* Posts by henchan

66 posts • joined 16 Sep 2009


Japan pauses asteroid BOMBING raid – still no word from Bruce Willis?


ArtSat 2

ArtSat 2 will accompany Hayabusa 2 on the rocket before being pushed out into deep space. For seven days, on battery power, this sculpture will broadcast Dadaist poetry generated from its own sensor data. Thereafter, it will remain in orbit around the sun as an artificial asteroid for perhaps billions of years. The material from which the sculpture is made is expected to degrade after maybe hundreds of thousands of years (radiation), but a 2D representation of the sculpture in, iirc silicon, will be everlasting.

Last week I met one of the ArtSat project's designers at a Maker Faire. Apparently, they've have spent only around $100,000 on the entire project. Presumably their launch is free or cut-price.


Japanese boffins unveil INVINCIBLE robot rock, paper, scissors 'bot

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Surprisingly, Japanese people use this game quite frequently - even adults. And they are all good at it.

Coins are never tossed; putting at a disadvantage those of us whose sis-pap-brick practice lapsed during childhood. So thumbs up to the robots for humiliating my humiliators. I wonder whether they deal with a tie in the usual way: "aikoudeshou". Playing another robot they might get into an endless tie-breaker.

Hey, Bill Gates! We've found 14 IT HOTSHOTS to be the next Steve Ballmer


After all, returning Founder as Temporary CEO worked out very well for Apple.

This is really the only solution . A leader is required. One with vision, that employees, investors and customers would get behind. Nobody of that callibre could stand to have BG driving from the back-seat. So they might as well bring him back to the front. Only one man needs to be convinced and the rest just falls into place. Perhaps Melinda could keep the whole Malaria / AIDS thing going on her own?

Elon Musk unveils Hyperloop – the subsonic tube of tomorrow


Re: Yeah, good luck.

I'd like to try that test track fun-ride this year. Do you know where to buy tickets?



Re: Rodent's name?

>> わたしのなまえはピカチュウでづよ

"Watashi no namae wa pikachuu dedsu yo"

Grammatically, this should end with ですよ (desu yo). Apologies, if it is a deliberate error as part of some in-joke.

I felt this Kirobo robot had character. Could be a hit , if it ever gets released commercially in Japan.

Maggie Thatcher: The Iron Lady who saved us from drab Post Office mobes


Re: Between The Unions and Thatcher

You could also argue that Britain was 30 years ahead of Japan back in 1981. In Tokyo now I see similar conditions in the IT industry. Large zombie companies being kept alive through government's direct and indirect support, despite their persistent losses and massive public debt. Little or no chance of any dynamic start-up growing quickly, due in part to crowding-out by domestic champions who are not globally competitive. Here, the cultural problem is not class-war. Rather the opposite; excessive consensus and homogeneity driving fear of change.

Like many on this thread I despised the lady at the time, for all her divisive vindictiveness and bloody-mindedness dressed up as necessity (TINA). Still do. Yet I did grow to respect some of the things that she achieved over the years. The worse things become, the more radical the remedy will have to be. I tell my Japanese colleagues the same.

Animal Liberation drone surveillance plan draws fire

Big Brother

Whether or not the drones actually fly and get shot down, the publicity is likely to do good. Certainly with only a brace of drones available for such a large territory this is almost entirely about perception anyway.

Some farmer who otherwise would have neglected their livestock, (which most agree would be a cruel and possibly illegal act) will now think twice about how they would feel if others knew what they did. Not all neglectful farmers will change their behaviour of course. Still, some is better than none.

I am reminded of a game theory experiment about honesty and being "watched".

Effects of eye images on everyday cooperative behavior: a field experiment:


Big Brother, because He watches and protects us, yea even the beasts of the field.

New nuke could POWER WORLD UNTIL 2083


Re: "the less someone knows about something the more they underestimate its difficulty."

I am sorry to hear that you have been disappointed by some of your previous contacts with most people. As a person myself, let me try to help, if I can. You can help me by correcting my misunderstandings too.

You start well by qualifying your strong assertion "engineering wise", yet you don't hold back with your punch line "a waste of time". In my experience most people tend to hear the conclusion more forcefully than the caveats. Especially when similar language might have hurt them in their own lives. Suggested wording: "not cost-justified given present pricing of externalities". But, what is that you say: "engineers are trained to design closed systems, and externalities are zero, engineering-wise"? And there is your other problem. You hear harsh words of rejection (see above) but draw the wrong conclusions. I speculate that most people might reckon 'engineering-wise' is necessary but not sufficient to decide how to proceed with systems that are unbounded or, put another that they are part of and cannot escape from. Suggested action: take it back on yourself. Most people are generally right. (Though paradoxically nearly every individual is an idiot in their own way). Help us to become even more right by giving your valuable wisdom, while not assuming our general ignorance.

