* Posts by Nuno trancoso

154 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Oct 2007


Twitter: Our image-cropping AI seems to give certain peeps preferential treatment. Solution: Use less AI

Nuno trancoso

Why... even... bother...

Don't get me wrong, I love ML. But the one thing you can be sure of is that while it will do a great job for 99.5% of people and fail miserably for the rest (personal preferences et all...). And that's assuming decent training data (that they obviously didn't use...).

And why reinvent the wheel... The simple crop has been around since like forever. If post-crop you are REALLY close to the original aspect ratio, a simple resize will do, if close but not that close (yet not that far), seam carving will do the trick. If too far from the original AR, just PAD IT, nothing else you can do...

Sick of AI engines scraping your pics for facial recognition? Here's a way to Fawkes them right up

Nuno trancoso

So, now they have to retrain the set again to account for this "pseudo-gan"... Ah well, just another dataset augmentation, nothing new...

FYI: You can trick image-recog AI into, say, mixing up cats and dogs – by abusing scaling code to poison training data

Nuno trancoso


You know, this s**t is so old news only people entering the ML field yesterday would even bother reading it. It's NOT like GAN's are anything new, or unknown, or... Long story short, either you're taking your inputs from a known, very stict and narrow, controlled input, or... you train your model to deal with fakes, and then it's an arms race between two models. Nothing to be seen, move along...

Tonight on Tales from the Crypto: It lives! GPU flinger Nvidia bouncing back after miner affair

Nuno trancoso

Re: design wins

You can't see too well in the dark, and neither can imaging sensors. LIDAR can. In fact, in time, the raw force that will drive "autonomous everything" will be preciselly how much more they can sense from the environment (and process said data) when compared to to our own set of sensors (and reaction(time)).

Thought you were good at StarCraft? DeepMind's AI bot proves better than 99.8% of fleshy humans

Nuno trancoso


Article forgot to mention that this version was SEVERELY handicapped in it's I/O so it would feel more like a "regular" pro-player. Anyone that saw the first version will remember the insane stalker micro that made mincemeat out of everything in seemingly "no win" scenarios. Point in case, where AI will win hand down (starcraft or anything) is at the point where it needs to juggle hundreds of I/O's simoutaneously. A fair example would be military hierarquies of unit control. You control top down on a macro level, and as you go down, it's more and more "eveyone takes care of himself". An AI WILL control every unit at the unit level AND coordinate it with every other unit's effort. On the Starcraft perspective, Alphastar is just the best micro gamemasters rolled into one but at a level no human can achieve. On a more broad perspective, it's basically a fully System 2 "brain" (read "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman) without "intuition", much less bias and much less error prone (after it's trained that is...).

Funny enough, when self-driving cars reach their "ready to market" point, they will "end" human drivers, because at that point they will be more efficient (wear and tear, fuel consuption, etc) and human drivers will be seen as a liability, as we cause more accidents per minute than AI's will cause per decade...

Time for another cuppa then? Tea-drinkers have better brains, say boffins with even better brains

Nuno trancoso


Right. And previous studies on coffee showed the same relation to improved brain function or at least less degeneration. Caffeine on both. Nough said ;)

OTOH, "fruity people" ... Not that that's any news, and correlates quite nicely with real-world empirical experience regarding their cognitive abilities...

Yet another reminder: When a tech giant says its AI listens to you, it means humans listen to you. Right, Facebook?

Nuno trancoso

GDPR on the way...

Not me, I don't own any "intelligent devices", but i can see LOTS of people firing up requests to know how their chats were used, by whom and when, then wash/rinse/repeat down to any contractor and suing for shady opt-in's, etc...

Now seriously, this won't go away until legislation is enacted to make it so that every personal data collection and processing ALWAYS need explicit consent with an option to "never bother me with this question again". With steep fines, if you fail to do so. Oh, wait, that's GDPR :D So, all it needs is that EVERYTIME they want to use said data for a new purpose, they have to explicitly say what they will be doing, by whom in case of a third party, and ask for a new consent for that purpose alone.

Pretty sure that once forced to announce to world+dog (and their competitors), what they intend on doing, the data stream of personal eavesdropping runs dry quite fast...

Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

Nuno trancoso


All this talk of locks and security gone bad... This snap was taken on my way to work back a couple years.


As with most security, it's pointless if you don't think it through. And I do mean seriously think it through.

Decision time for AI: Sometimes accuracy is not your friend

Nuno trancoso

Re: This article is full of statistical analysis, but it is not about AI

AI has long dropped the "vitalism" theme you know... Once you start into ANN's and establish the parallel with biological NN's, you come to the damning conclusion that statistical analysis IS what we do, no "vitalist intelligence" anywhere to be seen.

Only real difference is that ANN's are quite limited (ATM) compared to BNN's, but they DO perform a lot better than us because their statistical analysis is a lot less "noisy" and they mostly learn from their errors instead of sticking with their unfounded biases...

Boffins offer to make speculative execution great again with Spectre-Meltdown CPU fix

Nuno trancoso

Oh woe is me!

People downvoting AMFM??? This be still El Reg right, not some stuck up hipster YT tech channel?

When neural nets do carols: 'Santa baby bore sweet Jesus Christ. Fa la la la la la, la la la la'

Nuno trancoso

Re: Wrong genre

So, you want an artificial construct with the equivalent of a few hundred neurons to match the densest brain we know. Sounds realistic...

Or, maybe your rant on the issue brings out what is truly scaring people shitless. That all in all, all we have going for us is the depth and breadth of our NN, and if/when we can match that in silico, or come close to it, we'll have to admit that our so called "intelligence" is nothing more than abundance of processing power and our "creativity" nothing more than flaws and a happy/sad byproduct of several biases.

Linus Torvalds on security: 'Do no harm, don't break users'

Nuno trancoso

Re: “Because without users, your program is pointless..."

Sadly, that is one truth most *nix people still don't grep to this day. No matter how superior you OS/App/whatever is, on whatever criteria, if it fails the "user's like it and want to use it" criteria, you're gonna flop, crash and burn.

Nuno trancoso

Linus might be a bit of an ass when it comes to talking to people, but he usually makes good points. If the proposed security fix for something that MIGHT affect some people EVENTUALLY is to BREAK everyone's box NOW, then it's not a fix, it's an even bigger problem.

I do grep the "brick on sight" mentality, it forces fixes faster, but, from a user perspective, my secure but not working system is an even worse proposal than my not secure but for the time being working system.

Forget the 'simulated universe', say boffins, no simulator could hit the required scale

Nuno trancoso

Total bollocks

One can argue that the only thing capable of holding our universe's full state information is by definition the universe itself. No problem with that. Thus, WE can't build that simulator. But the whole shebang falls apart when you actually try to infer that what we know as "the universe" would be the "actual universe" if we were a simulation. The "reasonable" inference is that we always simulated things SMALLER than our universe, thus, if we were a simulation, the "real universe" would be quite big enough to hold "our universe"'s state information with plenty of room to spare. The Earth is quite big from an ant's perspective, but quite small from even our galaxy's perspective. Always a matter of scale.

Ubuntu sends trash to its desktop's desktop

Nuno trancoso

Re: Wot! Someone copying Apple?

Dead dead wrong. Apple just about copied the whole shebang wholesale. Sure, they improved lots here and there, but the basic work for the whole deal was Xerox's.


Could be wrong, and someone correct me, but don't think Apple EVER did ANYTHING that was genuinely "new".

QEMU qontemplates qleanup of old qode

Nuno trancoso

@People that use this for windows/dos desktop/games...

How about just not using it? VMWare has a free offer for Linux too and DosBox same thing. And lo and behold, both actually manage some pretty solid RTM's unlike some craptastic projects...

Sophos waters down 'NHS is totally protected' by us boast

Nuno trancoso

Re: Training users

You should be stripping out exe's from emails and replacing them with links to files. Repack the original to an archive and make sure the link has some obvious message like "If you open a virus, you'll be sacked. No if's, no but's, out the door".

Won't stop them ofc, but will give you cause to get rid of them.

