* Posts by wub

127 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jun 2009


Colleges snub Turnitin's AI-writing detector over fears it'll wrongly accuse students


NIce racket

Summarizing a bit from the article and some of the comments above: Buy our tool, use it, but ignore the results when you don't think they make sense.

Hmmm. I think I could save the universities a chunk of cash by recommending they skip the first part and keep the money. Ehhh, you can always raise tuition to cover the cost, though, right?

Attackers accessed UK military data through high-security fencing firm's Windows 7 rig


I laughed when I read the headline, but when I got the sentence you quoted, I sobered up. I used to work in an environment the depended on some very sophisticated scientific equipment which was computer controlled. We could not afford to throw out perfectly functional half-a-megabuck hardware just because M$ excreted a new OS, and the manufacturer hadn't bothered to update their software for prior customers. Sometimes we could move the software to a newer OS, but most often not.

I do have sympathy for these guys - I expect they had their reasons for not air-gaping the old systems, but I'm going to guess that convenience was the main one.

LG's $1,000 TV-in-a-briefcase is unlikely to travel much further than the garden


Re: Students?

Um, no. Vehicle registration is a better analogy than a subscription. In kind, it resembles the money you pay the government annually to operate your motor vehicle after you have purchased it.

If only it was comparable to a subscription - I'd love to be able to get into the BBC archives, and apparently they are available to folks with licenses, but not to those of us without them. And I have asked about the possibility of obtaining a license only to be resoundingly ignored. After getting over the frustration of being geofenced out (yes, I know vpn, which is an ongoing arms race - I'd rather be legal if possible) I realize that no one in their right mind would try to register a car bought and used in the US for operation on UK roads.

For one thing, the controls are all on the "wrong" side...

Florida Man and associates indicted for conspiracy to steal data, software


Best free pubilcity in the world

I hear complaints from various places, initially the Candidate/Defendant himself, that all of these legal travails are purely intended to nobble him during the campaign. But why doesn't anyone ask about the absolutely unprecedented free international publicity he has been given? Did I remember to mention that it is completely free?

One detail that was mentioned by PBS at the time the indictment was announced is that in Georgia the entire trial could be televised?? My first thought was, "Who-hoo! where's my popcorn??" But my second thought was, "Holy Shit!! No other candidate will get anything like that amount of free publicity in any campaign during the remainder of the United States of America, however short that time may be. So I deeply and sincerely hope that the proceeding will be closed. We'll get the juicy bits quickly enough, and at least the publicity he gets won't include so much screen time.

'Joan Is Awful' Black Mirror episode rebounds on Netflix


Another cautionary tale.

Humancentipad ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HumancentiPad )

Techie wasn't being paid, until he taught HR a lesson


Re: The flip side of this is a unique name

Uh, another very common name here. Years ago, my dentist in Evanston, Illinois had four patients who went by John Hill. I'm generally glad to have a tough to search name was well.

But recently I tried to order a pair of earbuds through NewEgg (the seller was a company located in Hong Kong). That company told me, "Your name is blacklist". I had never even heard of that company, let alone ordered anything from them before. They asked if I had another name to use for delivery, and I said I didn't. Ultimately, they cancelled my order and refunded me my payment.

I don't think I'm going to be able to get off that blacklist. Oh well...

Florida man insists he didn't violate the law by keeping Top Secret docs


Re: Make America Kittens Again!

Oh my god! Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is GREAT!!! Wish I could upvote you more than once. Have one on me -->

Windows XP's adventures in the afterlife shows copyright's copywrongs


Re: What's the monetary damage?

As occasionally gets pointed out, there are large, expensive scientific and medical devices out there that require complex software programs to operate. The manufacturer writes their software to the latest stable version of Windows, then never updates it. Commercial entities run and maintain these expensive devices for extended periods. Yes, I know, they are supposed to be depreciated in 3 years (or perhaps 5) but even if they are replaced with the latest version, the devices also have an afterlife - there is a healty market for used equipment of this sort.

