* Posts by Annihilator

3691 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

I've been fired, says engineer who claimed Google chatbot was sentient



So the guy claims the AI is sentient. Google claim he's being fired for revealing confidential information.

I'd deduce from that sequence of events that it is indeed sentient...

Lenovo issues firmware updates after UEFI vulnerabilities disclosed


Re: For any who don't already know...

It's certainly waaaay better than it used to be under IBM's remit and the early Lenovo days. I remember the P in the A it was to pull together the drivers required for a fresh Windows install (back when it all had to be done manually) on, say, an old T610. Selecting the right network drivers alone was a nightmare - have I got Intel WiMAX 6250 AGN, Intel Wireless LAN (11abgn, 11bgn, 11ac), Intel Wireless LAN (11bgn) or ThinkPad 11b/g/n Wireless LAN Mini-PCI Express Adapter II. Nothing evident on the machine itself. There are also driver selections for Huawei or Leadcore wireless drivers. The driver was also a self-executable that simply extracted all the files to C:\THINKPAD, so no downloading to a thumbdrive, it was download, run all the exe files, then copy to a thumbdrive and hope you had the right ones.

In Lenovo's praise though, they're all still there in the end-of-life section:


Microsoft tests CD ripping for Media Player in Windows 11


Re: Centred start

Because they seemingly want to copy Apple, they're just not very good at it.

Power outage at Hiroshima facility may hit DRAM supply


Re: Great news for yield up engineers

Scotland does make the best chips to be fair... But preferably in Glasgow where it's vinegar over Edinburgh's weird sauce concoction (one part vinegar to one part brown sauce?)

AI's most convincing conversations are not what they seem


Re: Why do you say this is interesting?

Does it please you to think that I am not an Eliza bot?


Re: The whole article

Why do you say this is interesting?

DRAM prices to drop 3-8% due to Ukraine war, inflation



Presumably the arse falling out of the crypto currency market, in turn linked to the soaring energy costs, is what has also had an effect on lowering the demand on silicon…

HP pilots paper delivery service for Instant Ink subscribers


"free" as in a free 2-year subscription that came with the £50 printer (HP Envy 5050, from memory it was reduced to about £30). I've been paying nothing. I'm noticing that they're much less generous than they used to be with that offer, and 9 months is now more likely.

They also changed Instant Ink midway through and offered cheaper tariffs for fewer printed pages. So technically I had a £x credit that I've eked out to be about 2.5 years. They'll ask me for payment details next month to carry on using it, and I've had this printer since before the pandemic. I think I've done all right for £30.


Re: Paper isn't required due to the cost of ink

Depends on the printer, but the printhead itself often dries out and clogs up with it (my last one died that way, printhead not being part of the cartridge in that instance). Also HP's printhead cleaning routine utilises extra ink, that gets sprayed into a little reservoir/pad in the printer - eventually that fills up and the routine is useless.


Re: Paper isn't required due to the cost of ink

Given the propensity for HP inkjets to clog up and dry out (particularly with low usage), I would tend to agree that the paper will outlast the printer - happened with my last one.


"The world is going to print fewer and fewer pages now that employees work from both the office and home"

Now that I work from home and can't print for free at the office any more, you're right.

It's also a lot harder to pilfer paper and other office supplies. A lot less satisfying too, stealing it from your own home.

More seriously I've had an HP instant ink thing for about 2 years now - that's how much free instant ink came with it. It cost about £60 for the printer/scanner combo. It's about to run out of credit, and I'm sad to say that I'll probably pick up a new printer with another 2 years of instant ink. Appalling for the environment, I accept, but sadly true.

Google calculates Pi to 100 trillion digits


Re: If they were proper engineers...

Pi is roughly 3. As is Euler's number. They'd save even more time if they just made them the same number.


Re: They should try something more impressive...

Is calculating the first x digits of an infinite number any more or less impressive than calculating the last x digits of a finite but equally unattainable number?

Tough news for Apple as EU makes USB-C common charging port for most electronic devices


Re: Micro USB

I'm not sure how you missed it, but here's a news story from 2011 demonstrating it. Most of the links are dead now sadly.


We sat through Apple's product launch disguised as a dev event so you don't have to


Re: One Fine Day in the Apple Store

Really? Say what you like about Apple, but arguably they were one of the driving forces behind opening up the phone market to being able to buy contractless phones. Prior to that you were buying mobile operator branded Nokias or Ericssons. Sure you could buy them off the shelf, but it was very rare that anyone did, and I can't recall seeing any for sale on the high street as a standalone device 15 years ago.

Elon Musk set to buy Twitter in $44b deal, promises stuff


Re: re: Apple Debt mountain

They haven't - they've got around $34.9b in cash based on last balance sheet. ($62.6b in terms of cash and cash equivalents if you want to include that, but people don't). They've got $124.7b in debt. They couldn't pay that down without liquidating non-cash assets. They've got a net debt position of $89.8b. That's based on last balance sheet - I'm sure it's changed by now, but not to the point they're net positive - and they'd be foolish to do that anyway.




