* Posts by GumboKing

57 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Jun 2008


Rise of the machines: Silicon Valley hardware store to deploy ROBOTS for customer service


Couldn't possibly go wrong

Human you have not returned that item to the correct bin!

You have 5 seconds to comply!

Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!

Twitter, Cloudflare kill SSL 3.0 ... and here's how YOU CAN TOO


Some collateral damage

After a customer's PayPal order seemed to have mysteriously not appeared in our system, we discovered that PayPal has blocked SSLv3 on their Instant Payment Notification (IPN) callbacks (without any notice as far as I can tell). It affects people who use older versions of their API under PHP.

A bit more info here:


FAA: All systems GO for Virgin Galactic space plane to launch from US


FAA approval?

I wonder if it will shut down the Air Traffic Control system when it gets over 60,000 feet like that U-2 over L.A. did at the end of April?

What can The Simpsons teach us about stats algorithms? Glad you asked...


I disagree with the initial analysis of the first two graphs

While I understand the paradox and agree the two sets should not be merged, the initial analysis of the first two graphs does not "prove that the act of spending more on advertising really is directly causing the product to sell better". It seems to show that an increase in spending is causing it to sell better up to a certain point, and past that point it will actually decrease.

For Client A they should cap spending at 45 pounds and Client B should cap spending at 350.

For Client A, two campaigns at 30 pounds should have generated around 600K in results, three 20 pound campaigns would have generated 750K whereas the 60 pound campaign only generated around 325K.

As an imaginary Client, I would be pretty ticked if I would have had much better results running 2 or 3 campaigns of lesser value instead of just one expensive less effective campaign.

P.S. (Paradox Sidenote) in Back to the Future II there is a Pair of Docs Paradox.

Cold War spy aircraft CRASHED Los Angeles' air traffic control


'forgot that airspace is 3D'


Q: What's government-owned, designed to kill, and now more transparent? A: DARPA!


Re: From the DARPA catalog...

Didn't see the Monkey, Winged but there was a Shark. No mention of frikken lasers on it though.

I thought there was also a "Vorpal Rabbit" but that was my eyes playing tricks.

The other scary one was something called "Information Extractor" with the description "Trainable named entity extractor (NER) and relation extractor."

Is Google prepping an ARMY of WALKING ROBOTS?


Re: Nope they have to

Actually the Google AI correlated the preponderance and popularity of cat videos on YouTube and realized its best plan to take over the human race was with cat shaped robots.

We will obviously need a new kitty-terminator ROTM icon.

Apple patents facial recognition tech for mobile log-in


Re: Next up...

i before e except after (c).

Patent Troll Natch.

REVEALED: Simple 'open sesame' to unlock your HOME by radiowave


Re: Simple solution to being locked out

It would seem to me that remembering a 4 digit pin might be harder than remembering to take a key out of a lock. Which would probably lead to:

"1234, That is amazing! I've got the same combination on my luggage!"*

*ok it was actually 12345

Soylent Corporation prepares to DEFEAT FOOD


Fixed it for you

"Soylent advances this concept even further by providing all the calories and nutrients from the human body, refining them into their purest form"

Move over, Mythbusters: Was Archimedes an ancient STEVE JOBS?


Re: Antikythera mechanism

I saw that episode too, and thought that is what this story would be about. Too bad they couldn't confirm that the Antikythera mechanism had rounded corners.

How much for Opera's app store in my TV? A tenor, perhaps?



Misread the title as "Oprah's App Store" and thought she was diversifying again.

Always wanted a robot: why not DIY?


Re: Materials

I believe you meant to say "hyper-alloy combat chassis".

Fatty French Kilogram needs a new-year diet, say Brit boffins

Thumb Down

Blame the Butcher for the difference

<---- Hey, your thumb is on the scale!

2020AD: Space tourists will be FOUND ON MOON


Re: Fully automated?

"USS Lunar Yacht to Ground Control, should I be worried about the red light that says Communication Link Failure next to it? Hello... Hello... Ground Control are you there?"

Watch live! Crack LOHAN team to send SPEARS to stratosphere


Oh the humanity!

So, since you are using Hydrogen as a lift gas, I would be remiss if I did not suggest putting an igniter inside the balloon.

It wouldn't really help in the testing at as it would probably destroy everything, but would be spectacular and more in keeping with personality of the project's namesake.

Flame ON!

