* Posts by rgjnk

48 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Jan 2024

Elon Musk says he doesn’t want 100% tariff on China-made electric vehicles


Not a surprise

Not the first time he's pushed the Party line is it?

Elon sold his soul to China when he signed the contracts to set up in Shanghai, and they've maintained a very firm grip on his balls ever since.

Tesla's oldest factory ignites another headline by catching fire


Stock pump?

If we get the usual Tesla trading patterns then a factory fire has to be worth at least a 5% increase in the stock price.

Scarlett Johansson voices anger at OpenAI's unauthorized soundalike


Is a soundalike illegal?

It they aren't outright claiming it was her, is there really a problem?

A lot of the voices you hear on adverts (for example) are soundalikes (often the same couple of people who specialise in doing this for many different voices) rather than the famous person you assume they are.

It might not be nice but they made no claims about who it was doing the voice, however it may have been inspired.

FDA gives Neuralink 'a second shot' at human brain chip


FDA approved?

Lots of stories out there cross quoting about this second go being approved but nothing in the way of official sources for it.

I'm not even sure the FDA actually approved the first attempt, seems to be more reports of rejection on multiple grounds than of any approval for it.

An attorney says she saw her library reading habits reflected in mobile ads. That's not supposed to happen

Big Brother


There's one detail that the search for answers sees to have skipped over, and it's one that some people have long harbored suspicions over when it comes to interest based ad serving.

Or maybe it's just a coincidence that audio was involved and there's some other convoluted explanation of how actions on two unrelated devices came to be linked for ads.

(I have no opinion on the likelihood, it just seems to not be mentioned as a potential sneeky mechanism)

Big brains divided over training AI with more AI: Is model collapse inevitable?


As expected

It's hardly a surprise to see people busy trying to defend the future of their house of straw when their livelihood depends on keeping it standing.

My experience so far with most of those pushing stuff for the latest AI hype cycle is that they have a very loose definition of stuff 'working' at the best of times (with 'stable' not existing at all), plus they're really keen to push their latest shiny even when it doesn't really work, especially compared other less magic methods.

I've got burned out on the whole current AI cycle; it's great for spinning dreams but reality isn't quite so kind.

Musk axes two more senior Tesla leaders, guts public policy team – report


I guess the brands that signed up to use the Supercharger standard are relearning a lesson they should have already been well aware of.

Guess some politics have been at play as there has been some very mixed messaging going on from the other brands and they were all deeply aware of who & what they were dealing with.

Open Source world's Bruce Perens emits draft Post-Open Zero Cost License


Sounds a bit off

Not sure I think much of his idea, at least not the bits involving a non-profit set up as a middleman and no doubt existing (if it's like most of them) to cream off the top for a lot of well padded sinecures, and the '1% of revenue' figure is one of those things that sounds suitably trivial but is actually a huge number, especially as it comes off the top line not the bottom one.

It ends up sounding like an absolutely toxic expensive license you'd work hard to avoid touching in any way.

Workday abandons new-build Dublin office project


How much do they need?

Given their product isn't exactly the most complicated thing ever, how many people & HQs do they really need to have?

NASA will send astronauts to patch up leaky ISS telescope


Re: So how did it "develop a leak" ?

Or is it going to be another mysterious hole drilling event?

Microsoft to use Windows 11 Start menu as a billboard with app ads for Insiders


Can see how this will go

Wanna bet they'll follow the Amazon model, where the point of the ads (usually for your own products) isn't to raise money themselves but to annoy you so much that you'll pay extra to get rid of them?

Nice extra revenue stream from 'advertising' without most of the hassle of actually running an ad business.

Cloud vendor lock-in is shocking, but there's a get out of jail card


Re: Why not have cloud.gov.uk ?

Despite all evidence to the contrary you think the state could manage to run a sovereign cloud when they barely manage anything else?

It'd end up an expensive, underperforming white elephant.

And more likely than not still run by one of the usual crowd of suppliers, so single sourced for 5 years then roll to a new contract with the same or one of their competitors. No doubt swapping the basic platform each time.

