* Posts by Nick Ryan

2724 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

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Re: Early optical rodents

I remember the early optical mice only working with their specific mouse pads and nothing else.

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Re: Mouse mats with logos -avoid, avoid, avoid

The best mouse pads that I ever used for the old mechanical (ball) mice was the grey cardboard that was typically found on the rear of a pad of paper. This also worked just as well with optical mice too.

Brit MPs vote down bid to delay IR35 reforms, press ahead with new tax rules for private-sector contractors

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Re: Worse than that bloody virus

This is because party politics are the opposite of democracy. Rather than vote for what his principles are, vote for what is best for his constituents, he has to vote following the party line and nothing else is acceptable.

The Moon certainly ain't made of cheese but it may be made of more metal than previously thought, sensor shows

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I don't entirely understand how this disproves the early collision theory. Even if both proto-Earth and Theia disintegrated into tiny parts with the collision, the chances of the ratio of parts being the same when they eventually coalesced into the Earth and Moon is pretty slim. Alternatively what if Theia was made of a little more metal than the Earth and it was more of a glancing blow than a complete destruction? Surely in this instance it would maintain more of its original material?

MIT apologizes, permanently pulls offline huge dataset that taught AI systems to use racist, misogynistic slurs

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Re: Idiots

Unfortunately it's just brute forcing an algorithm to appear to be doing some form of AI. The more images there are the more reliable this algorithm is, hence the need for millions of images.

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Re: c****e

A crude generalisation, but roughly all of them maybe?

Next we'll be renaming seabirds.

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Re: Copyright?

There are also quite valid fair use clauses when it comes to educational and research purposes.

As for 32x32 images? I'm quite impressed that software can do much in the way of useful identification with these - try it and see.

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More to the point, It's about multiple words describing the same thing. If as suggested above, the database was implemented, really badly, as an image with a varchar with lots of terms in it then half the concept of a decent dabase is already missing. There should be a many-to-many relationship where each image is linked to multiple discrete identifiers, not something primitive based on free text. In this case "c**t" could be just be labelled as an alternative and generally considered offensive term for female genitalia rather than being an independent search term. Doing things properly in database terms also tends to highlight very quickly all the typos and other inconsistencies too and using a database to its strength rather than not, a search for a specific term is very fast compared to an entire database scan.

LibreOffice slips out another 7.0 beta: Spreadsheets close gap with Excel while macOS users treated to new icons

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Re: "presuming you believe that such a large spreadsheet has any plausible use"

Hell yes. Sometimes it's the incidental messages that show up the problem rather than focussing on the specific device or module that is exhibiting problems. Malformed messages on a different device, or an unexpected device ID are usually a sign of the problem being elsewhere.

I almost enjoyed giving myself a crash course in everything CAN bus related and writing a protocol handler to process the messages on a CAN bus controller. I had to re-write it from scratch because the previous developer treated it as single point to point serial connection rather than a bus therefore only one thing could be caused to happen at once regardless of the number of nodes connected and as for configuring and responding to asynchronous broadcasts? Nah, just he just polled the device when interested. It was amazing that the project got as far as it did. /sigh

An unfortunate bit of product placement for Microsoft as Liverpool celebrates winning some silverware

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Re: All that money


It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?

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Re: There is a third option:

Next heathens will try to suggest that pineapple has no place on a pizza. It does - liberally sprinkled on top... :)

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Re: Too much arguing = not enough eating

Having been "honorary Cornish" for some time (escaped now), I took to putting jam on one half of the scone, cream on the other half, slapping them together and eating like that. This way I can innocently and simultaneously annoy both the Cornish and the Devonish. And eat some lovely cream scones...

When one open-source package riddled with vulns pulls in dozens of others, what's a dev to do?

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The obligatory XKCD...


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Re: The problem is easy to express

@DemeterLast - I'm trying to work out how seriously I should be reading your post! :)

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Re: The problem is easy to express

It also often feels like most developers are like a passing person that, using a pile of generic bricks and some ready made generic mortar, believes that this means that they are both an experienced builder and an experienced architect and able to use these to construct a tower block, a bridge or a watertight dam.

Honey, I built the app! Amazon's beta no-code dev platform is great for ad-hoc stuff, but not much else – yet

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Re: Ah, low code bullshit

See also: SharePoint. Much of the same really.

