* Posts by Dr Patrick J R Harkin

804 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Jan 2008


Samsung's free-falling financial flameout

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

How many Note 7s actually went up?

I know that any number greater than 1 is shall we way "sub-optimal", but the feeling in the media is that it was "lots more than other phones" but I can't get a handle on actual figures.

Not call, Intel – not call: Chipzilla modems in iPhone 7s fall short

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Obvious why they're doing it.

Completists will have to buy two phones - one of each type. It's the "Colelctor's Edition" book [phenomenon all over again.

ExoMars update: Schiaparelli probe's parachute malfunctioned

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I hear Jeff Wayne is working on an ew album

♫ ♬ The chances of anything getting to Mars are a million to one, it seems ♪ ♬

AI, AI, captain: Royal Navy warships to set sail with computer officers

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

You've left out the most important bit.

What does STARTLE stand for?

I assume it is an acronym - generated by the Governments billion-pound What Acronym Suits This Exercise unit.

Spinal Tap’s bass player sues former French sewer

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I think I know what happened.

They meant to write % on the contract but accidentally wrote ‰.

Forget malware, crooks are cracking ATMs the old-fashioned way – with explosives

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"The majority were explosive gas attacks"

I'm intrigued as to how you'd make that work. Obviously, I know about gas explosions - but they require a reasonable volume of gas which must be hard to arrange near an ATM and aren't directional. Thoughts? Drill a hole and pipe in oxygen/acetylene? (Or ethyne, as I believe the young people call it nowadays)

Drone idiots are still endangering real aircraft and breaking the rules

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Is the "domestic level" tech capable of this?

The report at 9000 feet puts the operator (assuming he was on the ground!) nearly two miles from the drone. Do those things have that range?

London cops strap on new body cams

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Optional activation = propaganda

"All the time" includes when they go to the toilet, which could be considered an invasion of privacy. And taste.

There might also be times when there could be reasonable belief that the camera would be considered intrusive - dealing with bereaved relatives, for example.

However, if the rule is "If you're on duty, camera is on duty too, unless you can justify turning it off", I think that would reasonably cover things.

I'm also unsure how much the reduction in complaints is the police behaving better because they're being recorded - or factitious complaints being prevented, in which case the police will want them on all the time anyway.

Wi-Fi baby heart monitor may have the worst IoT security of 2016

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

It could be worse.

At least the sock doesn't use a Samsung battery...

Boffins eschew silicon to build tiniest-ever transistor, just 1nm long

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Enter Molybdenum disulphide - MoS2 – in which electrons are “heavier”

<Blinks silently>

Steve Jobs' thermonuclear showdown with Samsung reaches US Supreme Court

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

It's blatant copying...

First one side sues and then the other side sues them back...

British trio win Nobel prize for physics

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I don't believe "stange states" of matter explain everything.

OK, superconductors, I give you that. And quantum entanglement, obviously. Galactic over-spinning. Event horizons. Bose-Einstein condensates. Yes, yes, yes.

But Donald Trump? Nothing's THAT strange!

Should Computer Misuse Act offences committed in UK be prosecuted in UK?

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Surely the CMA con ONLY be prosecuted in thge UK?

If the offence occurred in the US, then the equivalent US law is applied but only in a US court.

If I launch a piano by trebuchet over an international boundary and damage a house in another country, the laws against criminal damage of that country apply and I should face trial over there. If instead of a piano, I use a cow, then laws against animal cruelty may have been broken in two jurisdictions and charges could be pressed in both location.

What’s that Sooty? You want a girlfriend?

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Never might Sooty & Sue, what about...

Hector & Madam Zsa Zsa?

Amazon: Students, we'll give you $2.5m for a chat-up, AI?

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"...university students...capable of holding a...conversation..."

Well, there's your problem.

Judge makes minor tweaks to sex ban IT man's order

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

What are the options?

Do: damned.

Don't: damned.

He has not been convicted of carrying out an offence but a group of suitably qualified people are sufficiently worried about his personality that they judge him a risk to other members of society.

