* Posts by parrot

55 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Sep 2023


What's up with Mozilla buying ad firm Anonym? It's all about 'privacy-centric advertising'


Re: No search engine

Thanks for that. I’ll give it a try :)


No search engine

Quick question, sort of relevant but a bit tenuous, I’ve often thought it’s a bit annoying that there’s no obvious easy way of setting up the address bar in Firefox so it doesn’t search. Why can’t we have it like in the old days, where a malformed url just goes nowhere? I know there’s a risk of malware from typo squatters but for most stuff I use bookmarks anyway and if I do press enter too quick when typing a url I’d rather see an error message than trigger a search query.

Any thoughts? Am I missing something?

Meta accused of trying to discredit ad researchers


Re: "We value input"

Reminds me of these lines from The Overload by Yard Act:

“Show some respect and listen to my advice, cause if you don’t challenge me on anything you'll find I’m actually very nice.”

Meta will use your social media posts to train its AI. Europe gets an opt out


"Extreme approaches to data and AI"

"As Europe stands at the threshold of society’s next major technological evolution, some activists are advocating extreme approaches to data and AI. Let’s be clear: those positions don’t reflect European law, and they amount to an argument that Europeans shouldn’t have access to — or be properly served by — AI that the rest of the world has. We deeply disagree with that outcome."

This actually makes me feel a bit sick. Even if Meta believes its "AI" is going to have a positive effect on the world, this will at best be an "end justifies the means" sort of endeavour, which is always dubious, because the only reason anyone is letting them use this data is they can't be bothered or don't know how to stop it. Does that really constitute consent? If it was the other way around and, presented with clear accurate information, people had to opt in, would anyone actually do it? When it comes to an "extreme approach" Meta take the biscuit.

Source (linked from the Reg article): https://about.fb.com/news/2024/06/building-ai-technology-for-europeans-in-a-transparent-and-responsible-way/

Microsoft pulls Windows 11 24H2 from Insider Release Preview Channel


Re: Comming soon....

That’s numberwang!

Seething CEO shoulder surfed techie after mistaken takedown of production server


rm -rf (not big not clever)

Many years ago on 1 April, whilst working in a school, I logged a support ticket with RM saying their command had broken my Linux server. It was a stupid obvious joke and wasn’t really very funny, but I must have worded it more convincingly than I realised because I got a call from an account manager who sounded very worried.

Somehow the words “April Fool” did little to diffuse the situation. My boss seemed unconcerned and just sat opposite laughing.

Spam blocklist SORBS closed by its owner, Proofpoint


More puzzles



Miscreants claim they've snatched 560M people's info from Ticketmaster


Re: "the last four digits of the cards plus names and expiration dates"

I stopped saving card details in websites for convenience a couple of years ago, even though some sites make it tedious and annoying (talking to you, ParentPay). I no longer trust any online retailer to be secure enough not to leak something at some point. Perhaps it was naive I ever did.

PayPal is planning an ad network built off your purchase history


Re: Explotation works both sides


A thump with the pointy end of a screwdriver will fix this server! What could possibly go wrong?



My friend and I refer to it as autocarrot.



My friend, a few years younger than me, bought a posh new heat sink and fan for his PC and asked me if I’d fit it for him. It was the sort where you had to put a fair amount of force on the clip to get it in to place, and he was anxious about damaging the board. It was a routine job for me as I was swapping out maybe 20 motherboards a day at work. Bad caps were a constant problem back then.

Anyway, I messed it up, screwdriver slipped, severed a couple of tracks on the board and chipped off a little surface mount resistor. Some tense moments followed with a soldering iron, a couple of bits of wire and a fibreglass pencil. I managed to bridge the broken tracks and put back the resistor. To my great relief it booted back up and worked fine, but I felt bad when it stopped working about a year later and ended up buying him a new motherboard!

Gentoo and NetBSD ban 'AI' code, but Debian doesn't – yet



“We especially like "stochastic parrots" – in other words, they parrot their input data, but re-arranged randomly.”

Return to office mandates had senior employees jumping ship


Lager team meeting…

… is a great reason to work from home. Just blow on the mug before you drink from it so everyone thinks it’s coffee.

Windows Insiders to fly solo while Copilot rollout frozen



Ten years ago Microsoft bought Nokia's phone unit – then killed it as a tax write-off


Re: Hm. From a user perspective (my family...)

Thank you, that looks great. Currently using an iPhone but will be looking at this when I eventually switch.


Re: Hm. From a user perspective (my family...)

