* Posts by Pete 2

3413 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Unions claim win as Hollywood studios agree generative AI isn't an author

Pete 2 Silver badge

Who really won?

> Hollywood can use generative AI to create scripts or stories, but human writers asked to work on them will be paid as if they worked on any other gig.

So the scripts will be generated by AI, but then a writer will be asked to tweak it.

Doesn't that mean that the amount of time they will be paid for - even at the new, higher, rates - will be much less than if they had spent time writing the script themselves?

Long-term support for Linux kernels is about to get a lot shorter

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: Backport

> Backporting one is a whole different thing and (off the cuff guesstimate) about three orders of magnitude harder

Since you are guesstimating that implies you have not done this.

I have backported plenty of stuff in my time. Some of it is tricky but certainly not three orders of magnitude (you know that means 1000 times?) harder.

Much of the stuff requires nothing more than applying the supplied patches and maybe adding some #ifdefs where appropriate. That would be a reasonable interview task to ask of someone applying for a kernel supporter post.

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: Backport

> I think you *DRAMATICALLY* underestimate the complexity of the task here.

No. See this as the sort of process that a properly maintained kernel source implementation looks like / requires.

And if an outfit doesn't have well organised and documented code repositories and processes, then any candidate worth their salt would spot that and they would end the interview.

Pete 2 Silver badge


It is reasonable to expect that outfits of any size that rely on Linux kernels and apps to have the ability to build their releases from source. Without that they simply aren't in control of their own products.


So a basic interview question would be to have a candidate add a fix to an old kernel. It wouldn't need to be a trick question with multiple obscure (are there any other types) of dependencies. Just to demonstrate an ability to use developer tools.

Having slammed brakes on hiring, Google says it no longer needs quite so many recruiters

Pete 2 Silver badge

changing their spots

> as they look for new opportunities here at Google

So just what would a (reject) recruiter be good for?

22 million Brits suffer broadband outage blues and are paying a premium for it

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: WiFi or broadband?

And if a work-at-home person wanted an hour or two away the office and it's productivity monitoring arrays, what better way to get than blaming the "everyone knows it's unreliable" home internet connection?

Pete 2 Silver badge

WiFi or broadband?

> A third that lost connectivity were doing so at least once a month, and a quarter moaned it continued for three hours or more a week

It needs to be distinguished whether the disconnections occurred between a person's router and the world, or between their router and their device.

Merely saying. "the internet's down" is far too blunt a statement. Especially as local failures hold the potential for them to be under the control of the user, or at least due to the equipment they chose, or the way they use it.

IT needs more brains, so why is it being such a zombie about getting them?

Pete 2 Silver badge

My AI's better than your AI

> If your law school exam can be passed by ChatGPT, your law school exam is broken

Not really. While a new sucker client may well have their first meeting with a partner or senior partner, most of the actual grunt-work will be done by interns or unqualified staff. Only with someone qualified taking a cursory look for obvious errors once in a while. And using that "oversight" as justification for the multiple-£100's per hour that the senior charges, for all the hours the junior put in.

[ voice of being that "sucker" speaking here. £200 p.h. when the individual who did the work couldn't even calculate the final award payout]

If a generative AI can shake up that cosy little arrangement and inject some semblance of value-for-money into the profession, then I'm all for it.

There are already automated systems that will appeal parking fines - ones that were issued by someone else's computer, so to have one AI contesting the work of another: isn't that how they get trained in the first place?

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is returning with its first-ever asteroid sample

Pete 2 Silver badge

Missing one small detail

> The device will barrel towards Earth and reenter the atmosphere at 0842 MDT (1542 UTC), reaching 27,650 miles per hour

> On Wednesday, leaders from NASA working with the US military performed the final dress rehearsal for the return mission, dropping a dummy sample capsule from an aircraft

It would be impressive if that aircraft managed to "drop" the test capsule at a speed of 27,650 miles per hour (44,500 kph for the other 95% of the world, or 1621844838 double-decker buses per fortnight for readers here). However, I suppose the old adage of never test for a condition you don't know how to handle applies. If the test capsule did fail, there's not a lot the americans could do to prevent the same thing from happening to the real thing.

Another thing AI is better at than you: First-person drone racing

Pete 2 Silver badge

The death of speed

> fully autonomous flight AI has steered a drone through a racetrack faster than human pilots

Presumably a feat that will soon be repeated in many other sports where speed and therefore reaction times are of the essence. Just as soon as the computers and their power supplies can be shrunk down to sensible sizes - rather than the half-ton of batteries that electric cars need, in order to attain any reasonable range.

