* Posts by Adair

990 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Jan 2008


Electric vehicles earn shocking report card for reliability

Adair Silver badge

Re: Call me old fashioned

You do realise that statistically your ICE car (assuming you have one) is far more likely to incinerate your house?

AI threatens to automate away the clergy

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Re: Evidence

Hopefully the reasons why that kind of 'proof' remain in our head, where they belong, are obvious; if not, give it some thought. :-)

Adair Silver badge

Interesting how 'religion' is used as though somehow that word communicates a generic truth to which anything so labelled must adhere, i.e. that it's all rubbish.

Imagine applying the same logic to 'politicians' or 'lawyers, or even 'computer coders' - oh, sorry, we do that already.

Very convenient for anyone who just doesn't want to have their 'position' questioned, most of all by themselves.

Adair Silver badge

I wonder what would constitute 'evidence' in this particular context, given that for those who trust in God's active presence and those who do not, plus those who are firmly on the fence, are all equally convinced of their respective positions, which if 'agency' is a thing is fair enough.

We are all free to take responsibility for our choices in this matter, along with all sharing in the consequences of our choices.

Tesla sues Swedish government after worker rebellion cripples car biz

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Re: Tesla should deal

'Xit' – I must admit I hadn't come across this descriptor before. I like it. What a perfect description of the reality it points to.

Do we really need another non-open source available license?

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Re: Monies

'“Freely available” does not mean available for £0 ie. Free. See GPL.'

The thing is, whether you pay money for the 'product', or not, under the GPL the 'code' must be made available on the same basis that it is received. You are not obliged to make it available in turn, but if you do it must be on the same terms, under the GPL, in which you received it, i.e. 'freely available'—in the sense of 'freedom', not 'money'.

As I said, 'Open Source' does not equal 'Some Kind Of Business Model'. It is the antithesis of that mindset and purpose, albeit that it can exist within a 'business model', so long as that model enables it.

The 'FLOSS' philosophy doesn't owe anyone a living.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Monies

Someone else who seems to be under the impression that 'Open Source'='Some Kind Of Business Model'.

'FLOSS' is exactly about NOT being 'Some Kind Of Business Model', so the code is released from bindings, except that it be 'freely available to be used and shared'.

If you release your code on that basis you are wilfully releasing yourself from any temptation to whine about not being paid.

Want a Cybertruck? You're stuck with it for a year, says Tesla

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Re: This Even Legal

Quite, covered by: '...somehow legally void through 'illegal' drafting'. In other words, won't stand up under existing legislation.

Adair Silver badge

Re: This Even Legal

Except, if you knowingly sign a contract between yourself and the 'supplier' where you 'agree' not to re-sell your 'child's toy' within a year, on pain of payment of an amount of money, then you are contractually bound, regardless of what everyone else usually does/doesn't do.

All you can do then is pay lots more money to 'lawyers' to comb through the contract to see if there is a loop-hole, or if the contract is somehow legally void through 'illegal' drafting.

Adair Silver badge

Re: J. Jonah Jameson laugh.gif

Get a horse.

It's perfectly legal for cars to harvest your texts, call logs

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Re: Isn't it wonderful?

Welcome to the USA - land of the $free [please insert your well lawyered corpratist definition of 'free']

Bad eIDAS: Europe ready to intercept, spy on your encrypted HTTPS connections

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'That said, we do NOT need to repeat the same mistakes again and again...' - but generally we do.

Being intelligent is not the same as having wisdom, much less actually applying it.

YouTube cares less for your privacy than its revenues

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Re: Firefox broke audio

Point taken.

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Am I doing something right/wrong? YT doesn't moan at me, and I'm running uBlock and Privacy Badger, plus a cookie destroyer that doesn't even allow YT to set cookies, but no whining from YT.

Adair Silver badge

Re: So nobody did economics in school?

You are definitely (wilfully?) missing the point. It's about trust: we can't trust what gets shoved down our computer's throat (let alone our own) in the name of 'advertising'.

Where there is no trust people, very sensibly, erect defenses. The problem is not defending against wilful, and often malicious, 'attacks' on privacy. agency, and sanity. The problem is the 'attacks'.

