* Posts by Paul Hovnanian

1956 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Mar 2008

Law secretly drafted by ChatGPT makes it onto the books

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Passed as written

Or did they have to run the substitution script s/meat sack/taxpayer/ on the ChatGPT output?

Wayland takes the wheel as Red Hat bids farewell to X.org

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Wait! What?

I was under the impression that it had been deprecated years ago.

Red Hat, I mean.

Activist Investor Elliott calls for a management reboot at Crown Castle

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Re: Activist investor

'One of those “we can sell the tower assets to a shell company and lease them back ..."'

But Crown Castle is one of those shell companies. There's only so many holding companies that you can stuff assets into like Matryoshka dolls before you end up with collateralization like 2008.

User read the manual, followed instructions, still couldn't make 'Excel' work

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My 93 year old father did the same thing with his Mac (wireless mouse, no buttons, symmetrical shape). Look at the Apple icon and turn it the right way around.

US nuke reactor lab hit by 'gay furry hackers' demanding cat-human mutants

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While I find ...

... this sort of hacking reprehensible, please put me on the list for one of those cat girls.

Ubuntu Budgie switches its approach to Wayland

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Re: "Says who?"

"The dev teams"

Shame they couldn't include an option (install X or Wayland) and let the users decide. And then collect statistics or conduct a survey.

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I am rather perplexed by Rasperry Pi's rather rapid jump to Wayland. These boards tend to get buried inside equipment with no local displays. Exporting their UI to a desktop (or browser) via X11 or a web server (depending on the statefullness demanded of the application). This is one of the strengths of X that will be missed on that platform.

Scientists use Raspberry Pi tech to protect NASA telescope data

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Curious cougar

"a curious cougar apparently nosed around one of them without causing damage"

Not a 22 year old guy, so not interested. [Where's the Paris icon when we really need it?]

Bright spark techie knew the drill and used it to install a power line, but couldn't outsmart an odd electrician

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"The next day the alarm company came asking who chopped their cables."

By which time the burglars had already cleaned the place out.

Downfall fallout: Intel knew AVX chips were insecure and did nothing, lawsuit claims

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Re: Delusions

"SMBv1 is insecure, yet it was still included until 2014 in Windows 10 and used by healthcare°

Perhaps that is due to the fact that "healthcare" tends to have some older kit around, like MRI machines. Which were developed when SMBv1 was cutting edge tech. And which is eye-wateringly expensive to upgrade or replace.

Google, Amazon among big names in tech axing jobs this week

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The only way ...

... you can protect your position in a company is to make sure that you will cost them more by being on the outside than within. Either provide a valuable service that will cost them an arm and a leg to purchase on the open market. Or have a copy of the bosses' answers to the Purity Test.

Oh, and make sure they know who is actually doing the work in their organization.

UK may demand tech world tell it about upcoming security features

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Re: Politicians

"What do they need these for?"

Collecting taxes?

Microsoft 365 Copilot 'generally available' – if you can afford 300 seats

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Automate and simplify

"Business leaders are twice as likely to say AI will provide value by boosting productivity vs cutting headcount."

But that's probably more accurate for small businesses (who have market room to grow) than large ones who probably can't seize more market share as easily than cutting costs (headcount) to grow profits.

"So what's the point? For users with deep enough pockets and in the cross hairs of Microsoft's marketing team, the technology promises the ability to chat with the company's productivity tools and create what Microsoft calls an 'AI-employee alliance.'"

I suspect that this is closer to the truth. It's easier for Microsoft to slip new products into companies by finding a few allies that can bring stuff in unnoticed until it's too late to stop its adoption. Not as easy to do in a company with two IT people sitting a few feet from the CEO'S office.

New orientation assistant to help prevent astronauts getting lost in space

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Also for pilots (literal "seat of the pants" flying). Or divers in closed cycle breathing gear (no bubbles to follow up).

I imagine there are other applications as well. Simone Biles, when she came down with a case of the twisties. Not for competition, but a kind of therapy to re-learn orientation.

CompSci academic thought tech support was useless – until he needed it

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Re: Literally (computer) illiterate

I worked near a group that had just such a guy working for them. Apparently, they gave him a task to plot some data using Fortran and the appropriate plot utility. One of his co-workers had even given him some hints as scribbled notes. One line consisted of "PLOT(....)".

So being the closest computer guru and (evidently) his embarrassment had he gone back to his own people, he came over to ask me. His source code included the line "PLOT(....)". With the correct number of periods. Not understood to be a hint along the lines of "Stuff goes here. Go look it up in the manual page."

FCC throws an $18B bone to rural broadband

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Re: That's fine with me

Except that the big telecoms resist having their broadband classified as a common carrier service. Vociferously. That would mean more regulations for them.

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That's fine with me

As long as the FCC restricts the dispersal of those funds to broadband providers classified as common carriers.

Ask a builder to fix a server and out come the vastly inappropriate power tools

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Re: ChopChop

"but there was something "wrong" with how the plastic was made"

Suspect something like solvent vapors or perhaps ozone attacking the plastic. If I ran into problems like that, I'd have the air tested before breathing any more of it.