And the really fun bit would be all those who'd previously loudly pushed for switching to it would then be busy arguing about why we weren't using the cheaper, better commercial alternative instead of some special UK specific thing.



The author seems to believe that second source is a lot more common than it actually is, especially when referencing military bits.

Apart from the true commodity bits very little military kit is second sourced. The more common solution to specialty bits was & is to buy all the production & spares required to fulfil the contract in one go and leave it at that; the future is dealt with via updates & redesign which you'd need anyway due to inevitable obsolescence.

Even if setting up second sourcing wasn't likely to be horrifically expensive & complex for the contracts & duplication (as the US govt found more than once) there's nothing to stop the supplier just saying 'no', leaving you with either accepting single source, trying to find an alternative, or just getting nothing.

If your supplier is reliable & unlikely to go pop then single source isn't the end of the world, assuming the contracts are written properly. Commercial risk will exist but no more than for any customer, and at that point you fall back on making sure your contract is robust - plus as a government you always have the option of arm twisting.

Chinese schools testing 10,000 locally made RISC-V-ish PCs


Mixed bag

I'd have thought history would have proven that one fraction of the market going into a tech silo is usually more negative for that fragment than the lost sales will be to everyone else.

They're in their national walled garden and everyone else moves on. Especially when the 'local' innovations are all copies or derivatives of other people's work. Not the first time we've seen this play out with PCs & electronics, just this time with Hanzi instead of Cyrillic markings.

As for trying out a 3A5000, that seems like a bit of a brave decision, even more so than most of the usual tech. All sorts of fun hidden features almost certain to be embedded into that kit.

Tough luck, bosses, AI is coming for your job, too



So they've looked at some fairly basic efforts and drawn a conclusion.

Not quite so sure I follow their conclusion that

a) any of this stuff actually works; the human efforts often don't, so a crude AI approximation seems unlikely to

b) that turkeys will vote for Christmas & let these tools get a foothold instead of making sure they go nowhere. You don't actually expect managers or HR to eliminate their own jobs do you?

Lambda borrows half a billion bucks to grow its GPU cloud



So they've borrowed and secured it against an immobile asset that will depreciate terribly and in short order will have little market beyond scrap. And that's assuming it all goes to plan & the AI bubble doesn't burst.

Sounds a bit like mortgaging a burning house; there's either more to the deal or someone is looking to get burned.

Or maybe it's on car loan terms and it's short term with big expensive repayments and (maybe) a supplier in the background helping to make it affordable...

Tech titans assemble to decide which jobs AI should cut first



Still smells of the magical thinking of AI->???->Profit!

As with other past tech bubbles they've convinced themselves it'll solve everything when the reality is going to be far more disappointing.

Or maybe history won't repeat...

Google ponders making AI search a premium option


Good luck

People don't even want this for free, so good luck trying to charge for it.

OpenStack pushes its first easy-to-upgrade release out the door


Re: "improves AI capabilities"?

The live migration is just as likely to be about relocating away from hosts that are going down for some reason.

At least that's a use case I've had alongside the load balancing triggers. Done properly it's really handy.

Migrating instances between hosts transparently should be a thing as often as possible as part of the reason for throwing things into a cloud should be that you don't really worry too much about the fine detail of where it's sitting, just that your resource demand is being satisfied. If you're tied too hard into needing to stay on a specific box for the duration you're negating a big reason for it being in a cloud instead of just a box.

Really it has sod all to do with AI beyond a chance to throw in the hot topic. It's really just better GPU support.

Microsoft, OpenAI may be dreaming of $100B 5GW AI 'Stargate' supercomputer


Has to be a joke

The thing would be obsolete before you finished it, and even if not then within 3/5 years it (like most of the hyper computers) would hit the point of not being worth the energy to run it and would be scrap.

Weirdly I suspect even Microsoft wouldn't burn $100 billion on a stupid project with no clear goal or practicality, that's just a leap too far even for them. They're already struggling with justifying their AI investments as customers ignore them.

This just smells of the usual OpenAI/Sam hype where throwing silly amounts of other people's money down a hole is the whole game, and reality isn't involved at all. It'll evaporate like his multi trillion dollar plan seems to be.

