* Posts by 4HiMarks

64 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009


Cambridge boffins build laser 'unprinter' to burn pages clean


This sounds very much

like a solution without a problem.

PhD pimp's mobe lock screen outwits Feds - Google told to help


the FBI needs help

decrypting sophisticated alphanumeric codes, too:


Motorola Atrix Lapdock


I have the phone

but took a pass on the lapdock. Not only is the hardware itself way overpriced, but AT&T also requires the top (4GB/month) data plan, as well as a $20/month 'tethering" charge. For tethering what? The thing is a brick without the phone installed.

I might *just barely* consider the multimedia dock worthwhile. It comes with a wireless keyboard, mouse and IR remote, and has a mini-HDMI, PSU connection, and 3 USB ports at a fraction of the lapdock price (supply your own screen, though). Tethering is supposed to be optional, as long as you use an existing wifi network. Once you attenpt to connect via 4G, it's $20 a month again.

Google waggles free* Android phones at Americans


Many phones are free*

*with two year commitment. It just depends on what kind of phone you want. The latest and greatest thing, with all the bells and whistles, is going to cost some coin, but it is still heavily subsidized over the cost of buying one without a contract. If you are satisfied with a refurbished version of a model that came out 6 or more months ago, it can usually be had for free, or practically so.

My GF and I just upgraded our phones from dinosaurs to smart phones. She got a refurbished iPhone 3GS, and I got a refurbished Motorola Atrix. Total outlay: less than $60 (mostly for the Atrix, since it is newer). Cost of those phones without a contract? Well, you couldn't get a refurb, so you'd have to buy them new, and pay full price, which would probably run at least $400 each.

Nuclear Mars tank to roam imposing crater


But in Reg standard units

96 miles in diameter is 896.4971 milliWales. Other conversions left as an exercise for the reader.

Official: Pastafarian strainer titfer is religious headgear


psychological fitness

Even more questionable, what does being psychologically fit have to do with driving a car?

Netflix splits DVD, streaming offers in 60% price hike


OTA costs nothing

In the USA you are free to erect an antenna and pay nothing for your television signal. No "TV license" fees; nothing at all. I am constantly amazed that the gov't taxes you all to have a TV. With Netflix and the like, we are free to pay or not, depending on whether we think it's worth the money. Personally, I don't have enough time to watch movies to justify the expense. It would actually be cheaper to buy a disc every 4 to 6 months when we have the chance to watch one.

Parmo v poutine: The ultimate post-pub nosh deathmatch


microwavable burritos

'Nuff said

Brewer bashes Beeb over anti-beer bias


Lager yeast *is* bottom fermenting

As a homebrewer, I know the difference. Lager yeast is bottom fermenting, and typically requires cold temperatures (barely above freezing) and a long time to clear (a process know as lagering). Who has that kind of time? An ale can be ready to drink in two weeks or less from the time the wort is boiled, although aging longer can be beneficial, allowing the flavors to meld more completely.

FBI fat-thumbs data centre raid


Where is "North Virginia"?

Reston, Virginia is the center of the Washington, DC area "tech corridor", but there is no such state as North Virginia. The Virginia suburbs of DC are colloquially referred to as "Northern Virginia", but there is no official designation.

Best Buy slams brakes on UK stores amid spending freeze


very surprised

Best Buy have not sold "nice kit" in some time, now. On this side of the pond, their stores seem to be filled with their "pet" brands of Insignia and Dynex, which seem to fall apart the moment you take them out of the box. I'd say their market is people who can't wait a few days for cheap crap to be shipped to them from Amazon.

Police ROBOT attacks and BURNS DOWN HOUSE



Surely this should be filed under it?

Flames because, well duh!

San Francisco BOFH must cough up $1.5m



Try this thought experiment.

Some bloke calls up a locksmith and claims he lost his keys. The locksmith cuts him a new set and the man uses them to enter YOUR house and steal all your stuff. He never proved to the locksmith that he actually was authorized to enter the house. Was the locksmith negligent?

Brazilians slap health warnings on knickers

Paris Hilton

Wrong warnings

If they want people to read them, they ought to put warnings for blokes on the women's underthings and vice versa. Look how well it worked putting advertising on beach volleyball player's backsides.

Northants cops blow up suspicious school play prop


On the other hand

A security guard recently found an apparently lost toolbox outside a Federal building in Detroit. He brought it inside and placed it in the lost and found. Two week later someone decided to X-ray it and discovered that it WAS a bomb. All security guards were subsequently required to take a refresher course on handling of "suspicious packages".