Should we hail or mourn the coming obsolescence of motor racing, in all its forms? Aerobatics, with machines able to withstand higher G's? And the obvious retirement of "Top Gun" pilots for the same reason.

China cooks covert chips, recruits global geeks to dodge US restrictions

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: Unexpected consequence ? Repeating itself.

Before there was cheap Chinese crap, there was cheap Japanese crap.

They started out slavishly copying western products. But with the corners cut and prices cut even more.

Then they worked out that improving the quality would save them money: returns are expensive to deal with.

Finally, they started slavishly copying designs the west hadn't made!

South Korea's biggest mobile telco says 5G has failed to deliver on its promise

Pete 2 Silver badge

A marketing success!

> 5G has failed to deliver on its promise

Oh, I don't know. It has successfully convinced a load of people to change their phone for no better reason than an increment in a number.

Even better, it has got all the world's telcos to spend billions on new and (it seems) unnecessary infrastructure.

Oh, you wanted features?

CISA boss says US alliance with Ukraine over past year is closer than Five Eyes

Pete 2 Silver badge

Looking ahead

> closer than Five Eyes

Sounds rather short-sighted

New Zealand supermarket's recipe-generating AI takes toxic output to a new level

Pete 2 Silver badge


> generates recipes from a list of ingredients chosen by users

If people are dumb enough to suggest known toxins in their "ingredients", is it wrong of the AI to do humanity as a whole, a favour?

CLI-beautifying ANSI escape sequences can also make your log files a security threat

Pete 2 Silver badge


> making your screen a little more easily readable

making your screen look like it's on acid.

The very first thing I do when installing a new Linux distro is to turn off the colourising of the ls command.

Pete 2 Silver badge

Far too vague to be useful

> some tool along that chain may accept and follow any ANSI escape sequences included in that input stream, so if an attacker can manage to get some carefully crafted codes embedded in a log file – such as in a profile name or some submitted feedback – you could end up with a mangled or manipulated view of your IT situation. We can imagine some buffer overflow-style bugs could be exploited, too, if present.

All this amounts to is someone saying that if an unspecified piece of software contains an unspecified bug, it *might* be possible for someone, somewhere, to do something they shouldn't.

Which pretty much sums up the entire raison d'etre of software security. But without actually helping at all.

Pope goes fire and brimstone on the dangers of AI

Pete 2 Silver badge

It won't happen

> Hollywood movies have been telling you, 'Don't do it.' And now everyone's doing it," he said. "I'm just like, 'Have you not seen the movies where they kill us all?'

Have you seen Hollywood's early sci-fi movies?

Now look at their "early" AI movies and compare just how accurate silent versions of Jules Verne was with actual spaceflight. Using that as a baseline, we can say that nothing Hollywood is telling us about AI is remotely close to how the real-world future will be.

ChatGPT's odds of getting code questions correct are worse than a coin flip

Pete 2 Silver badge

Still better than people?

> Our analysis shows that 52 percent of ChatGPT answers are incorrect and 77 percent are verbose

Without knowing how that compares to the human-supplied answers, it is impossible to form a rational opinion.

My personal experience of seeking help on forums is that many responses are wrong. Many more are answering an entirely different question while the rest are either passive-aggressive replies, arguing that the question is wrong, showing off or disagreeing with what others have posted.

Netflix offers up to $900,000 for AI product manager while actors strike for protection

Pete 2 Silver badge

I act, therefore I am ... a waiter

> the actors you never hear about, earn less than $26,000 a year

And as such, those people might identify as "actors" because that sounds sexy and artistic 'n' all. But it wont be the job they do that pays the rent, buys their food or keeps the lights on.

At best it will be a gig they called in for a few times a year. After several (dozen) try-outs which result in "we'll call you"

World's most internetty firm tries life off the net, and it's sillier than it seems

Pete 2 Silver badge

Everything is impossible until someone does it

> Exactly how the air gap will be implemented isn't clear ... It doesn't matter. It won't work

There is an old (older than the internet) saying along the lines of

Those who say something is impossible should stay out of the way of those making it happen

Which could be a corollary of Arthur Clarke's observation about elderly scientists.

Social media is too much for most of us to handle

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: I did something similar

Yes. As the article says, everyone has something to teach you.

This is generally one of two things (or both): that most people on social media are idiots or that most of what they repeat from other unreliable sources is wrong.

US adds Euro spyware makers to export naughty list

Pete 2 Silver badge

Who saw that coming?