Skype for Windows 10 and Skype for Desktop duke it out: Only Electron left standing

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Re: Messaging Mess

Due to standards we have telephones that can be used to speak to almost anyone else on the planet.

We are replacing this with a lot of bespoke, non-standardised walled gardens that can't communicate outside the garden...

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Re: Classic

Yep, if you don't want uncontolled and unmanageable data sharing... don't use Microsoft Teams.

It's an issue that's been raised a lot of times over the last few years but Microsoft's only response has been to reply that it's up to Microsoft how our staff at our organisations share and leak confidential and privileged data and how it's not backed up and how it's definitely going to be stored on Microsoft's cloud servers which sit in the jurisdiction of a regime with no data protection.

I get the point about encouraging teamwork, however this often has to be controlled and managed and optional in a professional environment. Microsoft is not the organisation that will suffer for the data leaks.

Laws on police facial recognition aren't tough enough, UK data watchdog barrister tells Court of Appeal

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Re: @mark l 2

Yes. It is extremely easy to police a population when you believe that all the criminals are colour-coded.
Or have, for example, an Irish accent.

Unfortunately it's true in many societies that distinguishable minorities are over-represented in crime statistics. However it's important to understand that it could be the case where this is true because these minorities are being stopped and checked for crimes more often compared to the wider population, which will reinforce the generalisation and stereotyping and feed back into itself. Alternatively it could be correct that these minorities are accurately over-represented in crime statistics at which point it's much more important to understand why and to do something about this. It's not that certain minorities are more likely to commit crimes, it's that people who are in crap situations are more likely to commit crimes. Poor and have no food to feed your family? What do you do when there is no societal safety net, or what there is/was is being steadily eroded by the "ruling classes", do you watch your family starve and die or do you do whatever the hell you can to survive?

After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good

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A good chunk of the problem was also the incumbant's desire to not move with a changing world.

First, most of them denied that digital photography was happening, and that it would ever be a thread because of the difference in quality between the first digital cameras and even basic film cameras - they just couldn't seem to grasp that the quality would improve and that's before other things like convenience and the many advantages in being able to see largely the exact picture that was being taken - lighting and ISO effects all included.

The incumbant camera manufacturers could have worked hard to link their cameras into phones, using open standards and open applications. They didn't, instead they either tried to ignore the incoming digital market or create their own very poor walled garden substitute for it.

CompSci student bitten by fox after feeding it McNuggets

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While I appreciate the desire to not have introduced animals from what I understand the problem with the native red squirrel is not so much the grey squirrel but that the grey squirrel is somewhat less picky than the red and tends to outcompete it for food range.

US Department of Defense releases list of firms allegedly linked to the Chinese Army. Surprise surprise, Huawei makes an appearance

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The Reg might note however, that BAE doesn't operate within a state run by a single governing party, with no free press.
Unfortunately we are heading this way... :(

Ex-barrister reckons he has a privacy-preserving solution to Britain's smut ban plans

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If you've ever seen the extreme hoops that people have to go through to adopt a child and to give them a loving home, compared to the absolute ease at which a shit person made the child in the first place... it's mind boggling.

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Yep, it really didn't take long from the first availability of photography to nude pictures being taken. Not much more than a few months I believe - although my memory of the museum of photography isn't exact.

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Re: This could actually make $$$

Ah yes, but don't forget that a lot of this is coming from the puritanical US where she slightest hint of female anatomy is considered permanently emotionally scarring for a child but violence and murder are quite normal and accepted as such.

With intelligent life in scant supply on Earth, boffins search for technosignatures of civilizations in the galaxy

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Re: Other signs

A nuclear detonation may be briefly bright, but not on an astronical scale and each one is a singular event. You'd have to be watching for the exact few minutes that there was the explosion and everything would have to be lined up with nothing inconvenient like moons, curvatures of the planet or stars in the way. Even then it would be pretty much indistinguisable from signal noise and depending on the reflectivity of the planet, would likely be less bright than light reflecting from the system's star.

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Re: This is mostly pointless

The most compelling evidence for life, and therefore life elsewhere (aliens), is that there's life on this planet.

As for finding life elsewhere? That's a very different prospect indeed. It's probably made even harder because there's a very good chance that conditions for life on any given planet will become hostile for life and it'll all die out and therefore be missed. Whether this is caused internally through runaway processes or through external natural disasters, life may be very resilient but it's far from impossible for a planet to no longer be habitable.

