do you cure homosexuality?

Won't work, I'm afraid -- at that point they'll just be Androidgenous homosexuals.

ZeuS cybercrime cookbook on sale in underground forums

Mike Moyle Silver badge

So, how much are they asking...?

And how long after the first copy is sold will it show up on the torrents?

HP's 'vision' should embrace Apple, not copy it

Mike Moyle Silver badge
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Re: Re

@Bullseyed: You said:

"The author mentions they need to "work with Apple" rather than try to copy Apple."

Ummm... No, he didn't. What he said was:

"HP would be far better off creating an ecosystem optimized for HP devices but that also embraces other devices, including Apple's."

If you hadn't had those "Apple sux!" blinkers on, your last paragraph might have accurately portrayed what the author was actually saying:

"Software and 'apps' need to work seamlessly from Android to WebOS --> to iOS <-- and Enterprise integration needs to be top notch. Then we'll get somewhere."

In short, HP's Cloud should be platform/OS-agnostic, drawing users to their services whatever tool they prefer to use to get there.

New York Times tucks skirt behind stilted paywall

Mike Moyle Silver badge

@ F. Svenson

Current articles would be unlimited; older articles in their archives would be limited.

Asus Eee Pad Slider

Mike Moyle Silver badge

"5 MP rear-facing camera"

...So, a 5MP desktop-facing camera when opened, then?

Give it a really good macro mode and call it a digital microscope!

Seriously, though, it looks interesting.

Spooks' secret TEMPEST-busting tech reinvented by US student

Mike Moyle Silver badge


What carries for distances underwater is, I believe, the LOW end of the sonic 'spectrum" -- the bass notes of the whales' song. High-frequency sound, as with high-frequency light, is more easily scattered and dissipated in both air and water. The U.S. submarine service, for instance, uses Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) radio transmitters to send signals to vessels that remain on-station and submerged for weeks at a time.

The article here refers to "ultrasonic vibrations", so we're talking high-frequency, short-penetration waves (which probably explains the statement that "(i)t seems certain that performance could be traded for range," that is; that the frequency could be lowered, allowing greater penetration while lowering the amount of data that could be carried by those fewer cycles per second.

So, I suspect that, unless the whales are snuggling up to the sides of a nuclear "boomer", they're reasonably safe.

Apple MacBook Pro 13in

Mike Moyle Silver badge

re: It is hard to compare on price

"For me, the idea of upgrading every year seems like a colossal waste of time and money, but it's the only way I could justify a mac laptop. I think I may be overanalysing things here, though"

Or, you may no be analyzing enough.

It seems to me that your decision rests on two issues:

1 -- "Do I *NEED* to keep on the leading edge every year, or is being top-tier for a six months to a year and 'still pretty damned good' for the following two or three years sufficient for my purposes?"

2 -- "How much am I willing to spend amortized over those two to three years?"

Given the resale value that you have, correctly, noted for Mac hardware -- even two- to three-year-old hardware; particularly their laptop range -- you could end up being out-of-pocket for only half the cost of buying your new machine. Divide that by how long you're willing to live with 'still pretty damned good' and you may find that you actually come out well ahead of where you think you would.

Of course, if you always HAVE to have the newest, fastest, bleeding-edgiest hardware so you can lord it over all of your friends/coworkers, then this might not work for you.

Apple, Google, RIM in smartphone dead heat

Mike Moyle Silver badge

The operative phrase being...

"... to other >>>device makers<<<"

What the article was pointing out (and what you completely ignored in order to feed your apparent "Apple Sux" fetish) was that the DEVICE manufacturers who have their own OS get, essentially, all of the money earned by their respective 27%s of the market, while device manufacturers who use variants of a shared OS each get some significantly smaller fraction of the 29% of the market that uses Android.

In other words, even if all phones were equally priced, RiM and Apple would each still rake in (to over-simplify) 27% of the money earned selling phones, while even the most successful Android phone manufacturer would be making less than half of that.

And if you define "winner" as "bringing in the most money" -- which, you know, is pretty much how capitalism defines the word -- then, yeah, they win and each individual Android HANDSET maker doesn't.

...Which sort of makes your whole screed rather irrelevant to the point that the article was making.

Jester claims credit for knocking Westboro Baptist Church offline

Mike Moyle Silver badge

You've not heard of them before, then...?

The WBC, while narrow-minded, fundamentalist, and hateful, are NOT stupid. They have family members -- and the "church" is basically a single family -- who are practicing lawyers, specifically so that they can sue anyone who gives them ANY cause. They know the law and are careful to stay JU-U-U-U-U-UST on the legal side of the line and goad others to overstep that line. Collecting settlements on those lawsuits is how they support themselves.

Yeah, they're evil scum, IMO, but they're devilishly CLEVER evil scum.

Underestimating them by thinking of them as inbred, sub-intelligent rednecks is falling into their trap.

Judge offs ivi.tv

Mike Moyle Silver badge

I suppose...

...that it has something to do with actually getting permission from the original broadcaster to redistribute their signal for profit, which is what ivi neglected to do, and which was the reason that the networks and others asked for the injunction until the copyright infringement case could be tried.