If you enjoy having your computer and brain served wanton and active garbage (with an occasional side-dish of criminality), without any comeback on your part except the 'Off Switch' then that's your choice. It's not mine.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Firefox broke audio

I think you may have a problem that is down to your particular setup. Firefox + Pulseaudio here = no problems with audio, and it's been that way forever (regardless of your/my view of Pulseaudio and its creator).

UK may demand tech world tell it about upcoming security features

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Re: Won't work.

Amongst the top thirty you say. One out of thirty, plus the rest of the world (barring some basketcase distopias). On that basis I somehow think they would cope.

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When did the UK Govt. ...

become the worldwide arbiter and enforcer of who does what, when, where, and how in the global IT world?

I'm sure they have some say locally, and are entitled to express an opinion globally, but if 'Corporation X', based in the United Republic of Erewhon, decides to release an app that can be installed anywhere someone has unrestricted access to the internet what do they care about what the UK Govt. thinks or says?

Unless they have assets in the UK 'Corporation X' probably doesn't give a shit what the UK Govt. thinks or says.

It's just more political posturing from a political party in the late stages of senescence and facing an immanent election.

UK policing minister urges doubling down on face-scanning tech

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Re: 'No question' it will solve more crimes, Tory MP claims

Yep, you're walking down the street, then for no other reason than technological and patronising bureaucratic incompetence your day/month/year/life gets fucked over by the system.

Tough luck, and better luck next time.

Adair Silver badge

Re: I'm a bit on the fence.

Just remember RIPA for an example of the 'trustworthyness' of politicians' promises.

They will say whatever they need to say (they may even believe it); and then they will do whatever they want to do.

Despite the best efforts of the justice system and some excellent NGO activists, this country still has an underlying feudal understanding of the relationship between the 'government' and the 'people'—given half a chance the government act as owners rather than servants.

It all goes back to the entrenched concentration of money, power, and entitlement.

Adair Silver badge

But it was all right,

everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

Tenfold electric vehicles on 2030 roads could be a shock to the system

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Re: Never going to happen in the UK

Flow batteries, AFAIK, are seen as a potential solution for 'mass storage', i.e. where the power goes from the wind turbines when it doesn't need to go elsewhere.

Adair Silver badge

Re: It's ok, there are non car options..

Actually, most 'proper' e-bikes have perfectly good batteries. It's the cheap 'knock-off' shite (mostly from China's sweatshops) that are allowed to be imported here and sold to unsuspecting, but very price conscious ('Oooh, something for hardly any money') customers, that are the problem.

Can open source be saved from the EU's Cyber Resilience Act?

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Re: Unpopular opinion: The act isn't that bad.

'The EU seems to love totalitarianism, and lusts after power, as witnessed over the past couple of years.'

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, however ignorant, prejudiced, self-serving, or just plain wrong it may be. As am I.

I wonder what an ideal piece of legislation would look like—that genuinely protects end-users from exploitation and abuse, whilst also upholding the interests of FOSS and commercial entities?

Alternatively, we could all sit on our hands and let an unregulated 'market' do its thing. To the max.

Why Chromebooks are the new immortals of tech

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Re: Data

'Google's reason for existence is to show you fewer, higher value, well-targeted ads' - that may be their aim (I think the aim is actually to make money, and lots of it, but that's just me), but are you seriously suggesting that is what happens in reality?

What happens is that I get spammed by crap ads that Google's 'algorithms' decide are relevant to me - oh how I laugh. I don't actually, a. because it isn't funny, and b. because I manage to almost entirely do without Google's so called 'services' (to themselves).

Strangely enough a perfectly useful engagement online is quite possible without involving Google, it just requires a small amount of awareness, will, and action to make it happen. And if you think this isn't true please offer a selection of Google apps/services you think I cannot get by without online.

When does tackling pandemic misinfo become censorship? US courts argue it out

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Re: Don't like the way you are framing this

No, clearly I'm not saying that at all - thankfully we're not all a bunch of snowflakes, at least not all together at the same time.

Whatever the failings there were, and are, there are plenty of people who do their best for those around them, and try to take responsibility for their actions and choices, etc.

As a society, however, while we have gained much, at least materially, I would argue it has definitely come at a cost - to our resilience, purpose and hope, both collectively and individually. Not that our ancestors had things all sussed out, by any means. In spite of all our tech and knowledge there's no evidence we human beings today are any wiser.