YouTube to launch paid video-on-demand service


this time?

Sounds more like a clone of VUDU, but without the STB. Oh wait, VUDU doesn't have an STB anymore either. And you can get it in a browser, now too.

The best sci-fi film never made: Also-rans take a bow


Does the MOVIE count as unmade

...if the only thing in common is the title, and maybe one or two character names, like just about every James Bond film ever made.

I don't know if I should be proud or disappointed to see that list contain two of my nominations.

I think there's a book in the pocket somewhere...

So, what's the best sci-fi film never made?


I will be emailing

Yes to anything by Niven, particularly the stories featuring Beowulf Shaeffer. Any one might not be enough for a feature-length film, but string a few together.

+1 to the Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I have actually been thinking about how to cast that recently - Angelina Joile with a blond dye-job as Wye Knott, and Morgan Freeman as Prof. De La Paz, but I'm coming up blank on a good young Latin actor for Manny. Definitely NOT any of Heinlein's later stuff - its mostly literary masturbation. Glory Road could be interesting, though.

In a similar vein, Philip Jose Farmer's Kickaha series. Plus the Riverworld books - Sam would be a great protagonist.

John Varley's Titan series. Or the Ophiuchi Hotline - it could get a green light now after the whole bruhaha over the "13th Zodiac constellation" a few months back. The Persistence of Vision is a great short story, but I don't think there's enough there for a movie - not to mention the orgies would ensure it a NC17 rating...

+1 to Stainless Steel Rat

The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K. LeGuin)

Sony Pictures opens wallet for Bond 23

Thumb Up

You are not alone

OHMSS is my favorite Bond as well. The "morning after" ski sequence with Traci is just fantastic. I may have a soft spot in my heart for it though, as it was the first one I saw in a theater. My Dad took me to see it when I was about 10.

Lads from Lagos pop up in Libya

Thumb Up

cost-saving measure?

Does the Lord Chamberlain have a Yahoo account to save the Crown money for proper domain registration and hosting fees?

Punter bags 500GB SSD, finds 128MB Flash inside


even so-called reputable dealers

I once bought a brand-name external dial-up modem (US Robotics?) from a Brick-and-mortar store (with initials BB). When I got it home and opened the factory shrink-wrapped box, instead of a modem, it contained a length of chain, encased in a plastic tube so it didn't rattle. I brought it back to the store an hour after buying it, and they cheerfully offered a replacement.

Sex Party's down-under struggles with dominant Catholic priests


Polling in Churches?!

Wassamatter, don't they have schools in Oz? Why are they using churches (or even parish halls) as polling places in the first place?

Teens who listen to music a lot are at high risk of depression


I question whether it is even the music

Could it be the headphones/earbuds or whatever the teens use to drown out the outside world that is really to blame? Did they control for that, I wonder?

RSA explains how attackers breached its systems


maybe not so stupid

A bomb left outside a US government office building in Detroit was brought inside by a security guard and sat in the lost-and-found for two weeks before someone decided to X-ray it. All guards in the building are now being re-trained as to the meaning of "Treat all unattended packages as highly suspicious."

Australians can’t read or count


not Disraeli

I always thought it was Mark Twain who said it, but he merely popularized it. He attributed it to Disraeli, but there is no evidence he ever said such a thing:


A statistician of my acquaintance had a quote on the door to his office that read:

"It is true that it is easy to lie with statistics. But it is also impossible to tell the truth without them."

FBI asks for help to crack mystery code in 12-year-old murder case


Thought it was a reprint

w3 ar3 l33t h4x0rs. J00 FB1 guy5 w1ll n3v3r c4+ch u5. J00 ar3 n0+ k3w1 3n0ugh. 0ur h4x0r1ng w1ll d35troy j00. pH34r u5.

from an old story on BBSpot:


Paramount buries Dune remake


I agree

Too bad SciFi, excuse me, SyFy, lost their way. I don't think I've watched them in some time. Now that BBC America HD is running Dr. Who, I don't have to.

Yank fires up iPhone-controlled beer cannon


Bud is not American

It is now your problem. Anheuser-Busch was bought out by Belgian beverage giant InBev a couple of years ago. True American owned breweries are making some of the best beer in the world right now. We just don't share it with you lot across the pond, because there isn't enough. There are even some decent brews in cans now. Try a Dale's Pale Ale or Little Yellow Pils.