Cable/satellite carriers may pay a fee in exchange for permission to carry, or make some other arrangement, but networks/channels (except for local "must-carries", perhaps) pretty much ALWAYS have the right to decide whether to let an aggregator/carrier rebroadcast their programming, AFAIK.

Five Reasons to be cheerful about Nokia-Microsoft

Mike Moyle Silver badge

@ David Webb

"(I)f Nokia can focus on just making the hardware and leaving the software/ui/platform to MS and bring out a compelling mobile with fantastic hardware that blows the opposition away, they could be on to a winner,"

I suspect that Nokia's best plan is to create TWO versions of every phone -- one with crap specs and an identical-looking one with great specs.

If they give the high-end one to MS to develop for, the MS engineers will do their usual job -- bloat-up the system so that it takes every cycle and every MB for itself and makes everything else run like a spavined dog.

OTOH, if they send the low-end phone to develop on, the MS engineers will do exactly the same thing -- but when Nokia then bins the low-end jobbie and releases the high-spec phone with the (comparatively) stripped down system installed everything will have room to breathe and will go like gangbusters!

I dunno... sounds like a plan to me...

Steve Woz: From wooden Apples to iPhone love

Mike Moyle Silver badge


Well, let's face it -- it already has his fingerprints all over it, so what's a couple more?

Microsoft lands big handbag on Google's copy kisser

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Microsoft to Google:

"You have no privacy. Get over it!"

(Maybe Google should be allowed to change its name when it turns 21!)

iPad propels Apple into top-three PC vendor placement

Mike Moyle Silver badge

@Mark .

"Why is it we get an article everytime that Apple get to be number 3 (I'm sure there was a similar article some time ago on some other statistic where they were number 3)? But we don't get articles about the companies being number 1, and number 2 (which is surely more notable)"

You almost touched the reason in your last line, here, but apparently chose to ignore it.

The likelihood is that there are no articles on numbers 1 and 2 because there is, in fact, NOTHING NEW and NOTABLE about their positions.

The company that is frequently called out for its relatively small market share ("How can you call Apple a major player with only n% of the market based on...?") nonetheless turning out to be the number 3 vendor among ALL personal computer manufacturers would, based on that perception, be noteworthy and, thus, news, while the usual suspects holding (or swapping) the number 1 and 2 spots for the umpteenth times in the last five years would be neither.

It's new. That's why it's called news.

As to:

"(I have no problem including the Ipad as a PC; the bigger problem is when the Ipad is counted as a mobile platform, but netbooks are ignored, artificially inflating Apple's share significantly.)"

...I didn't see anywhere in the article that netbooks were not included in the survey. Where did you see it? I *HAVE* seen articles claiming that tablets -- notably the iPad, since it's the big seller in the field at the moment -- have been drastically cutting in to netbook sales; it appears entirely possible that netbook sales WERE included in the survey, and Apple came out at #3 WITH the new, lower, netbook sales numbers included.

Apple tightens screws on hardware hackers

Mike Moyle Silver badge


If I had the ready cash I could buy up a batch of these things, repackage them as iDrivers™ and clean up!

...At least they haven't gone so far as to use breakaway bolts, yet...

Brazilian cult condemns USB

Mike Moyle Silver badge

He got them from His Father's side...

(...runs away...)

EU in Chinese garlic-crushing operation

Mike Moyle Silver badge


...who leeked...?

US bumblebees in 'alarming' decline

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Are you mad...?

So you have an International Harvester tractor driving down a row of flowering plants vacuuming pollen off of the stamen of the source and and depositing it on the pistil of the target.

...Except that plants that pollinate through insect contact have heavier, stickier pollen than air-pollinating plants, so your vacuum will have to be strong enough to pick up the pollen (against its natural resistance to being picked up by breezes) without damaging it and deposit it without damaging the receptor.

...And do this on some number of flowers per plant, which implies either extended stops by every tomato vine in your south forty while your very expensive-to-run combine is crawling down the furrows, or multiple, remotely- or autonomously-aimed, arms doing the pollination without damaging any of your plants.

Somehow, I don't think that you quite have the simple solution that you think you do.


As to the possible outcome of insect die-offs, I recommend "Dust" by Charles Pellegrino (http://www.sfsite.com/05b/dust33.htm). Tag line: "Good news -- The bugs are gone. Bad news -- We're next!"

US Navy achieves '100 mile' hypersonic railgun test shot

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Secondary effects

I'm assuming that a 200-mile shot would be arched slightly, thus a certain amount of the energy/velocity lost on the up-slope would be recovered on the down-slope. Might also benefit from lower atmospheric resistance at the mid-course for added distance.

The other issue with a flat launch could be collateral damage -- what sort of pressure is produced by a Mach-five-ish sonic boom generated at or near ground-level?

Men may be able to grow a new pancreas from their testicles

Mike Moyle Silver badge

"medi-prof G Ian Gallicano"

For this he rates a "Med-Boffin", surely!

(Would a scientist specializing in reproductive issues be a "Boffin' Boffin"? ...Inquiring minds, and all that...)

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