If he never commits an offence - the judge gets it for imposing this order.

If he does, the judge gets it for not locking him up (previous offence or no).

Sysadmin gets 5 years for slurping contractor payments to employer

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Quis sysadminiat ispos sysasminodes?

But I must ponder on why the final miscreant got a suspended sentence but no community work order. Obviously, it can't be her gender which made a difference in sentencing, could it?

Londoners react with horror to Tube Chat initiative

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

If I lived in London...

By now I would be stood at the entrance to Kings Cross tube selling "PISS OFF AND LEAVE ME ALONE" badges for a quid a throw. I reckon by the end of the rush hour, I could retire.

Complaints against cops down 93% thanks to bodycams – study

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Perhaps it's time to issue body cams to alll...

...football managers. And politicians.

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: This is outstanding.

It could of course be that people don't make baseless complaints when they know the police have video evidence which would refute them. You can interpret this either way - but frankly I'm happy with the result, whatever the mechanism is.

Either police or behaving better or the public are behaving better or (gasp) a bit of both. Win/win/win.

ZX Spectrum Vega+ will ship on time, developer claims amid doubts

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

ZX Spectrum Vega+ will ship on time

So, not full emulation then?

It's Pablo Pic-arsehole: Turner Prize wannabe hits rock bottom

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"£20,000 in one-pence coins"

I'm going to submit a totally different exhibit next year, using one-penny coins.

Indefatigable WikiBots keep Wikipedia battles going long after humans give up and go home

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I want to see

PassiveAggressiveBot vs GrammarNaziBot

"I couldn't being myself to automatically change someone else's text."

"The use of the split infinitive is not good style - you should write 'to change someone else's text automatically'."

"I'd be very happy if I was as confident as you in correcting grammar."

"The conditional takes the plural form - you should write 'if I were as confident as you'"

UK Science Museum will reconsider its 'sexist' brain quiz

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

[Ignores main issue]

They've got the Venus/female symbol the wrong way up on their feedback page.

Microsoft thinks time crystals may be viable after all

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

And that, ladies and gentlemen...

....is why I have chosen to resign from my position as Member of Parliament for Witney.

Phoney bling ring pinged by Tolkien's kin

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: He represented himself over the phone ?

" He represented himself over the phone ? Is that some local specialty ? When you're summoned to court, aren't you (or your lawyer) generally supposed to be there ?"

One does not simply walk into Oz court.

'Alien megastructure' Tabby's Star: Light is definitely dimming

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Building a barrier around an entire star?

Who knew aliens had Trump too.

Swede suffers shrinking penis after dentist fits mouthguard

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Having recently given up my GMC licence to practice, I shouldn't diagnose, but...

...this article might be worth reading while considering this case.

Just saying.


FBI electronics nerd confesses: I fed spy tech blueprints to China

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I'm surprised the structure of the FBI is secret.

If you took a photo of our organisational map it'd be out of date before you got to the door.

Argos changes 150 easily guessed drop-off system passwords

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

But it's hard to change passwords...

...once they've been written down in the Laminated Book of Dreams!

It's 2016 and your passwords can still be sniffed from wireless keyboards

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Lots of mentions of TEMPEST...

...but surely that only works on CRTs and now (nearly) everyone has LED/LCD screens it's obsolete.

I'm more taken by the claim that it's possible " to .. “sniff” all the keystrokes of wireless keyboards from ... up to 100 metres away." Now, I appreciate "up to 100" includes "a maximum of 5" but this MS3000 won't do more than about 10 feet. Or is that a limitation of my receiver and they're using Arecibo-size kit?

Harrison Ford's leg, in the Star Wars film, with the Millennium Falcon door

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

His leg?

They seem terribly upset about a little thing like a broken leg considering he then got run through with a light sabre and dropped off a bridge. And did you see how few handrails there were round the enormous drops in the Evil Base? Health & Safety gone to lunch, if you ask me...