FTX crypto-crook Sam Bankman-Fried gets 25 years in prison


Should've been longer

As the judge noticed, he has zero remorse, he'd do it all again, and indeed his habits with dodgy activities never stopped.

25 years is hardly light, but this sort of thing needs a proper slap beyond what you could get for much smaller crimes.

Redis tightens its license terms, pleasing basically no one


Guess they spotted their mistake

You'd think that the logical flaw in trying to make big money off the back of building FOSS would be obvious, the 'free' should be a clue.

I'm not sure that these poisonous licenses are a solution though, as they try to straddle the OSS and commercial worlds and fail at both. Full commercial; great, pay the money and it's all sorted. FOSS; great, you get what you pay for, and it's your problem. AGPL or SSPL; run for the hills.

The gut reaction most operations have to seeing the terms is the same one as seeing Oracle on the license. A big fat NOPE.

Also slightly flawed if you throw the license grenade and someone else can just fork it and carry on...

AI researchers have started reviewing their peers using AI assistance


Can't tell the difference?!

"The difficulty of distinguishing between human- and machine-written text"

In my experience AI stuff is usually easy to spot whether it's news padding or comments on X or reports or whatever.

The wording and complexity and patterns are just unnatural, I'd guess because it's the slightly bland average of a lot of sources. A bit like PR bumpf but more soulless.

UK minister tells telcos to share telegraph poles if they can't lay cable underground



Can't think why people have been getting mildly upset when cheap installers skip doing ducts for some segments to save cash, rock up unannounced to slap in poles in front of people's houses (apparently with no idea how the catenaries will actually run), staple a little notice to the pole to contact with objections, then disappear.

Extra bonus when their shiny new fibre network is the 4th (!) high speed option in the area.

Apparently objections do work though if the poles vanishing and the fibre being reinstalled into ducts is a clue.

I assume somewhere are a whole load of payments for just doing network rollout without actual customers needing to appear? Unless we're just back around to that old fun of speculative network rollout from all those years ago?

Tesla Berlin gigafactory to take week-long nap after suspected arson


Typical Elon argument

Taking the gaslighting environmental angle, when the argument in Germany seems to boil down to his factory being horribly polluting because ignoring the rules is easier.

What'll be really fun to find out is whether they'd do the proper thing of scrapping stuff that got caught part way through some production stages, or whether they'll maintain usual standards & some cars will roll out with even worse paint than usual...

Toyota, Samsung accelerate toward better EV batteries


To give some context

The improvement to 900 Wh/L still puts the batteries at ~14x worse density than the legacy liquid fuels. There's a lot further to go.

Musk joins OpenAI lawsuit queue, says there's nothing 'open' about it


Is there a contract? Comment elsewhere suggests there's nothing much actually on paper that Musk can point at.

I'm sure it'll be entertaining to watch but for the moment it seems to be more of an attempt at causing trouble than anything truly based in reality.

Bear in mind who has no current interest in OpenAI so is missing out on the spoils, and is also trying to launch a rival...

New solvent might end winter charging blues for EV owners



Flammable, irritant and acutely toxic by contact & ingestion, so lovely stuff even compared to the fun things already in batteries.

Low flash point & boiling point too so keeping it stably inside batteries at car operating temperatures could be fun.

The concept is good but hopefully they'll find something slightly more practical for production.

Palantir boss says outfit's software the only reason the 'goose step' has not returned to Europe


Full of Karp

Sounds like they should be keeping him in a box, not letting him out in public spewing what passes for his thoughts.

Google sends Gemini AI back to engineering to adjust its White balance


Can't think why...

"Never have so many foes of diversity, equity, and inclusion, been so aggrieved about the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion. "

Might maybe have something to do with pointing out the apparent hypocrisy of the people who set the system up? The system is diverse and equitable and inclusive *except* for where it deliberately wasn't.

If the examples I've seen are a clue it was a very naive Californian expression of 'diverse'; including Black, East Asian and Native American and not a lot else.

Building in implicit bias is the last thing DEI should be about.*

Safeguards are one thing, but the product they created went well beyond that.