Different copyright considerations arise when the device is sold by the original purchaser, but I'm only here to say that as long as those devices are running, they are utterly dependent on old/ancient versions of Windows. No upgrade path there. Even if the updated OS is cheap, it rarely turns out to support the software.

Large language models' surprise emergent behavior written off as 'a mirage'


Cold Fusion?

Why does this sober analysis of the situation, placing emphasis on the tools used to determine the outcome of the experiment - and the proper use of these tools -oh and knowing how to actually interpret the results from these tools correctly remind me of all the overheated excitement about cold fusion?

Dump these insecure phone adapters because we're not fixing them, says Cisco


Re: Bit hard on the bright young things?

"Distorted in a way that they like."

You remind me that every vinyl pressing has to be distorted (carefully) using the RIAA equilization curve, so that the low frequency sounds don't overwhelm the high frequency sounds in the grove. And then on playback, one has to carefully redistort the output to attempt to restore the original balance between low and high frequencies for a high fidelity experience.

DEF CON to set thousands of hackers loose on LLMs


Re: Better than hackers for red teaming an LLM

I feel that to find the nasty corners in ML, as in anything, we need folks with the hacker spirit. Coloring inside the lines isn't going to expose the obscure problems.

But hey, the more the merrier and we can always use more diverse viewpoints banging on these things.

Curiosity gets interplanetary software patch for better driving and more on Mars


Re: Well worth a read

Gee, I thought AI was going to solve all of our software creation problems! </sarcasm>

But maybe this approach could eventually come up with a system that could drive an automobile autonomously. Too bad no one would ever be able to even fantasize about that in a commercial environment...

To improve security, consider how the aviation world stopped blaming pilots


The Howard Cosell Syndrome

My apologies to William Macomber, a philosophy professor I had in college if I get the details wrong. In the process of attempting to teach undergraduates something about Greek philosophy, he used what was then a recent incident anyone would easily recall.

At the 1972 Olympic games, someone failed to notify an American team about a last-minute change of venue (or time of event). At any rate, the whole team forfeited because they failed to show up to compete. This human error caused a great deal of righteous outrage, and among the loudest and most indignant voices was Howard Cosell's.

What Professor Macomber attempted to show us was that in "ancient Greece" there was a very different cultural belief about the nature of human free will. Mistakes we would attribute to an individual making an unforced error were viewed as having been caused by one or another of the gods, and the individual was considered to simply be the agent through which that god was operating at the time. Sounds a bit fatalistic, in the sense that in that view the mistake could not be prevented by any amount of planning or redesign. But it is interesting to consider that an entire nation could potentially hold a different view on the need for and application of blame. There would have been no Howard Cosell running around shouting for someone to be punished.

Astronomers (re)discover never-before-seen phenomenon on Saturn


How about checking the other solar planets with rings?

" If a spacecraft detects similar excess UV radiation bands in the upper atmosphere of a faraway planet, it could mean it might be supporting a ring system like Saturn's."

I am not very well informed about this topic, but it only took a few seconds to verify that Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune all have ring systems - wouldn't one of them make a nice instance to look for the tell-tale increased levels of Lyman-alpha radiation? I expect none of these would produce the same levels as Saturn, but then extra-solar examples would produce much smaller signals, surley?

This US national lab turned to AI to hunt rogue nukes


Re: "helped law enforcement home in on targets and speed up investigations"

"Is there that much suspicious radioactive material being sent by snail mail these days ?"

Well, I hope not, but there are a number of legitimate, non-weapon uses for "nuclear material". I used to use some radioactive materials for analytical purposes when I was a graduate student in molecular biology - sometimes you need a very strong signal, and nothing beats radioactive emissions. But it was never all >that< much compared to a nuclear weapon, and certainly not the right elements.

But I expect some folks out there can provide stories that may relate to more interesting isotopes, and perhaps in quantities that might surprise the rest of us.

And yeah, we got ours by snail mail.

Warning: Your wireless networks may leak data thanks to Wi-Fi spec ambiguity


Re: Hmm

"Also, did you happen to read section 5 of the new Restrict Act ?"

Yeah, just did. This sentence has no relevance to the other sentences in your post. Might as well be a comment on the social life of a goose, as far as any point being made about running a given operation system. ChatAPI, is that you?

