* Posts by The Mighty Biff

72 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Oct 2007


Survey of astronomers and geophysicists shines a light on 'bleak' systemic bullying

The Mighty Biff

Excuse me?

Well the comments to this are pretty depressing... There does seem to be a huge resistance to believe that racism and sexism is a thing, mainly among people that are themselves not racist or sexist and just don't want to believe it's true. It's only when vast numbers of women come out and say they were abused by Hollywood execs, or camera phone footage of police harassing minorities emerges that it becomes hard to ignore.

Given that no-one is directly accused in this study - it was simply a survey. Given that it seems easy to hide such abuses for long periods of time and when people do go looking, it does seem to be an actual thing, why would you pile in and immediately dismiss it as 'woke nonsense' without any other information other than your own preconceptions?

Resellers facing 'months' of delays for orders to be fulfilled. IT gathers dust on docks as coronavirus-stricken China goes back to work

The Mighty Biff

Joe Rogan interviewed Michael Osterholm a couple of day ago. I'm not sure I quite believe his worst case predictions but maybe that's because they're worst case predictions...


Tangled in .NET: Will 5.0 really unify Microsoft's development stack?

The Mighty Biff

Re: .net to java converter ?

I looked for one for ages, but there just isn't one that's survived the test of time. Loads of third party and open source stuff that long withered and died. In the end I ended up going down the Java JNI -> C++ -> Managed C++ -> C# route, which is fiddly but at least it's all mine.

It was fiddlier on Linux unfortunately, cos mono's handling of the managed / unmanaged code transition is unpleasantly like JNI. At some point we'll have to jump ship to .NET Core I expect, but I'll leave it til the last minute.

IKVM for going the other way is awesome, but Jeroen Frijters has said he's no longer updating it, so it's stuck at Java 8. In the ideal world, it being open sourced, someone would take this on......

The Large Hadron Collider is small beer. Give us billions more for bigger kit, say boffins

The Mighty Biff

Re: Dark matter/energy question

They're not virtual at that point though - the intense gravitational field prevents the pair from annihilating each other and they become 'real'.

In any case, Hawking radiation is still theoretical and hasn't been experimentally verified. There's a lot that's not understood about the vacuum too - huge discrepancies between its energy as predicted by theory and that observed so take all of this with a bug chunk of caveat jam :)

The Mighty Biff

Re: Dark matter/energy question

I don't think the virtual particles produced in the vacuum gravitate. Ones produced inside hadrons do however, and contribute significantly to proton and neutron masses iirc. This discrepancy is not understood.

Sabine Hossenfelder brings it up briefly in a recent blog post :


Coincidentally, her latest post is on this new collider proposal. Personally it seems like a colossal waste of money now the Higgs has been found. There are much more interesting experiments to be done in fundamental physics than spaffing it all on a yuge collider with no clear idea what you expect to find.

.NET Core 2.1 – huh, yeah – what is it good for? Bing, apparently

The Mighty Biff

When well they adding Reporting though? Stuff your noncy AI bollox and give us something useful.

Four hydrogen + eight caesium clocks = one almost-proven Einstein theory

The Mighty Biff

Yes - the steel bearing in your second case isn't being accelerated at the same rate as the freight car. You've correctly surmised that it's not attached, so will behave differently.

NASA fix for Curiosity rovers's damaged drill: hitting it, repeatedly

The Mighty Biff

Re: One wonders how long the tool will be able to handle the abuse.

Which is presumably why they've trialled it on the testbed rover first, although it doesn't state that explicitly in the article.

My PC is on fire! Can you back it up really, really fast?

The Mighty Biff

Re: I recall even my mum (a bit like Dilmom) telling me a fire story

It starts life in solution. It's only when it's dry that it goes bang. That's why it's so wonderful :)

Doom and Super Mario could be a lot tougher now AI is building levels

The Mighty Biff

Re: the Sentinel

The CD?? I have the 5.25 inch floppy somewhere. It was an awesome game :)

Brexit has shafted the UK's space sector, lord warns science minister

The Mighty Biff

Re: Not just the space sector....

Aye, that's what the people I know who voted for leave think. Or rather the opposite :) I haven't come across anyone that's changed their mind since the vote. If anything, opinions have become even more entrenched and there's even less desire for either side to think about why the other side voted the way they did.