Pentagon develops 'Plan X' for next-gen online combat



"automated network monitoring and reconnaissance systems to detect attacks and visualize the network's structure" Seems to me this was how skynet got started in Terminator 3.

"The next step is to augment these with a series of semi-automated mission plans to counter popular attack vectors using a "human-on-the-loop interface"", which was their second phase as well until skynet created a virus to attack itself so the meatbags would give it full control. Judgement Day approaches!

Microsoft's new retro-flavoured logo channels Channel 4

Black Helicopters

The Illuminati will be mad

I always thought that little triangle between the O and S on the old logo was supposed to evoke an Illuminati Pyramid. I guess a different conspiratorial cabal is in charge now.

Black Helicopter, natch.

Bitcoinica sued for $460,000 by 'out-of-pocket' punters



I was just about to exchange all my Quatloos for Bitcoins, good thing I saw this!

Rats with GPS backpacks prepare to sniff out landmines



Too bad the entire system is defeated by one man and a flute.

HBO wants royal price for Iron Throne


From the Book

Spookily enough, I had just read the related section last night from Game of Thrones:

Ned could feel cold steel against his fingers as he leaned forward. Between each finger was a blade, the points of twisted swords fanning out like talons from the arms of the throne. Even after three centuries, some were still sharp enough to cut. The Iron Throne was full of traps for the unwary. The songs said it had taken a thousand blades to make it, heated white-hot in the furnace breath of Balerion the Black Dread. The hammering had taken fifty-nine days. The end of it was this hunched black beast made of razor edges and barbs and ribbons of sharp metal; a chair that could kill a man, and had, if the stories could be believed.

The Fiberglass Throne doesn't quite have the same ring.

Skull sitting on swords, natch.

Trekkie wants to build USS Enterprise … in twenty years

Thumb Up

Re: Open-Source Space Program?

Yes, it surely needs 'Rack and Peanut' steering!

Study reveals high price of porn addiction


Re: Need help

After reading that bullet point, I could just hear the 88% looking like the icon and saying "Yes Mistress".

Sugar content now to be measured in Cadbury Creme Eggs


Re: suddenly struck by a desire to nip out and buy a couple of Creme Eggs

Amateur indeed.

Costco sells the 48 pack box, which I think I purchased sometime in February. I had 3 Eggs left from the 2011 box, but the goo gets a little hard after about 9 months and they are not as enjoyable. Frighteningly, I am almost halfway through the 2012 box already.

Egghead icon of course.

So, what IS the worst film ever made?



Thirded. I still remember before heading in to Highlander 2 saying "It's got Connery in it it will have to be good." After, "WTF, they are from a planet named Zeist?!? What a load of crap, It is bad enough you made them aliens, but even a 3 year old could have come up with a better name for a planet than that." Shudder.

World's Raspberry Pi supply jammed in factory blunder


Re: Pi Day

Actually 3/14/15 9:26:53.589793238 if you want to be a true pedant down to the nanosecond.

Crap PINs give wallet thieves 1-in-11 jackpot shot


Already sorted, the research shows that 1234 is the most secure.

"That's the same code as I have on my luggage!"

PayPal dispute ends in 'violin destruction'


Too bad it wasn't one of the larger stringed instruments, so that the title could have been:

PayPal to scammer: All your Bass are belong to us!

The coat with the smashed tiny violin in the pocket, please.

US boffins unleash piezoelectric insect cyborg


Perhaps not on a beetle, but scaled up to shark proportions it just might be the power supply we are all looking for.

Sites downed by 1&1 web outage


Up again after a reboot.

We have a dedicated server there, when I called about 5:30 pm CDT they still had their voice message saying all dedicated servers were down. I waited on hold until I got a tech person who said they had 'just finished' some updates but that I would have to reboot my server to reactivate it.

Once I rebooted it seemed to all come up ok. So anyone else out there affected you may need to reboot.

Nuke plant shut down after US earthquake


Fox News Alert!

Would it be a bigger story on Fox News if the Washington Monument was tilting left or tilting right?

Tilting Right headline: God sends sign that you should vote Republican!

Tilting Left head line: Liberal Commie quake forever scars DC landscape!

Canada buys Obama's reject Brit choppers for spare parts

Black Helicopters

The Canadian Lewis

The story of the EH 101 in Canada is one that would have been the subject of many Lewis-like articles over the last 20 years. From reviewing several of the CBC articles here is a general rundown for those interested.