Publishers land killer punch on Internet Archive in book copyright court battle


Re: Unavailable books

*We have a few generally unavailable books"

This is another of the problems with existing copyright that is relevant to this situation, even if it has nothing to do with digitizing or copying. Publishers have no incentive to keep the contents of unpopular books available. As soon as a book ceases to sell briskly, no new prints runs are scheduled (and for a lot of books, I suspect the first run is the last). If you want to locate a copy of such a work for some reason, good luck. Perhaps it is available in a library somewhere, or on the used book market but there is no way to determine if this is true without searching "in all the usual places".

The flip side of the situation is worse - let's say you find an out of print book from 50 years ago. For some reason it has become relevant (again), and you are considering making it available - in print or digitally, doesn't matter. Your problem: figure out who currently holds the copyright. The information in the printed book may not be current - the author almost certainly does not own the copyright, and the publisher may have sold the rights on to another entity. There is no central repository for declaring the identity of the copyright owner.

And for works "of a certain age" copyright might or might not exist, depending on whether the owner renewed it during the periods when the duration of copyright was extended by law.

We keep track of ownership of trade marks, which to someone who has no law or intellectual property background seems like a reasonable analogy - so why not copyright?


Re: Judge is a typical Fed bench moron..

I feel most of us are having trouble keeping a couple of ideas clear in our thinking here.

The main issue for a judge is to consider the law, and the legal merit of arguments put by both sides. That is the main matter for the court. If the actions of the defendant can be shown to be legally correct, they will prevail in a fair hearing. Of course, the problem is in interpreting the situation in context with the most relevant law. The devil is in the details. I have no doubt that a deep understanding of the specific facts in the case will be of value to a judge in reaching a just decision, but unfortunately it is not a requirement. And it may not be helpful in all cases, since the most relevant law may be just plain wrong.

I suspect that in this situation, the law needs to be fixed. I hope this case does not destroy the Internet Archive - they do a lot of valuable and completely legal work.

Hold off on that 2046 Valentine's date, asteroid might hit Earth


Doesn't it go more like this?

In the real world, doesn't it go more like this:


Yes, what is it?

The AI monitoring the asteroid belt for potential collisions with Earth has detected a probable collision in 10 years.

What are the chances this thing will hit us?

Oh, about 1 in 100, but it won't be possible to get a better estimate until the window to divert the asteroid has already closed.

I see. So, we have to decide whether to actively intervene before we know if any action is necessary?

I'm afraid so, sir.

Hmmm... Well, better to be safe than sorry. Activate the diversion protocol.

Yes sir.

... weeks later ...

Sir, we have a new update on the outcome of the asteroid diversion mission.

Good - what are the odds of a collision now?

Well, the good news is that the asteroid fractured into a few smaller pieces. The bad news is that the largest of them is now on a direct course for impact and it is too late for another diversion attempt. The worse news is that we now have much better orbital data on the original asteroid, and it would have missed entirely if we had just left it alone...

How to get the latest Linux kernel on your Ubuntu box


Re: To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade?

"Or is it: If it ain't broke, I'm not learning anything."

That's a major reason I started playing with SOC based systems - there is still quite a bit that doesn't work, or work properly. Everything got so boring on the desktop - I may have been more frustrated back in the day, but debugging and fixing things that should have worked but didn't provided a lot of interest (won't say "fun"). I really enjoy that feeling when I finally convince something to do what it should have done all along! I think this is why my wife likes gardening.

Tributes flow as Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo - the mind behind Sound Blaster - passes aged 68



"Creative still sells music players today under the Zen brand."

I was surprised and pleased to hear that Creative music players were still being made and sold. I've done a bit of searching, and although I discovered some links to the usual suspects, none of them actually offered players for sale. Creative's own special placement box at the top of the page of search results says, "ZEN is a series of discontinued portable media players designed and manufactured by Creative Technology Limited."

I don't think they are actually selling them today...