> commercial spyware makers Intellexa and Cytrox to its Entity List

Although any commercial spyware worthy of the name would have alerted it's owners of this possibility some time ago.

Boris Johnson pleads ignorance, which just might work

Pete 2 Silver badge

A right little pleader

> Boris Johnson pleads ignorance, which just might work

If he pled insanity, that would be more believable.

Samsung’s midrange A54 is lovely, but users won't feel seen

Pete 2 Silver badge

A pain in the ... ear

> midrange handsets like the A54 deserve a 3.5mm headphone port

Yes. I changed my phone earlier this year. I specifically excluded every model that failed to have a headphone socket.

I have some very nice wired earbuds that I am quite attached to. Especially when they are in my ears! I can think of no reason to make them obsolete. Especially when all the wireless earbuds are both acoustically worse and much less convenient to use.

US unhappy about China's tech pushback, rules out decoupling

Pete 2 Silver badge

Tit for tat

It is a well worn part of the geopolitical dance that when one country expels another's diplomats for spying, that the accused country will also expel spies embassy staff from the first.

The USA therefore has no reason to act surprised when China reacts in kind to moves made against it. I am sure this was entirely expected and factored in to the pros-cons when the first anti-Chinese sanctions were proposed.

Does anyone seriously believe that the real motivation (on both sides) is anything but protectionism?

BOFH: Lies, damned lies, and standards

Pete 2 Silver badge

You don't have to be mad to work here

> "But I am certified

I have worked with a few people like that. At least, ones who should have been.

US authorities warn on China's new counter-espionage law

Pete 2 Silver badge

One day!

> individuals committing acts of espionage can be detained for up to 15 days

So: one day longer than in the UK.

From gov.uk: You can be held without charge for up to 14 days If you’re arrested under the Terrorism Act.

Report reveals US Space Force unprepared to counter orbital threats

Pete 2 Silver badge


So basically the US is suffering from a bomber gap missile gap mineshaft gap satellite gap. And the only thing that will solve this is spending loads more billions of dollars.

BOFH: Good news, everyone – we're in the sausage business

Pete 2 Silver badge

The _real_ AI

Just as well the PHB hadn't signed up for the artificial insemination versión of AI.

Scientists claim >99 percent identification rate of ChatGPT content

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: researchers thought it would be useful to develop a way to detect AI-generated science writing

> check that the named researcher actually wrote it.

I'm not sure how that would work in practice. Consider a case where a "professor X" submits a work for publication.

The journal's editor phones the professor and asks. They say "yes, I wrote it". How much credibility does that add?

But we must also consider two other issues.

First, most published work has many authors. Often with the most prominently named authors being the most senior and frequently the least involved. Would we expect a single writing style from several contributors?

Second is the issue of false positives. A paper that a person did actually write getting flagged as AI. How should that be dealt with.

Finally, I'd say that the onus should be on the establishment the work was performed at to police their own staff. So that their reputation would suffer if their staff were found to be submitting work that was not as it appeared.

Pete 2 Silver badge


> prompted ChatGPT to generate paragraphs describing the same research

I get the feeling that this 99% accuracy in spotting AI generated articles is akin to asking students to set their own exam questions and then complimenting them for getting all the answers right.

Raspberry Pi production rate rising to a million a month

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: A Bit Late Now

Yes. Much of their success is built upon hobbyist code.

Also while it is worthy to protect the jobs of those whose businesses rely on Pi's. Many retailers businesses rely on Pi's, too. Yet they got hung out to dry when supplies ran out.

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: A Bit Late Now

> none have the software support and the community which the RPi has

And luckily for the RPi people none of the other hobby-targetting SBC manufacturers tumbled that the hardware is nothing without usable software.

Many SBCs have offered better features, faster speeds and lower prices than Pi's since well before COVID. However their software often consisted of an out-of-date o/s and precious little ability to access the I/o without complex and badly documented configuration commands.

Though if all that people want is a media player, pi-hole or other purely software solution then the Pi people may well find that those potential customers have already found other boards that satisfy their needs.

This ain't Boeing very well: Starliner's first crewed flight canceled yet again

Pete 2 Silver badge

> NASA desperately needs a second provider for crew transportation

You have to wonder why, exactly.

They didn't need a second source during their pioneering days. Nor for the scuttle. So why has it become so important (and apparently unachievable) now.

The future of digital healthcare could be a two-metre USB cable

Pete 2 Silver badge

The smart solution

> waving a laptop's lid

Surely it would be even easier to use the camera on your phone.