Paris Hilton


Paris, because Colin Ritchie and I joke about how we can put anything we want into her mouth and she'll just suck it up. Colin believes she reads the Mail, while I fancy she is a Greenie. It doesn't matter really because we agree that she is just DUMB.


Re: no nukes is good nukes?

Apparently, these will mainly be going to China; not expected to sell well in US. As a life-long nuclear detractor that statement gives me some hope in this new/old technology. I had always believed that the nuclear power that we bought in the 'seventies was primarily for the purpose of arms manufacture. That was one of my main objections (the other being the long half-life of waste with no good plan for its disposal). Let's assume that my assumption was correct. Now, a technology conceived half a century ago but, for political reasons, not really developed until recently may soon be exported from USA to China. If so, it surely won't be for their ease of weapons manufacture. Good. That is how it should have always been. I am not completely sold yet. But this, and some other breeder designs, certainly looks promising.

Public told to go to hell, name Pluto's two new moons


>> SETI said it is monitoring the boards for signs of spamming.

and if there are no signs, they'll pick an even easier target until ... something ... please ... anything.

Boffins spot planet that could support life... just 12 light years away


Re: Ping Time

> I've a workmate that does that. It's worse than no communication at all.

A female one? If I remember correctly, in that short story the (male) scientists got the idea from observing a pair of women talking.

Search engines we have known ... before Google crushed them


Re: There are two reasons why everyone switched to Google

Don't forget speed. Google themselves still deem it the most important "feature" of any application.

Speed was partly a corollary of uncluttered interface, I guess. But I remember the very first time I used Google. I understood web protocols, but I felt Google must be using some kind of voodoo to return relevant results in the very instant that I hit Return. Turns out it was mostly down to Ajax and their distributed back-end, which were innovations at the time.

Akihabara unplugged: Tokyo's electric town falls flat


Re: Two different planes of existence

Agreed, but in this respect at least, it is better here. Under their parents' observation, from around the age of three or four Japanese children tend to be allowed to use "handihanabi" - hand held fireworks that are a little less hot but more colourful than British sparklers. I was introduced to the soldering iron cafe through my eight year old daughter's (sadly) fleeting interest at Tokyo's Make07.

On a slightly related note, I was ashamed when I brought my children to the UK, to be required to leave a room full of toddlers because I had not been vetted. Social acceptance of default distrust disgusted me. It had apparently arisen during my absence and is thankfully not yet present in Japan.


Re: Two different planes of existence

Partly agree with this comment, though the implication that a real Japan exists elsewhere is dubious.

Not a Maker myself, but I found these people to be friendly and knowledgeable about what goes on where in Akiba :

"Handaduke-Cafe" in Akihabara (3331 Arts Chiyoda, 3F http://handazukecafe.com/ )

Literally "soldering iron cafe". Just turn up, use their equipment and tap their experience. When busy it is likely to have an English speaker present.

Fujitsu trials anti-phone fraudster tech


Re: Why is it common in Japan?

The higher number of older people who are disproportionately asset rich might have something to do with it. Japanese police are not generally corruptible in the way suggested here. Organised crime being traditionally another matter. However phone fraud is not mainstream Yakuza business.

With Raku-Raku, Fujitsu has perhaps the world's leading mobile phone brand for senior citizens. 20MM units sold in Japan, exports planned. Since they have developed this tech, a cynic might say it is not surprising that domestic phone fraud would be highlighted as a big problem in Fujitsu's marketing material.

Hooper's copyright hubs - could be a big British win with BBC backing


Re: Edge cases"

Both the cause of and the solution to the Tragedy of the Commons is private ownership. Both 'sides' of this debate should try harder to see the other's perspective.

It would be helpful if Homer 1 would admit of just one example of a morally valid use case of Intellectual Monopoly, regardless of implementation issues. It is not necessary to admit all, or even most, but I think many people agree that creativity exists and should be able to confer market value - in principle at least. Last week, somebody argued to me that Tim Berners-Lee should not be getting credit for creating the WWW, since so much of that system was derived from pre-existing work. I feel this line of reasoning throws out the baby with the bathwater. And I am not even speaking about commercialisation here (TimBL eventually gave it away). Just the basic point that his creative input made the WWW a reality and without it we'd all have been so much the poorer.