Southwest Airlines blames IT breakdown for stranding holiday travelers


Re: Time for IT from this century

"IT from this century"

Two things:

When I visit my local car dealership's repair department, the contact folks are running Win10/11 with a terminal emulator on the screen and what looks like 70's or maybe 80's mainframe software. Rather than focusing on which century, how about software written by someone who understood the problem to be solved? And when you've been bashing at a system for decades, most of the obvious bugs have found and squashed.

Also, there was a nice article in Scientific American back in the 80's (I think) about a day when severe weather over the central US disrupted airlines. The authors explained how the scheduling fell over and what had to be done to stand it back up again.

At that time, there were >three< different interlocking schedules: aircraft, cockpit crew and cabin crew and each of them moved in their own distinct cycles. I suspect this is still true today - a real 3-ring circus.

Server broke because it was invisibly designed to break


Re: guesswork

"Car dealerships often do this and charge you truly eyewatering prices for each wrong guess - despite being in a far better position than anyone else to do the job properly due to having all the knowledge and proprietary diagnostic equipment on hand."

And access to information about "silent recalls".

My girlfriend owned an Audi Fox that was about 2 years old at the time (late '70s). One day, we drove into town, shopped, and then tried to go home - car simply would not start.

Had it towed to the nearest Audi dealer (in Chicago area), they scratched their heads, finally replaced the fuel pump and billed us for that plus 3 hours of diagnostic effort. I looked at that, called bullshit, and asked to keep the old pump, which I boxed up and shipped back to Audi national headquarters to be checked, along with a copy of the repair invoice.

In the meantime, we started a 3 week road trip to the Rocky Mountains. Yeah, why would I be typing this if the car didn't fail exactly the same way at a campground 125 miles out of Jackson Wyoming? Had the car towed to the only foreign car dealer in town (Subaru, btw). When we rolled into the parking lot, a guy outside looked up, saw us, whistled at another guy, gave him a couple of minutes of instructions. By the time we were doing the sign-in in the office, they already had the car off the truck and into a bay.

Fifteen minutes later, the car was fixed! No parts, and they only billed the 15 min labor!

The head mechanic kept up on trends in car problems, and knew about the faulty connector design Audi had committed on the power circuit feeding the fuel pump, so he told the guy to simply pull the wires out of the connector and solder them together. Never had another problem (with ignition) on that car.

Oh, and when we got back from the trip, Audi had sent us a letter stating that the fuel pump was just fine, along with a check reimbursing us for the full, original, dealership "repair". About six months later, there was a formal recall of that connector.

And my then girlfriend had had the foresight to pay an extra $2.00 on her car insurance to cover emergency towing situations, so the repair in Jackson, Wy was our only expense - insurance covered the 125 mile towing charge. Clever girl!

She is still my wife - I'm glad she thought I was good enough to keep around. We drive a Subaru now.

US Air Force tests its first fully functional hypersonic missile


Re: Oh boy

"/bucket of instant sunshine/"

Wish I could upvote more than once. I haven't laughed this hard in a long time... I guess having lived through the '50s and '60s helps me see that phrase in two very different, non-super-imposable ways.

Thanks for brightening my day, safely.

Twitter is suffering from mad bro disease. Open thinking can build it back better


Re: You want the State to manage social media platforms ? Are you insane ?

And so where do we go?

As you point out, as soon as the state leans too far in one direction, it can use state-run social media to enforce and accelerate that movement to extremes.

And we've seen what happens when a corporation depends on 'engagement' to capitalize on the user's attention.

How does a platform that can meet the expectations of a huge, distributed user base acquire sufficient funding for the moderation that is clearly essential without ending up depending on either commercial or government management?

Does anyone have an example that might fit these conditions?

Wells Fargo, Zelle slammed by Liz Warren over rampant online banking fraud


Re: 0.1% fraud?

I was thinking the same thing - all the statements in the article could be true, depending on the overall volume of transactions and a couple of other numbers they won't reveal.

99.9% clean, wow that's pretty good! But isn't the point to get everybody to use your product, and take over the world (so to speak)? When you scale way, way up, is three 9s something to boast about?

If you made planes, and they only crashed 0.1% of the time, would >you< fly on your own product?