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Re: Other signs

Nuclear weapons while very unpleasant and destructive are quite puny compared to the average tropical storm. I read somewhere that they kick out more energy over a relatively short period than the entire world's nuclear aresenal. I don't know accurate that is, but the energy in these and electrical storms in immense.

By way of surviving artifacts from a civilisation? They would be few and far between on Earth and eventually almost all would disappear through plate tectonics if nothing earlier and more immediate such as the actions of plants and wind/water/ice.

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Re: Good luck with that

I'd say simplistic and naieve. There would only be a very short period of time for any society to be in the state that's looking for. Even our own EM emissions are drastically reduced now we have better broadcast technology but even if you rounded things up to 100 years of high powered directionless broadcasts, that's a very small window of time that another culture has to be within reasonable of range of these transmissions and to be looking for them. A 100 year sliding window in a galaxy that is already around 13.5 billion years old? Just not going to happen, or if it does, it's a phenomenal piece of luck. A culture looking for other cultures would have to monitor many thousands of systems for many thousands of years and would still have to be incredibly lucky. Human development within the time frame of vertebrate life on Earth is pretty much a rounding error.

Our search for life should involve better and better telescopes, of varying frequencies, to look for potential signs of life, as in chemically unstable anomolies where non-routine processes are affecting the balance of elements in a planet. The alternative is for some other culture to be deliberately broadcasting signals knowing that they would have to do this for tens of thousands of years and largely to never expect a reply, at all, let alone within any form of lifetime. The stronger these signals the better as the more power the more detectable range and therefore the more potential cultures could be looking.

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Edge case

Life is an edge case in itself, is it me or does it sound like this search is searching for an edge case of an edge case of an edge case?

Maybe there is hope for 2020: AI that 'predicts criminality' from faces with '80% accuracy, no bias' gets in the sea

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Re: Training data?

Even easier. Train the system on a catalogue of politicians...

Australian PM says nation under serious state-run 'cyber attack' – Microsoft, Citrix, Telerik UI bugs 'exploited'

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Re: It's not just Australia

I believe those are called "staff". Particularly remote workers...

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Telerik UI? Says it all really. :( Can looks nice-ish, but thoroughly over complicated in places, breaks legally required accessibility in so many ways and is one of the many recent fad toolkits used by developers who seem to have no idea about security and the difference between data validation on the client and data validation on the server (and generally consider every single web page to be a modal application).

PC printer problems and enraged execs: When the answer to 'Hand over that floppy disk' is 'No'

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Re: family - "let her pay for it (from her own money)"

Brave... but fair!

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Re: family

A friend nearly lynched his wife when he found that every time she started her car she cancelled the "oil lack" warning and just carried on driving. When it refused to be cancelled she put her sunglasses case in the way because it annoyed her. The car was close to requiring a new engine by the time he found this.

Good luck using generative adversarial networks in real life – they're difficult to train and finicky to fix

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Re: You can't have artifical *anything*

There is a lot of truth in this.

Unless the maching learning algorithm, or inappropriately called "AI" system, can understand anatomy along with a good understanding of clothing and to then differentiate between these particularly as some clothing is semi-transparent or holey (lace, for example), any attempt to generalise and brute force this kind of solution is going to fail - to varying measures of fail of course. This failure rate can be reduced but unless the dataset is so exhaustive that pretty much all possible images have been sampled, success will tend towards an infinite number of samples being trained upon.

To be fair though, it's not as dumb and short sighted as training a machine learning system on single object images and then wondering why after the question being asked and trained on is "what single object is in this image" that the system fails spectacularly when there are two objects in the image.

Hey is trying a new take on email – but maker complains of 'outrageous' demands after Apple rejects iOS app

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Re: So...

Asking them what their ranking is in the 44,000 tends to work with these

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Re: or Pine

Much, much worse... organisations who convert the text into image files and then stuff these into emails to guarantee the formatting of their corporate messages.

They also pretty much guarantee legal claims for a disgusting and intentional lack of accessibility, and prevent anyone from ever doing a text search and finding the relevant email.

