* Posts by laurence brothers

20 posts • joined 29 Jul 2008

Cloudflare family-friendly DNS service flubs first filtering foray: Vital LGBTQ, sex-ed sites blocked 'by mistake'

laurence brothers

who will censor the censors

Surely it's obvious that any content filtering system lends itself to bigots and zealots employed by the operator, who will naturally use the system to exclude all sources of information with which they disagree. Since these systems have minimal oversight, the quis custodiet issue will arise for them again and again.

UK.gov: Here's £8.8m to plough into hydrogen-powered car tech

laurence brothers

what a waste

£8.8m? Is this supposed to make a noticeable difference to a car manufacturer somewhere? And they're doing this at a time when it's obvious that all-electric will win out in the end anyway? They could spend it on a few extra hospital nurses or on compensation for Grenfell victims or something that might conceivably matter to someone but instead they're just throwing it away. Nice.

Wheels are literally falling off the MoD thanks to lack of cash

laurence brothers


> ...the irreparable loss of helicopter flying skills...

Really? Irreparable? Helicopter piloting will inevitably become a thing of the past, extinct due to lack of skills? How very sad. You'd think more money could be spent on training, but it seems that's impossible, now....

Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck

laurence brothers

Pollution impact

Apparently Dyson has warned that this will be a very expensive vehicle. Presumably this places it out of reach for most drivers. How will such a car do anything to affect pollution if the vast majority of drivers can't afford it?

Unable to give up on life on Mars, bio-boffins now thrilled to find boron

laurence brothers

Isn't boron formed by cosmic ray activity? How could there *not* be boron on Mars?

F-35 targeting system laser will be 'almost impossible' to use in UK

laurence brothers

Geez, if that was the only problem it would be in fine shape for a project that's 10 times as expensive as it should be.

But 2 out of 3 planes are sidelined at any moment, and at present they are forbidden from flying in the rain.... So I'm afraid a 24-plane F-35 order won't even fill out a single operational squadron, and you'd better hope the enemy agrees to fight only on sunny days.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CTO, CCO to call it a day

laurence brothers

The wonderful and horrible thing about HP[inc/e] is that Whitman really has been doing a better job than any of her recent predecessors.

Kill Flash now? Chrome may be about to do just that

laurence brothers

The sad thing is if Adobe wasn't malicious or stupid -- likely both -- they could have avoided all this by eliminating some of the more ludicrous capabilities of flash, keeping it simple and small and relatively easy to verify and relatively hard to hack.

When their product manager said "sure, let's enable camera and microphone access by default for all apps", if there was a responsible executive anywhere in the company that never would have happened. Same for the notorious secret settings-web-page that for years they didn't even advertise as a way to control how flash apps behave for a given user.

These people are either criminals or cretins.

Brits rattle tin for 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

laurence brothers

Re: Distribution network problems

This is a good point re increased EV utilization of local power. If your home garage only supplies 50 amps and you need 400 for a charger you can't realistically own an EV until you or your development invests in expensive new wiring and breakers, and similar concerns apply to other possible charging locations.

But at least the big regional power lines are all in place, and so local charging stations require only a relatively little work to put in place new feeders. Hydrogen storage and local service-station generation from H20 (surely this will be very expensive and inefficient?) is IMO much more fraught with economic problems and safety considerations.

laurence brothers

Distribution network problems

Right. Problems with hydrogen storage in a vehicle have already been pointed out above. Then there's the fuel production and distribution network required for the stuff throughout the country. It's low-energy compared to hydrocarbons, but high-energy-cost to produce. With range comparable to existing hydrocarbon fuels you will need hydrogen fueling stations to be almost as common as current service stations. Who is going to pay for all this?

With electric vehicles the distribution network comes for free because all towns and cities are already wired. With hydrogen vehicles, someone has to pay the billions and billions in infrastructure and capital investment in all these stations and pipelines along with whatever the cost is to keep liquid hydrogen secure in tanks indefinitely. I don't know what that cost is, but I'm pretty sure it's a lot pricier than keeping hydrocarbon fuel liquid at STP.

IMO there is zero chance of these vehicles ever being deployed except as curiosities.

'$5bn for Slack?! I refuse to pay!' You don't pay – and that's its biggest problem

laurence brothers

value and valuation

It's really wonderful what you can do with the hello-world of network programming, a text chat server. The core Slack functionality has only been implemented about a million times in the last 30 years. I guess that means it's ripe for a Yahoo! purchase!

Seriously, it's a nice, slick chat server. One of the best ever implemented. And it understands Youtube and Vine links! And and-- well anyway, there's got to be at least 100,000 lines of code in there. Probably a good four or five engineers responsible, not to mention a designer. Definitely worth $5 billion.

In-a-spin! Yahoo! clutches! Alibaba! baby! to! breast!

laurence brothers


If they just fired *everyone* below the officer level and terminated all business operations, you'd think they'd make a lot more money for their shareholders from simple capital management than from their crappy Internet operation.

ASCII @dventure game NetHack gets first upgrade in ten years

laurence brothers


Note that the Izchak @ on that screen memorializes the late Izchak Miller who apart from working on NetHack also helped me debug my equally ancient roguelike omega.

Net neutrality: How to spot an arts graduate in a tech debate

laurence brothers

Is it any better for a liberal arts grad to comment on a tech issue than for an engineering grad to comment on a business issue?

Google bows to inevitable, stops forcing Google+ logins on YouTubers

laurence brothers

The lingering demise

Larry Page likes killing other people's pet projects a lot more than his own, so Plus may hang around a long time.

This whole debacle was caused by his obstinate support for Plus in the face of poor design, obviously inadequate features, terrible launch numbers and even worse reactions to the various subsequent forced integration efforts. The entire company's bonuses were linked to its success for a while. Plus may well have been the first Google product ever to hide its usage figures from Google staff, which generally have broad access to corporate data.

Gamers! Ransomware will scramble your save files unless you cough up $1,000

laurence brothers

I don't get it.

First of all most steam gaves save to the cloud.

Secondly, come on, WoW only has a client on your local machine, not any character data.

Third, what idiot will pay that much to decrypt save files anyway? Just play the damn game over again.

Chinese authorities say massive DDoS attack took down .cn domain

laurence brothers

> "The attackers showed they were capable of knocking the

> .cn infrastructure offline but that doesn’t mean that they

> could knock .com infrastructure offline – but it may," he said.

He might just be right. But then again, maybe he's wrong. I'd say it's 50-50.... Laurie Anderson is right. It really does take an expert sometimes.

Ex-Palm CEO Rubinstein wishes HP sale never happened

laurence brothers

But of course HP screwed it up. When was the last thing they *didn't* screw up? But it's a bit late to whine about it now, especially since Palm had no hope left anyway. This way at least the shareholders got something. Not the HP shareholders of course....

Ex-Googlers reinvent web search

laurence brothers


Ha, and that was with "safe search" turned on, too.


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