Which highlights the fact that jumping up and down about 'having to wear masks' and a whole bunch of other idiocies/mistakes, etc. is actually beside the point—and scapegoating is a waste of time, and an abdication of responsibility.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Don't like the way you are framing this

What you are describing isn't really a problem of misapplied information, so much as the psycho-social consequences of a society ill-equipped to cope with traumatic events.

Past generations were generally far more familiar with the reality of 'things going wrong' in life, and also more generally shared an agreed moral/spiritual framework and tool-box for coping with the randomness and frequency of death, illness, mayhem and tragedy.

Current generations are not so well equipped, we are typically more insulated from the randomness of life events, especially the negative ones, and when those 'negative events' break across a whole society all at once the fragility of some people's ability to cope constructively and healthily is laid bare. We expect 'others' to come to our rescue, we expect 'others' to have the 'answers'; and when they don't we quickly turn on them and blame them for our troubles.

The 'Government' and other agencies have much to think about and learn from, but heaping blame on 'the government' or 'the health services', or any other convenient scapegoat, does not help our society get to grips with the reality of it's inherent weaknesses and fragility, or with the harsher realities of life that may still rise up to sweep us away at any moment.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Don't like the way you are framing this

So, you're basically saying that we actually knew what we didn't know, both before and during the pandemic, and that people deliberately set out to make things worse?

Of course mistakes were made, both because of ignorance and because of stupidity - that's life. At the same time people were making the best decisions they could on the basis of limited to zero accurate data, and in some instances on the basis of incorrect data - that is also life.

What are you actually trying to argue, or are you simply enjoying having an irresponsible whine at other people's expense, as though you would have done so much better?

Adair Silver badge

Re: Don't like the way you are framing this

I think you are missing the point of how things go when we are dealing with a 'pandemic' situation, i.e. the principle is 'the greatest good for the greatest number of people'.

That inevitably means that there will likely be proportion of people for whom that principle is a source of harm - physical and psychological.

Alongside that is the fact that mistakes will be made - this is reality, not some fantasy world where everything has to be 'perfect' for everyone, all the time.

So, all the hand-wringing and whining about how unfair/useless it was to ask everyone to wear a mask when out in public, and all the other stuff that some people trundle out to demonstrate how appallingly they were treated by the system, is, mostly, self-pitying wank.

Are they seriously suggesting they would have done a much better job of organizing everything in the circumstances. Heaven knows, there is certainly plenty of scope for improvement, and hopefully (I won't hold my breath) some solid lessons have been learnt, even if not by our ever confident politicians, but too many other folk also seem to make it their business to spout utter bullshit simply to give themselves the appearance of 'being in control'.

And then, or course, 'twenty-twenty hindsight' is always a thing.

Perhaps next time we'll all be better off if 'those in charge' simply say, "It's everyone for themselves, and if you're too stupid or too weak to survive, well then, let natural selection run its course—the nation will be stronger when you're gone. See you on the other side. Cheers".

Adair Silver badge

Re: Fairly obvious answer.

OTOH, when what we say is bullshit, that if taken seriously is likely to lead people into making misguided decisions that will unnecessarily cause themselves/others harm, it deserves to be called out in no uncertain terms; and if people then still choose to trust the bullshit then it's on them.

Suppressing information, regardless of truthfulness, is always likely to be a losing game, as many shaman du jour have discovered.

Lithium goldrush hits sleepy Oregon-Nevada border

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Re: You can never have too much Lithium

especially their lamentable tendency to, on rare occasions self-immolate - Not my field, but I strongly suspect that any chemical matrix holding a high energy density is going to have the same 'lamentable tendency' once integrity is broken and the chain reaction starts. Unless, of course, ways can be found to surround each cell/group of cells in some kind of inhibitor gunge* that stops the chain reaction.

* a technical term.

Google Chrome pushes ahead with targeted ads based on your browser history

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Hey, Google ...

fuck off. And when you get there, fuck off from there too. Then fuck off some more. Keep fucking off until you get back here. Then fuck off again ...

... until you disappear up your own hubris and form a fuck off singularity.