It appears that crowing at Loser Remoaners or calling Brexidiots a bunch of knuckledragging racists hasn't really helped... Who'd a thunk it?

btw I'm not suggesting that you were doing that, just that it's commonplace - just read some of the comments on this article...

No, Stephen Hawking's last paper didn't prove the existence of a multiverse

The Mighty Biff

Re: "...a large number of alternative universes."

You're confusing one sort of multiverse (Everett's Many World's theory of quantum mechanics) with the cosmological version, but don't feel bad, they're all equal in the 'load of unproven old bollox' stakes.

Max Tegmark classified the various sorts of multiverse a while ago :


I must admit, I do like the page url...

The Mighty Biff

Multiverse Mania

5th para - should be virtual particles, not vertical ones.

Peter Woit gives his take on it here : http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=10114

Slack cuts ties to IRC and XMPP, cos they don't speak Emoji

The Mighty Biff

Re: Emojis... where's the one for *vomit* ?

On our IRC channel we settled on m) as a smiley facepalm. It gets a lot of use.

What do we want? Consensual fun times. How do we get it? Via an app with blockchain...

The Mighty Biff

DocBrown knows about tea : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2rfHYq2dSE

and Mrs Doyle probably access youTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N20wHvMPTGs

I can't take credit for those links - culled from this morning's irc conversation :)

NiceHash diced up by hackers, thousands of Bitcoin pilfered

The Mighty Biff

Are NiceHash liable for this?

If not, why not? This is a genuine question. Since they're looking after millions of <insert currency here> and it looks like a security botch up at their end, an ignert fool like me might expect they'd be on the hook for this.

The whole cryptocurrency market / exchange field seems to be another layer of enigma wrapped inside the mystery that is blockchain mania at the moment.

Remember when Lenovo sold PCs with Superfish adware? It just got a mild scolding from FTC

The Mighty Biff

No mention of Pete Horne?

Just thought I'd give the chap that unearthed all of this a mention : Peter Horne came across the Lenovo Superfish infection back in early 2015 and alerted the New York Times (iirc). They ran the story and got the whole mess out into the open. I work with Pete on totally unrelated stuff and he's a top bloke - completely unassuming. Given that he's an Aussie this is even more remarkable.

So here's a pint for you mate and a link to the NYT :


Good luck building a VR PC: Ethereum miners are buying all the GPUs

The Mighty Biff

Nice though your 750ti is, I think it's top end GPUs that cryptocurrency miners are interested in - 980s, 1080s and the like. The prices of second hand 980tis (for instance) have gone up considerably recently and it's hard to get one for much under £300 at the moment.

Dirty code? If it works, leave it says Thoughtworks CTO

The Mighty Biff

I thought the point she was making was don't make changes for change's sake? If the code is insecure or buggy or unsafe, then change it, but if it's a mess and is working, don't touch it until you have to. I would imagine that most gainfully employed folk don't have time to go around changing code that functions perfectly well. And imagine the joy you'll experience if your shiny new version has bugs in it!

Zuck covers up mic and webcam because sharing isn't always good

The Mighty Biff

Re: Zuckerberg is running Thunderbird

TBird is a bit of a bloated lump these days, but it is still the best. I ditched Eudora for it years ago, and despite intermittently trying out the competition I'm still happy with it. I'm open to suggestions for an alternative on Win 7.

Supermassive black hole devours star and becomes X-ray flashlight

The Mighty Biff

Re: No black hole required

Presumably though, the power and spectrum of X-rays detected is difficult to explain if you invoke sources other than an accretion disk. And if you can work out the size and speed of rotation of the accretion disk, then you can work out what the mass and density of the object in the middle of it is. Since you're clearly familiar with how Nature does things, you'll know that, given our current knowledge of physics you can only pack so much stuff into such a small space before you end up forming an event horizon.

btw, saying the x-rays are created using electricity is a bit of an odd way of phrasing it. Strictly, they're the photons emitted when an outer shell electron transitions to an empty lower energy state - it's caused by an electron transition, but it's not an electric current.

Battlestar Galactica vets needed for online roleplay

The Mighty Biff

Quake Live = Linux support

And it runs (sort of) in the browser...

And its waaaayy better than UT :)

NY bomb scare bank worker 'evacuates self'

The Mighty Biff

What what ?

This is srs news ! Srs !

Sacked health care BOFH jailed for revenge hack

The Mighty Biff

These comments deliver

Worth $17m for these comments alone. And you people are eligable to vote....