Homer 1 makes some good points about implementation. If I understood Hooper correctly, the meta data size issue would be handled using links rather than accretion. Stripped metadata remains an issue though. Even if it's illegal, the law is moot when not enforceable. I have designed a metadata solution, but this post would become too long and off-topic to tell it. Also, I agree with Homer 1 that the current system of conferring legal monopoly is more bad than good. Wholesale change, not abolition.

Sophos dangles free Android antivirus to tempt BYOD-friendly biz


The reviewer appears to be unaware of Avast! which is free, available now, has 6,000,000 users and sports all those features touted for Sophos.

Smartphones finally outsell featurephones ... in Japan


I pay 3,500 yen / month for "unlimited" service from a Wimax-only (no 3G) router for a 24 month contract. My actual download speed tends to be around 25Mbps.

A bundled smart-phone and 4G service is typically in the 6,000 / month range (24 months).

Whether Wimax or LTE, people are mostly paying about $40/month for service - after accounting for device instalments. That service would also include 3G, which has 100% coverage, whereas 4G is not yet ubiquitous across all Japan. There is precious little incentive not to take the 4G on a new phone contract so most people take 4G now. Of course this fact helps promote smart-phone sales.

Ten... Kitchen Gadget Treats


Re: Engraved handle on a kitchen knife...

Many Japanese people get their knives sharpened professionally. There is a man sets up stall outside my local supermarket twice a month. It costs about 1,000 yen.

Baffling barcode-on-steroids stickers plaster the EARTH



A good primer.

Denso is an independent Japanese car parts supplier, not a subsidiary of Toyota. http://www.globaldenso.com/en/investors/stock/index.html. Similar to Bosch in Germany.

Both at home and overseas, they have close ties to their Japanese customers - of which Toyota is the largest.

QR codes are less common in Japan than articles like this always suggest. At least for consumer applications.

I used a QR code for the first time yesterday. It was a link to an Android app I had found on my PC, and I did not want to type the URL on my phone. On-screen data transfer is another good application for this tech. It is quick and easy.

Online advertising isn't creepy enough


Re: Who are they targetting?

I predict your next car purchase will be a Fnord.

Asteroid could SMASH INTO EARTH in 2040


the keyhole

The obvious solution to this and all incoming asteroids, which always seem to have to come in through the keyhole, is to just paint over the keyhole. Anyway, it's not as if we were planning to use it again.

Fahrenheit 451 published as Bradbury finally succumbs to ebooks


Now, I can use Farenheit 451 to Kindle a Fire.

Tokyo trains get lightsabre handrails


Which line

There are dozens of railway lines in Tokyo. It's a shame that none of the English articles bothered to report which is the line with the Star Wars promotion.


According to this source, the line is the Chuo Sobu sen.

Here lies /^v.+b$/i



Temporal logic is surely the granite of state programming. But it is too hard to work with.

So, in honour of the writer and programmer a first-order, punning eulogy: Verity ⇒ ¬⊥

Googlola's closed source Android temptation


Double down Oracle On Android

Agree that Oracle is a large problem for Android. It could also be part of a solution.

Assume that Oracle gets into a winning legal position. Would it go just for maximum cash or for a more strategic play? Follow Oracle's trajectory with Java back to the '90s and it is clear that they always loved that platform. Android is the best potential growth franchise for Oracle-owned Java. If they'd cash in on a positive verdict without reinvesting the award, investors could more clearly see the long term expected value for the Java component of their $8B Sun investment. But If they'd double down on marketing partnerships, development cost sharing, product integration and reasonable licensing the Android platform could be sold as a growth story for Oracle just as Google. has so far got away with. Google apparently has few friends and can ill afford to buy any more. Their enemies are common. Better to shake hands now, Larry to Larry, on a mutually beneficial arrangement and to temper their courtroom arguments accordingly.

Icebergs measured in Manhattans: Official



Surface area of a whole iceberg is calculated by measuring the surface area of the underwater part and multiplying by 1.1.

Is the surface area of one Manhattan that of a hypothetical flat island, or does it include the buildings and population thereon at the present time?

Market rationalist pigs get the best choice of totty


achievement variance

I recently saw a supporting stat given at an old TED lecture.

Of all women ever alive, 80% have descendants now alive. The figure for men is just 40%. Presumably, in each case, of those who reached sexual maturity.

The lecturer's argument followed that this single difference explains why there is both greater excellence and greater abject failure amongst men (who need to stand out to stand a chance) than amongst women (who are pretty much on a sure thing). And this variance difference is the case in every endeavour. Averaged over the entire population though both sexes tend to rate about the same achievement levels.