University of Edinburgh staff paid late due to Oracle ERP troubles


Re: 8-{ Wot, no migration planning?

I was a graduate student at Northwestern University in the early 80s. They made a similar transition - shifted to the new system cold, with no overlap at all with the existing system. Things went about as well there as they are going in this case - many, many suppliers stopped dealing with them. Fortunately for me, I was still getting my stipend, but some suppliers had not gotten paid in a year by the time they got things sorted out. We had some real problems keeping our lab running. Among the minor oversights, the system went live before someone realized there was no mechanism for returning money to research grants when a purchase transition got reversed.

Did I mention that the Northwestern business school had just been ranked number 1 in the United States when the university pulled this stunt?

No, I will not pay the bill. Why? Because we pay you to fix things, not break them


Left-pondian here!

Among El Reg's attractions for me over the years was the fun and confusion I experienced getting a peek into another culture. I relish the challenge and the educational aspects of discovering what some of the more colourful expressions mean.

And I learn so much from the commenters about IT, metallurgy, history, linguistics, desserts and everything else under the sun. I am disappointed at the recent changes (for a while I thought the headquarters had officially moved to the US), and I would be very happy to see the site return to the UK-centric format, but I still haven't found any meaningful competition.

It makes me sad to realize that almost none of the good tech sites or podcasts originate in the US.

Oops, web trackers may have leaked 3 million patients' info


Step back and look at the forest!

Yes, these trackers are terrible and definitely a violation of the kind of privacy any patient should expect. But I think we are focusing on a single tree here, and possibly missing the bigger picture.

But think about the situation for a moment. Do you really think that your physician's office, or even the hospital created their own website? Hell no, they contacted the creation and operation of "their" site to a third party, hopefully one with some expertise.

Whenever you interact with a site like that, you are freely giving your personal health information to whoever or whatever actually runs that site. Under HIPAA, this means they are relieved of ANY restrictions on what they can subsequently do with the information.

The only hope a patient has in this situation, and it is a slim reed indeed, is to hope that the contract between the medical provider and the website operator includes language that passes the HIPAA requirements on to them. Ho Ho HO (to rush the season, a bit)!

I am certain that there is a financial advantage to the health care provider is they fail to include such language - the patient becomes the product, and they get a big discount on the cost of creating and operating the site.

It would be very nice to be wrong about this, but I'll bet I'm not.

So, the big boys (Meta, Google, TikTok - who ever else is offering these beacons) are only the big end of the pool. There must be literally thousands of small organizations with the same or greater access to patient information without any monitoring or restriction at all.

You thought you bought software – all you bought was a lie


Re: Thank you Liam

Agreed. I have been saying some similar, but less well thought out, things to friends for a while. But as I'm self-taught, and at the fringes of the action, I am very glad to have validation that my view was reasonably correct.

Now, I have a more complete, coherent story to pass to folks who desperately need to hear at least some of this.

Thanks for the excellent article!

Tetchy trainee turned the lights down low to teach turgid lecturer a lesson


Re: taking notes...

No one seems to have pointed out that the most effective notes are made when the note taker is listening, thinking about the material and therefore able to summarize the information from the lecture in the notes they make.

Any good lecturer will present a topic in redundant language. Important points get highlighted, often by repetition with variations. Good note takers distill this into a brief summary of the critical aspects. This is incredibly useful, and something that doesn't often make its way into textbooks. (The other reason that lectures can be so effective, in the hands of decent lecturers, is that interactive QA can quickly clear up misconceptions. I know we have all sorts of wonderful, rapid communication in Today's Modern World of the Future (tm) but direct human contact can be a very powerful educational tool.)

Your notes were effective for you, because you emphasized the aspects of the information that were new and important to you. The other student who laughed and handed them back probably would not have been able to get much out of your notes for that reason, and because he hadn't been able to do that sort of summation for himself.

For the record, my notes always looked more like the other student. Oh well...