Researchers: Arctic cooled to pre-industrial levels from 1950-1990

The Mighty Biff

Less spots = cooler

Paradoxically, the sun is slightly cooler during a solar minimum :


Less spots = cooler sun.

Science can be tricky like that sometimes

UK.gov may cut BBC licence fee in 2012

The Mighty Biff

Kwality telly

I wish I could find all this quality programming everyone keeps banging on about. Last time I looked there was feck all on the Beeb that couldn't have been made by Living TV.

Microsoft's .NET at ten: big hits, strange misses

The Mighty Biff

Hah hah haaa ! OMG !

You're serious aren't you ??

Scattering begins and ends all over the place obscures the code. It makes things worse. {} && || symbols are much cleaner. If you can't handle that then god knows what you'd make of the bitwise operators or the ternary operator.

Overly compact code can be a problem, and coding clearly doesn't seem to come naturally to a lot of my colleagues, but I think you're aiming at the wrong target here...

Art and engineering: do they mix? Yes they do!

The Mighty Biff

Mini Fusion reactor ??

Give them a Noble Prize and the keys to the World.

Unless it's 'just' a ball of plasma of course. Oh wait. It is. Plasma != Fusion.

Still awesomely impressive though.

Mighty hard-sums special function toolset goes online

The Mighty Biff

Internet Explorer

Cannot display the webpage :(

Games console 'killer' powers Avatar 3D power package

The Mighty Biff

Pew pew pew !


I think I'll stick with Quake Live for now. With the graphics turned up, it's a thing of beauty, at 125 frames per second no less.

Playing at 480 would be like going back to the 90s. I could see this working for online Civ. But a fast FPS ?? In the evening ?? At weekends ?? Only for ignert teenagers. Oh wait, that is the console market. Hmmm. Profit ?

Expedition to seek out 'alien' ocean-abyss life sets sail

The Mighty Biff


I'm pretty sure that's not the case. I thought the abyssyl depths were anoxic. They metabolise sulphur and methane and stuff like that. No oxygen required. And stuff.

Waledac botnet 'decimated' by MS takedown

The Mighty Biff

Best thread evah

Well. today anyway. Lord knows what would happen if some of you lot bumped into Mrs Bardell (Sexton Blake's housekeeper, not the Dicken's one). You'd explode like a tyrannical Star Trek computer confronted by a logical impossibility.

Now it's off to the shops to buy myself some decimated coconut.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini

The Mighty Biff

Generic MP3 player

This sounds like another iWhatnot only piece of kit. I'd be interested to know how much of the MP3 player market Apple has cornered. I assume it's most of it...

So, anyone know if there are any docks out there that work with other players, like my loverly Sansa jobby ?

Windows 7 speculation claims SP1 will land in Q4 2010

The Mighty Biff

Start Menu

Ooo. Maybe it'll let me get an XP style Start Menu, instead of the god forsaken thing that I'm saddled with. Why can't I create my own folders, or change the order that things appear ? That's progress for you.

Bah. A small prize for anyone that shows me the way to enlightenment.

Experts reboot list of 25 most dangerous coding errors

The Mighty Biff

Doom at Dilbert.com

Rather appropriately it appears that www.dilbert.com has been hacked this morning and is serving up a dodgy virus scanner instead of some pithy 3 pane comment on the IT industry.

Don't go there, especially if you've set your browser to 'download everything and infect me pleaase'.

Combat walker machines: $3m for new studies

The Mighty Biff

Crush, Kill, Destroy !

Mighty walking tanks eh ? They sounds awesome. And with no tracks to get damaged they'd be invulnerable ! Unless they've got some other kind of weakness.


Wikisupremes eject UK Wikispokesman from inner circle

The Mighty Biff

Think of the children

It's nice to see them trying to clear up their act. Most of their articles are pretty good these days, but how would you spot minor mistakes like this :


Google 'experiment' crossbreeds Python with C++

The Mighty Biff

Sounds teh awesome !

Or rather, it sounds a bit like C#, only without the huge number of libraries and a nice IDE. Presumably there will be an IDE ? I hear that vi is good.

And who really cares about compile times anyway (cue post from someone that does...)

Java, C++ and C# cover everything for me and there's always Coral 66 for those special occasions.

Cornish separatists take aim at pasty students

The Mighty Biff

Priced out ?