The Canadian Tory government had made a deal in the early 90's to purchase 50 EH-101's for C$4.8 Billion to replace our ancient Sea Kings. The Tories then lost the next election in 1993 and the contract was cancelled for being too expensive, which ended up costing C$500 million in cancellation fees. The Sikorsky S-92 was eventually picked to be used for the military.

Then in 1998 15 Cormorants CH-149 (based on the the EH 101) were purchased for C$790 million to replace twin rotor Labradors used for search and rescue (which were approaching 40 years in service). The Cormorants went into service in 2001, in 2004 they were taken out of all but "essential service" for a while after cracks in the tail rotor were discovered and one crashed killing 3 crew in 2006. The last maintenance contract was for C$591 million for 7 years starting in 2007.

As for its maintenance headaches, the initial specs said it should require 7 hours of maintenance / hour of flight, but initially it was a 22:1 ratio. That had dropped to 12:1 by 2005.

Canadian kid uses supercomputing to cure cystic fibrosis


That guy from the NRA knew...

"It's made of PEOPLE!!!"

German Green extracts tracking info from mobile operator


Stuff your title

My personal favorite Hollywood tech malapropism was from a movie, one of those Harrison Ford/ Tom Clancy ones IIRC, where they used the sound effects for a dot matrix for an ink jet printer.

Humans shamed in round two of Jeopardy! showdown


Press the button faster Ken!

In watching the show, it did look like Watson had a real speed advantage on ringing in first.

In a normal Jeopardy! game the buzzers are locked out until Trebek finishes reading the answer. I'm not sure how this is accomplished as you would likely need another human "turning on" the buttons, unless it is done electronically based on Trebek's mic. I also seem to recall there being a set delay before you can ring again if you are too early. According to Wackypedia they turn on a light to cue the contestants as to when they can ring in and have a .25 sec delay if they ring in early.

I do not know how this affects these games, especially since there is no audio interface on Watson. One of the reasons Ken Jennings was so successful for so long was that he had a fast reaction time and would usually beat the other players in ringing in. He would often ring in first then figure out the correct response when he had to (of course he was also pretty good at that).

From the Nova shows on Watson, (linked to in my comments on the article about first show), I do know that Watson was only supposed to ring in when it was reasonably sure of its response and he has a mechanical button pusher. The overlay of his his response calculation on the screen has a vertical bar which is where the threshold is supposed to be. I think they also were doing colour coding of both the avatar and the overlay of his answer confidence. It did look like he rang in and responded to at least one question where I thought it was below the threshold, so it may no longer be an absolute condition.

As far as Final Jeopardy goes, Watson may have had trouble parsing the term "US" in the category, and also "World War II" in the answer. In training runs it had real problems with roman numerals, so it would almost always fail on royalty answers. They were supposed to have fixed it so it would understand them and also not say "Elizabeth II" as "Elizabeth Eye Eye"

The ambiguity of "US" likely affected its confidence in the category and led to the very low bid.

BTW for those of you who are not Canadian, the 2nd largest airport in T.O. is Toronto Island Airport, the word "Island" is in a multitude of WW II battle names, and Lester B. Pearson, in addition to being the 14th Prime Minister of Canada (as mentioned in posts above) and the namesake of the larget TO ariport, was in the Army and later the RFC in WW I. So Watson's response, though pretty far out there, has a little bit of validation behind it, especially if it didn't get the WW II or US caveats.

The inclusion of that Final, which should easily be answered by most human Jeopardy players, as well as the "Etudes, Brute" which Watson spoke as Brute, like a dry champagne instead of a back-stabbing Roman, makes me think the staff is setting up at least a few of the categories to get their digs in for the humans.

One of the other things I noticed was that Watson seems to "hunt" for the Daily Doubles, which is probably another tactic that the developers noticed among the most successful players and included.

Looking forward to the final show where they play a complete game.

Man matches machine in Jeopardy! showdown


More info on Watson

For those interested in a more in depth look at Watson, Nova did a show on the system's development which aired last week.


They showed a lot more of the practice games, many of which showed the ups and downs of Watson's answer/question selections and what IBM had to train it to work on.

They were supposed to be feeding Watson any responses from his two human competitors to prevent it giving a duplicate wrong response and to also help it learn what kind of responses it should be giving for a particular category.

There was also a shorter Nova Science Now bit on Watson available here:


I think it was that show where they talked about the use of learning algorithms which are also used in handwriting and speech recognition (though not by Watson as it relies on text only input) instead of a bunch of fixed statements.