Tesla faces Autopilot lawsuit alleging phantom braking


Re: Not so much a class action, more a money seeking suit

A couple of days ago, I saw something I had not previously seen: a Tesla sitting stock still in the lane next to me as I was driving along a 2 lane road. When I see non-electric cars sitting in that way, these days, I generally assume out of gas. But I didn't really think this was a case of insufficient electrons somehow...

Yesterday, I was driving home and I saw another sight I'm not used to seeing: a Tesla on a flatbed tow truck. Odd. As we approached a stop light, I saw the Tesla's brakes come on when the tow truck's did. Huh. Its a flatbed tow - why would the Tesla's brakes come on? After a couple of minutes (long light) the Tesla's brake lights went out. But as soon as the light turned green and the tow truck started to pull away, the Tesla's brake lights came on again. That really seemed odd.

Now that I've read this news item, I think I may have seen an example of this unfortunate braking failure. Possibly two of them.

FCC chair wishes for 100Mbps down, 20Mbps up broadband minimum in US


She, actually.

Yeah, if we are lucky and get some nice upgrades we might qualify as third world. At least we'll still be paying the highest prices in the world, so there's that.

Marriott Hotels admits to third data breach in 4 years



Ooops. Marriott can't seem to keep people from stealing their customer's data from their systems.

The only consequences for a data breach like this are a couple of public "apologies", perhaps a small fine, maybe even a ransom if that's the way it went. Big deal, their financial loss is probably less than insurers would charge them. Particularly insurers who have been careful to estimate the actual risk by reviewing processes and practices.

What organizations like this need is some form of serious financial motivation to make it worth their while to protect other people's data that they keep. But that likely means regulation. At least in the US, that can't be done - too many lobbyists, too little actual governing.

Not a GNOME fan, and like the look of Windows? Try KDE Plasma or Cinnamon


Unintended consequences...

What I find annoying about GUIs is the feeling that they assume that I'm going to intuitively understand all the gestures they have thoughtfully provided for me. I suppose that I could go find a tutorial, or some sort of documentation that teaches me how to take advantage of all these features, but doesn't that go against the very nature of a GUI? Isn't all this supposed to be obvious and intuitive?

What I really have a problem with is when I inadvertently invoke one of these lovely gestures without realizing what I have done. Sometimes something miraculous occurs: maybe even something that I would like to have happen, but I have no idea: a) how to do that again, if I want to and b) how to undo that if it is something I definitely don't want (like switching my default language to Mandarin).

Google engineer suspended for violating confidentiality policies over 'sentient' AI


Passive responses only?

I'm too lazy to read the whole transcript - did this AI initiate any trains of thought or only reply to the questions? Most of the "intelligences" I interact with interrupt me just when I'm getting to the good part of what I wanted to say...

Also: I'm reminded of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein. Shouldn't humor eventually creep in to the AIs comments?

Starlink's success in Ukraine amplifies interest in anti-satellite weapons


Re: Would ground/plane based laser be effective ?

I think you're channelling Joseph Heller here. Elon Musk is not as unhinged as Milo Minderbender, who contracted with the Allies to defend a base the he had also contracted with the Axis to destroy. Or vice versa...

IBM-powered Mayflower robo-ship once again tries to cross Atlantic


Re: May Flower II

Anybody remember what happened to hitchBot?


When management went nuclear on an innocent software engineer


Re: Ok hands up

"Then wiped their finger along a wall or whatever..."

You're supposed to wipe it on the SIGN!

Microsoft sounds the alarm on – wait for it – a Linux botnet


Re: Isn't Azure built on Linux?

I have no personal knowledge of this, sorry, but I learned yesterday that starting with Windows 10, Microsoft is shipping OpenSSH as part of the standard package. It's right there, ready and waiting to be configured and used. No idea what the default configuration is, but this isn't just the client, the server is in there, too.

So they have potential exposure where ever there's a Windows machine, not just Azure.

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’


Re: 41 hours of latency sounds bad...

When I was a student, those taking classes were privileged to be able to use the 20 minute turnaround service (for short stacks) from 7 to 10 PM. Wow! Wheeeeeee! Sadly, I think that incomparable (at the time) speed did lend itself to "shoot from the hip" style, as one tried to fit in one more cycle of debug, submit, swear, repeat into those last few precious minutes before 10PM (22:00).