Re: re: Apple Debt mountain

They'd have to liquidate assets to do that, which wouldn't happen "tomorrow" - they still have a net debt that they couldn't pay off in cash. They've effectively mortgaged the company (their net debt is around $90bn).

Their "worth" is slightly irrelevant though - their assets are around $300bn. So debt/asset ratio of around 1:3, which is great, but not comparable to the market cap figures of $2T


Re: Does anyone really believe ...

To be fair, you've misunderstood free speech then. Musk hasn't tried to sue or threaten the guy for doing it, he just asked him to stop. He then offered him money to stop after the guy asked for a Model 3 to stop, the guy asked for more, Musk backed away, presumably realising that the data the guy was tweeting was readily available and 20 more people would spring up a twitter bot sharing the same info knowing it was worth $x to do so.

For clarity, I'm no fan of Musk. But that wasn't a free speech issue.

Why the Linux desktop is the best desktop


Helped by Microsoft

I’d argue that even if Linux *were* difficult to use, Microsoft are steadily dismantling that argument by taking a brilliant OS (Windows 7) and gradually making a hash of it (8, 10 and now 11) to the point that a tipping point is probably imminent where learning a new Linux environment is as difficult.

Dell trials 4-day workweek, massive UK pilot of shortened week begins


Re: There is no such verb as "to trial"

All dictionaries seem to disagree with you.

IBM highlights real-time fraud detection in z16 mainframe


Re: Fraud Detection

"I got a call from my bank. The person confirmed my identity, then asked me about the transfer."

This really angers me and should anger you too. The bank called *you*, and asked you to divulge security info to identify yourself. You had no idea who they were (caller ID is easily spoofed), and the bank is exhibiting the same behaviour as fraudsters, thus normalising the behaviour of sharing personal info to a cold caller.

The bank should have been confirming their identity to you. Authentication should work both ways.

That is encouraging fraud.

I don't like your bank. Or mine.

File Explorer fiasco: Window to Microsoft's mixed-up motivations


Re: Irritation and security flaws are an intentional feature

"You are obviously a time traveller who has come back from 5 years in the future. Please tell us if the year of Linux on the desktop has arrived yet?!?"

Let's face it, probably - only because a time travel device couldn't possibly powered by Windows. Unless in this instance the time traveller was actually attempting to travel forward in time.

Microsoft slides ads into Windows Insiders' File Explorer


Re: You say that like it's the first time

"Given (AFAIK) they don't charge for Windows anymore"

This is what's so galling - you can absolutely still buy a Windows installation/licence (OEM "one device for life" or Retail). You still end up with an advertising platform.

And yeah, to your point, the big accounts are using Enterprise editions, which shouldn't have all the ad platform stuff bolted on. You'd think the same should apply to the Professional editions, but you'd be sorely disappointed.


"More Microsoft products you don't own"

And still won't own, because it's just a platform that we own to sell you.

For this reason, Windows 7 remains the pinnacle of Microsoft OSes. The "software as an (advertising) service" approach has been there since Win 10.

Reg reader rages over Virgin Media's email password policy


Re: Hacking

I literally do, yes.


Re: TP-Link print server

It's pretty impressive that they can seemingly lop off the characters for the setting of the password, but not for the re-entering of the password.

Good to see they're clearly not creating software libraries for any of their interfaces.


Re: Hacking

I agree, but I think we've lost that argument over time. To the point that the word "literally" literally doesn't mean "literally" anymore.


Re: Something's not right here

It's slightly more than that, as that excludes passwords that might be shorter than 10 characters which the attacker also has to check. But yeah, I had the same thought. Brute forcing a 10 alphanumeric character is definitely a non-trivial task.

Interestingly (depending on your view point...), adding 20 additional special characters only gives you around 16x as many possible passwords (82^10 divided by 62^10). Adding an additional alphanumeric character to the length of the password (taking it to 11) gives you 62x as many passwords (62^11 divided by 62^10).

Length is way more useful than special chars. In this use case, size definitely matters.

Confusingly, (and somewhat ironically) password rules can actually *weaken* the password set. If you insist on "at least one upper, lower, number and special character", you've removed some password possibilities that the brute force attack doesn't need to try anymore. But equally you've stopped a lot of dictionary attacks, so it probably balances out...

Russia mulls making software piracy legal and patent licensing compulsory


I think this is the point isn't it? There's little to no way of them sending money outside of the country to pay for these goods and services anyway, so there's little alternative.

400Gbps is the new normal for biz networks


Not 10 years ago I managed to bodge an unused phone extension into 10/100 ethernet to link the router to the a wireless access point upstairs (wifi wouldn't travel well and powerline didn't really work). I was very proud of myself.

A tale of two dishwashers: Buy one, buy it again, and again


Re: Bought a shed

Mine are 4 and 1, so just going through the alpha phase of dishwasher development.


Re: Bought a shed

True, but I'm fairly certain that a multiple shed property is in the minority.