Your ex isn't the only one stalking your social media posts. The Feds are, too

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How do they know ...

... which pseudonym is me? This is one of the few boards I frequent where I use my own name. And if they are going after immigrants, visitors applying for visas, etc., it's going to be a tougher nut to crack than tracing in-country IP addresses and logons. Particularly if the subjects are highly motivated to appear as though they are benign, pro USA types with 'clean' social media records. I have multiple IDs on several boards. And at times, I even have some fun getting in arguments with myself.

I hope GOST has a better track record than some of the other contractors they've used for doing stuff like background checks. The ones that can't even get information right when it's in my best interest to be honest and accurate on an application. (That's "Montreal", not "Montgomery, Alabama". Quit hitting the Enter key on the first item in a pull-down menu.)

‘How not to hire a North Korean plant posing as a techie’ guide updated by US and South Korean authorities

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Re: Techies get drug tests in the US

"a) to complete the hire he had to have a drug test and b) after he was laid off he was out partying with the aid of a bong. He failed."

He knew there was going to be a test? In that case, I'm not certain that such an employee could be relied upon to not get stoned at work. If the job requirement (at that time) was to pass the test, he proved to be incapable of making the correct decision. Might that happen again?

That might be half of what a drug test seeks to reveal. Put down the bong long enough to pass and one probably has the self control to handle the drug responsibly.

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Re: Techies get drug tests in the US

"Its also a bit pointless because the only thing that these tests work for reliably is cannabis and its been legal to purchase in our state (California) for quite a few years now."

Washington State. Same thing. But once made legal, the pro-cannabis groups made several attempts at having it's use considered to be a disability. Covered by the ADA. So, why? You can get fired for staring vacantly at a screen, doing nothing. But it seems that if it's due to being stoned, they want that to be protected.

Come on. If (as many claim) it enhances one's perception, insight, etc., why would you need legal protection?

Fortunately, the being stoned as a disability legislation has gotten nowhere (yet).

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Re: Techies get drug tests in the US

"Can you imagine a congress where they were all on drugs?"

They're not?!

It is 2023 and Excel's reign of date terror might finally be at an end

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June Cleaver

... thanks you.

Buyer's remorse haunts 3 in 5 business software purchases

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"It's worth talking to the accountants anyway"

They can give you a few tips on how to (buzz)word your next budget request to get more attention.

And they usually have really nice offices as well. So it's worth a trip out of the basement.

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"You might want to befriend some bean counters"

and ask them about the difference between CapEx and OpEx (capital expenditures and operating expenses) and how each one affects taxes and the quarterly and annual report status of the company. Some are loathe to make capital expenditures (new equipment) while happily paying multiples of the same price toward operations to keep the company ratios looking good for the investors.

Workload written by student made millions, ran on unsupported hardware, with zero maintenance

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Unofficial apps?

Once upon a time at a little-known aircraft manufacturer, the shop floor techs were having trouble retrieving correct versions of engineering documents needed to perform certain work. The access to which involved looking up the correct document version applicable to the particular airplane on one of several different indexes (depending on airplane id, system name and model). Each of which was hosted in different databases (anything from a CSV to an Oracle database to various IBM products). Then taking this document ID and searching for it on a number of different brands of server (Netware, UNIX or other flavors of server). Without fat-fingering the document id into a search box. A situation which resulted in much consternation on the part of the techs performing the work (not necessarily IT-savvy types) as well as the FAA, who had concerns with the proper performance of the process as well as the numerous unofficial cheat sheets people used to navigate the system.

Having a boss who encouraged us engineers to spend a little time investigating new technologies, I had been messing around with this new thing called "The Web". In a few weeks of spare time, I had managed to cobble together a web interface to all of the various test indexes, document repositories plus all the rules needed to consistently fetch the proper document version. My boss, at a periodic meeting with shop floor management showed them my interface and its ease of use. Just enter the airplane ID and you were presented with a list of systems (power, flight controls, galley, etc.). Click on the desired one (no more fat-fingers) and the proper document popped up in the browser. Management's response:

"We want this in production in two weeks."

Fortunately, all of the development had been done on my Linux desktop, which ported quite easily to a Sun system (NCSA HTTPd).

US Navy sailor admits selling secret military blueprints to China for $15K

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For a small multiple of that figure, I could easily be persuaded to sell the Chinese an operational description of our military's turboencabulator.

Mars helicopter to try for new speed record on Thursday

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Black Helicopters

Don't wear it out

or crash it. We may need it to blow sand off of Perseverance's instruments.

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Re: Cool


AI girlfriend encouraged man to attempt crossbow assassination of Queen

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Re: So, this guy ...

"Many people have done that, it really does not require psychosis or any other deep mental issues."

True. Or so the little devil sitting on my left shoulder tells me.

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So, this guy ...

... knew it was a chatbot? And went along with the plan anyway? Sounds like he talked himself into it, but used the 'bot as a culpable partner to convince himself. I.e. the motivation was there already.