Police arrest alleged LulzSec hacker 'topiary' in Scotland


sonny Jim

"You'll soon be lolling on the other side of your face."

Schmidt preaches 'deep integration' desire with Facebook, Twitter


it's about the people not the network

I am not really a user of any social network, so it is possible that i don't well understand the field. Nevertheless, I wanted to point out that your post makes assumptions which, though perhaps true right now, likely won't hold for long.

If the majority of people basically assume that the data in their network of choice belongs to themselves (and I believe that is the case), then the owners of those networks sooner or later will have to open up access or lose market share. There is no corner that they'll be able to hide in. With suitable software, any client of one network may act as a bridge to the other networks - within the scope of the data that user owns. This is equivalent to the analogue problem faced by DRM. Ultimately, the data must be rendered to its owner. And at that point it can be manipulated at the owner's convenience. Client-side adaptors may be messy, inconvenient and subject to cat-and-mouse games now, but they can and will erode any business model bent on excluding data owners from using their own stuff however they want to.

Boffins fix dead satellite using 'dirty hack' in space


You are Verity Stob?

And I claim my prize.



For want of a dirty hacker, the dirty hack was not lost.

For want of the dirty hack, an open power switch was not lost.

For want of the open power switch, a WEC was not lost.

For want of the WEC, a Samba was not lost.

For want of the Samba, a Cluster was not fucked.

Pacific rare-earth discovery: Actually just gigatonnes of dirt


variability of concentration

A significant piece missing from this analysis is variability of concentration. I have not read the original paper, so I don't know whether it goes into that.

Assuming anything but near zero variation, it seems reasonable that there would be a substantial difference between literally oceans of the muddy stuff off Hawaii and the small pools Tim mined in Greece. Not everywhere, not even in most deposits. But perhaps after further exploration we can expect enough localised concentrations to potentially make exploitation feasible even under existing economic conditions.

Microsoft commits to Windows makeover for Node.js

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more please

Good. Can we have more like that please MS.

For instance, I'd love to be able to have my users conveniently stand up their own CouchDB instance from right where they are. My app takes care of the complexity, just so long as CouchDB is online somewhere with an end-point. There are a few specialty hosts like Cloudant and IrisCouch. Joyent and DotCloud may be adding services too. But as far as I am concerned, the more accessible to end users the better.

There's plenty more projects like Node and Couch but, selfishly, these are the two I care about currently. I have to say, with this and its HTML5 strategy, MS appears to be trying to woo developers with no MS affiliation, such as myself onto its platforms. If they don't compete unfairly, I'll be open-minded.

Man says he lost $500,000 in virtual currency heist

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use it don't lose it

Whether or not the theft actually took place - and I am sceptical - this story is good news for the burgeoning currency, whose inherent strength is its ability to facilitate trade. Not really as a vehicle of asset speculation.

As a result of hearing this, more people may be reluctant to hold large quantities and may be apt to spend or trade the coin rather than holding out for appreciation. For a deflationary currency like Bitcoin, such behaviour could be just what the doctor ordered.

Bitcoin slump follows senators’ threats


online trade

I suspect the Reg is still looking for its characteristic snark w.r.t. this technology.

I like Bitcoin as a facilitator of online trade i.e. as a currency. Not so much as an investment.

The unmentioned context of the recent 30% drop is currency appreciation in hundreds of percent over a few weeks. So the real issue is not the size of the drop, but volatility. Hopefully prices will stabilise as deeper trading increases coin turn-over in the market.

IAEA: Handling of Fukushima has been exemplary


praise where it is due

Let's separate the issues here:

- Is nuclear power a good thing in general ? This seems to be your main concern.

- Did the authorities in Japan manage a bad situation as well as they could have possibly done ? This was the thrust of the report from the IAEA.

- Was Lewis's reporting predominantly accurate and better than nearly all contemporaneous reports written in English ?

In response to the third issue, I would like to take the opportunity to personally thank Lewis for his attention to detail. On two occasions I used his articles to deal with severely distraught family members urging me to get myself and my family the hell out of Japan. One of whom was becoming sick with worry. We should not forget the hysterical nature of much the reporting going on elsewhere at that time. Lewis's reports may not have been perfect, but they were very well researched and time has shown them to be predominantly accurate. It is disingenuous to pick up on specific discrepancies without referencing the context; the general quality of reporting on this issue in all media.