*Seeing the Googlers who were behind the debacle I can see why it happened, funnily enough they were all white Europeans as diversity apparently didn't extend into management, so they just assumed what a good outcome should be.

Rivian decimates staff to put a brake on spending


Should've copied the winning EV plan

Losing money on building and selling the cars isn't an obstacle if your accountants are creative enough.

The big trick is harvesting subsidies you barely/don't qualify for and selling all those tasty regulatory carbon credits. Plus keeping your stock pump running.

Get it right and you can last long enough to get to a point where you can start nominally generating profit from actual sales.

Sad really as Rivian looked fairly realistic in how it operated, certainly compared to some other EV startups which have turned out to be just a shell wrapped around aspirations and happy thoughts, with a real business nowhere to be found.

AI is going to need a global investment, just maybe not $7T, says OpenAI CEO Sam Altman


What does Sam Altman do?

Is he just the chief hype man/bullshit artist or does he contribute more than that?

I know there was a lot of upset about him maybe getting booted from OpenAI but I'm not sure I see a lot coming from him that isn't just AI pumps, trying to harvest money, and doing stuff to boost the value (if not usefulness/delivery) of various people's startup investments.

A bit of a Jobs/Musk type but slightly vaguer when it comes to what he contributes?

Duo face 20 years in prison over counterfeit iPhone scam


Criminal geniuses

Apart from targeting a company that's a bit thorough at tracking things, doing it at a scale that even a major corporation was likely to notice, and using their own ID to set things up it's difficult to spot quite where it all went wrong...

Trident missile test a damp squib after rocket goes 'plop,' fails to ignite


Ever seen the bang a Trident solid propellant stage can make in the right situation? Wouldn't want to be anywhere near one that failed instead of flying even if it didn't land right on my head.

There's videos of Trident 1 disposal and it's not subtle.


Buying American

I guess this is one of those stories that Lewis Page couldn't cite as showing the benefit of buying the well proven American made firework, given where the bit that failed comes from.

It's ultimately going to turn out to be some really trivial little thing that stopped it actually flying, so they pushed it out but it didn't actually decide to fly. Given how idiot proof the launch sequence should be it must have been something really silly that was missed.

Someone had to say it: Scientists propose AI apocalypse kill switches


Only one thing needs a kill switch...

...and it's all this braindead AI hype.

With any luck the bubble will burst soon and they won't have the funds to continue pumping these stupid ideas into certain people's ears.

Microsoft 'retires' Azure IoT Central in platform rethink


It's Azure

If you were looking for it to have long term stability, or for the platform to be maintained you were looking in the wrong place.

Another fun example has been Stack Hub, which on the face of it looked good, then you realise how it hasn't changed since launch years ago, then you find out it's basically unavailable now due to age, and that *maybe* the replacement will appear at the end of the year.

If you're planning something that you need to support long term you need something where you don't entirely depend on the whim of a major corporate.

Air Canada must pay damages after chatbot lies to grieving passenger about discount


The wonders of AI

"automated chatbots will regurgitate false information"

Did it regurgitate old/false information, or did it just do the wonderful AI thing of inventing it from thin air?

One of those problems is a cockup & manageable if they could be bothered, the other is an inherent fault that could bite again and again and again...

Out with the old, in with the new as 100 Starlink satellites take atmospheric exit


'SpaceX says'

Any time I see 'SpaceX says' or 'SpaceX claims' I remind myself of the overhanging Muskian influence, and that any statements they excrete need to be taken with an oceanful of salt.

IT body proposes that AI pros get leashed and licensed to uphold ethics



Instinctively I'm against this as it sounds like a stupid idea hanging off the current atmosphere of AI hype & opportunism.

On the other hand the biggest bluffing charlatans I've met in recent times have been the AI 'experts' who are good at talking things up, but incredibly poor at delivering anything useful let alone better than an existing solution.

So if this threw a spanner at their game I'd support it but more likely it just reinforces the hype at the bluffers would become *registered licensed professional* bluffers.

Tesla's Cybertruck may not be so stainless after all


Re: It's 301 stainless apparently

Even though it's been made clear on many many occasions that Tesla engineers don't believe anywhere exists outside a particular part of California, for some reason they still manage to find customers in those other mythical parts of the world.