Now - if I had the space (and arguably just involves giving up a cupboard), I would bloody love 2 dishwashers. There's more scenarios than you'd expect where a single one doesn't cover everything and there's stuff left on the side waiting for the next run.


Bought a shed

Bought a garden shed once - company decided this was clearly me dipping a toe in the water of shed collecting, so bombarded me for about a year with emails suggesting I buy more of the same shed. Eventually, crestfallen, they must have come to the conclusion that shed hoarding wasn't for me.

Either that, or they weren't confident in the quality of the shed, and figured I'd need to replace it soon.

To our total surprise, Apple makes adding alternative payment systems to apps 'painful, expensive, clunky'


Third parties

Here's an interesting thought. I have the Amazon app, Screwfix, Ebay and other apps to name a few. I can purchase things through those apps, and presumably Apple don't get to take a cut of that. Presumably because it's a realworld purchase?

Notice Amazon nearly went to the brink with Visa transaction fee rates. From rumour, gossip and various insider sources, the payment processing fees for cards ranges in the 3-5% of the total transaction fees. It's unsurprising that companies are looking at Apple and thinking "what the hell, you take a THIRD of our revenue??"

India turns on a new supercomputer


Boot up screen

Hello Smithers. You're... quite good.. at turning... me... on...

Joint European Torus more than doubles fusion record with 59 megajoules


Re: More megajoules

I'm also disappointed to discover that I could only boil 4 kettles with a kg of TNT. I'd been managing to boil about 3 kettles, sometimes 3 with an extra mug, and wondered why I was going so far wrong...


Re: Not enough information

They have two 500MW fly-wheels to run the experiment, so P-in vs P-out isn't worth measuring yet...

To be fair though, they need to run it bigger and longer, which JET can't do. 5 seconds is roughly the point where the electromagnets overheat - ITER is going to use a larger torus and supercooled electromagnets.

JET has pretty much run to its limits, but has proven the longevity of the burn.

Photon fantastic: James Webb Space Telescope spies its first starlight


Alignment odds

Technically, there's an infinitesimal chance that the mirrors are already optimally aligned by sheer chance. Unlikely, admittedly, but if we launched trillions of similar telescopes, some of them would be aligned already and save us having to align the rest.

Probably be a bit of a waste of resource though...


Re: Fake...

Nothing *you* see is "real" either, merely your retina and optic nerve being stimulated and your brain's interpretation of that in the visual cortex. What's your point?

Frankly I think your existence is a hoax.

Jeff Bezos adds some more overheads to his $485m yacht by taking down historic bridge


"..you or I popping to the corner shop for a Freddo.."

"..for none other than real-life Smaug.."

Genuinely got references confused and thought you meant a Frodo.

50 lines of Bash to bring a Wordle fan out of their shell


Re: This isn't the IP you're looking for

More of a combination of hangman and the old boardgame version of Mastermind.

Something 4,000 light years away emitted strange radio bursts. This is where we talk to scientists for actual info


Or an instrument invented in the 80s, alongside the keytar.

Throw away your Ethernet cables* because MediaTek says Wi-Fi 7 will replace them


Not to mention, that xMbps will effectively be shared across the devices. Ethernet doesn't do that.

Almost there: James Webb Space Telescope frees its mirrors and prepares for insertion


They have clearly learned some valuable lessons from Hubble…


Re: Well done, chaps

Ice skating might be a bit difficult with that attitude…


Similarly, Apple allows you to select stone as your weight measurement on the health app (haven’t checked but possible even defaults to that in British mode). But if you need to enter 15st 3lbs (no reason, why do you ask?), you need to put 15.21

5G frequencies won't interfere with airliners here, UK and EU aviation regulators say


Re: Told to turn off?

I put my phone in airplane mode yesterday. Siri told me that she was serious and not to call her Shirley.

Insurance giant Lloyd's hires DXC to migrate org off legacy mainframes to AWS cloud


"300-year-old institution to be dragged into the 21st century... probably just in time for the 22nd century"

Logitech Signature M650: A mouse that will barely emit a squeak or a clickety-click


Re: Stop with the handedness!

Not sure I asked for this stuff to be banned... Or whether you think Logitech would see this flippant moan and suddenly remove all their right handed products. You're right though, I'm sorry, I'll conform to societal norms and use my right hand for a mouse from now on. Sincere apologies for being part of the 1 in 10 that is left handed.

"There are so many variations on mice even from any one vendor that it boggles the mind. Surely out of all those options you can find something you like."

For right handed users, yes. So no, the mind boggliness disappears as soon as you apply that one filter.

Mobile networks really hate Apple's Private Relay: Some folks find iOS privacy feature blocked on their iPhones


Re: Privacy if **we** provide it

"As for telcos and ISPs flogging your data, I've never seen that done, or seriously considered"

Plus, consider the number of grunts employed across the ISP industry. There will be several of them being massively underpaid, and not one of them has ever been disgruntled enough to even hint that it's being done.


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