Dogfish Head is making extraordinary stuff, as are Flying Dog and Clipper City/Heavy Seas. And those are just the breweries that are local to me. Go to a hotbed of craft breweryship like Colorado or Oregon, and you'll find dozens, if not hundreds, of incredibly tasty beers that are only sold on tap within a 50-mile radius of the brewery.

Unfortunately, we were settled by a bunch of tight-a$$es who got kicked out of Britain because of it, and they wrote all the liquor laws here, which favor the large distributors who have marketing agreements with the giants like A-B and Miller-Coors. It's just like Microsoft and Dell put a stranglehold on the availability of [computers with] decent operating systems.

Mum arrested for seducing teen on Xbox Live



One thing that has escaped attention so far is the fact that the alleged perpetrator allegedly drove from Florida to Maryland during Thanksgiving to allegedly commit the alleged crime. This is no short distance. Even if it was extreme northern Florida, it is more than a full day's drive each way (about 1000-1200 miles or so). And during Thanksgiving, which is the heaviest travel period of the year, the traffic would have been horrendous.

If it was her intent to seduce some kid, surely she could have found one closer? I mean if she's going to fly across the country, why not fly to Maryland instead of flying to Florida and then driving 1000 miles. The flight times are about the same.

Coder converts Kinect to air guitar


Air guitar Championships are never going to be the same

He should win easily, no doubt.


Feral dromedaries besiege Oz Outback town


Gubmint camel

I think it's a rabbit built to gov't specs.

Apple voids warranties over cigarette smoke, users say


a good trick

RE: a popular "poisoned dagger" weapon coating in the middle ages.

That would be a very good trick since nicotine comes from tobacco, which is native to the New World. The Middle Ages were over by the time of Columbus.

US data firm blows s**t out of server


bulletproof hosting?

If only those boys could be recruited to "service" some servers in Hong Kong and certain Eastern Bloc countries...

Catholic priests, scientists head to Rome to ponder alien life


Was Jesus an alien?

A non-human being with wings artificially impregnated some poor carpenter's wife, who gave birth to a son who could walk on water, transform water into wine, cure the sick, raise the dead, and perform other feats no human before or since has been able to accomplish. Sounds like an alien to me.

@Andrew Martin: Are you kidding? We've still got no real evidence of any "supreme being," intelligent or otherwise.

Asking everyone to take a position on something for which there is no evidence one way or another seems to me to be right up the Vatican's alley.

NASA hands over $900K for Laser propulsion system


RE: Fountains of Paradise

Yes, but did you also read the book where some terrorists set off a bomb which severed the tether near the top, and thousands of miles of very strong cable, carrying enormous amounts of kinetic energy, rained down on the port city which had grown up around the base?

Sony to bring Risk to the big screen


What's next?

Pong - the Movie? Can't wait for Minesweeper.

I think Stratego would make a better film than Risk.

Then there is the classic game movie of all time:


Woman rings cops to decry daughter's superior BJ skills

Paris Hilton

I volunteer

to be a totally impartial judge.

Paris, you have to ask?

Think you're tech savvy? You won't be when you're old



Same thing applies to manual transmissions here in the States. Almost all cars these days are sold with automatics, and your average teenager has probably never even *seen* a car with a stick shift, much less driven one.

I finally bought my first automatic car a few months ago since the traffic here has gotten so bad I kept getting cramps in my left leg due to an excess of clutching. It is also my first car with 4 doors as all my friends are no longer spring chickens, either.

You can count my mother among the technically un-savvy, but she has always been that way. It has nothing to do with her age. I'm getting annoyed by the size of things, my eyes can't make out the tiny type, and my fat fingers can't push the tiny buttons. Then they keep trying to cram more crap that I don't want or use into devices. I really don't want to watch TV on my phone when I have a 50" HD screen at home with a 5.1 surround sound system and a DVR so I can wait until I get home to watch it. I talk faster than I could ever type, and typing on a 3" keyboard doesn't make it faster, so why would I want to text instead of making a phone call? Newer doesn not necessarily = better.

Suzuki unwraps Mini-like plug-in hybrid


20km on a charge?

That's not even enough to get me to work in the morning. And we don't have any outlets in the parking lot.

Plug-in cars will not succeed in the US until you can go ~400 miles in any direction without stopping for a charge, and then are able to recharge it in a few minutes before continuing.

Toshiba launches first domestic fuel-cell charger


compatible fuels

So will it run on other fuels? Ethanol, say or isopropyl alcohol? What about gasoline (petrol)? How much are they charging for the refills?

