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Richard Speed

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LESTER looks up, spins its wheels: The Register’s beer-butler can see ...

British hip-hopsters The Streets memorably sang "It was supposed to be so easy", and that was our expectation when we approached the task of getting LESTER to "see" and trundle towards an object. After all, there are innumerable ready-made robot kits, and the Raspberry Pi is ostensibly a tool to get children interested in …
Richard Speed, 8 May 2018

Silicon can now reconfigure itself with just a jolt of electricity

Scientists have demonstrated a method of corralling micron-sized silicon particles to allow the construction and reconfiguration of new hardware, which has the potential to revolutionize chip design. The research points to a vaguely terrifying future of self-assembling and self-reconfiguring systems using a class of material …
Richard Speed, 4 May 2018
NASA Mars InSight Lander (pic: NASA/JPL-CALTECH)

The Rocky Planet Picture Show: NASA Mars InSight ready for launch

NASA's Mars InSight will launch from California’s Vandenberg airbase tomorrow morning, with the aim of discovering how rocky planets form. InSight will lift off at 1105 UTC and is intended to be the first mission to peer beneath the Martian surface, studying the planet's interior by measuring its heat output and listening for …
Richard Speed, 4 May 2018

Using Docker and Windows Server Containers? There's a patch for that

Microsoft has emitted a patch to fix a critical vulnerability in a wrapper used to launch Windows Server Containers from Go. The issue (CVE-2018-8115) is a nasty one, allowing remote code execution when importing a container image due to a failure of the library to validate what was on the way in. Exploiting the issue could …
Richard Speed, 3 May 2018
Lightning, photo via Shutterstock

Shocking. Lightning strike knocks out neuro patient's brain implant

A report published in the Journal of Neurosurgery documented the alarming experience of a patient who got a little too close for comfort to a lightning storm while undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS). DBS is used to treat neurological movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, and involves inserting electrodes into …
Richard Speed, 3 May 2018
Lunar Resource Prospector (pic: NASA)

NASA lunar rover trundles to a meeting with Doctor Hacksaw and Mister Axe

NASA has hinted that its Lunar Resource Prospector rover won’t be going to the Moon anytime soon. Not in one piece at any rate. The American space agency's new administrator, Jim Bridenstine, pulled out his axe on his third day in the job, and tweeted out what hinted at confirmation of the rover’s cancellation. We’re …
Richard Speed, 2 May 2018
Boy with a backpack hides his eyes and cries. Pic by Shutterstock

Blighty: If EU won't let us play at Galileo, we're going home and taking encryption tech with us

Britain has warned it would attempt to stop the EU using its encryption tech on the Galileo project while launching its own satellites. The UK is able to block the EU from ordering any more Galileo satellites while it remains a member of the club. Such a move would, however, only result in a short delay and may actually end up …
Richard Speed, 2 May 2018

DIY device tinkerer iFixit weighs in on 15-month jail term for PC recycler

DIY repair outfit iFixit has weighed in on the fate of PC reseller Eric Lundgren, who is due to spend up to 15 months in the clink following copyright infringement charges. iFixit is no stranger to repair and recycling legal issues, being a vocal supporter of Right to Repair legislation. "We tried to broker a peace before …
Richard Speed, 2 May 2018
Burning money, photo via Shutterstock

Graphene-wrangler Paragraf slurps a cool £2.9m

Updated Paragraf, a Cambridge-based outfit claiming to have achieved the first commercial-scale graphene production technique, scored what would seem a relatively paltry £2.9m in seed funding today. Graphene, the wonder-material that is notable for both generating exciting lab results and burning prodigious amounts of cash, has proven …
Richard Speed, 1 May 2018
A cute cat in a jumper waves goodbye.... Pic via Shutterstock

Press F to pay respects to the Windows 10 April Update casualties

The Windows 10 April Update has begun seeping out from beneath the Redmond bathroom door. As an antidote to the excitement of the new, let us take a moment to mourn the passing of the old. First on Microsoft's roll of honour was Groove Music Pass. The music service, which was loved by a niche of users, got a Spotify-shaped …
Richard Speed, 1 May 2018
NASA Galileo Probe (Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA dusts off FORTRAN manual, revives 20-year-old data on Ganymede

NASA scientists have made some new discoveries about Jupiter's giant moon Ganymede, thanks to a dedicated team, an elderly VAX machine and 20-year-old data from the long-defunct Galileo probe. Fifteen years after Galileo (no, not that one) ended its days with a plunge into the atmosphere of Jupiter, NASA scientists have …
Richard Speed, 1 May 2018
New Shepard Launch (pic: Blue Origin)

Mannequin Skywalker takes high ground on Bezos-backed rocket

Jeff Bezos-founded spaceflight firm Blue Origin set a company record yesterday by sending its capsule on a sub-orbital trajectory with an apogee of 351,000 feet (107km) before landing both booster and capsule safely in West Texas. It was the company's eighth flight using the third version of the New Shepard booster – a single- …
Richard Speed, 30 Apr 2018

Double double, soil and trouble, fire burn and heat shield bubble: NASA cracks rover, has dirty talk with ESA

There was good news and bad news for interplanetary exploration today. The bad news is that the heat shield for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover has cracked. Thankfully, it hasn't even taken off let alone attempted to land on Earth's sister world. The good news is that NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed an agreement …
Richard Speed, 27 Apr 2018
Sentinel-3B Lift Off  (pic: ESA)