You never know, it might even fit in places your laptop couldn't

ChatGPT can't pass these medical exams – yet

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: OpenAI is secretive about the way it trains its models

> do you want your medical advice coming from a secret source whose origin cannot be revealed?

Isn't that what is commonly called "experience"?

Some years ago a large computer consultancy set about automating a lot of processes. I has an external person following me around for a week, taking note of how I worked and in particular how I debugged operational issues. Each time I solved a problem, this person would ask me the process I had used to reach a solution. Most times the reply would come down "I have 25 years of experience, it looked like something I'd seen before".

Which wasn't very helpful - though admittedly I felt no obligation to be helpful ;) -, but was the truth.

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: Passing grade - mirror, indicate before passing

Yes, this does seem to be an example of the double standards (bias against?) employed in many fields.

Many articles that talk about autonomous vehicles give the impression that nothing less than perfection is acceptable. Yet the standard of AI driving is already (measured as accidents per 100,000 mile / km) better than the average for police drivers.

This seem to be a confidence issue rather than one about actual abilities. Maybe what's needed is some blind comparisons: doctors' diagnoses vs. machine,and see where the truth lies.

What's your Mean Time To Innocence – the time needed to prove that mess is not your problem

Pete 2 Silver badge

The usual suspects

> Mean Time To Innocence (MTTI) – the amount of time it takes to prove that a problem isn't your fault.

I generally find that as a first approximation, blaming a problem on the network usually works. If they somehow manage to wriggle out of it, then laying the blame at the door of whichever software back-ends the problem application is a good second bet.

NHS England spends £8M to extend Microsoft deals by a month

Pete 2 Silver badge

Burn rate

> a cost of around £8 million

In perspective, with a total budget this year of £180 billion (or 493 million a day) that represents about 23 minutes of NHS time.

National newspaper duped into running GPT-4-written rage-click opinion piece

Pete 2 Silver badge

Now they know how we feel

> We had fallen victim to a deliberate and coordinated deception

As we (real people) do to the fake news, exaggerations and manipulations from the news media, every day

Of course Russia's ex-space boss doubts US set foot on the Moon

Pete 2 Silver badge

A to-do list with only one box

Once NASA had succeeded in getting people to the Moon and back, they were left without any way to capture the public imagination and therefore budget.

It seems that this time, they have learned that time is money and that the more time something takes, the more money they get. Or on personal levels of their staff, the longer their people can spin-out a project, the longer they will keep their jobs.

Four out of five Uranus moons likely to have ocean under crust

Pete 2 Silver badge

Bombs away!

> a shortage of plutonium

Surely the shortage could be quickly eliminated if a few nukes were decommissioned?

IBM's motto is 'Think' – its CEO reckons AI can do that as well as some workers

Pete 2 Silver badge

By the book

> IBM's slogan has been a single word: "Think"

When I was employed by one (small) part of the company, thinking was frowned upon. The approved methodology was to follow the process. Not to come up with your own solution.

No more feature updates for Windows 10 – current version is final

Pete 2 Silver badge

Make it easy on yourself

> making the task of software support easier for Redmond.

Here's a radical idea. Why don't MS make support easier by writing an operating system without bugs in it?

And for parts that are outside of their control, such as third-party drivers, design it such that their own code is robust enough to survive poor design.

Tencent Cloud announces Deepfakes-as-a-Service for $145

Pete 2 Silver badge

Mini me

So for $145 I could get a 3d realistic version of myself to "work at home" while I'm out doing something else.

And then another "me" working another job and .. repeat for as many positions as you think you can get away with.

Shocks from a hairy jumper crashed a PC, but the boss wouldn't believe it

Pete 2 Silver badge

> the veep could be discharging a decent quantity of Coulombs into his keyboard.

As you'd expect in British Coulombia

Spain gets EU cash to test next gen network, and US 'scrum for 6G' already under way

Pete 2 Silver badge

The next generation ... of marketing

I suspect that the main reason for 6G will be to persuade customers that they need to upgrade an already perfectly good (and very possibly already over-spec'd) phone. Because ... 6G, of course!

Balloon-borne telescope returns first photos in search for dark matter

Pete 2 Silver badge

Missing word?

> the pictures are just as good if you get high enough

Should that sentence end with "man"?

Musicians threaten to make Oasis 'Live Forever' with AI

Pete 2 Silver badge

Perfect harmony

Maybe a more (or less, who can say) interesting application of this sort of tech, would be to create some rather unlikely duets or collaborations between musicians who would never have been able to work together. Whether because one or both were utter arseholes, or because one died before the other was born.