These things are going to get many opportunities to show off their decorative corrosion, just like other models got to show off their heaters that didn't work or their water sealing that, well, didn't.


It's 301 stainless apparently

They chose something that's the least corrosion resistant 30X grade. Just wait until they see what road salt does to it...

And being Tesla it's a fair bet they skipped any cleaning and passivation steps during manufacture which will make it even worse; they like to 'optimise' out anything they think they can get away with.

Customers will be have been thinking it'll be like 316 when really it'll end up looking really rough without care.

Europe's deepest mine to become Europe's deepest battery


Performance isn't exactly great

When you look at the maths the amount of energy stored in even an extremely substantial mass at a substantial height is pretty pathetic compared to any chemical battery.

The efficiency isn't particularly great either.

Works out OK-ish as an idea if you have space for a massive pumped storage gravity battery but anything else is usually an exercise in futility.

You can get a 2MWh lithium battery into a standard 40ft container for a relatively tiny amount of money, or you can mess around building a massive gravity one for multiples of the price in construction & operation for a horrible ROI compared to almost any other use of the site.

Apple Vision Pro has densest display iFixit's ever seen, and almost-OK repairability


Re: Surprised the PPD is that low

My headset managed 60 ppd - which is definitely high enough to not have any noticeable limitations - but required overlaying the high resolution display over a background display to get enough pixels in the middle.

I believe to get it to work at high PPD with a single display involves moving up to 7K/8K which is still a little challenging to drive especially at the right framerate.

The driving while wearing thing has been slightly funny though, as other manufacturers had it as an actual use case for their AR, for Volvo to test out interior mockups as overlays.

Developer's default setting created turbulence in the flight simulator


Re: A real story?

Sim development on each device certainly used to run on shifts 24/7 as there would be that much demand for time on it and you generally can't test or fiddle with two different things at the same time for various reasons.

Each one is different and each one is/was fully built, developed, tested and certified in the factory before being broken down & shipped, then rebuilt & weeks more testing before starting a life of near 24/7 use.

Even the 'mass production' of these things, even for a single aircraft type, was bespoke every time so lots and lots of effort.

$16million isn't even expensive...

BTW sims do have a big red stop button (often more than one) but if you're single handedly running a civil one it can be hard to reach if you're in the pilot seat not the instructor chair.

And if you roll the thing over on the motion after messing it up it can be fun climbing out. Though not as hard as trying to get out of a genuine fast jet canopy when it's left with functional locks, the power trips, and it's a weekend & you're working alone despite procedure...

What is a bit wrong is I don't think anyone did pneumatic motion systems; to get the performance (multiple tonnes of sim cab, accelerating in 6 axis at 2g, with the right motion cues & vibrations) originally demanded a big high powered Moog valve controlled hydraulic system, eventually moving to hybrid electrohydraulic then pure electric actuators.

Also despite seeing motion systems do all sorts of mad things I can't think of any motion platform where you'd get a vibration slider, let alone have it do anything functional. Maybe on a motion seat but that's a different beast - I've seen a Moog one get miss-driven into doing some nasty shaking but that was still based on the motion model doing some odd things, not anything as prosaic as cranking a vibration setting because such a thing didn't exist.

Alphabet just banked $3B by stretching life of its servers


Could be worse...

If you look at buying the on-prem version of a certain major player's cloud product then the new hardware is already locked to a spec from 4 years ago.

Lucky it's fashionable to keep slow antiques online if the product is shipping pre-aged.

Linus Torvalds flames Google kernel contributor over filesystem suggestion


If the didn't insist on sticking with a monolithic kernel they wouldn't have these arguments...

As above.

The more you stick into the actual kernel the larger the scope for arguing about it or just breaking it.

Tesla owners in deep freeze discover the cold, hard truth about EVs


Wonder how many will permanently break?

It's not like freezing lithium cells ruins them or anything, especially when they're aready flat... (/s)

You could expensively kill your EV if you weren't careful, and likely in a more terminal way than freezing an old ICE car.