Oz boffins cook quantum computing out of mothballs

Dr Patrick J R Harkin


We store the data in chlorine [www.theregister.co.uk/2016/07/18/smallest_hard_disk_drive_stores_a_kilobyte_of_memory_in_atoms/] and process it in carbon. When did Computing become Chemistry?

Newly spotted distant dwarf planet orbits the Sun every 700 years

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Brighter than expected. Beyond the orbit of Pluto.

It couldn't be Mondas, could it?

Scientists want you to know how to have sex with a hyper-long dong

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Hyper-long and quick

From memory of A-Level Biology (in the days when the main text was Ye Origin of Fpecief) there are fish with left * right handed genitalia and a male "leftie" can only mate with a female "rightie". Ah, here's an example - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-eyed_fish#Reproductive_organs

Microsoft's cringey 'Hey bae <3' recruiter email translated by El Reg

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Obviously a fake. It uses a mixture of cases and the punctuation marks are mostly in the right places.

And it didn't offer to upgrade my PC to Windows 10.

NASA firms up Space Launch System nanosat manifest

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Why has the last picture...

...got WALL-E's head in it?

US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Some Department of Commerce weather alert systems use Fortran

There was a conference in this building only last week on "Modern FORTRAN". It surprised me, as we are a medical school but our top floor is a biomedical "big data" research institute.

Theranos bins two years of test results

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I don't quite understand how it happened, even in the US, but in the UK, machines which had not been validated wouldn't be licensed for clinical use.

Chaps make working 6502 CPU by hand. Because why not?

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Because why not indeed

Valves? I spit on valves.

I want to see it done using dominoes.


Hmmm, where should I dump those unencrypted password files? I know - OneDrive

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

The solution is obvious.

There are characters which you can't have in a file name. Just add "p", "s", "w", "r" and "d" and

Art heist 'pranksters' sent down for six months

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"tend to shoot first and ask questions later"

If they bother with the questions at all.

Wasps force two passenger jets into emergency landings

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Wasps force two passenger jets into emergency landings

And that's why I always fly Bee A.

I'm here all week, try the fish.

Germans stick traffic lights in pavements for addicts who can't take their eyes off phones

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

They're fixated on the smartphone screen so...

....they don't see the kerb (International sign meaning "YOUR BIT ENDS HERE. WATCH OUT FOR BRMMM BRMMMS")...

...so why do we imagine they'll see a light?

How about making smartphones where the screen doesn't illuminate as you move at walking pace? Fine in the car. Fine while stopped. But if you're walking DON'T LOOK AT THE PHOINE!

Revealed: How NASA saved the Kepler space telescope from suicide

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

So the fix was -

Turn it off and reboot in Safe Mode?

Your mother has a smooth forehead, Klingon language lovers roar at Paramount

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Essential late night listening

Drving through the night once, I pulled into services and wanted something NEW to listen to. I rummaged through their sale bin and got a Buffy audiobook narrated by Charisma Carpenter (worth the 99p just to hear her attempt at Gile's accent) and "Teach Yourself Klingon". The wrapper said it was aimed "at the tourist planning a holiday or trip to the Klingon empire" but cautioned that if you wanted to trade with the Klingons, you needed the companion tape "Business Klingon for Beginners"...

Must listen: We've found the real Bastard Operator From Hell

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Could be eviller....

The wait time is always 3 seconds. It should start at 5 minutes, then get less with each repeat until with 30 seconds to go - it resets back to 5 minutes

China's Dalek-like robots fear only one terrifying nemesis: Stairs

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

In the TV version of the Dalek invasion of London...

...they disabled Daleks using soup cans on elastic over their eyestalks. A quick spray with a paint and these guys are going to have problems, surely? Failing that, they don't look very topple-resistent, especially backwards.

Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware storms live TV weather forecast

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Here is today's forecast:

Iowa: Windows 7, rising to 10 later. Linux imminent.

Tracy Emin dons funeral shroud, marries stone

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

" wearing her father’s white funeral shroud,"

Um, if he wasn't actually buried in it, does it count as his funeral shroud?

And if he WAS buried in it - yecch! (Apart from the grave-robbing implications)