We can bend the laws of physics for your super-yacht, but we can't break them


Re: I don't see the fault... until

My experience as well - I didn't clue in until I hit San Andreas and did a double take.

I think it may be because we're American, and over here we say "Northern California"/"Southern California" vs "North Carolina"/"South Carolina" and as experienced readers, we tend to see the first/last letters of a word and approximate length, then jump to an identification.

Makes me wonder what else I've misread recently...

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout


Re: Full names please.......

My 5th grade music teacher was Mrs. Sharpless...

AI models still racist, even with more balanced training


Peeling the onion

OK, so folks decided to use AI to measure some human characteristics.

Then they looked at the data and said, "Oh, yeah, the training data sets are not diverse and introduce bias."

So they went back and trained using more diverse data sets.

Then they looked at the data and said, "Oh, yeah, our standardization methods use data that is not diverse and introduces bias."

I presume they are now going back and trying to eliminate bias in the tools they use to set the baselines for their measurements.

I wonder what they're going to find in the next cycle?

Not to dis your diskette, but there are some unexpected sector holes


Re: Love "Duh!" moments! It's the techie life that chose me!

My first real introduction to programming came from a Jeff Duntemann book. Somewhere in there was a list of rules for working programmers. Among them was one that said explaining your problem to colleagues was so important, that if necessary you should be prepared to lure them in with food to get them to listen. That one was fairly easy to follow.

The one that said mistakes should be framed, and hung on the wall was a bit harder to follow...

You can buy a company. You can buy a product. Common sense? Trickier


Re: 'twas ever thus

"[0] Weird system that you as a buyer have a real estate agent of your own, protecting your interests in the purchase. I'm beginning to think they were fleecing us."

Huh. As a buyer in the US, I've always used an agent. Especially if I'm relocating to a new area, and don't know the territory. When there are agents on both sides of the deal, they split the commission (paid by the seller), so it isn't an apparent expense for me. I have been fortunate to have had good (and ethical) agents, so far.

First time I sold a house, the ultimate buyer was also an agent, but for commercial, not residential property. We found out at some point that what he had done was to survey available properties and chose mine. Then, he pretended to be a naive buyer, and chose my selling agent to be his buying agent, putting her on both sides of the deal, for a little extra motivation for his offer. He said there were several properties he wanted to see, but "fell in love" with ours.

What he didn't know was that our agent was a long-time personal friend, When she figured out that he was an agent, she told us right away and asked if we were comfortable about her representing him. We said since she was up-front about it, we were fine with her getting the entire commission.

He then played shenanigans - his first offer (too low) was set to "expire" at 11 PM the same day. We had no interest in it, so we didn't respond. At 11 PM, I unplugged the phone (1980's - BCP), and had a good night's sleep.. He was furious the next day, as he had tried to call and pressure us after the deadline. What good is a deadline, if you never had any intention of adhering to it yourself?

He did ultimately submit an offer that we found acceptable. We did well on that sale!

Why the Linux desktop is the best desktop


Not entirely sure what you mean by "sound"

You might want to look at this: https://www.bandshed.net/


Re: Dell XPS Ubuntu version discontinued in the UK

I have listened to a number of Linux podcasts over the years, and learned from the European ones about several apparently outstanding PC makers that install Linux exclusively on their systems. I'm sorry I can't name names, I have forgotten who these companies are, but I'm sure they're still out there.

Of course, living in the US, I was never able to try any of these out, and shipping to the US was not offered.

So, I'm prepared to think that Dell may simply have surrendered to the competition in the UK when they discontinued their Linux systems...

Court erred in Neo4j source license ruling, says Software Freedom Conservancy


Re: Why bother ?

So, you read and ponder the significance of every provision in the licensing for every software product you use?

Among the issues here is the fact that Neo4J's public representation that their software license is "open source" and their apparent intention that it is not created at least the appearance of fraud, if they did not consciously commit fraud. I believe that if they were serious about being open source, they would not have cobbled two licenses together this way.

Anybody know how many distinct open source licenses are available today?