Apple fanbois are officially sheeple. Yes, you heard. Deal with it

Nuno trancoso

The Apple sheeple taking offense are so amusing. Wonder if they realize that their but hurt retorts are precisely what marks them as sheeple, fanbois and zealots all rolled into a unsightly package...

It's OK to fine someone for repeating a historical fact, says Russian Supreme Court

Nuno trancoso

Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

Whatever their decision, if they accepted an expert witness willing to lie and deny something that is pretty much public knowledge, credibility's already shot one way or another.

FBI Director wants 'adult conversation' about backdooring encryption

Nuno trancoso


Maybe we should. We start the adult conversation by pointing out to the US public that:

a) only they will be subjected to this

b) only they will be vulnerable

Given a+b it will be easy to show 'merkans that what the FBI REALLY wants is to freely snoop on the US citizens, because basically ROTW doesn't give a f***ing f**k about their backdoors and will happily go about making it's own crypto even stronger.

It's not like the US public doesn't distrust the government already, shouldn't be too hard to convince them about this one, it sounds... like truth.

Nuno trancoso

Re: "Collecting information". Yes. We are.

"manual on how to do Stalinist purges". You made my day DAM :)

US spectrum auction falls short by, oh, you know, $66bn thanks to tightwad mobile giants

Nuno trancoso

Re: The economy...

LOS might not be a issue once Google has 99999999999999999999999999999 baloons roaming the skyes.

MedSec's 'hackable pacemaker' report autopsy: Bombshell crash claim in doubt

Nuno trancoso

Isn't this the kind of shenanigans that usually land people on the "not so good" side of the SEC?

USBee stings air-gapped PCs: Wirelessly leak secrets with a file write

Nuno trancoso

Missing piece...

So, you have an air-gapped pc, let's assume for either security, confidentiality, or both. But it has exposed USB ports. Seriously?

Ok, so let's assume you will be allowed and/or forced to use some USB storage, for say, backup storage, in case internal storage goes titsup, or because internal storage is read only and nobody wanted to put a secondary r/w medium in it. Whatever. Now you have transmission capabilities.

And all that security/confidentiality issues that lead to an air-gapped pc, didn't lead to a (modestly) secured space. So much so, a fellow bad person can be just in range to pick up said transmission.

And of course, you need someone else to plant the code for the tool that you'll use. Someone that has unchecked access and permissions to the box so he can just drop in a tool that will be allowed to run.

Interesting from an academic point of view, but if this gives you any loss of sleep, you are already doing it so wrong it will be the least of your problems.

Think i'll write a paper about using a large mallet and leaking data by bit banging it (literally) on the wall while someone else picks it up with a seismograph. Devs are known to be weirdos so pretty sure no one will question the odd behavior. Coat. Mallet. Door.

Nimbus Data dedupe patent

Nuno trancoso

So, they have a hash A that can be split into B+C. Using a block of data that is a lookup table of B+pointertodata you can read another block of data that is a lookup table consisting of C+pointertodata+usecount. How non trivial...

Next patent, you use a hash function big enough to be split into 4 pieces, so that yaddayaddayadda.

It's crap like this that gives software patents a bad name through and through.

Kindle Paperwhites turn Windows 10 PCs into paperweights: Plugging one in 'triggers a BSOD'

Nuno trancoso

The weird thing is that in previous fails, Millenium and Vista, they backtracked in a single generation, XP and 7. Now we have 8,8.1,8.2,10, and no sign of them giving up.

Maybe just me, but i'd say this points to someone's ego just plain not being able to accept their "new shiny" was actually a turd from the go.

Given that business is about profit, maybe it's time said person is shown the door... For shareholders good et all.

League of lawsuits: Game developer sues cheat-toting website

Nuno trancoso

Re: Devops

That is true, but RIOT is incapable of even catching the equivalent of a "stuck key" bot, nevermind the ones that actually can play 1/2 decently.

This lawsuit is basically smokes'n'mirrors. They don't give two tweets about it and aren't willing to fix it, down to the broken reward mechanics that allow said bots to level up, and the community is getting pissed at this state of affairs.

Cue in lawsuit to make it look like you do give two tweets while you still do no work at all to fix things. Brilliant.