Personally, I wouldn't be susceptible to an on-line AI. I have to have a couple of good rolls in the hay before I even start writing bad checks for a woman. Never mind an assassination.

When is a PC an AI PC? Nobody seems to know or wants to tell

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Re: Call me a Luddite

"I want a nice dumb one that just does what I tell it to do."

May your every wish be granted.

-- Ancient Chinese curse.

PhD student guilty of 3D-printing 'kamikaze' drone for Islamic State terrorists

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Re: The cops also reportedly discovered at the home an IS application form,

One learns from one's mistakes. Our ex-mayor is infamous for having deleted numerous texts from her phone.

Google killing Basic HTML version of Gmail In January 2024

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Re: Will Not Miss Plain Old Text Mail - I Still Have It!

Today, GMail "Basic HTML" messages are send as "multipart/alternative" with both a "text/html" as well as a "text/plain" part. As long as they keep the text/plain, I'm OK with that.

I imaging that people who feel they must have the enhanced features of HTML will have to upgrade. Or do without.

Getting to the bottom of BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure

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Fooled them

I figured out how to fit my vehicle with an aftermarket heater.

US-Canada water org confirms 'cybersecurity incident' after ransomware crew threatens leak

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"NoEscape operators do not target organizations based in the former Soviet Union."

Or do they know what the FSB will do to them if caught?

Watt's the worst thing you can do to a datacenter? Failing to RTFM, electrically

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Re: Check the power supply

That represents the change from linear to switch-mode power supplies. AC in (at whatever voltage) is pulse width modulated to produce the requisite output voltage.

They became widespread with the advent of low priced, high power semiconductors.

Scientists turn to mid-20th century tech for low-power underwater comms

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More like a corner reflector.

Microsoft admits slim staff and broken automation contributed to Azure outage

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Re: "We have temporarily increased the team size "

"So, the next time there's a "power sag", you'll be in exactly the same position again ?"

I'd like to see the person who's job it is to stare at the incoming utility voltage meter for an eight hour shift just in case it twitches.

The Anti Defamation League is Musk's latest excuse for Twitter's tanking ad revenue

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... I'm pulling up a chair and fetching some popcorn.

We all scream for ice cream – so why are McDonald's machines always broken?

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Re: No sh!t Sherlock

"I'm one of these weird people that actually reads the instructions that come with machines,"

McDonald's' can't afford to hire people who can read.

"and when I bought my coffee machine"

Beans and other stuff in coffee machines will more likely than not come in contact with 100 °C water at some point. Cleaning chemicals? Yech! Errant life forms? What? Me worry?

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Three dead so far, from consuming milkshakes from improperly cleaned machines in my area.

Could it be that the makers of McDonald's' ice cream machines decided to build a machine that, should some unskilled worker make one tiny slip-up, it will refuse to run? Until some qualified technician visits it and ensures that it is good to go. Perhaps they just didn't want dead people on their conscience. Or profit and loss statement.

Microsoft makes some certification exams open book

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All you will need ..

.. is Stackoverflow and this.

Uncle Sam accuses SpaceX of not considering asylees and refugees for employment

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Re: Cult of Elon

"Courts take time to collect evidence and review the law."


Lets wait until the case is heard and the courts realize that there is a conflict between ITAR and immigration law which was heretofore not anticipated.

Resilience is overrated when it's not advertised

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Re: Fallback fault-tolerant

Not sure if that naming could cause problems on a network.

Was it a Tolkien ring?

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Re: Fallback fault-tolerant

We had a group which acquired an HP-UX system. They named it Homer.

Hinting that we should continue with the series when we received our system, we happily named it Ulysses.

I didn't realize they meant the cartoon. D'oh!

Tesla knew Autopilot weakness killed a driver – and didn't fix it, engineers claim

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Re: There is no possible fix

"The solution is to require that every vehicle on the road interacts with each other."

V2V Communications. Works fine when all the vehicles are so equipped. But what do you do about pedestrians? Pets?

Where do we apply the electrodes to cyclists to make them stop when they don't have the right-of-way?

Lost voices, ignored words: Apple's speech recognition needs urgent reform

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Victor Borge

... was on the right track.

Internet Archive sued by record labels as battle with book publishers intensifies

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Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

"The fact is most performers never owned their music."

True. But it's because they made a deal with a recording company to get paid _right_now_ for an estimate of the future value of their work. Sometimes even a payment in advance. Recording companies take a risk that new and unknown talent will produce a future income stream. They are in the business of assuming risk. Sometimes they lose, and the performer is relegated to the $1 bin of the record store. Sometimes they win and the artist cries "No fair!" when the studio makes out well.

This is a good argument for getting a good agent before signing that first deal. And perhaps even some legislation prohibiting the locking in of performers to long term contracts. When, if they do well, could come back and negotiate better follow-on terms. But not to go back and tear up existing deals.

US Supreme Court allows 'ghost guns' to fall under federal purview

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We'll test that philosophy out with illegal drugs. If it works, we'll apply it to guns.