The interface was the bit Microsoft got right in my opinion, tiles customisable for regularly used functions on the front, everything else in an alphabetical list at the back. Simple.

I would love to go back to it, if only it were possible, I find iOS and Android cluttered and unintuitive in comparison.

AI Catholic 'priest' defrocked after recommending Gatorade baptism


Re: Surely you mean

“Now what would you say to a nice cup of Gatorade, Father?”

“Feck off cup!”

(Like that you mean?)


Most Christians would expect baptism to occur in water, because the bible says Jesus was baptised in water and they aim to follow his example. Arguably infant baptism already strays from Jesus’ example because at no point is the child fully submerged in the water but the tradition goes back centuries and is valued in many denominations of the church.

There are plenty of subjects not specifically covered by the bible itself, Gatorade is definitely one of them! Christians have to discern what they think is in the spirit of their teachings generally. There may be nothing to say you shouldn’t use Gatorade so if you really wanted to then perhaps you could. But as baptism is a meaningful public declaration of faith, I think most Christians would discern the suggestion of using Gatorade as intentionally silly and not in keeping with the occasion. Justin did not possess this necessary discernment.



I think the last paragraph of this article is a bit naive. Regardless of what you believe, or what distro you use, Christianity is more than just the kernel. Development is community driven, there are various user experiences to choose from, and users can make their own customisations too.

Anyway, here's a fun theory, you know how on some systems allow permissions will override deny permissions? Or whitelisting an address means sensible stuff like SPF gets ignored? Well, the bible at one point says, "all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial"*; Gatorade baptism might not make sense but all Justin knows is it can't say no... At least we're not talking about one of the "full immersion" forks.

* lack of context is deliberate here


Careful now

Down with this sort of thing

Microsoft confesses April Windows update breaks some VPN connections


This news…

… might explain a lot of weird stuff that’s been happening recently with our “always-on” VPN. Main symptom is intermittent connection problems to individual servers, while we can still connect to everything else. Reboot usually fixes it for a little while. Really annoying.

Shouldn't Teams, Zoom, Slack all interoperate securely for the Feds? Wyden is asking



You mean like, WhatsApp talking to Signal, talking to iMessage, talking to Telegram? That sort of interoperability?

That would be real choice… For everyone.

Tesla Cybertruck turns into world's most expensive brick after car wash


Re: So much for the resilience of Stainless Steel

Off they went with a trumpety trump, trump trump trump.


Re: "known issue"

Oh it comes with *that* Autopilot? Got stuck on the Enrollment Status Page I expect.

Copilot auto-launch bug now takes flight in multiple Windows Insider channels


Re: re : Microsoft has acknowledged an error

This feels plausible!

Copilot is already being pushed quite aggressively on my Windows 11 work computer.

Reminds me of how Windows 10 used to tell me something “went wrong” with my default PDF reader and apologetically (sorry-not-sorry) set it to Edge. Pesky “bugs”.

EU tells Meta it can't paywall privacy


Meaningful choice

“EU law requires that consent is the genuine free will of the user.”

How I wish this were meaningfully implemented on all platforms everywhere.

No more “yes” or “maybe later”.

No more “agree” or “edit settings”

No more “choice they want me to make” in a giant green button and “choice I want to make” in tiny text underneath.

Just yes or no. Or even better, don’t do it and don’t ask me.

Open source versus Microsoft: The new rebellion begins


Re: Fingers crossed

Farting Pig is no longer maintained, I’m on Boarwaft now.


Re: Really?

Excuse me, the term is “cleftal horizon”.

Head of Israeli cyber spy unit exposed ... by his own privacy mistake


Re: "9% of them do so within three days"

This is interesting. Because, in my opinion, growing car dependency has led to an acceptance of people driving who are not ideally suited to the task. Some people I know don’t like driving at all. If other transport was convenient and reliable we could have fewer drivers and better driving standards. But with things as they are this would be unacceptably discriminatory.

I wonder how/if this applies to your analogy.

404 Day celebrates the internet's most infamous no-show


Why did Oracle say “we found a phone”? I can’t work out what they mean.

Maybe it’s gone over my head. Maybe they just picked a phrase arbitrarily and it means nothing. Maybe the pheasant has no agenda?

Someone please explain!

Canadian arrested for 'stealing secret' to speedy Tesla battery production


Re: Has the man

Not quite battery. He only has a single cell.