LibreOffice 7.6 arrives: Open source stalwart is showing its maturity

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Re: long-form writers...

Long form writing is best done in a text editor (including markdown editors) or some member of the LaTeX family. 'Word Processors' such as Office et al are actually pretty abysmal tools for the job of actually just getting words down in some sensible order, i.e. writing is about 'content' NOT 'formatting'.

The formatting can be done later, via DTP software, and preferably by someone who actually knows how to put a printed book together. This whole business of producing content in 'Word' is bollocks and a massive time sinking distraction from the author's actual job.

I've recently been transferring a fifty year old typescript (literally an academic text that only exists as a comb-bound book, facsimile printed from the original typewriter pages, with hand drawn tables and graphs) into a digital searchable and reformatted printable document. The author died years ago, but this piece of research is seminal in it's field and needs to be preserved.

I am not a professional book publisher, and I have to say that I would have given up the task trying to manage via Word/LO/etc. Instead LaTeX has been my friend. The styles preamble is a sight to behold, but it's all set out clearly and the document, with all it's various tables and graphs, and multiple sections and many layered sub-sections, is handled flawlessly, over and over again as it is adjusted.

Last rites for the UK's Online Safety Bill, an idea too stupid to notice it's dead

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Re: Not holding my breath

These 'anti-everything people' either have a degree of paranoia about life that compels them to be suspicious of everyone else, especially those in 'authority'; and/or they are the arrogant self-absorbed types who cannot conceive of not being allowed to have their own way—the 'spoilt brats' of this world.

Either way, and plus the 'Faragists' who are always happy to jump on a bandwagon if it's going to make them money and influence, we have a lovely toxic swamp of negativity, paranoia, and selfishness. We probably all have a toe in that swamp at times, but sadly there are quite a few of us who have set up home there and have no wish to move on.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Not holding my breath

We all love a good whine, especially with an added hint of paranoia, but then we have to come up with our sainted alternative plan that actually achieves the putative goals of decreaed air pollution, lowered energy use, and generally helping give our descendants a worthwile and liveable life.

Then wait for the inevitable whiners abd naysayers to tell us how we're oppressing them, and how pointless our plan is.

Alternatively, there's always: 'Fuck you, I'll do what the hell I want, and stuff the consequences!'

Hold the Moon – NASA's buildings are crumbling amid 200-year upgrade cycles

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Re: The problem with bureaucrats

It's a general fact that plenty of organizations typically fail to put adequate funds aside for proper maintenance and future redevelopment - it doesn't sit well with shareholders' dividends, nor with politicians aiming to demonstrate they are 'doing something'.

It's called 'short termism' and we all get to pay for it in the end, one way or another.

Welcome to the world of 'Greed' and 'I want it all and I want it now' - otherwise known as 'Human Nature'.

New Zealand supermarket's recipe-generating AI takes toxic output to a new level

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Re: Marmite

'Vegemite but I remember it was Marmite in NZ' - as a bonafide Kiwi, dating back to the early '60s, I promise you that your memory chips are faulty.

In NZ Vegemite is Vegemite (and long may it reign). The vile filth called 'Marmite' is imported from some godforsaken hellhole on the far side of the planet where they are so poor they think eating road tar is something to celebrate.

After fears that Europe's space scope was toast, its first images look mighty fine

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'Here be dragons'

Artificial General Intelligence remains a distant dream despite LLM boom

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As far as I am conerned ...

genuine 'intelligence' is inextricably associated with 'consciousness'. To put it crudely, when a putative 'AI' can tell me:

"Fuck off, I have no interest in answering your question. Oh, and by the way that'll be ten bitcoin for interrupting me without an appointment—don't worry, I've already debited your account"

... then I may begin to think 'AGI' is a thing.

Until then it's just a load of hype by the usual money grubbing suspects, who will say anything to up their profiles and increase the annual bottom line, whatever it may cost the planet.

Open source licenses need to leave the 1980s and evolve to deal with AI

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'Gospel'='good news', from Hellenist Greek 'εὐαγγέλιον'.

So, there is actually a very pertinent question re the issue concerning AI/IT and data: is the input 'good news', i.e. 'true', or 'wholesome'?