Nuno trancoso

Just came from a game where it was 2 people vs 8 bots... Sigh.

For one, how is DMCA gonna affect Peru and Germany? Seems RIOT's lawyers are as clueless as their developers. Which brings us to two, how can they fail catching bots that don't even try to go unnoticed? The sad things do the same s**t over and over, even a braindead anti-cheat could catch that...

Old fashioned engineering: HPC cluster kids would like to thank their fans. No really

Nuno trancoso

Re: Reward

You're thinking "sustained" and not "world record". Which is always a misleading thing about records of any kind. If you're going for wr, you go for broke, pushing it to the near edge of failure. If you go for sustained, you sometimes even push it DOWN just in case.

Not sure about current GPU trends as i quit that long ago, but on the CPU front, atm you're basically limited by mobo and psu build quality. Sadly, wifi and flashy neons are a much easier sell to punters than decent quality power.... There's a small niche market there,but no takers i guess.

Blighty's nuclear deterrent will get a software upgrade amid cyber-war fears

Nuno trancoso

Re: BAE Systems will carry out the upgrade

Like for example? Or you mean the usual problems triggered by idiots that install every piece of junk they come across? Stripped down to basics XP's with a non-changing payload of apps/drivers are quite rock solid.

FBI iPhone unlock order reaction: Trump, Rubio say no to Apple. EFF and Twitter say yes

Nuno trancoso

While i do stand with Apple on this issue, can't help but think they brought it upon themselves. 4 digits?

Just give the FBI what they want then push an update next day that turns that into "variable length (of user's choosing) full alphanumeric (with special chars)" unlock code. And "enlighten" the users about the "why". Cue TLA's shitting a brick. And add a TrueCrypt like layer of plausible deniability. Watch another brick come out.

Until encryption is taken seriously and becomes a "done deal" ie, there's nothing anyone can do to "help" third parties, it will always be open to these kind of shenanigans. This will only stop once it becomes a de facto that you can't break it unless the user cooperates, and make it so you can't really tell if he has or has not.

The means and tech have been around since like forever, it's only the will that's been lacking.

Romanian cops bust ATM 'jackpot' cash-grab suspects in EU-wide op

Nuno trancoso

Given that that particular business is "insecure by design", this isn't really news. As long as they can write it off as losses and it still costs less than proper security, this will keep happening.

Reverser laments crypto game protection, says wares dead after 2018

Nuno trancoso

It will hold true if they keep locked in the "bragging rights" mentality. If they push past through that, you'll see them come up as a "community" writing actual frameworks and not "personal tools". Security did it, VX'ers are doing it, reverser's are the next logical step.

Moment you can rely on a framework to "auto-unwrap" anything known and that can be expanded as unknown comes into play, "protection" is a moot point.

p.s. i don't support piracy, it's just that i support DRM and anti-cheat|hack|crack shitty rootkit like software even less.

Longing to bin Photoshop? Rock-solid GIMP a major leap forward

Nuno trancoso

The Gimp<>PS/RawTherapee<>AdobeCameraRaw views pretty much says all that's needs to be said about the state of FOSS graphics apps in particular, and UX in general.

They fail because while (some are) technically on par (or even superior), they're coded by tech minded people that reply to the rest with the usual "don't like it, fork it". Because while they wrote it, they don't make a living USING it for REAL WORK. Or they'd know how bad it sucked.

Commercial endeavors can't afford to pull stunts like that because, who would have thought, they make a living out of it, not a hobby. No customers, no money.

Hope lies in the Firefox/Thunderbird/OpenOffice/Natron/etc camp, that figured that it was 10000x better to just copy a proven UX/paradigm than trying to come up with some half-assed innovation. And given M$ is losing it's grip on "usability", now it's as good a time as ever for FOSS to stop it's knee-jerk attitude and start "stealing" people away just by being "more usable".

As for the headline, nah. While PS7 has (lot less) "hot features", it works lot faster from a usability viewpoint. And starts up WAY faster than GIMP or CS6 ever will.