Not wanting to be too picky, but who sold all those houses at vastly inflated prices to the hoorays ? Would that be the locals then ? Hmm. I guess it must be...

French workers threaten to blow up factory

The Mighty Biff

I'm missing out

Hey, I can't see any pop up ads ? And IE8 isn't reporting blocked pop ups. I feel like I'm missing out here. How will I know what to buy if I'm not informed by adverts ?

Not sure I entirely agree with Citizen Kaned, much as I enjoyed the Scargill vs Thatcher saga when I was a lad. Breaking the law cos it suits your view of how the world should be is only going to end in guillotines and lycnhings you know. Or an India free from colonial rule. Anyway, it's one of the two.

Still, I'm happy to watch the French blow their factories up, as long as they don't spoil the family camping holiday on the Cote D'Azur in a fortnight by blockading Calais for no readily apparent reason.

Business throws cold water on gov hot air proposals

The Mighty Biff

Nationalise El Reg !

Oh yeah, I'd love to live in a country where you could only get food from the State... That sounds awesome. Though I wasn't aware that was the case in Germany and France. Must look up Lidl on Wikipedia..

The State is godawful at running anything. The private sector may not provide utopia, but if it's regulated properly, it's a much better bet than any other party in town. If nothing else, it's much easier for the government to step in with an axe if they're not in charge (see the East Coast mainline shennanigans recently).

I agree with comments about the CBI - they're not known for long term thinking.

Tories don black cap for ID cards

The Mighty Biff

Smash the rich

Well it ent the Tories that'll be paying to break these contracts - it'll be the Treasury, i.e. the taxpayer, i.e. us.

So, James, you've got it completely back to front.

Wayland - perhaps they're saying they're going to scrap em because, er, well, maybe they are actually going to scrap them ! Gumpf !

They've said this fairly consistently over the last few years, so it seems unlikely that they are really in favour of them. Contrast that with their reticence to go into much detail over other policies...

Yahoo! exposes very own stuffed elephant code

The Mighty Biff

Hadaway and

But what was the elephant named after ???

Curious minds (with nothing better to do) demand to know !

Swivel-shed v polar stilt-scope in Big Bang boffinry clash

The Mighty Biff
Thumb Up

Nearly there

I think that Garret got it more righter than I did. Thanks Garret !

The Mighty Biff

Re Ripples

They ent detecting gravity waves directly - they're looking for the effects that this primordial space-time wibbly wobblying would have had on the cosmic microwave background radiation, a la COBE.

It should see hot spots where the waves are in compression, and cold bits where they stretched space (well, relatively - it was all being stretched humunguosly; the gravity waves just overlayed a little extra squishing and stretching on top).

Presumably, their awesome theory predicts a particular pattern of hot and cold, rather than just a bunch of random speckles ?

Blighty's black honeybee comes in from the cold

The Mighty Biff

One million dollars !

10 grand ? Isn't that basically no money ?

Or have I banged my head and woken up in the 60s ?

Opera scrambles to quash zero-day bug in freshly-patched browser

The Mighty Biff

IE7 rules ! Oh wait...

Hmm. Click me eh ?

IE proudly announces that it's blocked a popup ! Then raises a javascript permissions error (sounds good doesn't it ?). Acknowledging the JS error then activates my mail client (Eudora).

So that's a FAIL then.

Silverlight 2.0: killer features, no Flash killer

The Mighty Biff
Jobs Horns

Corporate users

But it will be popular on corporate intranets. Web app front ends are still somewhat lacking in performance and features when compared to client executables running on every user's machine. This would seem to fix that problem nicely.

It's all about building and maintaining the developer base. People tend to develop applications using tools that they know. Flash and Ruby on Rails may be teh awesome, but if Megacorp has a gross of .NET programmers on the payroll, they'll start using Silverlight.

Fancy nipping for a quick two-thirds of a pint?

The Mighty Biff

London bleergh

I'd gladly pay to drink less London beer. I mean, London Pride ? You ought to be ashamed.

Lehman Excel snafu could cost Barclays dear

The Mighty Biff

re re re

No sensible suggestions on what should have been used I see.

'A proper document'. (www.properdocument.com ?). Ah yes. That's the solution. We can add up all the numbers by hand and then scribe them to vellum.

Surely the Reg readership would prefer to stick it to the 'junior LAW associate' than the much beloved Excel ? This is what happens when you let liberal arts students loose with technology (etc etc etc).