The last mile's at risk in our hostile environment. Let’s go the extra mile to fix it


Re: Made you Click

It’s the Bob Dylan bit that got me. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a severe expectorate I want to remunerate.

Virgin Media sets up 'smart poles' next to cabinets to boost mobile network capacity

Thumb Down


Happy to be one about this “innovation”. Have they considered less clutter on the street might be more valuable than mobile coverage? I know which one matters to me, anyway.

Yes, I did just crash that critical app. And you should thank me for having done so


Not quite the Evolution you were hoping for?

Ad agency boss owned two Ferraris but wouldn't buy a real server


Re: Franken-Servers

I recognise this feeling of dread. Sales guy used to spec up a “server” for a customer and it would arrive without warning in loose bits on a pallet. Would take five times longer to prepare and was basically a PC motherboard in a case with a few drive bays and a RAID card. Didn’t feel worth the effort.

New York Times: OpenAI’s claim we 'hacked' its products both 'irrelevant' and 'false'


But you said it was Open?

Google Maps leads German tourists to week-long survival saga in Australian swamp


Danger maps

There’s a neighbourhood near me which is split by a dual carriageway. There are two footbridges and an underpass, but if you search for walking directions from a destination on one side to one on the other, Google Maps directs you into traffic on the busy three lane roundabout which serves the main road and has no provision for pedestrians.

I was mildly annoyed when I spotted this because I was looking for a quick estimated distance for a route I already know and it comes up short, but I’ve since seen two people walking over the roundabout who probably don’t know the area. Would like to report it as an error, it’s dangerous, I think I will take this as a prompt to do so. If anyone knows how please let me know.

Americans wake to widespread AT&T cellular outages


Pushing fibre

Is when mother makes you eat bran flakes.

Duo face 20 years in prison over counterfeit iPhone scam



Reminds me of the Walkers crisp competition where you could win an iPhone if you found a fake iPhone in a crisp packet. People were sending in fake iPhones they already had but the Walkers ones were unique so it didn’t work.

In its tantrum with Europe, Apple broke web apps in iOS 17 beta, still hasn't fixed them


Re: I love Apple...

Yep, in theory I’ve always thought lightning seemed like the better design but I’ve got through lots of cables and eventually even replaced ports on my old iPhones. In practice USB-C has proved to be more robust, rarely ever an issue from colleagues or kids.

Think tank funded by Big Tech argues AI’s climate impact is nothing to worry about


False equivalence

The comparison between the emissions of "an American" and AI when writing text does not acknowledge the value of the output is different. Also, comparing the entire emissions of the American's lifestyle rather than just those for performing the task itself rather implies an agenda for AI to replace the entire American.

I don't find this particularly sinister, it's questionable logic and shoddy writing, never attribute to malice etc... But it does betray an unbalanced view.

Ransomware payment rates drop to new low – now 'only 29% of victims' fork over cash


comment proser

“Threat actor” is one of those terms that makes me wince in pain. I hate it.

Microsoft's vision for the future of work is you trusting Redmond to get AI right


Re: Copilot

In consolation the Malcolm Tucker deepfake persona it was using was fairly convincing.


Where do you want to go today?

There are many advantages to going somewhere, including being somewhere else than where you were. Whether you fly or walk it can be very satisfying.

So, are we going to talk about how GitHub is an absolute boon for malware, or nah?


Re: GitHub

The gits!

New York Times sues OpenAI, Microsoft over 'millions of articles' used to train ChatGPT


Sue is innocent!

Superuser mostly helped IT, until a BSOD saw him invent a farcical fix


USB memory sticks

Soldered a lot of plugs back on to USB memory sticks for this reason too, student’s coursework deemed sufficiently important to justify this use of my time. Learned to just pull the data off and throw the stick away otherwise I’d find them still using it weeks later!

The ones with snapped circuit boards were a particularly good challenge, which to be honest I used to enjoy. Nice break from resetting passwords and putting keyboards back to their correct layout.

CLIs are simply wizard at character building. Let’s not keep them to ourselves


Re: every box or slider makes a permanent change

“Best keep a pencil and paper to hand.”

Tracing paper?

I assume this is a joke. Unless you actually carry a small portfolio of ‘manual screenshots’ everywhere? That sounds intriguing. Could imagine that sort of thing being popular in the right sort of gallery. You could manually tile them on the manual wall.

Microsoft worker accidentally exposes 38TB of sensitive data in GitHub blunder


Re: "Sharing the learnings"

It’s definitely important to own your mistakes, which is different to just saying, “I meant to do that”.