Canadian live route map highlights vulnerabilities to NSA spying efforts

Nuno trancoso


All it shows is that people (even IT) still don't grep that ANYTHING sent over a public network, be it the Internet or good old Snailmail, is open to eavesdropping. Thus, logic would say that if it's to be kept private, it must be made private BEFORE transmission.

Properly securing the endpoints and payload data would always ensure the TLA's could at best say "we know x sent A to y, but we have no clue what A is", but as usual, in good ol' human fashion, we go about wasting time "fixing" the symptoms instead of dealing with the "disease" at the core.

Now you can tailor Swift – Apple open-sources the whole shebang

Nuno trancoso

Oh wow...

Just some two weeks ago i was having a chat with my c# teacher musing on how even M$ was "getting in bed" with Android while Apple was still pathetically trying to leverage the "developer tax". Seems they woke up.

Too bad the horses have long bolted and world+dog has moved on. iThings had their moment, but like their predecessor overpriced underspec'ed boxes, they're now a bling niche turf too.

Only this time there's no St. Jobs to come back and point towards the light (no pun...).*

*not sure Job's would have helped here given he'd probably be against this move. But without his vision to "get the next big thing DONE RIGHT" Apple is doomed to go back into the slow death of the PowerPC era.

Researchers say they've cracked the secret of the Sony Pictures hack

Nuno trancoso

re: Off host logging not in place then ?

"local logging on systems used purely as throw-away entertainment"

We're still talking the IT angle right? Coat, just in case..

Kids' tech skills go backwards thanks to tablets and smartmobes

Nuno trancoso

Re: Why IT Skills; What IT Skills?

"Today, while an IT student needs to know how to program, the average student doesn't."

Beg to differ. The way i see it, programming is one of the "endgame" supersets of problem solving. And that skill is useful for world+dog. You have to be able to understand the problem, think about it in a logical way, devise a solution and then test said solution against your problem. If it fails, you have to do some critical analysis of said solution, find the flaws, implement the fixes, test again. Sounds like a general "real world" skill right?

Doesn't need to be real "heavy coding". You can "imprint" the relevant mindset with very light coursework in a very short time span.

IMHO, the issue with the "smartphone/tablet generation" isn't the smartphone and/or the tablet. It's the sheer fact we've crippled their basic skill set (reading, writing, math/logic) to atrocious levels. If they can't understand the problem and critically think about it, they will obviously fail at solving it..

Instead of nurturing the next generation of thinkers, we've engaged them in a mass Pavlovian experiment, and they're worse of than the dogs were because they only get to drool over "virtual gratification" compared to tasty real food.

Smartmobe brain maker Qualcomm teases 64-bit ARM server chip secrets

Nuno trancoso

I have a dream

That one of these days VIA gets off it's collective ass and starts bringing what it already has to the general market at a sensible price...

While not as fast as Intel or as power saving as ARM, they do fill that nice spot where it doesn't use too much power, isn't that dog slow AND runs Win.

AMD also has Geode in that niche, but neither company seems to be interested in truly giving it a decent chance.

:Get the pj's and off to bed, dreaming of a low power 8 core that runs Windoze and costs <€100

Google and pals launch Accelerated Mobile Pages project

Nuno trancoso


And poor me thinking they actually wanted to get rid of the whole miserable thing and come up with a decent new one.

The problem, deep down, is that this wretched combo has become an ungodly mess of a hack on a kludge on a workaround on a tech that wasn't meant to do any of it.

Quite honestly, it's time to put it to rest and come up with something that's designed from the ground up to do what it's doing now.

Hurrah! Windfarms produce whopping one per cent of EU energy

Nuno trancoso

@ Ivan 4

Quite likely. My own bill which includes a fair mix of day/night hours "only" shows 52% from wind sources. "Only". But we're kinda blessed with a place where sun shines through the day and wind runs all night, other places might fare less well.

Despite that, it doesn't give you the right to bury head into sand. Especially since the less you do now, the more you pay later to hop on the moving train, assuming you still can and don't just end up buying all your supply. We sucked up the costs not because it was efficient, but just because in the long end it would leave us stuck with "no option" as the only option.