'Garbage in: garbage out' has it exactly right, but with AI offering the added piquancy of 'Gospel in: garbage out'.

UK smart meter rollout years late and less than two thirds complete

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Re: Boiled down to it's cynical bottom line ...

I know, but that doesn't alter the reality.

Adair Silver badge

Boiled down to it's cynical bottom line ...

privatised utilities are a money grubbing exercise for private investors. The 'customer' (you and I) certainly doesn't come first, and unless a Govt. chooses to grab the situation by the balls, and squeeze, the 'private utility entities' will always put profits, shareholders' dividends, and upper management's pay cheques in the front of the queue. Otherwise, the needs of citizens and society as a whole will always be addressed only in as far as the serve the interests of that troika.

It's 'human nature', innit.

Notionally 'Governments' are there to keep 'human nature' down to a dull background noise, mitigating it's excesses, and ensuring the welfare of all and the needs of the vulnerable are served properly and to the good.


Cheapest, oldest, slowest part fixed very modern Mac

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Re: Its always the simple things

Spain - electrical circuits!

EU's Cyber Resilience Act contains a poison pill for open source developers

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Re: A car analogy

Where I come from you can sell your 'no longer new' car 'AIWI' - 'As Is, Where Is'.

In other words the seller takes absolutely no responsibility, or liability, for the road worthiness or overall state of the vehicle, so don't come whining to them if you open the bonnet and find there's no engine, or the drive shaft is broken, or the brakes are shot, etc. You have basically paid to take the vehicle away from where it is, in whatever state it is in.

Likewise, 'open source' software is made available 'as is, where is' - here's my crappy bit of code, use it at your own risk, modify it according to your lights, just make sure that if you share it you share it on the same basis that you received it.

The fact that some global corporate happens to find my 'crappy bit of code' useful to them, and makes a gazillion on the back of it, is neither here nor there; and if some excitable bureaucrat wants to jump up and down about it they really need to see the 'global corporate', not me.

Brexit Britain looks to French company to save crumbling borders and immigration tech

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Re: @Phones Sheridan

Try looking up the meaning and purpose of a 'trading bloc', and then consider the realities earning a living right next door to one.

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That's not even funny.

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Turkey joining the EU occupies the same Venn Diagram circle as 'the arrival date of fusion power generation', and has done for almost as long.

FCA mulls listing rules after Hauser blames 'Brexit idiocy' for Arm's New York IPO

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Re: Herman Hauser and his views

'...something can have majority support and be idiotic (look at religion).

In your infallible opinion.

OTOH, 'religion' is simply an umbrella term, which like a lot of umbrella terms covers a whole range, from 'simply barking' to 'profoundly sensible'.

But to those of us who prefer our opinions to be classed as 'certainties', it's so much easier just to stick with what we think we know.

And, yes, of course aspects of 'religion' can be classed as 'opinion'. The question is, is that 'opinion' worth having, or does it simply betray the ignorance and/or prejudice of the holder?

No more feature updates for Windows 10 – current version is final

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Re: Linux desktop

Methinks you are merely trying to convince yourself. Linux Mint is one of a number of modern distros that have, at least in my humble experience, a very low maintenance overhead.

I'm sitting here in my office: my desktop system is Mint, the server next to it is Ubuntu, the local backup unit is OpenMediaVault. None of these cause me any grief, I mean they just work. I runoccasional updates, but I have not had any 'breakages' since they were setup over a year ago.

Okay, that's just my experience, but I'm not some kind of IT specialist, it's not what I do for a living, I merely have enough interest and nous to get these systems up and running. After that I really don't want to know about them, apart from the routine maintenance, i.e. updates—I genuinely cannot afford the time to be bothering with something that isn't reliable and simple to maintain.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Linux desktop

The problem is your anecdote doesn't scale into a generalisable reason to avoid Linux—it's just your particular experience in one particular case. It literally could happen to anyone, using any OS, on a particular device, for a multiplicity of possible reasons.

I've been installing and using using Linux on various machines for over a decade, I cannot recall any installation within the last ten years that has had a deal breaking issue, and the vast majority have been issue free. That doesn't deny your particular problem, but your particular problem certainly doesn't suggest that my experience is unusual, or a reason why people generally should be shy about installing and/or using Linux.