Barnes & Noble whips out Nook e-reader

Thumb Down

Still too expensive

I just don't see the appeal of these things, whether they come from Sony, Amazon, or B&N. For $200+ it should come with the complete contents of Project Guttenberg and a whole lot else besides. If I still have to pay $10 or so for the book, I can get a paperback for less. One that doesn't need batteries, I can read it at the beach without worrying about getting it wet or getting sand in it. It will fit in my coat pocket, etc., etc.

Epic fail.

Disney kicks 'Ho White' out of bed


raspberry beer

I made a quite delicious chocolate raspberry stout that was anything but sweet. Lambics are generally sour, and have fruit syrups added to make them palatable. By themselves, raspberries are quite tart, so a slutty Snow White (a Tart, right?) seems like the perfect advertising vehicle.

Federal boffins: 'Giant invading snakes' will soon rule USA

Gates Horns

Python boots!

I see a new pair of exotic skinned cowboy boots in every American's future. Plus a big batch of Anaconda chili. Problem solved.

Liquid electrocar batteries could be replaced at pumps


What about spills?

How toxic is this stuff? If two of these cars crash into each other and a tank ruptures, spilling electrolyte all over, how bad is it going to be to clean up? Who pays for the cleanup?

One cellphone for every ten lags in UK prisons



Surely the authorities only have to keep an eye on all electrical outlets. It's not like the prisoners can hide one of those away. As soon as someone tries to plug in a phone charger, confiscate it.

Coin-sized nuclear isotope battery minted


@Hungry Sean

I think the Brits call popsicles "ice lollies". Both terms seem to be derived from lollypop, just from opposite ends. I guess we could theoretically also have lollycicles or icepops, which would actually make more sense when you think about it.

Beer, because it's cold too (in America, anyway.)

Who does the helpdesk really help?

IT Angle

printers and PCs

A few years ago, I bought a new Compaq computer. This was several years AFTER they got bought by HP, to the extent that compaq.com merely redirected you to HP.com. I had a problem where the PC kept hanging every time it booted, which was a probelm when you are trying to install all your applications and WIndows patches on a new machine. Call helpdesk in India:

step one: Re-install factory image - no, I just spent hours installing all my apps.

step two: unplug all peripherals and reboot - OK, it works now. Do you think it might be one of them causing the problem? I don't know. it boots now. end of call.

It happens again, So i try it with differnt peripherals plugged in until I isolate the problem: my HP All-in-one printer. When the printer is attached, boot hangs, when it isn't, no problem. Both devices are made by HP, after the merger, so they should play together, right?

Call India, explain problem. Oh, that sounds like aprinter porblem, yuou need to contact your printer manufacturer. YOU are my printer manufacturer, your company was bought out by HP several years ago. Sorry, I am not able to be helping you. Please be contacting the company that makes your printer. I am. It is you! (round and round we go.)

Finally, I find the answer on their own Knowledge Base: in those early days of multi-card readers, the PC thinks the card reader in the printer is a boot device that overrides the HDD. It's been waiting for me to insert a bootable flash memory card in my printer! I don't remember the exact solution, anymore. I either had to install new printer drivers, new firmware, or flash the BIOS, but that solved the problem.

That was nothing compared to the time when it stopped recognizing blank disks in the DVD/CD burner. They kept telling me to download and install a firmware update for the drive. How is that done? You have to burn the files to a blank CD. You can't even do it on a different machine because the part of the update process involves checking to see if you have the right kind of drive before it will even burn the disk. I wound up replacing the drive (I think the write laser had gone bad).

German cops impound motorised beer crate


try a Cruzin Cooler

That does no good. The box is all taken up by the engine and there's nothing to even keep the beer cold. He really needs something like this:


"Cruzin Cooler combines two basic necessities of life, the ability to have cold food or a beverage handy along with the means to get somewhere, without walking. The Cruzin Cooler is light-weight, comes in various sizes and colors and is available in gas and electric models, with up to a 10 mile range on electric models and 30 miles on the gas models."

AI robots to mark exams



If the exam itself is not intelligently designed, it doesn't matter how good or objective the grader is, the results are still worthless. Designing a test that actually measures what has been learned is not a trivial task, and a lot of so-called teachers are not competent at it.

Ammo rationing at Wal-Mart as panic buying sweeps US

Big Brother

They can have my gun when...

Just goes to show the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats want to take away your guns, and Republicans want to take away your porn.



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