It's not rocket science! Actually it is, and it's been a busy frickin week

Russia and China celebrated a pair of successful launches this week, with a Rockot booster placing Sentinel-3B into orbit while China's Long March 11 lobbed five imaging sats into space. The launch for the European Space Agency (ESA) on Wednesday evening from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome added to the growing Copernicus fleet with a …
Richard Speed, 27 Apr 2018
Gemini eSIM management (pic: El Reg)

We wanted a camera, they gave us the eye of Gemini – and an eSIM

The plucky little PDA that could is getting some upgrades. El Reg popped into Planet Computing's London office to get cosy with some of the new Gemini toys due to launch in the not-too-distant future. I spent some time earlier this month in the company of the Psion-inspired Gemini and came away impressed, but had a few …
Richard Speed, 27 Apr 2018
Gravitation Lensing (pic: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild and F. Summers (STScI))

James Webb Space Telescope + luck = long distance astrofun

Researchers hope that NASA's budgetary-challenged James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) may score some good fortune with a boost from galactic alignment. While European Space Agency (ESA) scientists are breathless with excitement at the volume of star survey data received from the Gaia satellite, NASA researchers are comforting …
Richard Speed, 26 Apr 2018
Windows Update needs divine help (pic: Chico Santiago)

Springwatch: Windows 10 spotters May have to wait a few more weeks

Updated Windows 10 Springwatch is headed for a fourth week, with the troubled update rumoured to have a name and possibly a release date. Having been pulled at the last minute due to "reliability issues" causing an unusually high number of Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) errors, the update has gone missing in action. A week after Windows …
Richard Speed, 26 Apr 2018
ESA's Gaia star map

Incredible Euro space agency data leak... just as planned: 1.7bn stars in our galaxy mapped

The European Space Agency (ESA) has emitted a huge dump of data from its Gaia mission to 3D map the Milky Way. Wednesday's mega-release, containing high precision measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars, dwarfs the first release of data in 2016, which pinned down the position of 1.14 billion stars and the distances and motion …
Richard Speed, 26 Apr 2018
Halo 5 Guardians

You say Halo and I say goodbye: Microsoft has a word with unauthorised mod devs

Microsoft has come down hard on ElDewrito, a community-made mod for the cancelled Halo Online, lobbing DMCA takedown notices and sending its legal team to have a "brief conversation" with the modders. Halo Online was originally a free-to-play multiplayer PC game tested in Russia. With Microsoft doubtless preferring gamers …
Richard Speed, 25 Apr 2018
Astronaut losing control in space

Blighty stuffs itself in Galileo airlock and dares Europe to pull the lever

The furore over Britain's potential loss of access to Europe's Galileo satellite system post-Brexit turned up a notch this week – as a report blamed British officials' iffy approach to negotiations. The report in question, published on April 24 by Parliament's Select Committee for European Scrutiny, asked some questions that …
Richard Speed, 25 Apr 2018
Teen takes selfie with patient in hospital bed (in homey setting)

$50 add-on can turn your mobe into a less misanthropic House MD

Researchers have come up with an optical gadget which, when attached to a smartphone, can check samples for 12 infectious diseases at once. The team, led by Lei Li, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University, devised the equipment to solve the problem of diagnosis …
Richard Speed, 25 Apr 2018
ESA Sentinel 3 (pic: ESA/ATG medialab)

Russians poised to fire intercontinental ballistic missile... into space with Sentinel-3 sat on board

The European Space Agency (ESA) is all a-quiver at the prospect of the second Sentinel-3 satellite launch, due this evening atop a Russian Rockot launcher. The spacecraft will ride to space at 1757 UTC on 25 April from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia aboard an elderly converted Intercontinental Ballistic Missile ( …
Richard Speed, 25 Apr 2018
Boy with binoculars photo via Shutterstock

Windows 10 Springwatch: See the majestic Microsoft in its natural habitat, fixing stuff the last patch broke

Windows 10 Springwatch participants got a treat last night in the form of a bumper update to Windows 10 1709 (aka the Fall Creators Update). The patch (KB4093105) landed a week after older versions of Windows 10 (1703 and 1609) got their own variety of Microsoft's secret sauce. The patch included a truckload of what Redmond …
Richard Speed, 24 Apr 2018

Reg writer Richard went to the cupboard, seeking a Windows Phone...

Microsoft's US store appeared to have finally sold out of the Seattle software maker's relatively unloved mobile phone last week, but Redmond may yet find a few more hidden behind the sofa. The remaining two devices, an HP Elite x3 and Alcatel IDOL 4S, had been on sale for prices that would have set the teeth grinding of users …
Richard Speed, 24 Apr 2018
Skeleton Using Cell Phone

Bungling cops try to use dead chap's fingers to unlock his smartmobe

Detectives from Largo, Florida, visited a funeral home in nearby Clearwater and tried, unsuccessfully, to unlock a phone with the hand of its deceased owner to aid an investigation. Thirty-year-old Linus Phillip was shot and killed by a Largo police officer in March. His fiancée, Victoria Armstrong, was at the funeral home …
Richard Speed, 23 Apr 2018

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