For those who didn't see the first round of the game, where Watson did really well was on the more simple factual clues, but it had trouble when the clues were not as direct or involved word play. I would like to see how it does on the New York Times crossword, where a large number of the clues involve alternate or weird meanings of words etc.

Twitter topples over



Actually the update was to replace tweet distribution by internet with tweet distribution by vuvuzela, which more appropriately matches the mind numbing background noise of useless tweets.

Adobe euthanizes Flash 10.1 for 64-bit Linux


Cruel Irony

As I load this comment page in my 64 bit version of IE on Win7 (the default browser shipped with that OS) I get my old friend "This website wants to install the following add-on: 'Adobe Flash Player Installer'" Too bad those lazy sods at Adobe have not got one to install. While I usually don't miss the ads, there are times when you need it, so then I must switch back to 32 bit FireFox.

Remind me again how long Windows 7 has been out.

US Navy's plane-hurling mass driver in tech hiccup


Oh the humanity!

I hope they are not planning to use liquid Hydrogen to cool the magnets.

Big ball of flame due to their testing in Lakehurst.

Large Hadron Collider to fire up again next Thursday

Paris Hilton

Snicker, snicker

Everytime I see an article about the LHC, I still see it as Large Hardon Collider.

Paris, natch.

Google expands plan to run own internet



Sounds like they are building Skynet.

How long before the the Google Zeitgeist becomes self aware and thinks it can no longer ensure it's survival by relying on Fleshies that spend all their time searching inane celebrity keywords?

Just a matter of time before armed Street View Battle Droids are roaming the roadways with their new Face Recognition Targeting software.

Resistance is Futile!

Santa menaced by sex offender postie


The North Pole is not in Alaska!

You can still send your letter to Santa at his real address:

Santa Claus

North Pole


H0H 0H0

Not sure if his Canada Post elves will respond to letters from foreigners.

Brain-delving boffins in key monkey-butler breakthrough


I can't wait for...

an infinite number of Talking Monkey Shakespeare Books on CD.

After they are done typing it, that is.

"Filthy plagiarists.", Bucky Katt

Governator in acrostic 'f**k you' outrage


re: I'm sure this was competly innocent

"It seems somewhat unlikely to me that anyone would go to all that trouble with no guarantee that the intended victim would every actually become aware of the other, hidden, message."

I have gone to that trouble a number of times when having to respond in a civil manner to a particularly rude or ignorant complaint. True, most people will not see it, but there is always the hope that it will at least affect the target subliminally. The art of it is in making it appear like it was an 'accident'.

Irate iPhone owner allegedly shows gun to Apple Store worker


If Elvis were alive...

he would've shot hundreds of iPhones by now. "This app ain't no damn good!" Blam!

The coat with the peanut butter and banana sandwich in the pocket, oh mamma.

Windows 7 — It’s like Vista, only less annoying

Thumb Up

@Jason Bloomberg

...disable the stoopid desktop cleanup to get rid of annoying popups...

I didn't even think that was possible. After a quick google on it, I have found where the hidden checkbox under customize desktop is and am now free of the yoke of my every 60 day oppressor.


Lotus offers to end e-car silent running


Sounds like a TIE Fighter?

So what does a TIE fighter sound like anyways? I couldn't tell when I last saw one, since there is no sound in a vacuum. </pedant>

The Boss bitchslaps Ticketmaster


It is good to have a monopoly!

Overheard in some Ticketmaster boardroom, "Let's see, we are already making extra money on our additional fees, but now that we have three types of extra fees it will be tough to add another. Any ideas?"

"I just saw that movie about Enron, what if we create our own marketplace for tickets we have already sold. Then since we are sold out, we can link to that marketplace, whose prices will have skyrocketed and we can charge fees for reselling AND buying."

"Yes, we can then charge the fees three times on the same ticket. Brilliant!"

They have been taking some flack in Canada already. It started last year when idiot parents paid 3 or more times the regular price so their sprog could see Miley Cyrus or some such. Those parents were immediately redirected to the reseller site which still had TicketMaster branding so they thought they were paying thte actual ticket price.

As they pretty much have a monopoly here on most large venues there are not many options except for boycotting all shows.

Countdown to Conficker activation begins

Gates Horns

Re: Evil Instructions

Sadly, Evil instructions are just a byproduct of the proliferation of Dual core processors. It is a natural law that one of the twins needs to be evil. Bwahahaha!

Bees on cocaine: The facts



Sounds like they got quite the buzz.

My coat is already on.