I've also suffered with tender documents rendered into .pdf form with the exact same problem, including page numbers that don't link in the contents page and documents that are unsearchable. All these tenders fail on the spot, no further scoring gets taken into consideration if they cannot produce a usable tender document.

But then I also suffer with online quote approval systems which have the same problem - some even make it worse by "preventing" the user from zooming into the text rendered as an image by abusing Javascript to maintain the size of the image file containing the text.

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Re: I had a similar reaction. Too cute, too much $$

They'd have to hold onto the keys otherwise webmail services wouldn't work.

It's one of the key indicators of an insecure file service - are files accessible using a web interface? Yep, then it's insecure.

But then all security is a balance of security vs convenience/access.

No surprise: Britain ditches central database model for virus contact-tracing apps in favour of Apple-Google API

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Re: Hmm

The gov won't, due to "reasons" that they will make some up at the time, most likely "not in the public interest right now" due to being in the middle of the worst manufactured recession for centuries. The other key reason being that any investigation will start with the incompetence of the government as everything stems from there.

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Re: This is all complete cack

Yep, pretty much straight out of the Tory/Random-hate/Farage mouths. Blame someone else, anyone else, for their incompetence. When caught out, point at others instead. Never, ever answer a single straight question with a straight answer. Although that last one is usually politicians in general.

We had a chance when BoJo (I don't need to do social distancing) caught Covid-19 and suffered for it, however things returned back to the hate and blame and bluster culture in a disappointingly short period of time. Add Cummings lying and breaking his own rules then the UK populace very predictably got fed up with things.

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Re: If it has cost £108M that is more than the vaccine development program!

From what I read a complete strip down and repaint of the sky penis was not required at this point in time. It also reads that it's because when not-yet-a-dictator BoJo had to fly in the plane he didn't like the plane as it was dull and therefore needed it to be clowned up a bit.

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Re: I really wish they'd find some adults to take charge

It often feels like everything is just reactionary in order to appease the public/press at the time, with no planning or forethought at all.

Windows 10 once more in print condition: Microsoft applies out-of-band fix to Patch Tuesday cock-up

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Re: At the risk of repeating myself

Hahaha... Oh dear. My daughter accidentally printed to a neighbour's WiFi printer the other day. It's like the 1990s never happened by way of security and networking.

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Re: Why do people put with this nonsense?

Also the resulting work of many years of monopolistic and anticompetitive practices enforcing locking users within a closed environment as much as possible. From "embrace and extend" to the destruction of open document types and standards through bribery, it's all been about locking in users. This includes de-facto "standard" document types as Microsoft Word and Excel documents, if one can't exchange these with a near certain level of success then one cannot operate easily in business.

It says it all really, that Microsoft Outlook is the most used email client (real client, excluding webmail), it's definitely not the most popular but where are the alternatives within similar features that can interoperate with outside parties? It gets a regular reskinning but other than that all the same bugs and flaws that it's had for years are still there. It's the lowest common denominator when it comes to formatted emails and causes no end of problems and while I understand the "just use text" camp (been there myself), it's all about communication and colours and formatting are an important part of textual communication.

Only true boffins will be able to grasp Blighty's new legal definitions of the humble metre and kilogram

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Re: Spelling

Which English? Old English or the more modern form?

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Re: As Einstein never actually said

I understand that it's ofteh more useful to state it as E=Δmc2 - as in the change in the mass as total conversion of matter to energy doesn't tend to happen. Throw in (from a distance advisably) some anti-matter and the resulting calculations get rather more interesting...

Very small masses are measured in energy units anyway.

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Re: Oh dear...poor use of symbols and units

Wasn't it only last week that some government or other forgot the "these numbers are in millions" text on a budget and nearly voted this in as a budget?

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Re: Only true boffins...

Easily fixed. Hire a new "expert" that produces the correct results. Repeat as necessary if the new "expert" produces a report that reflects reality and not political desires.

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Please don't get me started on the wretched horror that is the Windows printing sub-system. Other than inexplicably missing half of the important information therefore either relying on guesses or custom drivers, the units in use are not consistent requiring a library of conversions between one API call and the next. Not helped as the American's who came up with it are under the deluded impression that the entire world uses American paper sizes and measurements and therefore the accuracy is based on these units of measure, nothing more accurate. You can still this now if you set a margin to a nice round value in metric, Windows will re-round it to the nearest imperial measurement and convert it back.


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