As it happens, I actually agree with @interested_reader about nuclear power in general, and have always held that the long-term costs and uncertainty around disposal to be unacceptable. But praise where it is due. The response of the Japanese authorities to this specific incident was apparently excellent and Lewis's articles were predominantly accurate.

Verity Stob and the super subjunction


Here here

'tis good to see Verity back and in superb form.

The top of the linked Wiki on Currying, being close to her style of wit, leads me to suspect she must be always chuckling as she goes about her daily business.

"It was invented by Moses Schönfinkel and later re-invented by Haskell Curry; because of this, some say it would be more accurate to name it schönfinkeling."

Microsoft poised to make biggest ever buy – Skype


is it the P2P ?

Could it be possible that MS is attracted by Sype's network architecture ?

If they can just keep it running the way it is now and even add new platforms, they could look forward to connected MS beachheads everywhere.

Now, can anyone comment on how feasible is a metropolitan grid of (Nokia) WinPhone7 mobile devices, operating over Skype protocol on unlicensed spectrum, interspersed with connected PCs and friendly third-party routers for back-haul ? It would be really attractive for users to cut out the carrier entirely. I doubt MS has the balls for this much disruption, but it would be very cool, especially in the fast-growing, price sensitive markets where Nokia remains strong.

Dear Google and Facebook: You don't want Skype


caveat emptor

What exactly might a purchaser of Skype be acquiring? Tick as many as applicable or write in your own:

- installed software base

- development team

- protocol

- secret encryption

- peer-to-peer network

- web site and software distribution

- brand

Bonus point: for which of your selected options does Skype management have another potential opportunity to sell the golden goose, yet keep its eggs ?

'Real' JavaScript benchmark topped by...Microsoft


∀x(p) ∧ ∃x(!p) == FALSE

all real world usage [of Javascript] has some interaction with the DOM

AND I am well aware of some real world usage of Javascript which has no interaction with the DOM


No wider point here, other than to pick up on your incorrect use of an absolute.



"all real world usage has some interaction with the DOM"

You are apparently unaware of nodejs (V8) and couchdb (SpiderMonkey) for instance. Not all JS runs in a browser nowadays.


just The Good Parts

Let's allow your assumption that most Javascript is not well written. However, a crucial point here is whether 'real' must be only empirical or may be aspirational too.

Crockford has done more than perhaps anybody else to work on improving the quality of Javascript in the wild. Including through his release of jslint. Perhaps it is reasonable to allow that Crockford is shooting at where the target will (should) be rather than where it is now. As a developer of extensions for one browser (not IE), who has a well-thumbed copy of The Good Parts on his desk, I am interested when Crockford says IE 10 handles large, well-written code better than other browsers do - even if IE10 may not benefit the majority of badly written code that is out there.

Dutch astronaut unleashes 155 mph 'Superbus'



It looks similar to a prototype vehicle from Keio University that I saw five years ago at Miraikan in Tokyo. Kaz has a top speed of 370 km/h. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliica#cite_note-1

iPlayer Global iPad app price announced



Unless I am looking at the wrong fork, it's a whole year since get-iplayer fork moved a jot.

Presumably that project would be more active if the BBC's strategy had been API, rather than application based. No doubt, Rights Management is a bitch but it's the BBC's bitch. Better for them to work on their own problems and delegate platform decisions to the developer community.


domestic market

So which is it then? BBC should be aiming for new revenue to potentially alleviate your sodding tax and licence burden. Or not?

It happens that I own an iPad and cannot use iPlayer because I am one of the estimated 10% of native Britons currently living overseas. I value the BBC for its (subjectively) high quality content. So would I go for this offering at the price? Probably. Let's see what comes available and how their content delivery network will perform over here.

Intel seeks connected home for Atom


power management

Dishwasher and washing machine are arguably the most practical household appliances to be networked. They draw relatively large power for relatively short spurts. And there is generally some flexibility in when these machines need to complete their cycle by,

Network power load-balancing applications could save the utilities a great deal of money by optimising the schedule of domestic appliance cycles against real-time power consumption on the network. Flattening peak loads to near base load.

Utilities savings could be passed on to consumers through load-aware pricing plans.

Google Translate for iPhone: hits and misses


speak in your native language

The success of speech to text is strongly determined by your accent.

Using my iPad I got 100% success in English (British English being native tongue). And for Japanese, my wife's native tongue, she got perfect results on long and very technical sentences. However, vice versa was very dodgy though we speak each others' languages. So transliteration can work flawlessly, but only in certain circumstances.

Translation between Japanese and English was really rubbish every time.

Speaking the text results out loud was reasonably understandable for both languages.



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