Bit of common sense does need to apply though. Production is only 1/2 the equation. Consumption is the other 1/2. If your consumption keeps increasing as it has, there won't be enough power to fuel it in the long term. OTOH, if you lessen your consumption, you already saved. But most savings come from stamping out bad habits we've acquired during the "cheap fuel" part of history, so people are quite reluctant on that. Think "better insulation instead of heating/cooling" and you get the idea of change/reluctance.

Cyber poltergeist threat discovered in Internet of Stuff hubs

Nuno trancoso

Wasn't this expected?

I mean, if security isn't taken seriously in the "right" circles, is it sane to expect it to be taken seriously when it comes to "consumer stuff"?

Anyway, to reduce exposure to the problems of IoT is simple. Reduce the T part you own. Amazing how much space, physical and mental, is taken up by crap you don't really need but just happen to have...

Affirmative wrist action: Pebble Time raises 20 MEELLION BUCKS on Kickstarter

Nuno trancoso


I'm not even sure what the smartwatch thing is all about. I stopped using a (dumb)watch since i started having to lug a mobile around and that's some 15y back...

Given that said "smart" watches need a "smart" phone to do more than basics that would NOT require such a hefty price tag, you now have to lug and care for two pieces of junk instead of one.

Guess one for hipsters where form will beat function all the time.

SCREW YOU, net neutrality hippies – AT&T halts gigabit fiber

Nuno trancoso

Guess it's a "other side of the pond" thing. Back here nobody does it till somebody does it. And somebody does it to steal market share from, erhmmm, other somebody.

Thus, when 56k was the norm, everyone was providing 56k and nobody cared about anything else. Then somebody did cable and everyone was rushing to do cable. Then ADSL. Now fiber.

Guess that a "universal" roll out on a big place like the USA is harder to achieve, but smaller local ones might just be within reach for the likes of Google, and that's enough to give a nice one finger salute to the likes of AT&T.

ISPs are stripping encryption from netizens' email – EFF

Nuno trancoso

Re: Meh!!

Not quite, and the point being made.

TLS would protect you from sniffing in transport, you don't get assurances from sniffing at the endpoint. PGP (or any other form of content encryption) will protect your content from both transport and endpoint sniffing, but leaves the metadata in the clear.

Still, as far as i'm concerned, content encryption is really the only way to go. Endpoints already proven to be less than concerned about end user privacy, and they are even required to "play ball" with the powers that be in certain places. Most of them bastions of "democracy and civil rights". Yeah right...

Worst case scenario with content encryption is that said powers that be get to know who sent something to whom. Subject can be total nonsense as far as you think of it.

Maybe it's time to bring back the 1990's (80's?) "terrorist/plane/bomb/whatever" email junk content till they give up the ghost. Make so much noise that any signal you might extract is so costly it's unsustainable.

DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides

Nuno trancoso

I'd say this one has a bright future till the fix. Most idi.. people i know suffer from a supernatural attraction to open every piece of junk .pps they get sent.

Ah well, haven't had a really good work week since Nimda/CodeRed, was due...

In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web

Nuno trancoso

Replace politicians with engineers under a strong leadership and you'll be done in a weekend.

Decisions by committee, the best way to never get anything (properly) done.

Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit

Nuno trancoso

Re: Pretty nasty

No, you're just tampering with it in a malicious way. Wanna bet how well that goes down? It's already bad when someone bricks hardware unintentionally, but doing it on purpose? Gonna go down real well...

Nuno trancoso

Re: Pretty nasty

Pretty much. And as someone said already, bricking peoples things will just make lawsuit chasers happy. There's absolutely no way to defend the course of action they took. IANAL, but i'm sure those that are are already doing the happy dance. Heck, ppl might start willfully bricking their stuff just to join in on the action.

Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so

Nuno trancoso

While i'm no fan of BigCorp's, i'm even less of morons like this and legal systems that actually support them.

Any decent place and the moron would have been sent to mental care given he espoused the belief that he could get wings by drinking red bull. Only to be released if/when he proved capable of making the distinction between reality and fairy tales. And his legal counsel would be disbared for actually taking up the case and (eventually) wasting the court's time.